Beginner’s Calligraphy

Calligraphy is an art that I have fallen in love with. I always have been interested in writing letters in different sizes, fonts, and styles. Calligraphy was one of the things I loved even before I knew about it. It is an art that we are seeing more often on cards, paintings, and envelopes. Whether you’re looking to teach a calligraphy class or just address your christmas cards, I’m here to help you get started. I’m starting Beginner’s Calligraphy so I thought we could learn together.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

My mom got me these pens off of Amazon for Christmas. They are amazing! You have a lot of control with them (even if it doesn’t seem like it at first) and they come in 10 vibrant colors. They have the brush end that you use for what we’re doing, but they also have a small marker end that is perfect for addressing the street name on an envelope or changing up the fonts on a piece of art. For paper, I just used some scrap paper we had left over from when Patterson was learning to write her letters. It was the perfect size! It’s probably not what you’re supposed to use, but we already owned it so I’m going with it.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

Calligraphy requires a lot of practice. It is hard at first, but I promise it’s not just you. Everyone struggles at times, and this is one of those times. The goal of this step is just to get a feel for how the pens write. When you bring the pen up, it should be a thinner line, and the down stroke should be thicker. Just zig-zag your heart away.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

You didn’t think I was going to let you off the hook with one line did you? Nope! Make lines and lines of zig-zags. Fill up pages and pages of them until you’re comfortable with the pen and you like how the lines are looking.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

Now that you’re comfortable with lines, we’ll start to do some circles. Many letters have circles in them, so this is a great thing to practice. Make sure to do just like the lines and fill up pages with Os. Get a smooth transition from the thick-to-thin lines before you move on. This is also a great time to practice writing letters over and over again.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

At this point you’re probably getting pretty good with individual letters, but you haven’t started connecting them. The next step is to start writing words. You can do Bible verses, names of friends, random words you think of, anything! The goal of this step is to get comfortable with writing words.


Beginner's Calligraphy from

The only way you’re ever going to get any better at this skill is by practicing. You have to write words over and over to get them just the way you want them. In the picture above, I’ve used different fonts to add to the beauty of the verse. Calligraphy is a tedious task, but well worth it in the end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Beginner’s Calligraphy with me today! I hope you learned something! I by all means am not a pro at this, but I gave ya what I got. If you’d like more tutorials on anything artsy, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do! Thanks for reading today!
XOXO, Mary Anneliese

Beginner's Calligraphy from

Fashion Over Forty: Scarves, Scarves, and More Scarves

Welcome to a new edition of The Hill Hangout! The new year is off to a great start around here, and we have some exciting new content planned for 2017. And by “we” I really do mean “we!” Since most everything is a family affair at our home, we decided the blog should be, too. You’ve already heard from Mary Anneliese with her first couple of fashion posts, so you can look for more posts from her in the coming year. Together we will dive into a few new areas for us (fashion!!), as well as bringing you more posts about faith, travel and homeschooling. However, we will also continue to bring you the recipes and food posts you continue to come back for. Thank you for hanging out with us!

And now onto a new segment for us, Fashion Over Forty: Scarves, Scarves, and More Scarves. The other day the girls and I were at Target, and they had a terrific sale going on scarves. We picked up 5(!!!) because they were so darn cute. Most were around the $19.99 price point originally, but they were marked down to $13.99. That’s a huge bargain for the quality of these beauties.

I picked up a new gray knit dress at Amazon the other day, and I needed a great scarf to go with it. This one from Target was perfect! (The dress is super comfy, inexpensive, and comes in a ton of colors.) This gold cuff is similar to the one I’m wearing.

Fashion Over Forty: Scarves, Scarves, and More Scarves from

Ever since I purchased this gray wool coat a few years back, I have needed a scarf to wear with it when the weather turns cold enough. I was pumped to find this one in such a subtle pattern. It’s so subtle, in fact, that it’s hard to photograph. However, it is just the right amount of pattern to look perfect with my coat.

Fashion Over Forty: Scarves, Scarves, and More Scarves from

This is one of my favorites! It would go with so many things, but I love it with dark jeans and a white Piko top. Throw on a cute pair of short boots, and you are ready to go! And since this is Fashion for the over forty crowd, you can get the reading glasses here.

Fashion Over Forty: Scarves, Scarves, and More Scarves from

I love to wear neutral colors with just a pop of color. This mustard scarf was the perfect punch of color when I paired it with gray on gray. The top is from Old Navy, and the pants are from Target. Boots are TOMS Desert wedges in desert taupe suede. If you need a good versatile pair of short boots, I can highly recommend these. Super comfy and will go with anything.

Fashion Over Forty: Scarves, Scarves, and More Scarves from

This is another one that photos don’t do justice. It’s a terrific thick wool-like feel, which is lovely paired with a green Piko top. I also threw on a pair of black pants I got in my last Stitch-Fix box, and a pair of tall black heeled boots. I am so into cuff bracelets right now. I found this one at a local market, but I also LOVE this one. How many cuffs can one person buy before admitting it is an addiction?

Fashion Over Forty: Scarves, Scarves, and More Scarves from

The blanket scarves above are all a nice large size, which means they can all be used as a wrap as well as a scarf. I think you will be well pleased with the style and the quality of them. And if you use your Target debit card, you will get an additional 5% off!

Want to pin this post for later? I have it on my winter fashion board, or you can pin it here:

Fashion Over Forty: Scarves Scarves and More Scarves from

This post has affiliate links, which help keep this blog FREE to our readers.

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale

Hey y’all! I don’t know about you, but I feel like clothes can get so EXPENSIVE. Sure, you can get cheap stuff, but doesn’t it just fall apart the first time you wash it? One of my favorite ways to buy clothes is to get good, quality brands on sale. This way you still get quality items without breaking the bank. Below, I’ve linked some of my favorite finds that are on sale right now!

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

1. This dress is a fab find from Francesca’s and it is on sale right now for $20! It comes in the indigo color shown above, and also in rose. This would also be super cute as a tunic worn with jeans and short boots.

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

2. Check out this cute dress from Anthropologie! It’s on sale for $99, and it has a really cute keyhole cutout in the back. 

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

3. If you don’t have a good pair of short boots, then these from Zappos are a must! They are by Sam Edelman, and they come in tons of colors and patterns. They are 33% off right now.

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

4. Lizard Thicket might be a new store for some of you, but its definitely worthwhile. A new location opened close to us, and we are already big fans. I found this cute top there for only $16.25!

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

5. Every girl needs a good pair of jeans and these are adorable!!

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

6. Sweaters are a must have for winter! I found this cute one from American Eagle. It’s a terrific neutral color, and it is less than half of the original price.

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

7. These caramel colored jeans from American Eagle are so fun! A good pair of colored jeans is always a must have in my closet. These are stretchy, so they would be super comfy.

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

8. Kendra Scott necklaces are a hot topic right now, and this color called brown pearl is on sale!

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

9. These Hunter rain boots are so great! I love these in this bright coral color, and it just so happens they’re on sale!

Teen Fashion Finds on Sale from

10. This lace dress from Anthropologie is adorable! (UPDATE: This one just sold out, but Anthro has tons of cute dresses on sale.)

I hope you enjoyed all these items and hopefully they sparked your imagination in your own closet.
XOXO, Mary Anneliese

New Year’s Eve Fashion for Teens

Today, I want to introduce you to a new guest poster on my blog, my daughter Mary Anneliese. Mary Anneliese is 14, and she has already been learning about the inner-workings of a blog. Now it’s time for her to do a little writing as well. Fashion is a hot topic around our house, so she is here today to bring you New Year’s Eve Fashion for Teens.

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, which means New Year’s Eve parties are coming up, too! Now is a great time to add some extra sparkle or dressiness to your wardrobe that you wouldn’t normally wear. I searched the internet to find New Year’s Eve fashion for teens, and here are some of my favorite finds for cute dresses to help ring in the new year.

New Year's Eve Fashion for Teens from

1. This lace dress from Francesca’s is a perfect addition to anyone’s wardrobe.

New Year's Eve Fashion for Teens from

2. This simple dress is perfect for any holiday occasion and beyond!

New Year's Eve Fashion for Teens from

3. This flowy lace dress from H&M is another great one! It would be great for New Year’s Eve, but versatile enough for other occasions too!

New Year's Eve Fashion for Teens

4. This textured lace dress from Altar’d State is a great find!

New Year's Eve Fashion for Teens from

5. This subtle pink lace dress is a festive addition to anyone’s wardrobe.

New Year's Eve Fashion for Teens from

6. Another Francesca’s dress! This one is a ruffled, navy dress that is perfect for any party.

I hope this gave you some inspirational ideas for New Year’s Eve! Happy New Year, everyone!

XOXO, Mary Anneliese

Fall Community and Home Show

Fall Community Preview

Do you love a good home tour as much as I do? One of our favorite ways to spend a weekend is looking at new houses, especially if we can go in and take a peek around. If you’re local to Birmingham, you can take advantage of the Fall Community and Home Tour sponsored by the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders. It’s going on October 7-9 and October 14-16 from 10:00-6:00 each day.

There are over 20 builders on this year’s Fall Community and Home Show, including Harris Doyle Homes. They are the builders of this lovely home in Trussville Springs. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Fall Community and Home Show

This beauty is by Prominence Homes and Communities, and it is in Helena’s Riverwoods.

Fall Community and Home Show

I know I’ve shown you several Murphy Home Builders homes in the past, but can you blame me? You can check out this one in Highland Lakes!

Fall Community and Home Show

Until the Fall Community and Home Show, I wasn’t familiar with Gibson Anderson Construction. However, look at this great home they’ve just finished in The Ledges in Pelham.

Fall Community and Home Show

I keep coming back to this Ridgecrest Homes jewel because I think the design is so interesting. This plan is called The Brownstones. I’m a big fan of this one in The Preserve in Hoover.

Fall Community and Home Show

And while you’re in The Preserve, you can take a tour of this home by Fargason Building.

Fall Community and Home Show

It’s a gorgeous weekend, so who’s up for a few house tours? Y’all let me know what you like best.

Groupon Coupons

This is a sponsored post. As always, opinions are mine.

So maybe I’m late the party (what else is new, huh?), but have you heard about Groupon Coupons? I’m not talking about the regular Groupon deals we’ve known about for ages. I’m talking about coupons on the Groupon site for ALL KINDS of retailers.

So this thing is super simple. When you get ready to shop, either online or in store, just check Groupon Coupons to see what kind of deals are available. All you have to do is log onto Groupon, look for the Coupon tab (or go here), and choose the coupon codes you want.

I checked it out and found Groupon Coupons for so many of my favorite stores:

  • Old Navy (Currently 10% off Kids and Baby Items)
  • J. Crew Factory Store (Currently 40% off everything)
  • Sephora (Quite a few different deals)
  • Under Armour
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond (20% off one item in store)
  • Cost Plus World Market
  • Barnes and Noble (20% off one item online)
  • Forever 21
  • Staples
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Walgreen’s
  • Nordstrom

Groupon has been a great way to save money on restaurants, entertainment, and events for years. With the advent of Groupon Coupons, we can now save money in new ways!

Have you used Groupon Coupons? I’d love to know about the bargains you found. Leave a comment and let us know!

2016 Parade of Homes

2016 Parade of Homes Ad

One of my favorite weekends of the year is coming up! The Birmingham 2016 Parade of Homes opens today and runs through this weekend and next, and it is always a fun weekend of design inspiration and beautiful interiors. If you’ve been needing to make a few updates to your home or are in the market to build, you can see some terrific ideas at the 2016 Parade of Homes.

2016 Parade of Homes

I was invited by B-Metro Magazine to take you on a tour of one of the Parade homes. As I toured the Highland Lakes home by Murphy Home Builders, I noticed that there are several design features that aren’t slowing down anytime soon. People still demand an open floor plan, and rightly so. An open plan is family friendly and visually appealing.

2016 Parade of Homes

Kitchen are still the heartbeat of the home, and homeowners want to see great appliances, countertops, and fixtures.

2016 Parade of Homes

2016 Parade of Homes

Comfortable living spaces with lots of natural light are also a must!

2016 Parade of Homes

Outdoor living spaces provide extra square footage of gathering space. This great area has room for lounging in front of the outdoor fireplace, as well as a full-size dining table.

2016 Parade of Homes

But while most new homes today have all of these features, it’s the details that really set a home apart. This home has terrific details that make it stand out from the rest. Why have a plain tray ceiling when you can add barn wood!

2016 Parade of Homes

And don’t forget to switch out boring interior doors for something more, like these five panel beauties.

2016 Parade of Homes

Laundry will be so much more fun for this homeowner in this beautiful laundry room. Additional details like wainscotting make a huge difference in how luxurious a room feels.

2016 Parade of Home

Murphy Home Builders called in Shannon Appling at Urban Market to add fabulous interiors. She did not disappoint, and these furnishings add to the charm and comfort of this lovely home.

2016 Parade of Homes

2016 Parade of Homes

2016 Parade of Homes

If you like what you see at the Murphy Home in Highland Lakes, you can check out the following for more home design candy:

  • Byrom Building at The Preserve in Hoover
  • Embassy Homes at Nottingham in Calera and Black Creek Station in Fultondale
  • Harris Doyle Homes at Trussville Springs in Trussville, Keeneland Valley in Pelham, and Fieldstown Crossing in Gardendale
  • Donovan Builders at Grey Oaks in Chelsea
  • Thoroughbred Homes at Ballantrae in Pelham
  • Taylor Burton Company in the Ross Bridge area
  • Newcastle Homes at Hillsboro in Helena and Carrington Lakes in Trussville
  • Lifescape Builders at Liberty Park in Vestavia

If you’re the uber-organized type (like me!!) you can plan out your Parade route here. The Parade will be open 10:00-6:00 on both weekends, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1.

*This is a sponsored post for which I received compensation. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.

Building and Remodeling Expo 2015

Spring is just starting to peek it’s head out in Birmingham, and that means home building and renovating is just around the corner. You’ve probably already noticed the increase in the number of houses for sale, and that’s because spring is the #1 time of the year for the real estate market. Along with that peak comes an increase in the number of people getting their homes in shape after a long, damp winter. If you find yourself in the market to redo a few things around the house, you don’w want to miss the 2015 Building and Remodeling Expo going on this weekend at the Pelham Civic Center.

When it comes to building and/or remodeling, there are so many choices of contractors and subcontractors in the Birmingham area, that it can be overwhelming. The Building and Remodeling Expo is a terrific way to meet and speak with professionals in the construction industry BEFORE making expensive mistakes on who you choose to do the work. You will be able to visit with contractors, as well as professionals who provide flooring, countertops, cabinets, siding, bricks, roofing, pest control, appliances, lighting, and iron and glass work.

The Building and Remodeling Expo is going on this weekend, Friday, March 20-Sunday, March 22. The cost is $7, but I have a half-price coupon for you. Just print it out and bring it with you to receive entry for only $3.50.

Just like last year, I’ll be there with the B-Metro Magazine team telling you about all the great products you can find at the Expo. Be sure to follow along with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also follow B-Metro on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Building and Remodeling Expo

Most Popular Posts of 2014

Best of 2014 collage

2014 has been a terrific year around the Hill Hangout! We have had more readers this year than in any other previous year since 2007, when we started posting a few pictures for our out-of-town family to see. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for hanging out with us. I feel that I have found MY people – the ones who love the Lord, love their families, love good food, love to fix things that are broken down, and love to explore new places. My top ten posts from 2014 reflect just that! I hope you’ll stick around for 2015.

10. Yum Yum Sauce

Yum Yum Sauce

9. The Best Homemade And Killer

Ant Killer

8. The Magic of Chalk Paint

Green Caneback Chairs

7. Mudslide Pie

Mudslide Pie

6. Summer Art Projects


5. Back to School Prayers

Back to school

4. Greek Seasoning

Greek Seasoning

3. Creamy Sriracha Dipping Sauce


2. Loaded Cornbread

Loaded Cornbread

1. Miracle Treatment for Eczema

alt="home remedy for eczema"

Yellowhammer Supply Company

Yellowhammer Multimedia CEO Cliff Sims announced on Monday that the company is launching a branded product and clothing line called Yellowhammer Supply Co. I checked it out, and they have some fabulous gifts for the MEN in your lives – just in time for Christmas!

Yellowhammer Supply Company

Sims says, “Yellowhammer is about all things Alabama… We believe that (our) relationship (with readers of Yellowhammer News) will translate into a lot of excitement about Yellowhammer branded products, which we’re pleased to offer in time for the Christmas season. This is an authentic Alabama brand that represents the pride Alabamians have in our state and the way we present ourselves.”

Yellowhammer Supply Company

Yellowhammer Supply Co. officially launched on Monday with an initial product line that includes a variety of high-end polos, soft-shell vests, t-shirts, hats and iPhone cases.

Yellowhammer Supply Company

Yellowhammer Supply Co. products are currently available on and are guaranteed to ship and arrive ahead of Christmas.

You can follow Yellowhammer Supply Company on Facebook.

This is a sponsored post for Yellowhammer Supply Company. All opinions are my own.