Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

  • Merry Christmas!

    Date: 2014.12.25 | Category: Christmas | Response: 0

    I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas with your family.  We are enjoying a cozy and quiet Christmas at home this year- no travelling for us!  It’s a good thing, because as of right now all three kids and the hubs are sick… boo!

    Our church coffee shop hosted a series of movie nights and the one we went to featured an appearance by Santa.  We got a pretty decent photo of the young cousins with Santa this year!  (Clearly I keep my definition of decent pretty low.)

    In any case, it was much better than the picture I got of Kate and James a few days later…

    That is one sketchy looking Santa!

    For my ornament this year, I decided to go with this darling reindeer that I saw on Pinterest.  I made mine before she posted her tutorial, and I found these teeny little heart buttons for the noses, but I thought her idea was super cute, and they were pretty easy and affordable to make!  Yay!

    The hardest part was finding matching pairs of branches on our trees- our crabapple had the branchiest branches and I mostly used those-

    I’m very happy with how these came out… yay!

    We also got a little punny with our Christmas card this year… I love how our garden gnome Halloween costumes came out (even if James wouldn’t wear most of his!) and wanted to use them in our card, here’s what I came up with…

    I hope that you have a beautiful Christmas!

  • belated Christmas greetings

    Date: 2014.01.02 | Category: Christmas, crafts | Response: 1

    Well hello!  Even though I’m the most erratic blogger E V E R, I thought I’d get a post up with the details about this year’s Christmas ornament… mostly because the story behind it makes me happy.

    When my dad died this past April, we spent time a lot of time reminiscing about our favorite dad quirks and sayings… my dad sure had a lot of them!  He was always saying things like “Mess with the bull, you get the horns” and “I’ll give you something to cry about!”  Or when he’d come into the house he’d shout “Don’t pay the ransom, we escaped!”  One of his funny quirks was that he hated pennies… he thought they were worthless and would sometimes go on about how he wouldn’t bother to bend over to pick one up, or how when he got a handful of change he would throw away the pennies on his way out the door.  This, of course, led to a general sense of outrage by the rest of his cheapskate family, and resulted in several practical jokes involving pennies- glued into jars, covering a box containing a gift, an April Fools Day penny tree, over the years there were many.  On the day of my dad’s burial we each placed a penny on his coffin before it was lowered as a way of sending him off.  So I knew early on that I wanted this years Christmas ornament to somehow involve pennies in his honor.

    I started trolling Pinterest and came across these two ideas, and decided to meld the two together…

    Penny Wreath on Etsy

    Tutorial for a penny pendant

    I ended up with this!

    front of penny wreath ornament

    back of penny wreath ornament

    I am very happy with how they turned out… but man, it was tricky to get them to come together!  It took several different tries before I found a glue/circle size/orientation that was sturdy enough to stay together.  I ended up using Mod Podge Dimensional Magic to cover the green wrapping paper circles- I liked that it didn’t require time in the oven to set, but did find that it took well more than 24 hours to fully cure.  It also kept lifting off with the E6000 glue I used to assemble the wreath, so I finally made the ornaments reversible (I originally envisioned two layers of green facing up with a plain penny back side) so I was only gluing metal to metal and not metal to Dimensional Magic.  I think that ended up turning out nicely anyway, since you often see the backs of ornaments.

    It makes me happy to have a Christmas ornament in my dad’s honor and makes me laugh to think of what his reaction would have been to receive one.  Of course our first Christmas without him just wasn’t the same.  We missed you, dad!

    Since I’m on here posting I thought I’d attach a crummy photo of our Christmas card…

    and a copy of the actual picture since the card came out so dark…

    Happy New Year to you and your family… make the most of your time together this year.

  • Christmas recap

    Date: 2013.01.28 | Category: Christmas, crafts | Response: 0

    Hello friends!  I know, I know… I’ve fallen off the face of the earth.  Frankly, this past year I’ve had to cut WAY back on all non-essentials.  And blogging just didn’t make the cut.  Now that James is almost a year old I’m hoping I’ll have a little more time for writing.  We’ll see.

    I decided that today was the day to write a quick post to show you the Christmas ornaments I made this year as well as the card we ended up sending out.  I can still blog about Christmas in January, right?  Good, because I’m so pleased with both projects! I have to say that it is SO GREAT having Pinterest to turn to- both my ornaments and cards were inspired by pictures I found on Pinterest.  It’s so nice to have hundreds of other’s ideas to inspire me and a place to keep them to refer back to later!

    For our Christmas card I combined a couple of cute photo ideas into one card.  You can see my inspiration here and here.  I thought that this pose was so sweet and this was the year to do it, with a baby in the house!  It also helped that JT took ownership of it and really wanted to act out the nativity.  He can be pretty tricky to capture photos of right now (he loves to turn his back to the camera and give a stinky face) so I tried to get him excited about the photo shoot and let him contribute ideas and be a big helper.  We also bribed the big kids with the promise of a candy cane before dinner if they cooperated- I’m not above bribery!

    All we did was round up a few brown and tan and blue blankets, wrap them around the kids and set them in front of the tree before we put the ornaments on it.  They really enjoyed being Mary and Joseph and seeing James as little baby Jesus.  I think that part of it’s charm is it’s simplicity- it gets the idea across without actual costuming.  I was thrilled that one of the templates included the phrase O Holy Night with a bible verse- it was the theme I was planning to use and I thought I was going to have to design it myself.  Turns out they did all the work for me!  (Please excuse the cellphone pics- our camera is on the fritz again and we’ve decided to make due with our phones.  It’s hard to complain about not having a working camera when we both enjoy the luxury of new iPhones!)

    When it came to the message on the inside of the card I went around and around about what I wanted to say.  I try to be real and don’t want people to think that our kids are always sweet and “holy”- we took 40 some pictures and only got the one that I was happy with!  Plus I was taking advantage of an awesome deal from by having them send the cards directly, each card cost less than the price of the stamp, but it also meant that I wouldn’t be hand writing any messages on them this year.  So I ended up using one of our funnier outtakes and writing a short message about how most of our pictures weren’t picture perfect.

    I am really pleased with how they came out.  What do you think?

    For my ornaments this year, I had been pinning every idea that I liked for months and months.  Nothing really spoke to me until I saw this ornament in late October- I knew instantly that it was the one!  I ended up using 4 different fabrics that I had on hand and a variety of trims- no two are alike.  Unfortunately, I seem to have given away all of the ornaments with green fabric!  I didn’t realize it until I went to take pictures and discovered all of ours are white!  (When I make ornaments I always keep one for Chris and I and one for each of the kids.  When they grow up and move out each kid will have a nice little collection of ornaments for their new home.  I also make one for each of my nephews for the same reason.)

    I found the little trees and the salt shakers online and then used fabric and beads and trim I already had.  I tried filling them with regular table salt first, but it didn’t have enough sparkle, so I ended up using a mixture of half table salt and half epsom salt.  I think they turned out darling!

    I ended up making a second batch of ornaments this year.  My group of girlfriends loves to celebrate with sprinkles and when I saw this idea I knew I had to make it happen!  When I ordered the trees I also ordered a package of clear glass ball ornaments.  I already had a big jar of sprinkles, so all I had to do was fill them up, hot glue the tops and tie them with a cute length of ribbon!

    I was glad that I made these this year, because the gifts I ordered for the kids’ teachers didn’t come in time.  I ended up making four more sprinkle ornaments at the last minute and tucking each one in a pair of Christmas socks for a cute little teacher gift.  Of course the gifts I ordered came the next day… so I’m keeping them in reserve for the next time I need a teacher gift!

    So there you have  roundup of my December creativity.  I hope it inspires you!

  • Rock Star Jeans

    Date: 2012.01.02 | Category: crafts, parenting, saving money | Response: 1

    While wasting time online several months ago, I stumbled upon this idea for adding a guitar patch to holey jeans.  I thought it was pure genius, and perfect for my 3 year old who is obsessed with all things music.  I pinned the page on Pinterest and then when I came across two pair of jeans with holes in the knees in his laundry I knew it was time.  I am not artistic AT ALL and I am so pleased with how these came out!  I used her guitar and amp as inspiration for the first pair, then I decided to go crazy and come up with my own pattern to make drums on the second pair.  I searched google images for drum sketches, but really ended up coming up with my own design on paper which I then used to freehand the actual patches.

    JT opened up the box with these on Christmas morning and he was so thrilled!  Of course I couldn’t get him to stand still for a picture for anything- he was literally jumping around with them.  I did get a picture of him wearing the drum pants the next day.  Please note the glow drum sticks in his hands and the fake smile!

    Here are some close ups of the patches-

    Sadly, the ironed on edges have already started to come up after only 1 wash, so I’m going to have to stitch all of the edges down to keep them on tight.  I was hoping to avoid that since I can’t fit those little legs over the arm of my sewing machine and will have to do it by hand.  Ah, the price we pay to keep our kids happy.  And looking like a rock star.

  • Nativity Ornaments

    Date: 2011.12.27 | Category: Christmas, crafts, friends, saving money | Response: 0

    I love making handmade ornaments every year for family and friends (and for my tree too!)  It’s a tradition that I started years ago thanks to my friend Heidi- I think that means I’ve done it 13 years in a row now! (Hi Heidi!)

    This year, thanks to Pinterest I had some great ideas rolling around in my brain.  Of course, when I tried to make my first idea it totally flopped.  So back to Pinterest I went where I found this cute ornament and this cute ornament.  I decided to meld the two ideas into my own creation.  I’m allowed creative license, right?  I loved how they came together, and I loved that I only had to buy the wooden balls for the heads, I had the felt and yarn on hand.  Since I made 24 this year I needed them to be inexpensive and fun to put together.  These were perfect.  (It doesn’t hurt that since I’ve been pregnant 3 of the past 5 Christmases I seem to have babies on the brain either!)

    Aren’t they so sweet?  It made me happy to make an ornament this year that honored Jesus on His birthday.

    Happy birthday, Jesus!

  • Merry Christmas!

    Date: 2011.12.25 | Category: Christmas, just blabbing | Response: 0

    I hope that you are enjoying today with your family and loved ones.  I am so thankful for Christmas every year and the chance to reflect on how very much God loves us- that He sent His only Son to live among us and to die on our behalf- that we might spend eternity with Him.  It is my wish that you would feel the abundance of His love today and throughout the coming year.

    Merry Christmas to you,

  • Memorial ornaments

    Date: 2011.12.24 | Category: Christmas, crafts, friends | Response: 0

    Last year after our friend Robb died I received an unexpected gift in the mail from one of my good friends in CA.

    I literally burst into tears when I opened it.  Isn’t it so thoughtful?  I knew right away that I wanted to make similar ornaments for Tricia and the other girls who have walked through this year together for this Christmas.

    I messaged my friend for directions and was able to put 6 of these together easily.  The only problem I encountered was that we don’t have an ink jet printer.  After debating how to get Robb’s information on the fabric I finally settled on Sharpie.  I don’t think it’s quite as nice as the printed version, but it’s what I had.  I am so pleased with how these turned out.  It adds a meaningful touch to each of our trees.

    Here are the directions that I followed-

    Here’s what you’ll need
    -Twine or ribbon
    -Paper hole punch
    -Fabric (Patterned fabric for the heart. Plain fabric the size of a sheet of printer paper)- You can also buy this pre-made it comes in white fabric sheets 8.5 x 11 ready to place in an injet printer. It costs like $10-$15 at Jo anns, but you can usually buy it with a coupon. I just took a scrap piece of plain fabric and applied heat n bond by the yard.
    -Ink Jet Printer (DO NOT use a Laser printer)
    -Cookie cutter or stencil for the shape you desire
    -Pinking shearers or edging scissors
    -Heat n Bond Lite (comes by the yard at fabric store for $1.25)

    Step 1: Lay out 1 yard Patterned fabric and Heat n bond.
    Iron on Heat n bond to the fabric to the non-patterned side.

    Step 2: Remove heat n bond backing. Then Iron to another 1 yard of fabric (its like making a grilled cheese sandwich)
    The pattern fabric should be facing out on both sides and the heat n bond should be in the middle.

    Step 3: Cut out a piece of plain fabric and cut out the same size of Heat n bond lite the size of printer paper. Then Iron
    BUT LEAVE THE PAPER BACKING ON. This is how it will feed through the printer and the printer will detect it like a piece of paper.
    I suggest making 3-5 of these sheets of paper b/c sometimes it gets jammed or inked in the printer b/c the fabric soaks up loose ink.

    Step 4: Personalize. In Word, I use the settings for return address labels. Simply select font, color and center. Put fabric with paper backing on in the printer. Print

    Step 5: Cut out the printed labels.

    Step 6: Trace and cut out the hearts.

    Step 7. Iron on the lables to the hearts.

    Step 8: Paper hole punch a heart.

    Step 9: Tie ribbon or twine. (I added a dab of hot glue to keep the bow in place)

    Thanks Tash- you’re the best.

  • Christmas Jewelry

    Date: 2011.12.21 | Category: Christmas, crafts | Response: 1

    I went on a jewelry making bender this Christmas.  Several months ago I got hooked on glass lampwork beads when I went in to use a groupon at a local bead store.  I ended up making myself a Christmas cluster necklace, a bracelet and a pair of earrings.  I had enough beads left over to make several extra pair of earrings.  So fun!

    See the little snowmen and the Santa hat and the other fun details?

    This is the set I made for myself.  Then I started making extra earrings!

    How cute are those little striped “scarves” I made with the peppermint stick beads?

    Oh, I love these little hats!

    I also bought myself this cute little pendant which I just strung on a chain I already had.  So cute, and I can wear it with either side out, depending on my outfit!

    So that was my jewelry making this season.  I love all of them!

  • Teacher Gifts!

    Date: 2011.12.19 | Category: Christmas, saving money | Response: 0

    I saw this idea on Pinterest several months ago and I knew it was what I was going to do for teacher gifts this year.


    Don’t those look delightful?  Since I always make fudge I thought these would be perfect.  I found a cute set of cookie cutters 75% off at Hob Lob and decided to make two flavors, Peppermint Fudge and Orange Almond Fudge for each teacher.

    Here’s how mine turned out.


    Orange Almond

    I learned a few lessons in the process that I’ll keep in mind for next year.  I think I slightly overfilled the cookie cutters- next time I’ll leave a little more space on top.  I was also worried that the fudge would dry out in the fridge overnight, so I used press n seal on top, but then I ended up with some smudges and texture from the press n seal on the “pretty” side.  Oops. Next time I think I’ll put the foil in a tupperware or something for while it sets up in the fridge.  I decided to leave the snowman and star plain while I decorated the tree and the snowflake with some crushed candy cane.  Had the texture been smooth and pretty it would have been even better!  In the picture above I have the star and snowman flipped over so you are seeing the bottom- sadly it’s the prettier side with the marks from the press n seal on the other side.  Oh well- it’s still yummy!

    I wrapped each cookie cutter in a baggie  and paired it with a coordinating pot holder.  Oh, and here’s a simple trick for little bags of treats- grab a fold top sandwich bag and use scissors to cut up the seam where the fold is.  Then place your treat inside and tie off the top with some curling ribbon.  It’s much less expensive than buying bags designed for gifting!

    Hopefully Ms. Sherri and Ms. Connie will enjoy their treats!

  • Three quick tree decorating tips!

    Date: 2011.11.25 | Category: Christmas, homemaking | Response: 0

    We’re a two tree house.  We buy a 6-7 foot real tree for the front room and decorate it with colored lights and all of our handmade ornaments.  Then we put up the 13 foot fake tree in the family room for the store bought ornaments and that one is pre-lit with white lights.  Call me crazy- I know it’s true.  I love Christmas!

    Last year we bought a fake tree from Target  for the front room during the after Christmas sales.  (I think it was 90% off, but I can’t remember how much we paid for it.)  We hated to do it, but our tree last year looked dead and dropped half of it’s needles well before Christmas.  It was pathetic.  And we’ve had years where our tree fell over.  And years where we had bug infestations.  And it’s a hassle.  And it was just time.  This new tree is really nice, it’s one of those ones with a lot of details that help it look more real.  But it has white lights.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love white lights, but we already have the big tree with white lights and I like the tree in the front room to have colored lights.  So guess what we did.  Oh yes, that’s right.  We added colored lights right on top of the white lights!  And it looks great!  Both the white and colored lights are LED so they blend in nicely together.

    So tip number one is don’t feel tied to white lights if you want colored- there is no reason you can’t add some.  And really, it’s not like you can have too many lights on the tree!

    My second tip is even easier.  Fluffing fake trees and garland is a pain.  Literally.  My hands always end up scratched and cut and dried out after primping the tree.  So I throw on my gardening gloves.  It makes the job so much more pleasant!

    My third tip is going to be hard to believe, but don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your kids!  We were totally surprised, but JT LOVED decorating the tree this year and stuck with it through to the end.  He did a great job too!  If only he were a little taller…

    There will be more and more Christmas coming in the next few days and weeks, so stay tuned!

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