Handmade Christmas

This week in my house the elves are busy at work...
My oldest daughter has had 3 snow days in the past week...which I love having her home....but it makes it hard for the little sisters to work on their homemade Christmas gifts!

I did manage to get a couple gift projects done yesterday.
The idea from the clipboards below come from Skip To My Lou. Her instructions are here.
It was a pretty simple project....the hardest part was making the template for the paper to lay nicely around the clip...(which I recommend doing)
I found the clipboards and paper at Staples. The clipboard was just under $2.00 and a pack of 12 notebooks was around $3.50.

The next project I did was to cover these little mixing bowls I found at the thrift store (all 3 for $5.00). I was planning to use paper, but quickly found out I needed something a little more flexible for all the curves. Tissue paper could have worked. I used fabric...and lots of modge podge to go with it!

I like how they turned out. They are for Sophia and her little kitchen.

Just a fun picture...
the girls in their vintage Christmas aprons. (Found at a garage sale for .10/each!)


Start A New Tradition: Sleep Under the Christmas Tree

{The lights seemed as stars...as we lay under the Christmas tree.}
Send the kids to put on their pj's.
Gather your pillows, sleeping bags and blankets. (Even mom and dad!)
Lay them around the tree.
Turn all the lights off...except of course the ones on the tree.
Read some of your favorite Christmas stories by the light of the tree.
Or to change it up a bit...let a complete stranger read to you...
There are lots of free resources available for audio Christmas stories.
Lay quietly and listen...let your own imagination paint the pictures!
or invest in one like:
Sweet Dreams!


Christmas Decor: The Interior

Merry Christmas and Welcome!
Maybe you're a regular around here or maybe you're here by way of a holiday tour! Which ever it is, I'm glad you're here!

Here's a peak into our home during the holidays....

Some close-ups of our tree decorations.

In an earlier post I talked about how I decided to use our little 6 1/2 foot tree this year...but I needed to figure our a way to make it appear a little grander in our 9 + foot space....

I had my husband build a big box to lift the tree up to the height I wanted. The tree base sits inside of it. Painted red, I think it looks very nice!

The stockings were hung...I've found these stockings over many years at different places.

More pictures of the fireplace.

Above is a tray that sits on the ottoman in front of the fire. Different Christmas books, some decorations and a beautiful candle holder sit on top of the tray. (The candle holder I just found at the thrift store...$4.00! The original price tag of $50 was still on it!)

More birds! This canvas art was found at the thrift store...$1.00.

Jars filled with balls....different colors and patterns.

Vintage wood skies tucked in a corner.

An old milk jar...filled with balls and a candle.

Jar was found at a garage sale for a couple bucks!

Bottle brush trees sit upon a window sill. Look how beautiful the snow is...I couldn't have done it better myself!

Trees found at the thrift store for $1.00 each!

An arrangement I threw together in an old wooden drawer...using whatever greenery, candles and decorations I could find.

The view from our dining room.

The next 3 pics are from our guest room.

I put my feather tree up to display some of my vintage and mercury glass balls.

Below: a few of the decorations on the mantel in our master.

Below: a wreath that hangs in the big girls room.

Open up your home for the holidays at:


Christmas Decor: Exterior


Here's some pictures of the outside of our house during this Christmas season.

The glow of candles in each window and lighted garland give the house warmth on a cold night!

Lights at night and wreaths and garland for the daytime.

The window wreaths as well as these light decorations were made by using some garland I already had. Ribbon and red jingle bells make it extra festive!

Pictures of our side entry:

The basket is from the thrift store...I sprayed it red. The greenery is from a church sale!


Christmas Decor: Sophia's Room

This past week was going to be my "Christmas Decor Project Week".
But it quickly turned to "sick...wanna lay down and sleep all the time" week!
The decorations for Sophia's room was about all I could manage to do this week...you'll understand why....it's about as easy as could be!

All I did was gather together random scrapbook paper in her room colors and then used my scallop circle punch to make a lot of little circles.
I then loaded my sewing machine with white thread and quickly sewed up a bunch of these garlands!

The paper goes through the machine just like fabric. I really like how it turned out!

What didn't turn into garland I added some hooks to and hung them on her little tree!

A string of 20 mini lights from Hobby Lobby was all I needed to purchase.
Also on the tree is garland I made many years ago by using small gauge wire and threading it through mismatched buttons.
My favorite holiday decorating tip right now is putting your tree in some sort of container. It really makes it look special!
This is pottery I found at a garage sale this summer.
And it sits on top of a cutter quilt that was turned into a table runner.
Simple and sweet!


Start A New Tradition...The Minivan Express

Here's a great idea to make looking at Christmas lights extra special!
It's called the Minivan Express.
Read about it here, and then come back for links to some resources!
Resources for the Minivan Express:
Here's where I found some of those fun glasses!
Look for disposable hot drink cups (with lids) at Wal-Mart, Target or Sam's Club for drinking hot cocoa in the van.
I'm going to make a Minivan Express kit to give to our neighbors too!
Have fun!


Christmas Gift Giving: Handmade

Hello all! We are digging out from a foot of snow and trying to stay warm and not too stir crazy!
I have been sick since Tuesday night...yuck!
Today I am linking you to other lists of great handmade items. Enjoy!
make sure to check out their archive for even more ideas!

You've found the perfect present...wrap it up...find the perfect free printable gift tag here!


Great Gifts for Kids

Good day everyone!
I wanted to share with you 2 of my favorite children's toy retailers:

They both sell wonderful toys and activities...often handmade...but nothing you would find on the shelves of the big box stores.
Toys that spur on hours of imaginative, open-ended play!
The other wonderful thing is right now (for just a few more days) they are both offering some pretty great discounts!
Magic Cabin is offering on orders of $65 or more free shipping plus a $10 Reward Card!
Hearthsong is offering free shipping and a $10 Reward Card on orders of $65 or more!

And on top of that....everything is 20% off!!!
Plus if you have an account through:
ebates (free and a great way to earn cash back for your online shopping) you can receive 6% cashback on your Hearthsong purchase!
Big Crumbs offer the same thing, but a 7.2% cashback on your Hearthsong purchase!
Happy Shopping!



Happy Christmas season everyone!
Have you been busy decking your halls? I know I have...with a little bit of organizing the decorations and purging some of them too!
I have a lot of decorations....mostly ornaments. I thought I was only going to put up 1 tree this year- in the great room...but 2 more have been put up (one in the guest room and one in the big girls room) And one more is slated to go up tomorrow!
Speaking of trees...I really wanted to buy a new, big, beautiful, tall, the most realistic artificial, pre-lit tree you could find this year. But those babies are expensive! So, I've decided to save for that through the upcoming year and make due with what I have. What I did have was the 6 1/2 foot slim tree of our married-student housing days. But, now that tree will reside in a 9+ foot room. So...I had to come up with a solution.... I'll post a picture later of our solution. I ended up really liking it...so even if I get that big tall tree for next year, our "solution" tree will still have a home here at our house!
Another solution I've come up with for decorating with what we have is making wreaths for the windows on the front of the house. I used the cheap garland that we had...and those turned out nice too! (Pictures later!)
I started and finished a lot of Christmas shopping on Cyber Monday! Yeah for free shipping and shopping during nap time with a cup of coffee!
I'm hoping to share some great gift ideas and retailers in the upcoming week!
Speaking of gifts...this year the girls are making gifts for each other.
Hannah and I went last week to the fabric store to buy fleece for her to make "fleece tie blankets" for her sisters. And I made a mental note of the fleece she liked for herself...mom's homemade gift to her!
Ella will be dying silk with kool-aid that I will help turn into capes with a little fabric and velcro.
Sophia too will be dying silk with kool-aid. We will be making homemade play-silks for her to give her sisters!
I'll share the process when we complete it!
Jacob and I will be giving the girls homemade gifts too.
Because of all this crafty gift giving, I've been working on getting my craft area in order. It's still in process...but I've made big time headway!
There's lots that needs to be done and just as much that I would like to get done.
But mostly I'm just excited to enjoy the holidays and start some new family traditions of our own!


The Pink and Green Party

The Pink and Green Princess Party was a success!
Here's lots of pictures for you!

Ella's one request was a sign that said "Happy Birthday Princess Ella". She reminded me a couple times a day about it!

To welcome the royal guests...
I like it when you can tell you're at the right house...over half the guests had never been to our house before.

My husband can build houses...and apparently castles now too!
I purchased a 3 sided presentation board (already pink) at Hobby Lobby.
My husband drew out the castle shape on the backside, and then cut it out.
The flags are wooden skewers with green felt flags!

Every girl at the party got to be a princess...complete with their own cape and crown!
I used the same tutorials I used here!

No royal banquet is complete without flowers...tissue paper flowers fit into this "not so royal budget"! I used Martha's directions.
Every princess needs a sparkly slipper...template and directions found here!
Homemade green gingham napkins and pink hobnail plates that I found at a garage sale...8 for $1.00! With 3 girls in the house, I couldn't pass them up!

Homemade tablecloth and banners complete the festive look!

Another view!

The menu was kept simple...cake and a drink.
Sugar rimmed glasses held the pink and green princess punch!
(A scoop of lime sherbet, a scoop of raspberry sherbet and some 7UP)
Each girl got her own princess cake.
I used this pan to create the bottoms of the dresses.
(I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon)
Polly Pockets and Princess make up the top half of the girls
We played pin the crown on the princess. Again modeled after the princess on the invite.
Everything was felt so it stuck by itself, instead of needing pins or tape.
Bad pic...the background is pink with a white princess.
Other games we played were:
a treasure hunt...the were on the hunt for the queens treasure box. Inside was diamonds, necklaces and rings for everyone.
Queen Commands (Simon Says)
The Royal Freeze Dance Ball
And a Pinata.
To carry all the goodies home, each girl received her own canvas bag with her first initial monogrammed on it.
We also set up this castle tent we already had...the girls had fun pretending with it!
Oh...if you live near me...and are planning a pink and green princess party, feel free to borrow all our pink and green party supplies!
I'm serious...so don't be shy!


Warming The Hearth

The jack-o-lanterns were there in October.
November still doesn't have very cold days to have a fire going daily...so while I was unpacking a box I came across the solution.
These candleholders I made a few years ago:

It's simply straight sided glass vases, candleholders and even drinking glasses. I then used papers in different shades of creams, tans and whites....drew a pattern lightly in pencil on the papers....took the thread out of my sewing machine and "sewed" the pattern on the papers! The needle just poked little holes in the paper in a WAY more efficient manner than I could have ever done! Use some double stick tape to attach to glass containers!
They're even pretty in the daytime!
Opening that box brought a smile to my face....I had made these for centerpieces at a MOPS special dinner we had many years ago...in a town we no longer live in. ...but still have dear friends there...and great memories of times like this. You past fellow MOPS moms...remember these? Which special dinner was it???

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