Saturday, December 28

Trimming the Tree & Their Favorite Things

Hey, remember me? I may have let the old blog slip a little in the midst of all the Christmassy-ness to be enjoyed. So you guys are in for a whole bunch of Christmas posts in January! You know, because I took all the pictures but none of them made it here yet. While I was not blogging, I found a new favorite phrase popping up on facebook - "sorry, not sorry." And you know what? I think it's true. Part of me feels like I should be sorry I didn't post, but most of me wouldn't trade the time spent decorating trees, making cookies, wrapping presents, and celebrating the birth of our Savior for anything. I'm learning more and more that time with my boys is precious and not worth wasting. So guys.... Sorry. Not Sorry.

Such a freeing phrase, huh? But I'm glad to be back, and excited to share some pics from trimming our tree and our traditional "favorite things" ornament for this year!

Of course, Big Brother picked a favorite spot to concentrate his ornaments.

And my favorite is his ornament-on-ornament technique.

Excellent clustering. This kid's a pro.

And this years "favorite thing" is.... a wooden train track! He plays with these almost every day, so we pulled a small piece from the set, and screwed a small eye hook into one side. We wrote his name and the year on the back.

It was a nice addition to his "pickle" from Christmas #1 and the monkey from year #2 (not homemade, but he was in a monkey phase). We're going to start the tradition for Baby Brother too, but haven't decided on the perfect thing yet. At this point he loves anything he can put in his mouth! I'm thinking maybe a spoon because he get's super excited when I give him my spoon at dinner.

Did you guys have a Merry Christmas? Do you do special ornaments for your kids (or yourself) every year?

Sunday, December 8

A Merry Christmas Giveaway!

It's finally giveaway time! I promised to giveaway the extras from my 31 Days of Handmade Gifts series, and today's the day! Let me help you check a few things off your Christmas list with a box of handmade goodies! Too many exclamations points? Sorry. I'm just excited! So let's go!

My little helpers and I divided the spoils into two boxes so we will have two winners in this giveaway! Here are said helpers... one coming after my camera saying "me take-a-one!" and the other burrowing into the blankets in the background. Thanks, boys! So, want to see what's up for grabs?

It's not too late to make your own gifts, too! You can click each item name to link to its tutorial, and you can check out the whole series here.

Wednesday, December 4

Faux Photo Canvas Tutorial

Guys! It's December!! So we've been channeling all our extra time & energy into the Christmas time festivities, which is more fun than ever with a 2 1/2 year old. Seriously. The clumps of ornaments around the bottom of the tree, the plastic frogs invading Bethlehem, and the little handprint ornaments. We're loving it. But I wanted to pop in with this fun and easy project we tackled a couple weeks ago that would make a great gift! 

I always love the look of canvas prints and have been wanting to get some large prints of family photos... but even waiting for a sale that had canvases 80% off... yes. 80%... it was still going to cost $120 with shipping. Ohmygoodness. So we ditched the real deal and made up our own the cheapest way we could. Which for us meant spending $22 total on the three "canvases!"

You only need a few things to make your own faux canvases:
  • poster-size prints of the images (we ordered ours from during a 50% off sale and spent just $22 on one 20 x 30 and two 11 x 14 prints, and snapfish has been having 50% off sales almost constantly the last couple weeks!)
  • thin plywood (ours was about 1/4" thick left over from another project, so that part didn't cost us anything. You can get a sheet at Lowe's for around $15, I believe)
  • mod podge
  • duct tape

Start by cutting your plywood down to size (most hardware stores will make the cuts for you for free or very cheap). You want it to be smaller than the size of the picture because you'll be wrapping the picture around the sides of the plywood. We wanted 1/2" overhang on each side, so we cut our plywood to 19 x 29" and 10 x 13". (Keep in mind that this will affect how your picture looks! You'll be losing 1/2" on each side so if you have anything really close to the edges it will be cropped out. I actually would leave a little more overhang if we did it again so it's easier to wrap. Probably 3/4 - 1" of overhand on each side.)

Thursday, November 21

Our Favorite Artist

We have a little Monet in the house. B had his first painting experience a few months ago making a father's day card for the daddy. The card turned out great, and the poster board I laid out underneath turned out just as good! I didn't want to throw it away, but I didn't know what to do with it....

Then a few days later we were checking out the Ikea as-is section and found these sweet 12x12" shadow boxes (with just a couple dings in the paint) for about $3 each. I picked one up thinking it would be a great way to showcase a bit of his artwork. Fortunately my very wise and helpful husband was there to remind me "if you don't get three, you'll regret it later." Good point.

When we got home I picked out my three favorite parts of the poster board to frame. I took the matte out of one of the frames and traced inside to mark the parts I wanted to keep.

Then I cut out the squares, leaving a little extra around my tracing lines.

Ready to frame!

Wednesday, November 13

Day 31 - Gift Wrapping

Welcome back, friends! This month we're working on 31 handmade gifts for everyone on your list. You can find links to the full series here.

We made it to the last day! And it's only like halfway through November... so... yeah. It's been fun, but I think I'll be passing next year. I may still do a series if something tickles my fancy, but it will have to be something less stressful and more at my own pace. A.k.a. the pace where taking care of two little boys comes first. But I guess that's getting ahead of myself, so let's go ahead and wrap this baby up with an easy gift wrapping idea!

I still love my gift wrapping from two years ago when I used brown paper, newspaper, salt dough gift tags, and ribbons (you can read more about it here) so I decided to go back that direction this year.

But this time I wanted something even faster & easier. And what do I grab when I'm in a hurry? gift bags! So that's what I focused on this year.

Easy to decorate, easy to pack, and they come in lots of sizes for whatever you're gifting!

And I think they're going to be super cute under the tree!

Here's all you need:

Tuesday, November 12

Day 30 - Cloth Napkins

Welcome back, friends! This month we're working on 31 handmade gifts for everyone on your list. You can find links to the full series here.

We're almost done! Today is our last gift project and tomorrow we'll do some easy gift-wrapping. So let's get started on these cloth napkins!

These are a great gift for just about anyone. They're practical but also super fun to use. And really easy to make!

I picked a fun print so these are perfect for everyday use with the family. If you wanted more formal napkins you could go with something like a natural linen for a boost of fancy.

You can use just about anything that fits the style of the recipient! (I made sure the print I chose was pretty dark so it won't stain as easily. My style is "little boys eat here.")

Here's what you need to make a set of four napkins:

Sunday, November 10

Day 29 - Owl Pillow

Welcome back, friends! This month we're working on 31 handmade gifts for everyone on your list. You can find links to the full series here.

We're wrapping up the series with a few random projects that help fill in any gaps we missed earlier this month. Today's project is a little something for the home. It's an owl pillow!

This is great for, well, anyone who likes owls (and come on. who doesn't?) but also could be fun for anyone who likes to keep things fresh around the house.

And you can totally suit this to anyone's style. Change the color of the pillow cover to match their decor, or even change the color of the owl to mix things up a bit! A white pillow with a rainbow color owl would be a fun twist, or even a gray pillow with a red and white owl. Or try a monochromatic owl in shades of blue.

But let's start with this guy. Here's all you need to make one (actually you can get two out of it so go ahead and make a pair!):

Wednesday, November 6

Day 28 - Baking Mixes

Welcome back, friends! This month we're working on 31 handmade gifts for everyone on your list. You can find links to the full series here.

Today we're back at it with a great gift for neighbors and friends, especially those who enjoy cooking or baking. We're making a couple baking mixes!

We're making two different kinds of mixes so you have a few gift-giving options. The first is a White Chocolate Cranberry Bread mix. It's easy to mix up and pop in the oven, so it's great for a cozy Christmas Eve! To make the mix, just layer the following ingredients in a quart size jar:

Thursday, October 31

Day 27 - Button Paperclip Bookmarks

Welcome back, friends! This month we're working on 31 handmade gifts for everyone on your list. You can find links to the full series here.

We're making up for lost time and getting started with our final week! This week is all about miscellaneous projects and gift ideas... things that you can give your neighbors, coworkers, and friends. And we'll even work on a cute gift wrapping idea later this week. But today we're starting with a really fun and easy project - button paperclip bookmarks!

This are great for anyone who likes to read. They're perfect for marking your spot in a book (or a journal) because they won't fall out and they're small enough to fit in your pocket while you read so they don't get lost!

Plus they are really cheap and easy to make. What more could you ask for in a bookmark?

Here's all you need to make them:

Wednesday, October 30

Day 26 - Hot Chocolate Mix

Welcome back, friends! This month we're working on 31 handmade gifts for everyone on your list. You can find links to the full series here.

So yes... I did fall off the 31 day train. It was a series of failed projects in a row that had me spending way to much time working and not enough time with my family (not to mention things that keep the house running like dishes and, you know, cooking). So I had to step back a bit to get the focus back on my priorities. But with that said I'm still working on finishing the series, just at a slower pace, and I hope to have it all caught up next week. So... this project is the last of men's week and it's inspired by my own dear Husband. It's a yummy homemade hot chocolate mix. 

I think Husband's favorite thing about cold weather is hot chocolate. The man could drink it by the gallon. So I thought a great gift for him would be a yummy homemade version. I have a big jar I can keep stocked all winter long.

It's also nice to save some money with a homemade recipe, plus I know exactly what's going into it!

To make the hot chocolate, just mix the following ingredients and store them in an air-tight jar:

Saturday, October 26

Day 25 - River Song Tardis Moleskine {Dr. Who}

Welcome back, friends! This month we're working on 31 handmade gifts for everyone on your list. You can find links to the full series here.

Aaaaand I'm late. Sorry guys! I actually tried two different projects yesterday and they both failed miserably. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with a new plan to finish guys' week... and started from scratch this morning (hopefully I'll catch up tomorrow!). And Husband actually hopped in a whipped up today's Dr. Who inspired project! It's a Moleskine Journal with a Tardis twist, inspired by River Song's own journal.

It's more of a subtle modern twist on the actual notebook, but I think it's something the Whovians out there will enjoy and it's really easy to DIY.

Husband came up with this one all on his own. We're definitely Dr. Who fans and River Song is my favorite (I put in on our list of baby names in case Baby A turned out to be a girl. Husband vetoed it. Boo.). But he knows I love a good Moleskine so when he came across these pretty blue ones he hatched a plan!

I'm sure they are great as journals, but they're also great for general note-taking and such. I have one that I use just for writing down all the funny things B says and does. Read it and you will laugh until you cry. Seriously. But I also like them for writing down anything I want to remember later. Favorite verses, new recipes, good advice, Christmas lists.... you name it!

Here's all you need to make one:

Thursday, October 24

Day 24 - Wallet

Welcome back, friends! This month we're working on 31 handmade gifts for everyone on your list. You can find links to the full series here.

We're spending this fourth week on gift ideas for the guys! And today we're making a handy canvas wallet.

It's easy to make and doesn't take much fabric so it's pretty cheap.

And of course it folds up to fit in his pocket.

It has room for all your monies (a $2 bill was literally the only cash I could find in the house. Win.) and six card pockets for credit cards, library cards, and of course that handy chik-fil-a card!

I love this fun beachy stripe print. It's fun twist on a traditional wallet! But of course you can use any print or color you like. If your guy is a bit more traditional a solid black would be spiffy, maybe with a pinstripe lining?

Here's all you need to make a wallet: