Thursday, November 30

Raccoon Peg Doll & Felt Playset Tutorial

Okay, guys. I'm about to open a world of fun and affordable gifts right before your eyes. Are you ready?

P.S. check out the rest of our Christmas projects and posts here:

Because seriously, if you get the hang of this little set you can translate it to make a playset that fits anything - anything - your kids are interested in. Have you seen our little felt and peg doll camping set? This is basically exactly the same things. I just painted the pegs to look like raccoons and made the tent look like a leafy log. So read through this tutorial, then get creative and make just what you need - a castle with knight pegs, a cave with bear pegs, a hideout with superhero pegs, anything.

But back to our raccoons for now. This little playset has everything you need your kids need for hours of fun! (but no one will blame you if you want to play with it too)

Each raccoon has their own little leaf sleeping bag:

The table has plates painted right on so it's always ready for a raccoon snack:

And it all goes in this little felt log house, complete with a leaf door, leafy roof, and windows:

And that leafy roof? It opens up for easy play:

Monday, November 27

Merry Bats

I realized this year we have a special Christmas tradition. One we just stumbled onto by accident. And it's too funny not to share! It stems from our one Halloween tradition - making paper bats. Can you spot it?

Every year we hang paper bats, and every year the boys are heartbroken at the thought of taking them down to make room for Christmas decorations. So, year after year, those little bats make an appearance alongside the lights, garland, and nativity. You can see them lined up behind the tree above, but this was my favorite take on Merry Bats from a couple years ago:

We made each bat its own little paper Santa hat. Which was especially cute for our bats hanging from the ceiling. I expect we'll be making a few extra hats for their paper Frankensteins this year!

Check out all our Christmas posts and projects here:

Flashback to #3's first Christmas, and the year of the Santa bats:

And to last month's project day at Home Depot:

Because Papa says there aren't enough photos of his boys. :)

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Friday, November 24

Favorite DIY Gifts for Baby

Have a baby or two on your gift list this year? These DIY baby gifts are some of our favorites!
I use the same technique to make my favorite toddler blanket!
This easy flannel blanket gift set is my other fave.

Wednesday, November 22

Christmas Gift Guide for Any Guy (including stocking stuffers!)

Men. I always find them hardest to shop for at Christmas. Anyone else? If so, we're here to get you started with a few tried and true gifts I've used with my own mister, including stocking stuffer ideas down below. (We also have 2017 gift guides for ladies and for little boys!)  Here are a few that have been his favorites:

  1. A nice watch - you can go with a snazzy classic like this, a smart watch for a techy guy, or something waterproof and durable. (find it here)
  2. Tools - a Dremel is super handy for all kinds of little projects and fixes! Other great options would be a drill, Kreg Jig, or miter saw. (find it here)
  3. A wallet - I find myself buying him a wallet every few years as they wear out. I always look for a bifold wallet with flip ID and RFID block. (find it here)
  4. Harry Potter Illustrated Books - my husband loves these. They've released one each Christmas the last two years, and this year is #3. Don't worry, he's good at acting surprised. (find it here)
  5. Thing Explainer - one more book that's one of my guy's favorites. He read me a few parts and it was pretty funny! (find it here)
  6. A t-shirt - this is my go-to gift for the guys I don't know what to buy for (meaning brothers-in-law). I love to find something funny or related to their interests. (find it at BrainLevel on Etsy)
  7. A tool tote - like a tool box, but better suited to organize and carry your larger hand tools. (find it here)
  8. Snacks or Drinks - My husband loves rootbeer so I always keep an eye out for new varieties he hasn't tried yet. If that fails I can always grab an old favorite!
Once you've got your presents for under the tree, it's time to think about that stocking! These little gifts range from fun to practical and everything in between. You may even want to pick up a few for yourself!

  1. Exploding Kittens - or any small game. (find it here)
  2. Pen lights - these are so practical, and with a set he can keep one in the car, one in the toolbox and one at the office. (find them here)
  3. Collapsible water bottle - perfect for carrying in a gym bag or backpack. I want one of these for myself! (find it here)
  4. Gloves - a nice durable pair, especially if he's always ripping them. If he doesn't need sturdy work gloves, you could try cozy winter gloves or lightweight driving gloves. (find them here)
  5. Gear Ties - these handy little bendy ties are great for wrangling cords and chargers, and they come in several sizes. (find them here)
  6. Small tools - a pair of pliers, new drill bits, or mini screwdrivers. (find it here)
  7. Socks - I'm loving these Star Wars Ugly sweater socks! (find them here)
  8. Car Escape Tool - it clips on a key chain and could save a life! (find it here)
  9. Pocket Utility Tool - skip the typical pocket knife and go with something a little different like this nail clipper utility tool that includes scissors and a knife. (find it here)
  10. Man Soap - my guy has had his eye on this deep cleaning bar soap with pumice for his messier jobs around the house. (find it here)
That's all I've got for the guys. I mean seriously, that's it. So tell me - what are your favorite gifts for guys??

 P.S. see the rest of our Christmas posts and projects here:

Tuesday, November 21

Wooden Peg Nativity {Chrsitmas Crafting Party}

Our Joseph had a little mishap last year that ended with a missing hand... and a realization that the ceramic nativity set needed to be farther out of reach. So I knew this year we would need a nativity that could safely be in reach of all those little fingers. Something they could play with (and drop) all day long without broken pieces and sharp edges.

Our boys loved the peg camping set I made a few years ago (and it's held up great all this time), so it seemed like the perfect place to start our new nativity.

I wanted all the parts of the Christmas story, so I made a set that includes Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus, their donkey, an angel, stable animals, shepherds with sheep, and wisemen with a camel.

I even found this perfect little wooden box at Michaels that stores all the pegs and doubles as the stable when you're ready to play!

Friday, November 17

Boy's Wallet Tutorial {perfect stocking stuffer!}

This wallet is a stocking stuffer I made up for my boys a couple years ago, and it's one of my favorites. Our boys love having a wallet like their daddy, and when the save up enough birthday money for a new lego set they are so excited to put it in their wallet and head to the store.

They are cute as can be, and you can make them in any fabric your kids like! I know I call it a boy's wallet (because boys everywhere around here) but it really is great for any kid and a girl would love it just as much. You can change the fabric to suit anyone on your list!

The best thing about this wallet is the kid-friendly features, like a zipper coin pocket (they have an amazing amount of change in those banks) and a velcro closure to keep everything secure.

Wednesday, November 15

Christmas Gifts & Stocking Stuffers for HER

We've already shared a long list of our favorite gifts for boys (and a list for the guys), so today we're talking about the ladies with a round-up of our *cough* my top gift ideas for 2017! Followed by a few of my favorite stocking-size gifts. But let's start with the big stuff:

  1. A pretty watch - I love this dark face with brown strap combo (find it on Amazon). 
  2. A craft kit - this is a great chance to let her try a new skill she's had her eye on! These embroidery kits look fun and so beautiful (find them at TamarNahirYanai on Etsy).
  3. A bullet journal - all the rage, and perfect to tuck in your purse to keep all you thoughts with you (find it on Amazon).  
  4. Pretty mixing bowls - think something useful that is pretty enough to display on open shelving in the kitchen. I love gifts that are useful, and even more so if it's pretty. (find it on Amazon)
  5. A blanket scarf - super cute and amazingly warm! (find it on Amazon)
  6. A beautiful blanket - a picnic blanket, a cozy throw, whatever tickles her fancy. This is a great gift that's as practical as it is beautiful! (find it on Amazon)
  7. A bag or purse - because bags are my weakness and they just might be hers, too! Plus it's the perfect place to carry her new bullet journal (and several of our stocking stuffers, too). (find it at TippyThai on Etsy)
  8. Boot cuffs - another great item in our "keep Georgia warm" theme. Bonus points because they're cute! (find them at TwigBerryStudio on etsy)
 And now. This is important. Don't forget her stocking. Here are a few of my favorite stocking-size gifts to get you started:
  1. Handmade goat milk soap - good for your skin and smells yummy, too. (find it at GorgeousSoap on Etsy)
  2. Collapsible water bottle - my ever-thirsty-self would love one of these tucked in my purse for water emergencies. (find it on Amazon)
  3. Handmade chapstick - I love the all-natural ones, and especially with a mild honey scent. (find it at MelaniesApothecary on Etsy)
  4. Wooden bead "Mama Necklace" - I wear these even when I don't have a baby in the house! They add a beautiful, natural element to your style. I love them so much, I even started making them myself. (find them at SewGeorgia on Etsy)
  5. Car-escape keychain tool - a great little gift that perfect to tuck in a purse and just might save a life! You could also tuck in a pen light for emergencies. (find it on Amazon)
  6. A ring - this double-knot ring is beautiful, and especially meaningful if it comes from her main squeeze. (find it at LeCubicule on Etsy)
  7. White peach loose leaf tea - my favorite! Add in a tea cup with a loose leaf tea strainer for good measure. There's nothing like a warm cup of tea on a cold day! (find it at KimberlysKupboard on Etsy)
  8. A globe locket - even better if you fill it with a great photo of her favorite people! (find it at SilkPurseSowsEar on Etsy)
  9. Handmade mittens - a perfectly warm and cozy gift, and I love that they are upcycled from sweaters! (find them at MadeAgainMittens on Etsy!)
Those are my forerunners for 2017! Obviously, I just want to be warm. And put things in my purse. Preferably a new purse.

Check out the rest of our Christmas posts and projects here:

What are your top gifts for the ladies this year? What should I add to my list??

Tuesday, November 14

DIY Christmas Tree Signs (like Joanna Gaines'!)

Confession: Joanna Gaines is my BFF.

Confession #2: She miiiiiight not know it. Yet.

But I think we all know there's no-one like her when it comes to design. And her Christmas decor? A--ma--zing. One of my favorite things is the vintage "Christmas Trees for Sale" sign in her kitchen. MY sister-in-law and I loved it so much, we used it as inspiration for one of our sister craft nights! And now you can make your own, too.

Ours are quite a bit smaller than the original, which makes them easier to fit in if you don't have a large wall to fill. Plus easier to store in the off-season!

Here's all you need:
  • a piece of wood 25" x 8" (my SIL brought plywood scraps that were already primed on one side)
  • red paint
  • green paint
  • white paint - optional (our boards were primed and I didn't paint mine any more than that)
  • the template  (it includes options for single trees like the original, or the groups of three that we used)
Start by printing out the template. For my printer, when the print screen pops up I can click the "poster" option and it will automatically break up the image and print out all three sheets. Tape the pieces together.

Friday, November 10

DIY Star Wars Pillows and Blanket set

This may not look like a Christmas project right off the bat, but it's a gift set I made for my sister last Christmas so I'm going to count it! This is a great gift option to get bedding for your kids in whatever theme they like best without spending a fortune. And oh my goodness I just thought of this - you could make special Christmas bedding to pull out every December!

P.S. Click the image below to see all our Christmas projects and DIY gift ideas in one place.

I followed a few different tutorials to complete the set - it includes a large fleece throw/bedspread, a standard pillow case, and a throw pillow. I used this tutorial to make the standard pillowcase in the darker starwars cotton fabric, with the accent band made from the BB8 fabric. The fleece blanket was really easy, and is the same technique I've used to make a few fleece blankets for us (tutorial here). They are our favorite because they are so warm and so BIG. I used matching Star Wars fleece for the front and lined it with a solid blue back.

Tuesday, November 7

Hand-painted Wooden Ornaments (& Sister Craft Night)

My sister-in-law and I have craft nights now and then, and one of my favorite projects last year had a fun Christmas flair. We hand-painted wooden ornaments for our Christmas trees!

I highly recommend this tradition. One of my favorite things about moving to Indiana is having my SIL in town for fun things like craft night, and our Christmas projects were the best. We had a lot of fun with this project, and it was easy to complete in an evening. It's also a great project for a group because you can all paint together, but decorate them to your own taste.

This was a spur of the moment craft because my SIL spotted wooden ornaments on sale at Michaels and gave me the heads up to go grab a few. I bought a variety of shapes and sizes, plus a few extra for the kids to paint later.

Friday, November 3

Ewok/Bear Cave Altoid Tin Playset (perfect stocking stuffer!)

I love hunting down the perfect stocking stuffers for my boys, and this might be one of my favorites ever. It's the perfect size for a stocking, and a great travel toy for little hands (which will be perfect for holiday traveling).

Our biggest boy is really into Star Wars, which means our second boy also thinks it's the bees knees, and the little one wants whatever his big brothers have. And so I ended up making three sets!

But if the little guys should decide they aren't interested in Ewoks, the hood comes off to leave a fuzzy little bear. It took a few hours to make all three sets, but they were super affordable so it was worth the effort!

I put a rope bridge between the trees so it would look more like an Ewok village, but you can leave that out if you're going for a bear or other animal

You can find more of our DIY Christmas gift and decor ideas by clicking here:

I've seen several cute little felt playsets on etsy, but the price puts them out of our stocking budget (especially when I need three sets). Thank goodness for DIY! My bear is inspired by one bybido made for an altoid set using this mollie makes template. But I altered it to look more Ewok-ish so I'm including that in my printable pattern as well.

Wednesday, November 1

Mini Christmas Tree Decor (perfect for the kids!)

It's official. We're switching to Christmas mode. Even if you're a no-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving believer, now is the perfect time to planning ahead for the season! Especially if you're planning any handmade gifts or DIY decor projects. Today we're talking about a super easy Christmas decor idea that our boys absolutely loved last year - decorating with mini trees!

All we bought for this project was a few packages of mini trees (also called bottle brush trees or sisal trees, here are some on Amazon) and mini wreathes, all from Michaels. They were only $3/package to start with, but they also happened to be 40% off the day we went shopping!

When we got home we pulled out a few of the boys toy cars and some festive twine from my wrapping paper stash (purchased at Ikea a couple years ago, but bakers twine would work even better).

 We used the twine to tie a tree on top of each car. Project done. :) We used larger 3" tree for their large cars: