Thursday, November 28

Easy DIY Christmas Decor

It's official. After today, all bets are off for Christmas decorating. But did you know it's only four weeks until Christmas?? So today I just wanted to share some of the best easy DIY Christmas Decor I've come across this year. And I mean easy. Because let's face it, at this point I don't have time for anything more than that! But I still love a cozy, handmade Christmas. So here are some of the best and easiest Christmas decor tutorials I've found. From ornaments to tree skirts, I've got you covered. So let's check out some decor you can truly pull together at the last minute!

Check out all my Christmas projects and tutorials here.

Click on the photos or links below to head to the tutorials! Most link to other blogs because those ladies have already done the hard work. So all we have to do is follow along to make our own Christmas magic. Happy making, friends!

Monday, November 25

Minimalist Gift Guide for Kids

You guys know how much I love Christmas.

But every Christmas brings a great balancing act. We want to create a magical time for our kids, but we don't want to be wasteful of our time, money, or space. I find myself drawn more and more towards minimalism, and I'm still learning how to balance that in a house full of small kids. I have to be careful or things get out of control reeeeally quickly. Especially around the holidays. So today I'm sharing a shopping guide just for those of you who are in the same boat and struggling to strike that minimalist balance.

But first, here's the best tip I can give you: JUST BUY LESS. It's okay. You don't need a ton of gifts, or expensive gifts. You'll save money and save that precious space in your home if you just don't buy that stuff in the first place. What a win! One thing that helps us with this is doing the "four gifts" list:
  1. Something they want.
  2. Something they need.
  3. Something to wear. 
  4. Something to read.
Four gifts = instantly less junk and clutter. But you can even takes steps to make sure those four gifts fit the lifestyle and habits you want to build for your children! Let's take a look at a few thoughtful, minimalist gift ideas for each category:

Thursday, November 21

No-Sew Felt Garland

There's something about Christmas that brings up nostalgia in all of us. We look to our traditions and savor the memories of each Christmas treasure as we pull them from their boxes. And there's something even more special about the handmade Christmas things! So today I'm sharing a project that will bring out the very best parts of Christmas . You'll be making your own Christmas treasure that your family will treasure year after year. It's a cozy handmade felt garland, and it's so easy you can even make with the kids!

My sister taught me to make these garlands last summer on our family vacation and now I can't-stop-won't-stop. They are so easy easy to make because they require absolutely no sewing!

Here's all you need to get started on your own:
  • felt
  • yarn
  • fabric scissors
Seriously, that's it. I used mostly reds and whites to make Christmas garland, but you can use any colors you like! Ready for the super easy steps?

Monday, November 18

Christmas Budget Printable

Every year we set a Christmas budget.
Every year we go in with good intentions.
And every year we blow it. 

Our track record is pretty abysmal. But not this year. With Dave Ramsey in our back pocket, we've set a budget that's lower than ever. And we are fighting tooth and nail to stick to it. We've talked to family about switching to a secret Santa system so everyone can spend less. We're limiting ourselves to the "Four Gifts" for our own kids (something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read). And we are so excited to say goodbye to both excess spending and excess stuff.

So I made this handy budget printable to help me keep track of what we have, what we need, what we've spent, and how much is left. And I'm sharing it as a free download today so you guys can join us in kicking Christmas debt to the curb! I also have a few budgeting tips to share, plus a video to walk you through exactly how we use each sheet.

Thursday, November 14

Easiest DIY Pillow Covers

Today we're going to look at a super quick and easy way to refresh a space... that also happens to be a great way to increase your holiday cheer factor. I'm talking about swapping out your pillow covers! And today I'll even show you the easiest way to make your own.

Pillow covers are one of my favorite ways to refresh a room, but did you know they're also one of the best secret weapons in seasonal decor?
  • They take minimal effort to switch out, but make a huge impact.
  • They take almost no space to store in the off-season.
  • They are easy and affordable to make!

Monday, November 11

Shop Small Gift Guides (under $30!)

Supporting small businesses and makers is a great way to tackle Christmas shopping while making a positive impact. It's something we've been trying to move toward for the last few years. But along the way I've stumbled across a few challenges and I'm wondering if you have the same struggles? So today I'm going to try to help guide you through them and share my 2019 Shop Small Gift Guides {for women, men, and kids}!

The two biggest challenges I've found in "shopping small" are budget and local availability.

The availability issue is becoming increasing easy to side-step, thanks to sites like etsy that bring hundreds of handmade shops right into our own living rooms. If you live in a rural area without local shops, this is a great option! If you live in an area that does offer local options, however, you should check them out! There are some really friendly people out there running the cutest little shops! For today, I'll be sharing a bunch of Etsy options that should knock this issue out of the park.

Now about that budget question. I know we all have different Christmas budgets and we do our best with what we have. I also know it can be tough to find local or handmade gifts that fit into smaller budgets. But I've got two tricks to try to help you over that hurdle today, too.
  1. All the options in my gift guides today are $30 or less. And I know, for some of you even that can be too much. I get that and I don't ever encourage going in to debt for Christmas gifts. It's not worth it. If you don't have that much to spend, don't sweat it. This is a zero judgment post. I just want to share the best options I can find and you are welcome to do whatever you want with the information. And just to be clear, we will be doing plenty of not-small shopping this season, as well. Looking at you, Legos. At the MLH house, we're all about those baby steps, folks.
  2. Sometimes it helps to rethink our priorities. This is a seed I've been watering for the last few years as I ask myself "What do we really want to bring into our home, and what values do we want to instill in our boys?" Do we really want to fill our home with a mountain of cheap plastic crap that will end up broken and in the trash? Do we want to create the feeling of such over-abundance that our kids stop feeling grateful for all the good things we have? Or... would we rather take that Christmas budget and invest it a little differently? Instead of a mountain of cheap gifts, buy fewer gifts that are meaningful and higher quality. Instead of a bunch of plastic, invest in sustainable wooden toys and gifts whenever possible. Instead of over-crowding and cluttering our home, give fewer toys and less junk we just don't need.
So today I'm making it a little easier for you to take that first step by rounding up a few of my favorite gift ideas that are all available on Etsy and that are all under $30. Ready to shop small?

Thursday, November 7

Cross-Stitch Family Portrait Tutorial

It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally putting together a tutorial for the cross stitch family portrait I shared on Instagram! If you've never tried cross stitch before, you're in luck. It's just about the easiest needlecraft out there. Seriously, my 8-year-old can do it. It's a perfect way to snuggle up and relax on a chilly evening, and make something beautiful at the same time.

These family portraits are easy to make and easy to customize for your own family! And they are officially the first post in my 2019 Christmas Series because they make such amazing gifts for friends and family. (I just saw a cross-stitch house and I'm planning to give that a try next that would also make a great gift!).

You only need a few simple supplies to get started with cross stitch, so it's a great hobby if you have limited storage space. Here's all you need (all from the same aisle at your fave craft store):
  • an embroidery hoop (The size depends on the size of your project. I used a 6" hoop for this portrait but could have gone smaller.)
  • cross-stitch fabric (I buy the rolls and cut it up for multiple projects)
  • an embroidery needle (larger than a standard sewing needle)
  • embroidery thread (whatever colors you need for your project)
  • a pattern (you can download my family portrait patterns, buy patterns in-store or on etsy, find free patterns on pinterest, or draw your own!)

Monday, November 4

Winter Bucket List 2019

Hey peeps! There's a chill in the air and I wanted to go ahead and get you this printable bucket list so you're ready to go whenever winter actually hits your area. Just print it out, hang it on the fridge, and make the most of this cozy holiday season! And let me know in the comments - what's your favorite winter tradition?

You can find the rest of my 2019 Holiday posts here, and check out my full holiday archive here!