Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is Christmas over already!?

It's so bittersweet. On one hand I can take a breather from all the intensity of the birthdays and Christmas. But it's my favorite time of the year and I miss is so much when it's gone. If you didn't notice I decided to give myself a break on blogging. The 2 AM late nights were getting to me!

I have made a pact with myself. I am going to start prepping for Christmas in the summer!!! Because after that it's birthday season for all the nieces and nephews then it's our household birthday season and then BAM it's Christmas. Then I hide under the covers for a few days sleep in and bribe the kids with leftover christmas candy to play nice and give mommy just a few more minutes. HA! No not me... I wouldn't do something like that!

But the season isn't over yet! We still have New Years - a time to reflect on the year, count our blessings and give ourselves a break before we do it all over again!

Take it easy and remember how blessed you are this year. It's been a hard year for us but man we have so much to be thankful for.

Here's your little New Year's present from me. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Hustle: Kid's Christmas Ornament

The activity on our advent calendar yesterday was for us to make an ornament together. I had a pre-made foam ornament kit that I picked up last year, so that's what we used. Well I ended up doing most of it because it was not kid friendly at all. If you have to use a glue gun to make every single step come together... it is NOT KID FRIENDLY. So out of my frustration I decided to make one of my own that they could have a bigger part in. Enter the popsicle ornament. It's a great staple and there is so much you can do with it. So if you have some popsicle sticks and some yarn you are pretty much set. Here is what you will need for the basic ornament:

**I actually ended up using 4 sticks but you make it how you like it. The yarn is only $1.50 at Michael's this week (by the way) and they have lots of yummy colors.

Start by tying a piece of yarn to one end of the stick and cut off a long string of yarn for your big guy to wrap around it however he likes. Like so:

Have him do that with all three (or four). His attention span may only get him through a few but that's ok just work with them wherever they are. Then tie the end off by looping it through the other strings for him. I left a little space in the middle to make it easier to glue them together. Then glue the sticks together with your glue gun and tie on a little extra yarn for a hanger.

You could stop there if you wanted but I had the perfect little embellishment in my stash so I couldn't help myself. So I glued that on and had him hang it on the tree all by himself. He was so proud and you have an ornament that any mommy would be proud to have on her tree.  


Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Little Tour

As promised here is a little tour of some holiday crafts we've put together and decorations we have on display in our house this year.

Remember that chain that was left on the side of the Trader Joe's bag after you made your fabulous gift tags with me? My oldest and I had the best time putting that chain together and it gave me a teachable moment to talk about pattern and have him help me make sure the pattern was correct on our chain. He loved helping. So I hung it across one wall and used some twine to attach some $1/a pack foam snowflakes that I got from the bargain bin at Target. Gave it just a little added touch that it needed and Corben loved seeing his work on display.

I noticed that my decorating this year is very much a homage to my love of typography. The Joy on the side is actually a sequined table runner I picked up from Target after Christmas for $5 or $6, I think. I used some zots to attach it to the wall, which I also used to attach the chain to the wall also. It's just the right amount of stick. When you want it to stay, it's not coming off the wall but when you are finished, you can get them off your wall with a little effort and (in my experience) no damage to the dry wall.

Next up is my super fast Advent Calendar. A few days late I decided we needed an advent calendar. Corben was already asking me how long until Christmas and I really wanted to make one anyway. So I used the "advent calendar for the procrastinator" (perfect title) from the little red house.
 I picked out papers from my stash. I did several different combos but settled on this one. When I stepped back to look at it, I realized it has a little bit of a masculine feel to it (I do live with three boys so I guess that's okay) and I questioned the "christmas-yness" of it. Then I realized what it was that made me choose it. Doesn't it give you that cozy sweater/ski lodge feeling? Makes me want to go get a cup of hot chocolate and put my feet up in front of a fireplace. Yep. That's what it was.
 So I made the little envelopes put some number stickers on them, hung them on some jute over a doorway and we now officially have an advent calendar.

I really enjoyed putting it together and planning all the little things we were going to do for each day. I'll have to share the list with you. But for now I need some sleep!

Hope you enjoyed a mini-tour of some of our holiday decorations.

December is here!

Am I the only one running around like a crazy person this year? December is here and the holiday season is in full swing at our house this weekend. We finally picked up our tree and pulled the decorations from the attic. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and I love it!

The month of December is especially crazy at our house because it's also the month of my husbands birthday, my oldest son's birthday (4), and my mother-in-laws birthday. Whew! I'm feeling the stress for sure, but trying to not allow that to get in the way of making Christmas magical for my kiddos and take the opportunities to share with them the real reason for the season.

I love Christmas and I especially love decorating and crafting for the holidays. So as I'm doing the "Holiday Hustle" with my family this year, I'm inviting you to come with me! As I'm prepping for birthdays and Christmas by crafting, decorating and making gifts for those dearest to me, I'll be sharing with you along the way.

Corben (my almost 4 year old) wants a Lego Star Wars Party and my husband is turning the big "3 - 0." So I've got some late nights ahead of me to say the least. But until then I'll show you some fun things we've done around the house to decorate with the kids and make the house a little more cheerful with some great budget friendly ideas. I'll be posting that tonight.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pimp That *Trader Joe's* Bag

I heart Trader Joe's. Since moving close to one I can't keep myself out of there and at least drop $50 everytime I go in! It's my go-to place for organic produce at a great price and just yummy stuff in general.

I couldn't wait for them to do their Christmas bags again this year. Every year they have specially printed bags just for Christmas. I loved the design so much last year that I cut out some of the pictures and framed them for Christmas decorations. Well Trader Joe's was so kind this year and designed their bag to be cut out on purpose! Wasn't that so nice of them? They provided cut-outs for gift tags and a chain decoration!

But lets be honest if we just used them cut out, they would be kinda flimsy. So I decided to pimp my gift tags and give them a little more character and weight with crafty things I had around the house like card stock, yarn, beads, ribbon, embroidery thread, and glitter. If you have this in your arsenal already, you are all set!

First, I cut out the tags that Trader Joe's so nicely provided on their bag. But I didn't use their cut lines, I cut on the outside of them because I thought that would be a great template for some embroidery floss. Then glued them on some black cardstock and cut them back out. I thought they were very pretty with just this added step. So if your not real crafty, you could stop there if you wanted.

If you want a little more pizzaz then pull out your extras and go to town stitching on embroidery floss, using ribbon and yarn for the tag string, sewing on some beads and finishing it off with glitter.

Then here you have it! Some of my favorites:

Gift tags for pretty much nothing. Thanks Trader Joe's! I couldn't have done it without you!

Here's where I'm linking up this week.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Reading Wall for My Boys

This whole thing started when I saw the awesome idea for gutter shelves on Gus & Lula.

I saw them on Oh Dee Oh a while back but never got around to it. Then the boys' books became such a headache. They were always all over the floor or in a bin or shelf and always getting pulled out or forgotten about because they were put away.

I cannot tell you how magical these shelves are to my children. They just love it! They love going to get books and they love putting them away again!

We read more because they are more accesible and they can clearly see which book they want to get and bring to me. I'm so glad I did this. They make me smile every time I walk into their room.

I fell in love with the bunting that Gus&Lula used and I just happened to have some Ikea fabric in the same print as their bedding lying around. So a little bias tape and a few cuts from my rotary cutter later... voila custom bunting for their room.

I enjoyed making these so much, I may just make some more and put them in my etsy shop. I just love this print, it's perfect for a little boys room.

Then last but not least... I was so inspired by these large scrabble wall tiles from Too Much Time On My Hands that I could not wait to make some of my own to decorate my boys' room with. And what better word to go over a book shelf?

I cut squares from some free wood scraps that I picked up from Home Depot and free-handed the letters while looking at a photo of scrabble tiles. They aren't perfect but I like that. It was made with love (and some time and sweat sprinkled in). So that's what I've been up to. How about you?

I have a new frugal tutorial coming. Hope to finish it before naptime is up!

Here's where I'm linking up this week.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Handmade For My Boy

 See what a great cardboard tube can do? I got the idea from a post on the crafty crow when I was researching ideas on what to do with all those fabric tubes I had laying around. But my husband was really the one the got excited and put it together with a little help from me. It was fun for us to make something together and see our little boys face light up when he woke up from his nap. And one of the first things he said was "Daddy can we make one for brother too?" Such a sweetie pie!

 My boy was also in need of a new scarf so I used the great tutorial over on living with punks as a guide with a few modifications to make it a bit smaller for a four-year-old. He said he wanted a green scarf with red polka dots. Does anyone else have an almost 4 year old that so specific about what he wants? :) So my mommy interpretation is below - green plaid with red buttons for fun. He loved it!

I'll be finishing up a new tutorial to share very soon and hopefully getting photos together of some of the other things I've been doing around the house. I've been a busy bee lately. What have you been working on?

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