Monday, December 27, 2010

Cabin Fever!

So was Santa good to you this year? Hopefully you had a great Christmas day filled with lots of fun and were able to spend it with those you love! We had a great day and the house shows it b/c we have let it go a little to be able to play with the kids and put all the new toys together! Can we say MESSY!?!?!?
Christmas is such a wonderful time but it's always a little sad to see it go. I wish the season was a tad longer so we could keep our decorations up more than a month! We've had lots of great food and some good down time with family but I'm starting to feel, uh a little L-A-Z-Y, and like I need to get O U T! I've got a bad case of Cabin Fever right now! Anyone else feeling like this? 

There is snow on the ground and I just want to nap and stay under a warm snugly blanket! We finally put our gingerbread house together, decorated by our four year old, which I think he did an excellent job of. YUM for another sweet thing to eat!

After the year is over I've got big plans to start working on some new projects that I'll share step-by-step instructions on. There is always lots to do, and with a new year starting, I've got some serious plans to try and simplify and get organized, room by room! Hope everyone stays WARM and in the meantime I will be trying to motivate!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve - Final Touches

Merry Christmas from our home to yours! It's a season of giving and hopefully we all celebrate the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Hopefully everyone will get to be with 
family and loved ones!
Snowflakes added to mirror offer vintage charm! All dollar store purchases! The charm of the strands of snowflakes is that you can make them as long or short as you want because of the silver rings that attach the plastic snowflakes! You can scatter them all over the house if you want!

Candle redo - was black before - below

Plastic circle from a scarf I received as a gift from my sister-in-law couldn't be recycled...

so I made a cute jingle wreath for a doorknob out of tinsel and ribbon!

Beads made great additions to garland up the staircase and to an arrangement on the mantel!

Mantel Centerpiece!

Saw this posted by Jessica from Craftily Ever After and thought I'd try it with a frame and scrap paper I had! Hers is way cuter b/c of the size of the frame but I like! I'll try this again with a larger size frame and maybe a mat. Oh and by the way, my paper may look rose colored but it is brown! I do LOVE this project idea!

Hope you enjoyed all the pictures! Wishing you a warm and Merry Christmas this year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Surviving Holiday Mishaps

How is everybody doing? Surviving the holiday crazies? What is a holiday without chaos of some sort? Haha! It has been the week for mishaps in our household, that is for sure! No the cat hasn't climbed the tree and the tree hasn't fallen over this year but still... I made that super simple wreath a week ago and was very excited about having a wreath for the door and then went out the front door to get the mail over the weekend and this is what I found when I opened the door...

Oopsie daisy! Maybe GLASS wasn't the way to go? Hmmm. I still love the wreath so I cleaned up all the broken glass and salvaged the rest and used double the glue and rehung. We're good to go again!
I mentioned in another post that we have TONS of paint in the gay-rage. Well someone in the household accidentally bumped the stacked up paint and knocked over half a can via aw-tow-mow-beel, and what a mess it was to clean up! Too funny! I repurposed a pizza box (how is that for repurposing!?!?!?) as a "dust pan" to carefully sweep the paint into. : ) With a little elbow grease, AKA bathroom scrubber brush + Palmolive dish soap = we have a clean floor again, thank goodness, and a new item for the warm weather to do list -  storage for paint cans to avoid paint spills in the future!

Paint spills is one of my nightmares OR maybe my cat running through paint. He'd be the biggest paint brush ever will his long hair! 

They say things happen in threes so a couple of nights ago I was outside cleaning something and as I was heading in the house there was a very loud thud! Our garage door had fallen off track and came very close to hitting one of the cars. We were very lucky no one was hurt and it didn't do any damage. It was fixed quickly and is up and running again.

Tis the season, right! Busy is what everyone seems to be right now. One of my very wise friends recently told me that if you're not busy with life then you're not really living. I think she has a point and a great perspective on things. It really is more about how you handle things, huh! 

In my next post I'll share my latest simple Christmas decorations that I FINALLY put up!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fun Bubble Magnets!

Put a smile on someone's face with handmade bubble magnets! Need I say more?!?! This is one of my all time favorite little projects that makes a BIG impression. It's an excellent gift for friends, family members, teachers, you name it! To me, handmade gifts are special because they have to be thought out and come from the heart and these are just so darn cute and fun to make!

They're a great, inexpensive homemade gift that you can do with your child or by yourself. Anyone can make them and EVERYONE will love them... Guaranteed!

What you'll need

Accent gems by Crafters Square (Dollar Tree or Garden Ridge or any craft store). Clear ones are best so you can see the image through the stone.
You probably don't want the ones that look like they have an "oily rainbow effect" b/c the images will appear a bit distorted.

Clear drying tacky glue
I used Aleene's Premium Quality Clear Gel Tacky Glue, purchased at Michael's - goes on clear, dries clear.

Comfy pair of scissors

Roll of Magnets
I prefer the hard ceramic ones but had to use the softer magnets this time but they work fine too!


Scrap book paper is excellent to use! Magazine graphics and images work well! Anything printed on photo paper. Just make sure the paper you use is card stock, photo paper, or something that isn't super thin, although magazine print is great too!

Zacto knife

I love this project!!! Did I say that already? Whew it has been a whirlwind of a weekend and couple of days packed full of craziness and mishaps. Then there is Christmas! This little magnet project is quite relaxing in all the chaos of the holidays. Clear off the table, put down a vinyl table cloth or paper to work on. I used a child's finger painting pad beacause if you're like me, you will get glue on the table, for sure!

I've played around with this so much that I have it down to a science, although it is NOT rocket science! You can set up and do it while watching tv. That is the beauty of it!

Remember the stones are imperfect, as far as shape and size, and they have some noticable flaws but I think that is what is so cool about them. Combined with an image, no two magnets are the same. Just think! No one else in the world will have the same magnets you are making! Lots of fun!

Step One
Wash your stones/marbles. They come with a chalkie residue on them so dump them in a cup or bowl, add a little dish soap and wash and dry and you're ready!

Step Two
Pick a stone and place it on your paper over the image or design you want. I like symmetry but I also like things to be off center for added perspective, so I play around with what images or parts of images would look nice. Once you have the stone over the area of the paper you want, trace the stone closer to the underside of the stone to get more coverage through the stone.You'll want to trace each stone individually b/c the stones vary in shapes and sizes. I've tried different hole punches and they didn't work because the stones aren't perfect circles. I'm also attempting to trace left handed for the photo and it is hard when you are a righty. Trying to take pictures with my non-dominant hand is harder though!

Step Three
Cut out the circle with scissors and lay the stone over the circle to test to be sure they are about the same size.


Step Four
Put a dab(smaller than diameter of a pencil eraser) in the middle of the circle and rub the stone on the paper in a circular motion to spread the glue over the paper.

At this point you may want to use the Zacto knife and cut any excess paper from around the underside of the stone. 

Step Five
Place on the paper and let sit and set. Try not to use too much glue so that the stone doesn't slide all over the place and stick to the paper or surface below.

It's a little like a game because you want to keep checking on the stones and lifting them to move them so they don't stick to the surface below. Once they are dry, do the same and glue the back of the paper to the magnet. You don't want to place them too close together to dry because they will attract each other and move together. See below! You don't want this googly eye thing to happen! "Keep em separated!"

Once the magnets have dried, place them in these cute gift card tins, they'll hold on to the tins. : )

You have a very inexpensive gift that won't look it! Stones at Dollar Tree are $1.00 per pound. I used 3 sheets of scrap book paper to offer contrast between the designs and colors.I got the tins at Michael's for $0.50 each on clearance. The magnets are under $6.00 for one roll of about 60. The roll of magnets supplied me with enough to do plenty of peeps!

OK so Ta-Ta-for now! Sometime soon I'll send out some instructions for a little more advanced way to make and customize the magnets. Enjoy the last few days before Christmas!


It's a Blog Party

Friday, December 17, 2010

One Boy's CARS Christmas

WARNING! LOOOOOOONG POST but there are pictures as you scroll!
Is everybody ready for Christmas? Gifts bought and wrapped? Have you finished your shopping, unlike me, who only started my shopping today! Crapola!!! - Today I totally struck out! I took a half day so that I could get some shopping, um I wish I could say DONE, but noooo. I took today so I could START shopping. Way to procrastinate, hu? Well with two little ones this year, I have done what I can and I'm lucky to have the tree up and plugged in! So on my busy day running around, TARJAY did not have the ONE toy my son told Santa he wants MOST for Christmas. I did not expect it to be a hot ticket item but then again I guess I'm not UP on what is popular. Oh well, what is a mother to do? I'll get up in the morning and run to Toys R Us and pray that they have it. I never wanted to be THAT crazy mom trying to find that ONE toy! Ugggh!

It's the Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash dealio. We are crazy about CARS... Matchbox, Hotwheels, "cars with eyes" aka Disney Pixar CARS (Can't wait till the next movie comes out in the Spring)... you name it! His grandfather has even somewhat brainwashed him to like NASCAR. Hmm. Not so sure about that!

This toy will prolly drive me bonkers because it's a loud one, but we can't deprive the child of all the crazy crashing car fun he will have. Afterall he is a boy! Keep your fingers crossed I find it! If not, I will be calling all family members in town to check the store locations near them. I'm just not sure that if I were to order online, I'd get it by Christmas, at this point. Oh I vow never to wait again to buy presents! 

On the upside I did get the Christmas cards in the mail today. Pats on the back for that! Are you mailing Christmas cards? I had contemplated not even doing them this year but didn't want to cut it out because it is a special time of year. Our cards are seriously low budget this year. Construction paper and glue and one picture that my son thinks I butchered. My parent's puppy was in the pic and you could see his rear end so I cut him out and well, it's okay but not great. I think I can get away with it because a four year old helped! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

I'm posting some more Christmas decoration pictures. These are of my son's bedroom tree. Since we are so nutty over cars we did a little tree on his desk with a cars theme. Well it's Pixar CARS. He loves his "cars with eyes" so he calls them.  
Lightning McQueen! Out of all the rooms in our house I think the kiddos' rooms are my favorite. They are complete and just take me back to childhood in a sense. I'll share more projects in them eventually.

Sally and Mater! The boy was dead set on naming his baby brother Gabriel "Mater" because he loved Mater from the movie and his best little bud's name is Gabe. We swayed away from that one entirely but did give him credit for being excited and involved!

A room decked for Christmas in Lightning McQueen! Gotta love it! I don't want him to grow out of it because I LOVE his room so much! Oh and for the tree skirt I used one of the extra pillow cases to the sheet sets so it flows with the theme of the room and I didn't have to buy anything extra!

Can't wait to share my all time favorite gift idea! It's a fun project for anyone! Until then. I am also working on my current Christmas gifts to grandparents but I have to keep it on the low so nobody finds out. : ) I'll share it AFTER Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Subtle Accents At Christmas

Red beads add a little color to the room but it's very subtle!

The beads came in small bunches with several strands joined by a stick, kind of how an artificial stem of flowers would come. I carefully cut the wires apart and separated them and used the stick to put the strands in the candle holder randomly pushing them down between the glass and the candles. I like!

The mantel is an ongoing work in progress. There's not much to it. I left all the existing decor and just added some greenery. Maybe next year I'll take everything down and do something more. 

There is lighted garland and I added some silver pearly picks throughout and then also placed some red holly looking ones to add give some color.

As for the candles, I dressed them up with some bling! I picked up some blue/silver glittery beaded garland from Michaels. It came in a single pack with about 5 strands. I used 3 strands to casually wrap the bottoms of the candlesticks to add some shimmer to the mantel.

I used the rest of the strands of beads throughout the greenery to add more depth.

Oh and I used to have big bulky iron stocking holders in different holiday designs and I loved them but they were safety hazards to children. I was terrified my son would pull on a stocking and the whole stocking and holder would come falling down on his head. 

So I got these small metal gripper types of holders at Bed, Bath and Beyond last year. They are very simple too! Yay! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Easy Wreath

Man oh man this is the first year it has really taken a lot of motivation preparing for Christmas. Do you feel antsy with stress over the holidays or are you zipping thru your Christmas to do list? Whew! Wish I was zipping thru my list of things to do for the holidays. There is so much left to do and the clock is ticking! I think I have somewhat shot myself in the foot b/c I decided to take on several homemade projects for gifts and I haven't made much progress on them lately. I will post them after they are done and after they have been given away! Geesh I haven't even started Christmas shopping!!!!

It has been fun decorating for Christmas, even though it has been a slow process. I have added a few more things around the house. I used to have a wreath on the front door that looked like it was made out of icicles. Last year I chunked it b/c it was falling apart and we were tracking the beads everywhere. It became messy! I then bought a regular green wreath and last year attached some red and silver pearl looking ball ornaments with hooks. I never really liked the way it turned out.

So I pulled the wreath out the other night and fluffed it and attached the ornaments with the hot glue gun so they looked better and would stay put. I really like it! Simple as it is, now the door is no longer bare and it displays a lovely wreath. I could add some other elements but I like it just the way it is and it offers some contrast to the navy blue door. Um the wreath is a little off center b/c I took pictures of it after dark with the door open and I was trying to hurry because it was late. One of our neighbors across the street came outside as I was shooting the pictures with the flash. He must have thought I was a peeping tom or something. No Officer, I was just taking pictures of my Christmas wreath!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Making Pomander Balls

Making pomander balls using fruit is a fun craft to do over the holidays. Plus they smell so good!

All you need is citrus fruit; oranges, apples, pears, limes, etc. and whole cloves. I was at the grocery store the other day and picked up some oranges and apples. Since I was buying them for decoration I found some that were wrapped with a shorter shelf life. I got 2 bags of 4 fruits for $0.89 a piece.

I didn't used to be such a sales deals freak but my eyes have recently been opened to coupons and how to use them to their fullest to get the best deal and it has been mind blowing to me. I must give credit to my mother-in-law for teaching me how to shop better! This chick is completely addicted to coupons now! Hey the cloves were on sale too. Threw a coupon on top of that and SUPER CHEAP! Okay I'll get off my high horse of using coupons now.

Wrong bottle pictured above. Oops! Keep in mind that you need WHOLE cloves! I already tossed the container out but it's WHOLE cloves you need! Sooooo clean the fruit making sure there is no grime. You'll want to do this  project on a surface that is okay to get a little dirty. So clear off the table or place the fruit on a counter.
You could do this sitting on the couch but use a plate or bowl so you don't get the fruit juices or the clove pieces anywhere. 

Take a clove and pierce the skin of the fruit and push all the way in. You can use a tiny screwdriver or a sharp nail or any type of prodding tool to start your holes if you want to. The cloves might make your fingers hurt so for children you probably want to start the holes to make it easier for them. Just continue adding cloves until you have the design you want.

You can use masking tape to cover parts of the fruit to make an outline of your design or you can first tape down ribbon and put cloves in the fruit through the ribbon to add some color. My son and I simply did ours freehand and we enjoyed it.
These Pomander Balls Give A Lasting Fragrant Scent Of Woodsy/Fruit Reminiscent Of Christmas! To preserve the fruit, place them in ziplock bags and shake them in a spice. You can use nutmeg or cloves or various fragrant spices depending on what scent
you want. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Trees

While I was working on some more cone Christmas trees I went back to the first one I did, pictured below, and added some more painted shells and twine to make it a little more beachy. Now to get the stench out of the cabinets... I somehow missed a critter living in one of the shells that I found at the beach a couple weeks ago. Can we say Eww Holy Grossness! I don't have a room designated to crafts so I had the shells in ziplocks in a "craft cabinet" in the kitchen and boy did it stink. I'm not sure how I missed it when I was cleaning the shells but I sure won't make that mistake again! YUCK!

Now here's the big Christmas tree below, all decked out. Yay! I enjoy decorating for Christmas but am not one to put tons of stuff everywhere. The house is already cluttered enough and I just don't like to store too much. I'm afraid if much more goes in the attic, it will end up falling through the garage ceiling onto our cars. ;) Not really but I do try to limit what we store.

With Christmas decor, my main focus is on the tree, the mantel, and the front yard and I just try and spruce it up little by little each year. Here are some pictures of the tree. I'd say it's whimsical but that the ribbon makes it more formal looking. Over the years I've added on small touches. A couple of years ago I started sticking in these silver swirly, glittery branches from the floral section at Michaels and then more floral pieces that came from Pier One. If you do this, just try not to poke your eye out as you walk towards the tree to gaze over it! This year I added the blue snowflakes. Thank goodness it's up!

Below are a couple more styrafoam trees. I painted the foam cones blue just like the first one and I made these so you can see through to the blue paint a little. It gives a wintry cold look. I used the silver garland again, and shiny silver glass ornament balls this time, $1.00 for an 8 pack at Dollar Tree.

Topped with Snowflake!

All you have to do is remove the hooks and glue the tops of the ornaments and give them a twist when pressing them into the the foam. Make sure the balls are flush with the styrafoam. Just be careful b/c they are breakable and are liable to shatter. I would have used plastic shatterproof ball ornaments but all the plastic ones I found had a fine line where they were pieced together when they were made and I didn't think they would look right exposed. I used blue round crafters stones and wrapped each tree in thin, glittery silver ribbon (4 rolls of ribbon were $1.00 at AC Moore) and topped one with a snowflake and one with a star, each $1.00 a piece.

Topped with a Star!
They make a great flashy centerpiece and add a vintage flair! All are very reasonable. Each cost less than $7.00 to make!

A Shot of Trees in the Dark. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

All Lit Up!

For Christmas that is! The Christmas tree is up and all decorations are in place and note to self: Remember to use garden gloves when it comes time to take the tree down! My knuckles are all sliced up from hanging ornaments and having my hands in water cooking this weekend. Ouch.

So what kind of lights did you choose for your tree? Did you use the old, warm, white or colored strands of lights or did you say out with the old and in with the new and shoot for the new LED lights? I personally love the warm feel of the older lights period. My favorite are the old school, screw on bulbs, ya know, the ones Snoopy used to decorate his dog house in Charlie Brown's Christmas cartoon.

Having said that, last year I got rid of the old bulb lights b/c I was worried about how hot they got. This year I picked up a few packages of the new LED lights to try out and though I don't care for the bluish glow of them, they are cool to the touch so they do feel safer on the tree. Below is a picture I took of the tree in night time mode on my camera. It cracked me up how the picture turned out because I had all the lights in the room turned off except for the tree. It's so electric looking!

Speaking of the new LED light bulbs, did you know that they can be hazardous to the environment if broken? I didn't realize it but they can be very harmful if broken because they hold small amounts of mercury, which is harmful to humans and animals. The bulbs are great in conserving energy but use caution when disposing of them!

A couple of months ago, I ordered a pack of 16 free LED light bulbs from our power company. The city/county offers free light bulbs to each household, you just have to call and request them. So when I got them I opened the box just to be sure they were all in one piece as not to cause any problems to the household.

Here are a couple links to some helpful information regarding light bulb disposal and recycling.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Christmas Tree

Similar to the cone Christmas tree of shells, I made another one using glitter ball ornaments. Don't you just love these things? Last week was vacation time at the beach nice! and I was able to play around and make another tree yippee! when I had some down time one afternoon.

Before vacation I painted this cone with a pale green latex paint we had leftover from painting one of the rooms in our house. There are soooo many half full/half empty paint cans out in the garage. Oh what can I find to paint next?!?!? As silly as it may seem, I just don't want to see the white Styrofoam through any of the materials I put on the tree. I'm weird that way, like it's really hiding what is underneath! Anyhow I let the cone dry before packing it for the road trip, of course. Just had to do a little prepping!  : )

Using the glue gun I covered the cone with furry, silver garland. Then I attached silver, glittery, Styrofoam ball ornaments to the cone, scattering them all over it, but not covering the cone completely. The ornaments originally had tiny plastic toppers that looped pieces of thread so the ornaments could be hung. Well those tore off easily and I was able to put a dollop of glue in the same spot on the ornaments to cover where the pieces had been ripped off. Can we hit the EASY BUTTON for that one? After placing the balls where I wanted them to go, I glued green square crafters stones in between the ornament balls and topped the tree with a silver star. Voila!

These trees are so much fun to make!  They make great center pieces for any room in the house and add a little sparkle. Mine is in the dining room sitting tall with another beaded cone tree I purchased a couple of years ago. I think it adds some elegance if I do say so myself! Who doesn't want something elegant every once in a while!

This cost under $7.00 to make!

I have some more of these to make with some different materials to try so I'll post them in the upcoming weeks. Betcha can't wait, hu! I think I'm going to give some out as gifts too but shhhh! Don't tell!

I also have some more fun gift ideas to share sometime soon too, something people of all ages will enjoy!

Lots in the works before Christmas and lots of fun projects after the holidays are over. Yay!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Personalizing Christmas Stockings

I'm excited about the tiny little project I did tonight! It's the little things, it really is! This week my son has shown lots of concern over his "Christmas sock", as he calls it, that we've already hung by the mantel with care! This year he's got a new baby brother and is afraid Santa won't know whose stocking is whose. He just isn't convinced that Santa will know. He asked me to do something so Santa will know who the stockings belong to!

I thought about it and I didn't even consider using glue and glitter like my mom did when we were kids. Not my taste really. It's fine and all and my handwriting is okay but I just didn't want to even attempt it. I'm too much of a neat freak and like organization, and my trying to use glue and glitter on stockings could turn ugly. Plus what if I messed up?

At the craft store I found some white, lightweight wooden letters but there weren't enough in the store to spell all of our names. So much for that! I kept on trucking and finally found some IRON ON Soft Flock Letters in a font I thought would match pretty well. The letters are 3/4" but come in a variety of sizes. The package reads DOT075LWT Dot at AC Moore in case you want to try it yourself. The font is a simple one with the dots on the ends of the letters, kinda cutesy but still nice and simple. You just follow the directions and it only takes about 22 seconds, at most, for each letter. Pretty sweet. I would do a run through on a test fabric first just so you make sure you get the process b/c once the letters are ironed, they are pretty permanent. Oh, and I had to buy two packages of letters so I had enough of the letters needed. A package was about $4.00 but I had a coupon! The stockings were all bought on clearance during after Christmas sales at different times too. Not too shabby!

Wanna see how the stockings turned out?

The result is a Pottery Barnish look with nice, clean, consistent letters to personalize each stocking and point Santa the direction he needs to go!!!