Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year 2012 - Year of the Dragon

Christmas has now passed and my family and I are eagerly looking forward to the new year!  Can you believe that it's less than a week away? Admittedly 2011 was not the best of year for many people, myself included, but no longer will we have to think about that! 2012 is now upon us! Hopefully this next year will be full of prosperity and happiness.

I'm looking forward to leaving all my troubles in the past and embracing the new year and the new opportunities it may bring! So in preparation for the new year I have created a 2012 calendar. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 is the year of the dragon. This new year especially means a lot to me because I was born in the year of the dragon {so it has to be great, right?!}.  So with that being said, this new annual calendar was designed with a dragon motif in mind.

Wikipedia claims that, "In contrast to European dragons, which are considered evil, Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. With this, the Emperor of China usually uses the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power."

That has to be a good sign, right? 

What do you think of the calendar? Pretty snazzy of you ask me! Lately, I've been pretty much obsessed with gray, yellow, and turquoise (if you couldn't tell from my blog) and I wanted to incorporate these beautiful colors into my new calendar. You can download it here to print or even to use digitally. Please use it and love it! Here's to hoping the new year and the new dragon are successful, peaceful, and cheerful!

Happy New Year everyone!

Project was shared here, here, herehere, herehereherehere, hereherehere, and here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gourmet Chocolate Spoons Knockoff!

I've been busy crafting up a storm for Christmas! I am so excited to see the reactions on everyone's face when I give them their personalized gifts! Since some of them might be reading, though, I'll probably have to share those projects after Christmas.

Most of the day yesterday I was shopping for groceries and making chocolate covered spoons to go with some other gifts that I made. I've always seen these spoons in gourmet cafes or little gift shops and thought they looked so cute {and yummy!}, but I had never made them. After I made these spoons,. I wish I had known sooner how easy they really are to make! My head is reeling with possibilities now; birthday favors, weddings, winter get-togethers, coffee time, the list could go on and on!

First, I had to gather all of my ingredients.

Chocolate Chips
Toppings (this could be anything: peppermint, sprinkles, coconut, chopped nuts, etc.)
Spoons (most any kind will do!)
Wax Paper
Cookie Sheet


Small Plastic Treat Bags
Twist Ties

*Note: I used milk chocolate chips for these spoons. I tried the below recipes with white chocolate chips, and it didn't turn out so hot. There must be some other *secret* recipe for making these with white chocolate. If someone knows the secret to getting the white chocolate right, let me in on it!

Once your ingredients are together, make sure they are in appropriate sized pieces to fit on each spoon. I used candy canes for my peppermint spoons. Well, turns out that candy cane crushing business was a bit more involved than I had anticipated. I actually used a pizza cutter {hey, it's what was on hand} to cut the candy canes into the pieces you see in the bowl above. Those pieces weren't small enough, though. So what does a woman resort to when she's frustrated? That's right, a hammer!

 I went out in my garage and laid down an old bath towel. Then I placed the candy canes into a plastic baggie and laid it in between the two sides of the towel and went at it with a hammer! See? Much better. :)

I started by melting 2 teaspoons of shortening and 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl until it was nice and runny, but didn't wait too long for fear that the chocolate would burn = not fun! This much chocolate should yield at least a dozen spoons.

Then I dipped each spoons in the chocolate mixture and waited until all of the excess chocolate dripped off.

Once I got rid of the excess, I laid each spoon down onto my cookie sheet covered with wax paper.

When the chocolate was not yet "dry," I sprinkled my toppings over all of my chocolate covered spoons.

Then I got impatient. [Me, impatient? Never!...Yea. Right.] So instead of waiting 20 minutes or so for the spoons to dry, I placed some of mine in the freezer. It's your choice on how you decide yours should dry, either way works.

Once I made sure that each spoon was totally dry and hardened, I used small plastic treat bags and twist ties to cover each spoon.

Don't they look lovely? I hope my family enjoys stirring their hot cocoa with them this Christmas!

Project was shared here, here, here, here, here, here,  hereherehere, here, and here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh, Deer! Reindeer Inspiration is Prancing in My Head

I am so in the Christmas spirit today! I just feel it everywhere. There's snow on the ground, today we're going to go shopping for some last minute Christmas toys for little man, and I'm putting the finishing touches on all of my handmade gifts and Christmas home decor!

Anyways I was surfing the net and found these pillows! I WANT THEM SO BAD!! I'll have to make something like this next year. Aren't they aewsome?! You can find them over in SewEnglish's Etsy shop.

In the process of decorating my house, I just can't get enough Christmas printables either! So getting inspiration from the above pillows masterpieces, I decided to make {yet another} Christmas printable for my home. I really love this one because it's a little more funky, little more modern, a little more ME! 

'Oh, DEER Printable'

Ocean Breeze





I mean, you CAN'T have a Christmas with kids without Rudolph! I created five color choices {really because I couldn't make up my mind about which color I loved more}! You can find the download link here. Hope you loooove them as much as I do! What's your favorite 'Oh, Deer' color?

Shared here, here, herehere, here, here, herehere, here, hereherehereherehere, herehere, herehere, hereherehere, here, hereherehere, and here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

One Stellar Thrift Store Find and Christmas For Myself!

This week has flown by!

My son made his first attempt at decorating a cake at 15 months old.

Ok, so admittedly he was only into it for about 2 seconds, then he decided that banging everything with his plastic toddler bat was more fun - I tried. 

Yesterday I went on a little shopping trip to Goodwill and Michael's, secretly {well not anymore} two of my favorite places. First, I stopped at Goodwill. Look at this beauty!

For two dollars I knew it was coming home with me! Look at the detail in this piece! I kind of get a patriotic/porthole/navy/nautical feel from this, I'm thinking inspiration for little man's big boy room? When the time is right that is..

That's a pretty manly eagle right there if you ask me.

Not sure what color I want to paint it yet, but the details are screaming, "Glaze me! Glaze me!" What do you think?

Then it was on to Michael's. Now I try not to buy everything in the store when I go in there, and I was doing really well until a saw a 50% off sale on this little dandy.

A rotating, organizational crafters' carousel - I broke down and bought it, but for only $20 bucks I walked away feeling like I stole it. Look how much storage it has AND it rotates! :)

Looks like after the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is over, it's gonna be very extremely crafty around here!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Lost Thanksgiving Printable Set

I've been so busy with Christmas decorating lately that I just realized I still haven't taken down my decor from THANKSGIVING in the dining room! In the process, I re-found this set of printables I made for the holiday:

Thought I'd share them with everyone! You can download here. Hope you enjoy.

Just another reminder that it doesn't have to be a holiday to be a good time to give thanks!

Much love,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Wishes From My Family To Yours

So, since the Christmas photo shoot for little man went awry, I've decided that I will be using photos of my own to send out this holiday season. I'm low on funds after all of the great Christmas gifts I bought my family, so I think I'll be sending this one out by e-mail rather than via standard postal mail. I ended up editing his photo a little here and there (mostly background, because there was a pole sticking out of his head), and this is what I came up with to send out for Christmas this year!

I love it! Again, I used Picnik for most of my editing, but I think it came out really nicely for something I chopped myself out of! LOL

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Easy Yarn Wreath Tutorial

Today I'm going to show your how I made all the beautiful yarn wreaths I featured in my post, How to Do Christmas for Little or No Money - Gifts Made With Heart! The best part about the whole project is that's it's truly very simple. This project also doesn't require any special equipment or skills so it's perfect for beginning crafters!

First you will need these materials:

Wreath Form (I prefer straw wreaths wrapped in cellophane, but foam works too!)
Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Straight Pins (optional)
Felt Flowers or Other Embellishments of Your Choice (optional)

Note: Please disregard the fact that there are multiple wreaths and different colors in this tutorial, as I was making several at a time when I took these pictures!

Once you have gathered all your materials, it's time to start making your yarn wreath! If you are using a wreath wrapped in cellophane, I wouldn't take the wrapping off because the straw will poke through your yarn and the texture of the finished product won't be the same. I start by tying a knot with the beginning amount of yarn around my wreath form, as shown below. You can also pin or glue the start of your yarn onto your wreath form, it's your choice.

The next step is to start wrapping the yarn as closely together as possible around the entire form of your wreath. Now this step will seem as if it takes FOREVER. Don't worry, the wrapping will eventually end! If you have a multi-colored yarn or a thinner yarn, it is much more important to try and get each new wrap as tightly and closely together as possible. If they are not close, you will end up with holes showing through to your form at the end of your project. If this is your first wreath {or you simply don't want the wrapping to be too tedious}, I would suggest a heavier, thicker, and possibly textured yarn to start, as imperfections are more easily hidden behind the thicker strands.

After you have wrapped your entire form, secure the yarn the same way you began. If you began the wreath with a knot, end it with a knot, and so on. *Before you complete this step, make sure that you have thoroughly covered the entire form to your liking, most likely with no holes in between yarn strands.* Once you have secured the end of your yarn, cut off any extra yarn and tuck the loose ends from the knot, pin, or glue under your tightly wrapped yarn strands.

You have now completed your actual yarn wreath!

Next, you will want to gather any sort of embellishment you have chosen to your wreath. I like felt flowers, so that's what I have chosen to add to my wreath. You can glue them with a hot glue gun, or pin them onto your wreath form using straight pins. Continue until you like what you've made!

You can check out my Pinterest to see how I made the felt flowers!

Tip: I usually add embellishments by placing them on my wreath and then pinning them there with straight pins until I'm sure I like the placement of everything on my wreath.

Congratulations! You've now made a gorgeous yarn wreath!

Once you've perfected your yarn wreaths, start adding new yarn textures, multi-colored yarn, new colors, and embellishments you might not have ever thought of {such as buttons, flowers, balloons, twine, lace, and rhinestones} - Go wild! I'd love to see what you end up with!

Pin It

Tutorial shared here, herehere, here, here, here, here, herehere, herehere, herehere, here, here, and here.

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Home Stories A2Z

Tickled Pink at 504 Main

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Do Christmas for Little or No Money - Gifts Made With Heart

I wasn't always a stay at home mom. This year I lost my job at a national Fortune 500 company. I had hoped that this large company would lead me toward a career and a better life for my family, yet at every turn in my career I felt corruption and mismanagement. For a long time after I lost my job I was confused, hurt, sad, and in despair about what to do with my life and in the future. 

The only thing I did know for sure was that I never wanted to become a failure, I had to be strong for my son, for my family. So I started turning all my negative thoughts into positive goals. Like, "How am I going to support myself?," into "I have tangible skills and abilities, if others aren't able to or don't see the value in ME, I'll make value in myself. I will DO for myself." Those kind of thoughts led me to where I am today: a happier, more positive woman and mother.

Many, like me, have had to make adjustments in their lifestyle in the past few years. People are now turning to crafting, renovation, and upcycling to make old things new again or to make something new out of raw materials. Being low on funds this holiday season, I decided to opt for making something wonderful that my family would know was made out of love. My hope is that every time they see one of these handmade gifts they think of me and the sentiment I felt when making their personal gift. Sure, I could have gone out and bought the latest, trendiest gift of 2011 {that they'll probably forget that they even have when Christmas 2012 rolls around}, but knowing that my family will see that I took the time to craft something with my own hands - to dream up and build something just for them - I hope they will find to be priceless.

My challenge this year was to essentially make something out of nothing, and I've applied the same sentiment to my holiday gift giving. 

So out of nothing, I made these:

With just yarn, felt, ribbon, chip board, and some hot glue I made these beauties!

It's really amazing how "something" can come from "nothing."

My son calls one of his grandmas "mam-ma."

Oh, how I love them all! I'm sure like any other crafter, I consider each project my "baby" that I can't quite justify giving away (but will anyway as Christmas gifts). My heart and soul has really gone into these beautiful 18" yarn wreaths complete with hand-crafted felt flowers, ribbon for embellishment, and glittering chip board letters. Just a year ago I would never have believed that I could make things this beautiful or this intricate with my own hands! [As you can tell I haven't quite finished all of them yet.]

Projects like these have helped me to renew the passion in my life. Because, after all, that's what we're supposed to be living for, right? 

I think I might start this as a new tradition, making handmade {from the heart} gifts instead of GUESSING what old Great Aunt Margaret might want or could possibly need. What kind of handmade or homemade things are you creating this year for the holidays? Did you make something for your home? Did you make something to give as a present as I did? I'd love to get some ideas for next year!

I guess the moral of the story is: You don't have to be rich, or powerful, or genius to be happy or to make others happy. It's the things that come from the heart that really count.

This holiday I'm counting my blessings, and I hope you will too!

Project was shared here and here.

Some Christmas Tree Magic

I finally got my tree up! Over the course of this past week I've been bogged down with all sorts of Christmas activities from crafting homemade gifts to decorating the tree to wrapping presents. Don't you love this time of year? So exciting and so busy all the the same time, there's hardly ever any boredom around the Christmas season!

Here's what the tree looks like:

I don't feel like it's too shabby. The fireplace makes our tree look tiny - it really is 7 feet. This picture was taken before I got some of the finishing touches on it.

 Later I added these:

And it ended up looking like this:

I know it's kind of hard to compare a night photo a to day picture, but I added tons of sparkly green, gold, and brown branches. I love them. I feel like you can't really have a "professionally decorated tree" {I say that in quotations because in no way am I a professional} without these branches, or ribbon, or feathers, or some type or adornment other than just lights and ornaments.

So have you put your tree up yet? Does it have a theme? I wanna see pictures people! Let me know what you've done with your trees this year and I'd love some feedback on mine!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...