Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Advent Ideas

I have a few more advent ideas to add to my list...
  1. Go get the tree!  We've decided to switch to a REAL tree this year--Christmas tree farms are good for the environment, they're planted as a crop (that is a carbon neutral footprint) and can be used as compost if they aren't sprayed with fake snow.  So we need to hike up and get one!
  2. Borax Crystal Snowflakes-- Super easy to make, you just need some borax and pipecleaners.  They are very pretty and the kids get a chemistry lesson without even knowing they're doing it.
  3. Rock Candy--Along the same lines as the snowflakes, but edible.  Easy to make--little ones need grown-up help--and can be given out as gifts to friends.
  4. Personalized Clip board idea from Michaels:  Might be a good gift idea for a certain big sister who's now a swim coach hint hint.
  5. Candles.  Easy idea for embellishing at Gingerbread Snowflakes.
  6. Still investigating...I'll share as I find.
I also have some past ideas for you!...
  1. Paint Swirl Ornaments--Michaels  here.  Even the little one can create a super cool ornament.
  2. Birdseed Birdhouse:  My own idea (believe it or not) after I saw one for sale in Williams Sonoma for $30.  Buy wooden birdhouses at the dollar store, smear with peanut butter or shortening if you have allergies in the household, then decorate with birdseed mix, oatmeal, nuts and dried fruits.  They look absolutely adorable, the birds wents "nuts" over them, and they can be re-smeared and studded once they've been cleaned by the birds.
  3. Matchbook Notepads.  Very easy to make.   We used christmas themed cardstock and scrapbooking embellishments.  Project instructions from Design Sponge.

Pattiwack Ideas (craft designer Patti Donham) that we've successfully done...
  1. Snazzy Soaps: These are super easy even for the little ones.  To make the project a bit more interesting for older kids have them melt and mould their own soaps.
  2. Beaded Candle Bobeches: Really cool and they are quite displayable.
  3. Coffee Cup Christmas Card Holders:  this one was a favorite.  I bought the mugs at Goodwill for 25cents each.  My oldest, Alyssa, embellished the top of the plaster of paris with glue and coffee beans which I thought was super cool.  The little ones can do this too if you help them with the wire shaping.
  4. Comfort Pillows: Everyone needs one of these and since it involves only sewing in a straight line (or as close as you can get) it's a fun project for beginning sewers.  We used rice, not corn though.
  5. Umbrella Charms:  Can also be used for cell phones.  Gotta have at least one Shrinky Dink project!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Advent Ideas

Christmas season is getting nearer and while I think it is still a little soon to be decorating, it is time for me to start gathering ideas and supplies for our Advent activities.

I've found that my girls like making things--a few presents here and there, but also things for them.

  1. Make doggie biscuits for family pet presents. Very popular last year!  Daily Drool has some great recipes.
  2. Decorate a gingerbread house--I must confess that I purchased a kit at the grocery store AND I construct the house with a hot glue gun.  Let's be real, they're not gonna eat the gingerbread and hot glue holds better than frosting when you're talking structural gingerbread.
  3. Food Bank shopping day~Each girl gets and envelope with money to spend on food items to give to a local charity.  
  4.  Make scented sugar scrub for either ourselves or as part of a spa gift. Martha has a customizable recipe and labels here.  I'm also eager to try Brown Sugar Scrub from Domino Sugar.
  5. Make bath fizzies for ourselves or as a gift. Martha--AGAIN!
  6. Peppermint Fudge.  Just found an easy recipe from Martha that I think the kids will enjoy doing. 
  7. Treats for school friends.  An easy recipe like chocolate dipped pretzels, Chex Muddy Buddies or microwave caramel corn.
  8. Decorate the tree.  Has to be done--make it a family activity with Christmas music.
  9. Cookie decorating!  Make the dough ahead of time, so time can be spent cutting out and decorating.
  10. Fancy Hot Cocoa day!  Make some old fashioned cocoa and be sure to have whipped cream, candy cane stirrers, and sprinkles (try out some of those cookies too)
  11. Make gift tags.  Get out the cardstock, Holiday stamps, glitter, and ribbon.  Let the kids make the tags this year instead of purchasing at the store.
  12. Wrap presents for teachers and friends.  Time to put bows around the teacher's Starbucks Coffee and their friends goodie bags.
  13. Stepping stones.  Use hard plastic bakery containers or purchase a mould at the craft store.  Embellish the stones with broken tiles, glass bobbles and beads for one-of -a-kind present.
  14. Star of the concert days!  We have at least 2 holiday concerts this year--let the star of the concert pick dessert and bring home to celebrate.
  15. ... I need to do some more idea researching!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


11 Little snowpeople lined up for detailing

...and, of course, one little helper,

8 tea towels that need their final embellishing ala Sew4Home,

1 paper-pieced quilt that needs requilting (yes, I tore out ALL the old because I was unhappy with it),

1 shelf that needs some knobs attached and eventually needs to be hung

And don't forget the box of felted sweaters needed for the Felt & Stitch Holiday Workshop!

Lots to do!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday For You

Busy, busy, busy with my Holiday Felt & Stitch Workshop.  Betz White is so fun and creative! 

My brain is starting to get a bit crazy with all the Christmas gifts I want to make!  Sew, Mama, Sew is featuring handmade gifts each day (even weekends!), Craftzine's blog has some great ideas, Sew4Home has some bright and festive handmade things to make, and then there are all the great ideas I see featured on all the wonderful blogs I have listed on the sidebar. 
Here's a couple little happy holiday images for to use.  Out thrifting this weekend I found some vintage cards for only 5cents each!

Little Popeye skating?

Double click on either image to copy it.  For personal use only--Thanks!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wool on the Brain & Yum

European style dark hot chocolate mix + a jigger of Bailey's Irish Creme + a big squirt of whip cream= the perfect late night, Baby it's cold outside, mommy drink.  AHHH...

At the same time I've had to drag out my stash of felted wool sweaters for my latest Betz White's Holiday Felt & Stitch Workshop (sorry can't share any pictures--class rules).  What to my wondering eyes should appear?

A Mug Cozy!

All this requires is the straight part of a sleeve from a felted wool sweater.  1)Cut to the size of the mug--being sure to leave at least a little space from the cups rim to drink,  2)Cut a slit big enough for the mug handle at the sweater SEAM,

3) Put a nice little blanket stitch around the handle opening and the top and bottom edges (my isn't very neat--I was so excited about this idea at the time that I sped through the steps),

4) Stretch over your mug and fill with a yummy, hot drink that even your cat would love

Just beware the after affects of above cuddliness and warmth...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marathon Training

I'm going to do a marathon!  I'm not a runner, I'm not in great shape, I do not work out regularly, and for some crazy reason I've agreed to walk 26.2 miles with a bunch of swim team moms in March!  Crazy? yes.

I have a training schedule that somehow works me up to 26 miles, but I'll believe it when I actually complete the marathon without passing out.  I found this awesome resource for figuring out where to walk/train...

Go to USA Track & Field's site and click on their "America's Running Routes" and you can map out routes for training. I've already mapped out 3, 4, and 5 mile routes and they all include Starbucks Coffee--guess we know how I'll be spending my mornings...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Easy Environmentally Friendly Gift Tags

I actually managed to find some jeans that fit this weekend--I do need to hem them---but they fit everywhere else which is just short of a miracle.  Somewhere out there is a woman with my waist, hip and butt measurements who's 5'10" and could wear the jeans right off the rack, but I digress...

Look at all the junk that comes with the jeans!  Is all that labeling REALLY necessary--I think half the cost is just in the heavy cardstock advestising the product.  And it is really heavy, laminated cardstock with a metal eyelet and sturdy black cord attached.  Methinks this can be upcycled...

...into a Christmas/Holiday/Whatever gift tag!

 1.  I created a "To/From" label big enough to cover DKNY's denim info (for the DKNY tag I needed to make a fold-over sticker) and added some clip art.

2.  Printed it onto a piece of my sticker paper (regular paper and glue works too) and trimmed with scallop scissors

3. Then stuck it to the cardstock. TA DA!  Holiday Tag.

Easy as can be, one less piece of garbage, and one less tag needed for the holidays!

This idea would work really well with child's art.  You could scan one of their pictures for clip art or you could have then do a one-of-a-kind piece of art straight onto the sticker.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday For You

I found a great little retro drinkbook at my in-laws yardsale.  I was drawn to the wonderful little Holiday Drink Tree on the cover.

Wouldn't it make a great gift tag for a bottle of wine or other spirits?

I think my favorite color is this retro pink

Feel free to use any of the images by clicking on them, but remember they're only for person use.

An Ornament Exchange!

It's the first exchange of the season!  How fun--I'm soooooo excited about Christmas.

Sponsored by Pamperingbeki .  Sign ups end November 12th so head on over right away and sign up!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Festival of Trees Designer

They're done!

For the past three years I've been designing a Christmas Tree for our Chamber of Commerce.  This tree, and many others by local designers, are used throughout November for the Festival of Trees and then auctioned off at the end of the month. 

This year I went with a generic theme, "Christmas Glitz".  I think I've been watching too much of TLC's "Toddlers and Tiaras"--can't believe I just admitted to that.

The tree is festooned with sparkly white poisettias, crystal snowflakes, snow drops and sparkled ribbon.

Usually I'm much more theme oriented...last year was a bird-laden tree, "Feathered Friends", and my first year Alyssa and I designed "Undersea Christmas" complete with fishes, anenome like ornaments and clear bubble balls.  I just felt like the economy being what it is that a less specific tree that could be used for more than one themed display would be fitting.

My mom thought the tree was a bit boring and not up to my usual standards.  I'm nervous that she may be right, but then she could be incredibly wrong (not a first for her and me).  We'll see...

I also pumped out this wreath for the festival.  After spending a week wiring ornaments and silk flowers to a 6' tree, a wreath is pretty easy.

It's so fun being a "designer"!  I also love being able to spend $500 on a decorations for a single tree!  Can you imagine?!  I'd never blow that much money on my own tree, but it is a lot of fun having that much at my disposal when at Michael's!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Recessionista Party is giving away three beautiful purses/bags (they've hinted at some other consulation prizes too!) through Monday morning, Nov. 9th.  Head on over and leave a comment to enter!

My favorite is the Kathy Van Zeeland In the Clear handbag. 

Blue Cricket Designs is hosting a Give-away-a-day Extravaganza through Nov. 6th!  Give-aways are from several different designers.  There a several ways to enter, so check it out!

Wee Folk Art is giving away a cute little appliqued Advent Tree through Nov. 10th. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Handmade Holidays

I'm just so excited!  I love the Holidays and I love them even more when they are handmade!  Workshops and tutorials are popping up everywhere...

 Sew-Mama-Sew's blog is featuring it's Third Annual Handmade Holidays this month!  Great tutorials, recipes, and handmade gift buying ideas.  Each day there is also an awesome give-away so be sure  to stop
by and leave a comment.

Wee Folk Art is also putting together a Handmade Christmas Directory.  Stop by and grab a Support Handmade Button.  They also have some fabulous tutorials that you can make as gifts as well as fun give-aways.

I'm participating in Betz White's Felt & Stitch Holidays Workshop II this year!  Yeah!  She opened up a second workshop to fit more people in as her first one filled up immediately.  Thanks you, Betz!  Check out her site for some great gift tutorials and ideas.

...Here's to me not getting too overwhelmed this year.  As much as I want to I just can't do them all...I simply must convince myself of this fact!