Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope you're enjoying the holiday with loved ones!  We sure are!  We're getting ready to eat our Christmas dinner, and then we'll be snuggling up because we're expecting SNOW tonight!  :)

Merry Christmas!


Whimsical Forest Animal Christmas Stockings

Last weekend before we headed up to Missouri to see my family for Christmas, we had an early Christmas between just the two of us, and we got to use the new stockings I made! 

The stockings were too heavy to be hung by the chimney with care...probably because we have no fireplace and I was trying to hang them with 3M strips that weren't for the proper weight limit.

I used the Noodlehead stocking tutorial that I used the last time I made stockings, but I think they turned out a lot better than my first set!  I made a bunch of little felt forest animals with red scarves and hats.  I'm the hedgehog, Tyler wanted to be a moose, and of course my Pomeranian had to be a fox and my tuxedo cat had to be a skunk.  :)  Once I cut out the animals, I hand stitched them to the stockings and added small glass beads for eyes and noses.  I also stitched on little snowflakes while I was at it.

For our names I cheated and took them to a local monogramming store.  I won't lie.  Embroidery is like my least favorite activity ever.  I start mumbling cursewords whenever I for some strange reason decide to take on a large embroidery project.

Once the details were done, I followed the tutorial to sew them all together!  I omitted the extra strip of contrasting fabric between the cuff and the main stocking because I didn't have any red fabric to match my bias tape.  It turned out just fine that way--I just didn't add the two extra inches to the batting when I used the template to cut it out.

They look beautiful all together and I was so excited to use them at our early Christmas!  These photos were so cute I couldn't help but share.  It turns out our little doggie understands how stockings work.

She even knew which one was hers...

And she couldn't wait to open it!

Here's to hoping your Christmas was as joyful as our puppy's!  Thanks for stopping by!  :)


Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Snapshots: December 16-24

December 16: Coca-cola in Glass Bottles

December 17: Homemade Dog Biscuits Gifts

December 18: Packing to Visit Home for Christmas

December 19: Homemade Gift Basket
 December 20: Handmade Christmas Ornament

December 24: Red Berry Garlands

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cardinal and White Pinecone Wreath

It feels so good to be accomplishing things on my Christmas Craft List!  The first project I conquered was this cardinal and white pinecone wreath.  I got the idea off Pinterest via Better Homes and Gardens (see original project here), but I made it with my own twist!

red bird and white pinecone wreath

The tutorial called for a store bought pinecone wreath, but I thought, "Why pay for a pinecone wreath when I have plenty of pinecones in my own backyard?"  So I picked up bunches and bunches of pinecones, then bought a grapevine wreath at Jo-Ann's with my 40% off coupon.

red bird and pinecone wreath

I laid out the pinecones on the wreath where I wanted them, then used an unprudent amount of hot glue to stick them in place permanently.  I used about half a bag of glue sticks, if you can believe that!

Once everything was all tacked down, I spray painted the whole thing white.  I didn't bother to make sure everything was evenly coated.  I wanted the wood to show through so it looked like it was more frosted than just white.

red bird and white pinecone wreath

Once the paint dried, I put on the red birds and red bells instead of the ornaments the original tutorial called for, both of which I got for 60% off at Jo-Ann's.  And voila!  I think it turned out great, and I'm so excited to hang it in our living room with the rest of our Christmas decor, which is all red and white bird themed. :)

red bird and white pinecone wreath

I hope you're chipping away at your Christmas bucket list!  Thanks for reading.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Season's Snapshots: December 11-15

So I've missed a few days worth of photos, but with good reason!  I've been crafting, baking, and Christmas shopping up a storm this week!  I've accomplished three of the five projects on my Christmas Craft List, plus a few others!  I'm so excited to share everything I've done with you when I have time to take the necessary pictures.  In the meantime, here are some snapshots from this week!  (Sorry the pictures are little this time...I uploaded them from my phone.  Hopefully I can swap them out for higher res images soon!)

December 11: Christmas Stockings

I finished the stockings today!  Left this picture black and white to build suspense. :)

December 12: Pinecone Ornament

Took this picture a little blurry when I was trying to text it to my brother while we were on the phone.  It actually looked pretty neat so I kept it. :)

December 14: Hot Cocoa Mix Neighbor Gifts

It turns out it is SO cheap and SO easy to make these!  You've gotta do it--about $2 per gift!

December 15: Wrapped Gifts

After I finished our stockings today, my friend Allison came over to help me wrap all my Christmas presents.  We're doing our "family" (me, my fiance, and the puppy and kitty!) Christmas tomorrow.  We'll be going home to my family in Missouri for real Christmas. :)  I'm so excited to see everyone and go wedding dress shopping with my mom!

Hope you're taking time to enjoy the little things during this holiday season!  See you next time!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Season's Snapshots: December 8-9

December 8: Winter Camellias

December 9: Couch Cuddles!

Christmas Cookie Exchange Party

We had our Christmas cookie exchange party yesterday!  We only had three guests come, but we had a great time tasting cookies, eating hors d'ouvres, and playing Apples to Apples and Cranium.  My favorite part was seeing all the little pieces come together, which is what I'm here to share with you!  I'm kicking myself a little for not taking more/better pictures, but here's what I've got!

For our appetizers, we served pear and brie slices wrapped in proscuitto (recipe idea from Better Homes & Gardens).  We got the serving plate at Target for $1.

We also had tortellini and meatball skewers with marinara sauce on the side to dip it in (recipe idea also compliments of Better Homes & Gardens).

To drink, we made festive Poinsettias (champagne and cranberry juice).  We labeled all the foods with these cool little chalkboard placecards ($9.99 for a set of four at World Market--still trying to figure out how I could make one myself).

And I tied little bows out of red and white polka dotted ribbon onto the stems of our wine glasses.  This was a last minute idea and I think it was a very cute touch if I do say so myself!

We also had roasted almonds, chips and salsa, and a hot chocolate bar with crushed Andes Mints, graham cracker crumbles, marshmallows  and whipped cream (which was in the fridge at the point  this photo was taken).

And of course there were the cookies!  We made caramel filled chocolate cookies drizzled with a chewy caramel sauce and sprinkled with sea salt.

We had everyone label their cookies on these little cardstock place cards when they came in.  It said the name of the cookie and who they were made by.

My friend, Allison, made Ande's Mint chocolate cookies.

Another friend made Butter Rum Wafers, and a third friend who came made Molasses Cookies, which I forgot to take a picture of (rats!).

And you can't have cookies without milk, of course!

We ordered these red and white paper straws off Amazon.com, and we tied red ribbon around a canning jar to display them in.  I also tied a red ribbon around a carafe for the milk.

We sent everyone home with one of these red and white snowflake tins filled with assorted cookies.  I got the tins at Dollar General for $2 each.

We even decked out Monica in this red and white candy cane slide on dog bandanna.

We spent the evening chowing down on good food, chatting, and playing board games with good friends.  We had such a good time, and we're already planning our next get together!

I hope your holiday season is going well and that you're crafting up a storm!  Thanks for reading.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Season's Snapshots: Dec. 6-7

I didn't have a chance to take a picture yesterday because it was a crazy day, so today I took extra!  It was an awful day at work, so I was happy to come home and unwind to cookie baking and wreath making in preparation for the Christmas Cookie Exchange party we're hosting tomorrow.  Here's my evening in three snapshots...

December 7: Red & White Paper Straws

We ordered these in bulk and they came in today just in time for the party.  So pretty!  They remind me of candy canes and fit right along with our red, white, and snowflake theme for the party!

December 7: Chocolate Cookies

Here are the chocolate caramel-filled cookies we made for our Christmas Cookie Exchange. They're just cooling here and there will be some finishing touches tomorrow just before the party.  I'll be sure to share pictures!

December 7: Red Bird & White Pinecone Wreath

Ta-da!  I accomplished one of the things on my Christmas Craft List!  And it took a lot more tries than anticipated.  I'll make a separate post just on the wreath in a few days, but here's a sneak peak. :)  I'm really proud of this one because I finished it all on weeknights!  This is new for me.  I think I'm getting the hang of this work/life balance thing. :)

That's all I've got for you today, but hopefully on Sunday I'll be sitting down to share all the pictures from our Cookie Swap and the details on the red bird wreath.  See you then!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Season's Snapshots: Dec. 1-4

This year I decided to take one picture each day throughout December to help me pause and focus on the small joys that make the holidays so great.  I think it will really help me savor the season, and lucky for you, I'll be sharing the photos here each day.  Which probably means I'll probably be dumping them here in loads when I get behind.  :)  Here are the first four and a bonus!

December 1: Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Candle

December 2: White Christmas Lights

December 3: Frosted Window

December 4: Reindeer Pajamas

Bonus! November 25: Hot Chocolate and Popcorn

I hope you're relishing in all the small joys, too.  Happy crafting!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Craft List

For the past few years I've noticed that I no longer have a big Christmas Wish List.  When asked what I want for Christmas, I simply come up blank.  Now that I've graduated from college and am working, time is more precious and the holidays are more about slowing down and enjoying the beauty of the season around me--spending time with loved ones, enjoying all the pretty decorations, eating good food, and crafting, of course!  So instead of my Christmas Wish List, today I want to share with you my Christmas Craft List.  I've got a few projects in the making as we speak!  (Updates to come!)

1.   White Pinecone Wreath with Cardinals and Red Ornaments via Better Homes & Gardens

I found this beautiful project on Pinterest, and fell in love immediately.  Over the years I started collecting all my Christmas ornaments based on color (silver and bright red glittered ornaments), but somehow ended up buying all snowy bird and pinecone ornaments.  What can I say?  I have a thing for birds and pinecones.  Anyway, this wreath is right up my alley and I can't wait to hang it on my living room wall to go along with the rest of my Christmas decor.  I've already bought the supplies, and I'll be making the wreath with a few modifications.

2. Christmas Tree Photos via Lil Blue Boo

Okay, so this isn't exactly a craft, but perhaps my favorite part of Christmas is the Christmas tree.  I spend hours each season laying on the couch just looking at the twinkling lights and shining ornaments.  And there really is nothing better than curling up with my little dog on the couch and peacefully gazing at the tree.

I try my best to photograph my tree each year, but it's so hard to do!  So I was ecstatic when I found this tutorial by Lil Blue Boo on taking great photos of your Christmas tree.  Since I got a new camera for my birthday this year, I'm excited to try it out.

3. Christmas Stockings via Noodlehead

Two years ago I used Noodlehead's Christmas Stocking tutorial to make these stockings. (You can read the post about the stockings here.) It was my first real sewing project, and I was super proud of how they turned out, despite my sub-par embroidery skills and accidentally using the wrong color bias tape on my own stocking (whoops!).

Since our garage flooded and a bunch of our Christmas decorations got moldy (thank you, tropical storm Debbie!), I decided to make some new stockings this year using the same tutorial.  I'll be sure to share the pictures once they're finished!

4.  Hot Cocoa Mix in a Jar via My Baking Addiction

While we decorated our Christmas tree this year, we enjoyed some homemade hot cocoa and popcorn.  It was so yummy, we decided to package it up in a jar, wrap it with a cute label, and give it out as Christmas gifts to co-workers and neighbors.  My Baking Addiction has a great recipe and how-to, but there are lots of variations.  For more variations, consider adding peppermint pieces, caramels, and marshmallows to the mix, or consider adding salt or cayenne pepper in the recipe to bring out the sweetness.

5.  Upside Down Tomato Cage Christmas Tree via New England Design & Construction

This is another good project I found on Pinterest.  Since last year was the first year we actually lived in a house instead of an apartment for Christmas, we're still lacking in the outdoor Christmas light department.  For about $8 I just love this creative idea--turn a tomato cage upside down ($4.78 at Lowe's for a 54") and wrap with plenty of Christmas lights (as low as $2.69 for 100ct at Lowe's), and you've got a DIY outdoor lighted Christmas tree for your yard decorations!  I'll definitely be doing this!

I hope this post gets you inspired for your Christmas craft projects.  Thanks for reading, and as always, happy crafting!

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