Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The cutest nephews on the block

I just may be biased, but these boys are the cutest nephews around.  I can't wait to see their cute faces in a few days and to cover them with hugs and kisses!  The oldest (Ethan) may not cooperate, but Elijah sure will!

 Baby obsessed with paper+jewelry catalog=happy baby! (unhappy dad)

Isn't that face just the cutest?! He's such a happy kiddo.

So deep in thought, probably planning a paper attack.

Ooo camera!

Would some one please come play with me?

Yayy! More paper!

Teething baby+Aunt Lauren finishing off a 2 liter of Diet Coke=a fabulous toy!  Too funny!

Isn't that awesome?! My mom finds *awesome* deals at a local flea market. Me on the other hand, I get way too overwhelmed at a flea market and "flee" the store!  Wow, my jokes are corny.

Hard core biker dude.

Elijah already liking the mo-mo!  Big brother isn't up for sharing just yet...

Darn, why did I look down & ruin the picture?

Ethan loves Uncle Brett!

 I just couldn't pass up posting this face.

Probably begging for him to give me a hug.  

At least he's sitting still.

Come back next week for Christmas pictures with these cuties.  Can't wait to watch them open presents! 

Now off to wrap said presents...

Monday, December 20, 2010

DIY Christmas Ornaments

From various blog inspirations I decided to make a few ornaments for our tree this year.  I was getting a little sick of the plain glass balls so I wanted something a little more creative.

Here were my supplies.  I started out with a lot more glass ornaments than I ended up with because I messed several up and got impatient.  Hey, it happens.

I tried putting acrylic paint in the glass ornament and swirling it around.  But even after days it still wasn't dry, so I gave up out of frustration.  The ornaments were about $.40 so I wasn't too concerned.  I did have a few successes though.
#1: Glitter Monogrammed Ornaments

First I cleaned the ornaments by swirling alcohol around and letting dry overnight.  Then I sprayed spray adhesive on the inside of the ornament, making sure I got every spot.  Then I poured glitter in and swirled it around to cover the whole ornament.  I then sprayed a little more adhesive into the ornament so that the glitter would stick.  Then I took scrapbooking letters and placed them on the outside to make them monogrammed!  So easy!

*Ornament - $2.50 for 4 large, 6 medium, or 8 small (originally $4.99, 70% off at JoAnn's right now!)
*Glitter - price varies, $2.99 for a medium amount, less with a coupon
*Spray Adhesive - varies, mine was about $6 with a 50% off coupon
*Letters - varies, mine were $1.39 (30% off of $1.99)

Total - $1.05/ornament (roughly)

#2: Sparkly Orbs
(I don't have a better name than this besides gems on a styrofoam ball ornament!) 
I really like how this one turned out!  I don't like the green as much since you can see the white styrofoam through the gems.  It probably would have been okay if I painted the styrofoam green, but I was too impatient.
I started with a styrofoam ball (from WalMart or the Dollar Tree) and began hot gluing on vase filler gems.  (The white ones were from Michael's and green from the Dollar Tree.  I liked the ones from Michael's better because they have different shades/colors.  If I had blues on my tree I would have gotten the really pretty blues/aquas they had.)  It's okay if there are big gaps, especially with the white gems, no one will notice!  When you have covered all you can, find the biggest gap and attach your hanger.  I hot glued ribbon on and put two straight pins to make the ribbon secure.  Wait a while before hanging, and make sure you put them on a low branch at first to make sure the hanger is secure.
One package made about two ornaments.

*Styrofoam balls - 6 for about $3
*Gems - $2.00 for the white ones, $1 for the green
*Ribbon - $.99
Total - $1-$1.50 per ornament

#3:  Snowballs

These are my favorite, and I have a couple more to make (hopefully before it's time to take them down!)
First I cut the styrofoam balls in half that I had left over from the previous ornament.  Then I cut squares of fabric, about one inch in size.  I used a white muslin fabric I got in JoAnn's remnants section for cheap!  Then I picked a section and put a little Elmer's glue on the half circle and with a toothpick (sharp end cut off) began poking the center of a fabric square into the foam. Keep going until the whole half circle is covered!  Get close to the other fabric pieces, but not so close that there's no foam around each fabric piece.  Then I hot glued silver cord on the back as hanger.

*Styrofoam balls - 6 for about $3
*Fabric - $.75 for about a 1/2 yard
*Silver Cord - $2.99

Total - $1 / ornament

#4: Monogram Snow Globes

These were definitely the easiest ornaments!  I cleaned the inside out with alcohol and let dry overnight.  Then I poured Epsom salt inside (looks a whole lot like snow!).  You can't put too much in, it gets pretty heavy and might weigh a branch down too much.
Next I put a silver glitter scrapbook letter on the outside (if I had a Silhouette I would have been much more creative! Santa?) and tied a bow around the hanger.


*Ornament - $2.50 for 4 large, 6 medium, or 8 small (originally $4.99, 70% off at JoAnn's right now!)
*Epsom Salt - $1.75 at Kroger for 1 lb
*Ribbon - $.89 (sale!)
*Letters - varies, mine were $1.39 (30% off of $1.99)

Total - $1 / ornament

Four great ornaments for about $1 a piece!
 (guessing based on what I paid, didn't get the calculator out)

If you made ornaments this year, I'd love to see them!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Card Wreath Tutorial

I'm back!!  Apparently after the 12 Days of Christmas I needed a break!  Plus this week has been filled with Christmas shopping and being sick.  I caught the winter cold that's going around, most likely from Hubby.  But  I'm slowly getting better and don't collapse on the couch after I get home from work now.

So through blogging I've discovered I'm obsessed with wreaths!  While browsing Martha's site I found this one.

Pinup Wreath

I really like this way of displaying Christmas cards so I picked up an embroidery loop and ribbon at JoAnn's.

Her site said to use wood glue, but I was too impatient with it so I used my trusty hot glue gun.

I glued the clothespins on alternating which way the clip part of the pin pointed.  I wish I had mini clothespins like Martha used, but I already had the normal sized ones.  I am terrible with making bows so I made a loop, hot glued that together and then worked for way too long to make a bow I liked.  Then I glued that on.

Here it is hanging on our wall:

And with Christmas cards!

Speaking of Christmas cards, here are ours now that the recipients should have gotten them!


Inside top & bottom:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

On the 12th Day of Christmas

Linking up with Cait for the last day of the 12 Days of Christmas for a little Christmas Musings.


This is really more of a musing instead of several.  A couple years ago I gave as gifts a jar of potato soup mix.  I don't have a picture of the jar but here's something like what I gave:

And just imagine it was potato soup inside!

1 qt. jar with lid
Thin ribbon/string/yarn/raffia
Tissue paper/fabric

Ingredients for approximately one jar:
1-3/4 cups instant mashed potatoes

1-1/2 cups dry milk

2 T. instant chicken bullion
(or vegetable if making for a vegetarian)
2 tsp. dried minced onion

1 tsp. dried parsley

1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1/8 tsp. turmeric

1-1/2 tsp. seasoned salt

*Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Place in 1 quart canning jars.

*Decorate with your supplies.  If your lid is 2 pieces place round disc on 1st, then fabric, then outer rim. 

*Print the following instructions on card stock, cut out and attach to each jar.

Potato Soup

To Serve: Place ½ cup of soup mix in a soup bowl and add 1 cup of boiling water.  Stir until well blended.
Makes 6-8 servings.
Mix in bacon bits and cheese to make it loaded potato soup!  Enjoy!!

I got a lot of compliments that the soup was great, and it was easy to put together!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On the 11th Day of Christmas...

Linking up with Cait at TheBlessedLife for the 11th Day.


I have a hard time with today's topic, being thrifty at Christmas.  I usually get caught up in the sales and buying for other people and go over budget.  Oops!  But this year I'm definitely doing a lot better. I want to  make a lot of gifts so there aren't too many things I'll be buying.  Last night I did most of my shopping so from now until Christmas I'll be busy crafting & sewing (not to mention learning to sew!).  Here are the few things I used when I shopped.

* Buy a Sunday newspaper ($1.75) and look through the ads.  This will help you with the next two items.

*Keep an eye out for coupons.  I saved $20 last night at Bed Bath & Beyond using the coupons I've accumulated the past few months (they take expired coupons). I also used coupons at Ulta and Bath & Body Works.

*MAKE A PLAN!  This is the biggest tip.  Before you even walk in to a store make a list of what you will get each person.  It will save you time at the stores and probably frustration from crowds.  After you have a list, break it up by store.  

*Remember that Christmas gifts don't have to be expensive to mean something to the recipient.  Most people enjoy gifts where the giver spent more time putting the gift together/creating it than money.  My encouragement, get creative!  Use google to get ideas from gift lists others have put together.  Good luck!

On the 10th Day of Christmas

Linking up with Caitlin for the 10th day for Christmas Decorations!!


I proudly bring you our Christmas decorations for Christmas 2010.  Remember, we live in a 900 square feet condo.  Space is not something we have a lot of so decorations are not high in numbers.  But I love what we do have!

Here's our door to greet you. 

The wall to the left when you walk in.  We recently hung the signature frames from the wedding with the wreath I made!


Our Nutcracker "calendar"


My Christmas hurricanes.  Left one filled with book page circles, tied with ribbon.  Right one filled with a white candle (the "religious" ones from the dollar store) and two red and brown picks. They are on top of a red place mat.  It looked too plain with out it.

Since our TV is on our mantle, I have to decorate the floor.  Kind of awkward, but it works.

Our tree! 

This year's ornament.  I love it!!

Our little table next to our tree.  I love eiffel towers and couldn't pass this one up on sale at Michaels.  Behind it are mosaic candle holders from Dollar Tree.  I love mosaic decorations!

Fleur di lis bowl (love love fleur di lis too!) filled with ornaments and my B&BW Spice candle.  I love their covers!

Snowmen are a fave too.  These are from my mother in law.  This one is me (I think)

And this one is Brett.

Hope you enjoyed the tour of our decorations!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On the 9th Day of Christmas

Linking up with Caitlin for Wrapping Tips


I'm pretty sure this post will be short...I'm not the best at wrapping presents so I'm not much of an expert.  It always frustrated me that my sister's look so much better than mine!  I envy the people that wrap presents at fancy stores.  It always looks great!

But here are some quick tips:

1.  Don't spend too much on wrapping paper.  Yes, buy the cute paper, but not paper that's more than the present.  It's going to be ripped off anyways!  (Unless your grandmother or other family member makes you save it, but how do you reuse wrapping paper?)  This week I got 3 rolls for $1.50 at Michaels.  Normally $3, but all their Christmas stuff was 50% off.  Look for those kind of deals, which are usually after Christmas. 

2.  Use gift bags.  These are definitely reusable and are much easier for weird shaped gifts.  These are from Superior Gift Wrap where you can buy gift wrap in bulk! Some of their papers are adorable! These are my favorite: 
Ornaments on Metallic paper

Not Christmas, but some of my favorite colors! Printed on Kraft paper (eco friendly section)

Not Christmas, but I love this print!  It would be a great pillow.

This is cute and whimsical. 

3.  Use pre-wrapped boxes, and re-use them.  For a long time our Christmas presents from my parents have come in the same pre-wrapped boxes and we leave the boxes for them to use again.  They're good quality so they've lasted a while.

To keep it fun, get creative!!!  Buy Kraft paper from the dollar tree and make it your own with a bow made from thick ribbon:

Wrap with newspaper and make a pretty bow or flower out of more newspaper, scrapbook paper or a magazine page:

(These were wrapped with the stock section)
To find out how to make your own magazine bow (like the orange one) head over to How About Orange.

You can stamp the kraft paper or kraft paper gift bag:

This one's by my hero, Martha!  I might just have to use my 40% Hobby Lobby coupon to buy myself a patterned stamp!

If I had any wrapped presents I was proud of, I would show them.  But first you have to buy them.  And before that you have to make a list (well I do).  Wow, I need to get on it!

Since I ramble, this turned out to be way longer than I thought! Yay!!
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