Baby it’s cold outside

And…. we’re back! It’s been a busy holiday season for BJ and I, but despite being busy, we had some time to continue working on our home projects. I just ran out of time to keep you updated! I’ve added “write more blog posts” to my list of new year’s resolutions this year.

Now that the holidays are winding down and we’re looking to the new year, we will once again change our home decor. The in-between seasons are always a fun time to decorate. They are sometimes a little challenging, but allow for a decent amount of creativity. Here is how we decorated after Christmas last year.

I like to use decor that will translate from one season to the next. Before Christmas, I picked out two new vases, corks and cranberries to dress up our kitchen island. I chose the cranberries for their rich warm color, perfect for fall to winter decorating. The corks are a nice earthy color, another warm color that can be for fall or winter.

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When choosing a candle in our decor, I almost always go with an led candle, unless I have no plans to light the candles. The candles in the picture below are led and have a timer on them. Every night they come on at the same time and go off at the same time.

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In our winter decor this year, I want to add some more greenery. I like this idea I found on Pinterest to roll candles in faux snow. I also like the birds because we have a few wooden birds that look like these. The pine in the vase might be a little harder to pull off because we do not have any pine in our yard and pine is hard to find after Christmas. The stores sell off all of their Christmas decor and move on to spring decor too quickly.

DIY: Add faux snow to candles for a new look.

Here’s an idea for a way to use branches from a real Christmas tree. Before you throw the tree out, cut off a few branches and display them in a nice bucket with a few lights, pine cones and berry sprays. DIY winter decor || Lover.lyTo decorate our kitchen chalkboard, I like this idea for a “baby it’s cold out here” sign. We still have several months left of winter and it will be cold outside. So, why not have this sign in your house after holidays?

Love this sign for winter decorating

For more ideas, search “winter decor” on Pinterest. There are so many fun things you can do with winter decor. Be creative! You don’t have to put away all of your favorite decor items from Christmas. Keep a few winter items out and use them to celebrate the season a little longer in the new year!

Enjoy!

Pinterest Inspired Christmas Gift Project #2: Scrabble Tile Coasters

We hope everyone had a great Christmas and a very Happy New Year. We’ve enjoyed the last week by spending time with family and friends.

I wanted to circle back to one of the Pinterest-inspired Christmas gifts mentioned here. Our second Pinterest-inspired Christmas gift was a set of DIY Scrabble tile coasters.

Here’s the Pinterest pin that inspired our Scrabble coaster Christmas gift:

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To put our scrabble coasters together, I bought three Scrabble games. Two of which I bought on a Black Friday sale for $7, and the third game I bought on sale for $8, plus I had a $2 coupon, making it $6.

Before we started assembling the coasters, we spelled out beverage-related words with the tiles. The trick: words should be four letters to make sure your coasters are square.

Once we came up with the words, we started arranging related words together. We ended up only using two of the Scrabble games, but in order to make more four word coasters, it probably would’ve taken all three games.

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For some of the coasters we came up with four four-letter words, for the others, we arranged two four letter words that shared one common letter.

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To fill in the extra space on the two word tiles, we flipped the extra letter titles that were left over and used them as blank tiles.

Next, we super glued the tiles together and then sprayed them with a clear enamel like this one:

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We used cork as the backing for the tiles. I found this role of cork in the school supplies section of Target.

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We unrolled the cork and let it rest on the counter for a few days. We also placed bowls on the cork to help flatten it out.

Once the cork was flat enough to use and our tiles had a chance to dry, we measured the cork and cut it to fit each tile square.

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For the last step, we placed the cork backing on each tile with Scotch double-sided tape. You can also use glue.

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We stacked the coasters up and put something heavy (like a book or pot) on the tiles to ensure the tape had time to set up and achieve good contact to the tiles.

And there you have it.

Now for the finished product:

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It was a lot of fun to make our Pinterest-inspired gifts this year. Here is one of our mugs pictured with the completed coasters:

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Happy 2013! Here’s to more DIY adventures in the new year! How are you planning to DIY this year?

Christmas Tags: Meet Gifts

The Christmas tags we posted about in November made their officially debut on our Christmas gifts. And since it’s Christmas Eve, I thought we would show you how they turned out!

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From our last post, we even added another feature to the tags. (Click here to see instructions on how to make the tags.)

In order to label each gift recipient, I needed a way to write names on the tags. To solve this, I created labels with “A gift for” and the recipients’ name to place on the back of the tag.

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To create the labels, you can use programs like InDesign or Pages.

After I was satisfied with the design and printed a test page on regular paper, I printed the labels on sticker paper like I did for the front labels. And in case we needed to purchase any additional gifts, I also created a few blank labels to write on.

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Here is the front of the label:

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And the back:

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I’m really happy with the way they turned out. They were a little time consuming to make because I had to cut all the labels by hand, but the end result was worth it. They are a nice personal touch to each of our gifts this year.

Do you make your own gift tags or bows? I love adding personal touches to Christmas gifts. I think it makes them more fun to open.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Christmas Candy: Meet Mason Jar

Mason jars have many practical uses. Outside of canning, they are popping up in wedding and home decor. I love them because they’re an easy and inexpensive way to display just about anything. This year, I incorporated a few jars into our holiday decor.

My parents recently gave us canned peaches and canned salsa in mason jars. After we finished eating the contents of the jars, I cleaned and saved them to use a candy jars.

I chose to use wrapped candy, but you can use other candies such as gumdrops or ribbon candy. To keep the unwrapped candy fresh, just add lids.

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The mason jars I have are all different sizes and shapes. The different sizes and shapes worked out well for my display because I have different quantities and sizes of candy.

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I hope everyone is all ready for Christmas. One more day! I’m hoping for a white Christmas. How about you?

Pinterest Inspired Christmas Gift Project # 1: Christmas Word Mugs

Following my post on Christmas gift ideas and decorations, BJ and I started working on a few of the DIY gift ideas I mentioned.

First up: Christmas mugs! I found this pin on Pinterest and thought, why not?

DIY decorative or favorite sayings mugs

This project was really quick and simple and you only need a few supplies.

Here’s what you will need to complete your Christmas word mugs.

1. Two white ceramic mugs. I found two mugs like this one at Target.

And small confession, I was a little overly excited to start my project that I forgot to take a picture of the mugs before I wrote on them…

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2. Permanent markers. Also found at Target.

I chose red and green markers to go along with the Christmas word theme but you could use whatever colors you like. Before I started writing, I wiped down the outside of the mugs with rubbing alcohol so the ink would stick to the mug better. This is optional, but a good idea.

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3. An oven and cookie sheet.

After I finished decorating the mugs with fun Christmas words, I baked them on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. IMG_2650 IMG_2651

Once they were finished baking, I carefully removed the mugs from the oven and let them cool.

Here are the finished products!

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Are you making gifts for Christmas this year? If so, what kind of gifts are you making?

Christmastime is here

Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer. Fun for all, that children call their favorite time of year…

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I could listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas album on repeat for hours. There is something about that music that is calming. With all the hustle and bustle, it’s nice to take a moment to relax around Christmas and enjoy the season.

Speaking of enjoying the season, BJ and I always look forward to winter because we love snow. I love the way everything looks with a layer of snow. It’s like natural glitter coating everything in a sparkling white. This year, for our dining room Christmas tablescape, I wanted to capture our love for winter and snow.

Remember the Crate and Barrel vases I mentioned in our last post? I decorated the vases using faux snow and vase filler from Target.


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The Crate and Barrel clear glass vases joined our tablescape along with our reindeer placemats, a few pine cones I found in our bin-o-seasonal items, tea light candles, our reusable wedding centerpieces (aka Ikea lanterns) and a floral arrangement consisting of poinsettia, mistletoe and willows. The flowers are arranged in a tall ceramic vase I bought on clearance at Target for around $3.88.

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I’m really happy with the way the clear glass vases look on the table with the rest of our tablescape.
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Here is a closer shot of the tall ceramic vase I purchased for less than $4.

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And here are our Christmasy-pine cones and tea lights. The pinecones are snow-capped and the white snow has a little bit of glitter in it to make the pinecones sparkle.IMG_2640
Below is the full tablescape in all it’s glory. I think may leave it up past Christmas. Maybe I can find some neutral snowflake/winter placemats and some different flowers for January and February.


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Do you capture your favorite parts of the season in your home decor?

Spreading Christmas Cheer

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” – Buddy the Elf
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I love the movie Elf and I always enjoy watching it around the start of December to get into the holiday mood. We kicked off this December with a marathon of Christmas decorating and each night this week we’ve been adding a few more decorations. It seems like I keep pulling more and more decorations out of storage!

Here is a peek at what we’ve been up to over the past week.

Friday night, I started by decorating our mantle. I changed our previous flower arrangements to red orchids, mistletoe and willows. We also hung the stocking we bought during an after-Christmas sale at Crate and Barrel a few years ago. And of course, the mantle isn’t complete without Zoey’s “meow” stocking, also from Crate and Barrel.
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Here’s a closer look at the orchid, mistletoe, willow arrangements.IMG_2551

Our hallway even got a little Christmas love with the addition of a wreath I made years ago and a cluster of oversized jingle bells.

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I love this time of year and it’s so nice to look around and see little touches of Christmas throughout our home. Our kitchen island is even looking festive this year with the placemats and table runner I found on sale (plus coupons) at Target.
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Remember our Christmas wrapping paper frames from last year? They’re back!
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I also started on the table arrangements for the dining room table. I still have some work to do on the main centerpiece, but here is a peek at the wintry vases I put together with some faux snow, Christmas vase filler and a few pinecones from our Fall vases filler. Pictures of the completed table look to come.


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Last but not least, here are our Christmas trees. The tree below is located in our foyer by the staircase.

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And here is our big beautiful tree in all its glory. It is so nice to sit on the couch and look over at our glowing tree. When the fireplace is going and the tree is all lit up, it’s so cozy and feels like Christmas.

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Now if only the weather would cooperate and send us some snow. Then it will really feel like Christmas!

DIY Thursday: Christmas Gifts and Decorations

This year there was Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday that turned into Cyber Tuesday, Cyber Wednesday and I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Enough with the shopping events already. If you’re planning to make any of your gifts this year, it’s time to get busy. In the spirit of making gifts and decorations, I’m calling today “DIY Thursday.”

BJ and I will be making a few gifts this year and earlier this month, I started gathering some inspiration from Pinterest. Here are a few of my favorite ideas for holiday gifts.

1. Scrabble Coasters

If you were out Black Friday shopping this year, you probably saw the Scrabble Classic game for $7 at Target. Once you have the Scrabble tiles, all you need for this gift is some cork for the back, super glue and then a clear enamel spray. Sounds easy enough.

Domestic for Dummies: Fall Pinterest Project: DIY Coasters

2. Hand written/drawn designs on coffee mugs

Thinking of getting someone a coffee or tea sampler? You can design your own mugs to go along with the gift set. All you need is a Sharpie, a white ceramic mug(s) and an oven.

DIY decorative or favorite sayings mugs

3. Flower Canvas

If you’re feeling crafty and have some extra scrapbook paper and a canvas laying around (or a craft store nearby), you can make your family or friends this flower made of scrapbook paper.

Beautiful canvas made with scrapbook papers.

4. Homemade Cocoa Mix

Last year, I made several family members and friends cocoa mixes. Just follow the ingredients listed here and viola: homemade cocoa! Yum.

Fun for Christmas gifts.

Last year, I also made a few DIY decorations like these poinsettia ornaments out of cardboard.

And decorations using frames and wrapping paper.

Are you making any gifts or decorations this year? Where do you find your inspiration for DIY Christmas gifts?

Holiday Planning

I originally thought I would save this post for closer to Christmas, but if some of you are like me, your inherent need to make lists and plan starts to overwhelm you this time of year. I admit, it’s still too early to put up Christmas decorations, crank the ”NSYNC Christmas album or even drink peppermint mochas but for those that have already done all the things I just listed, I don’t judge. There is no shame in a peppermint mocha-loving, ‘NSYNC fan. I should know. 🙂

To kick off our holiday planning this year, I started by making personalized Christmas gift tags.

These tags are really easy to make and need just a few supplies.

To make these Christmas tags, you will need:

  • Sticker paper, a ink jet printer and scissors. I bought our sticker paper at Staples. It is the cheapest I could find.

  • Craft paper that you can find at Michaels, Jo Ann Fabrics or A.C. Moore. You can use two-sided or one-sided craft paper. I chose both to see how they would look.

  • Ribbon to hang the tags. I found this ribbon at Michaels.

  • A circle punch, which you can find at Michaels. This is the super size which is 2.5 inches. It works really well for cutting big circles.

To make the tags, I started by designing a template in Adobe InDesign for the smaller personalized circles. You can also use other programs such as Pages or Microsoft Word. Before I printed my template, I lightly outlined the circles so I could see where to cut them. Then I printed the circles on to the sticker paper using an ink jet printer.

After you print the small circles on to the sticker paper, use the paper punch to cut out a larger circle from the craft paper.

Next, neatly cut out your circles from the sticker paper. Remove the sticker backing and place the small circle sticker in the middle of your large craft paper circle.

Use a hole punch to create the hole for the ribbon. I used one punch of a three-hole punch.

Then, cut a piece of ribbon and loop it through the hole and tie it together at the end.

And there you have it! A fun gift tag for your Christmas gifts.

These tags are also great for wine bottles. If you are bringing wine to Thanksgiving dinner, you can make a few of these tags. They would even be fun with sayings like “Happy Harvest” or  “Give Thanks.” Last year I made napkin rings with fun Thanksgiving sayings on them that you could use for the wine tags.

You could also give some wine for Christmas with these tags and perhaps use a ribbon or two to wrap the bottle.

The Christmas craft paper I chose is two-sided so it’s even fun when you turn the tag around.

Another project I started early this year was our Christmas cards. I bought a Groupon for Zazzle.com and designed our cards on their Web site. I don’t want to give too much away before the holidays, but the cards already here and I can’t wait to send them!

Have you started your Christmas gift planning and projects already? What fun projects do you have in store this year?