Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Cards: The clean up

It's time to undeck the halls and clean up the holly. It's time to throw away the 5 pound fruitcake and take down the Christmas lights. It's time to get rid of the Christmas cards everyone sent you...or is it?? I love Christmas cards. I especially love the ones with pictures. I love the others too, but the picture Christmas cards make me so happy. I just was never sure what to do with them after the holidays other than put them in a box to look at every once in a while. There's no way I'd be able to frame each and every one of them. But, thanks to my friend Haley, I now have a new solution. She told me this little trick last year, but doesn't remember it at all. I'm glad she remembered it long enough to tell me though, because it's brilliant! Want to hold on to your Christmas cards, birth announcements, or any other cards you may be interested in and make it fun for your kids to look at too? Create a book with them! All you need is a hole punch and some rings like you would find in a binder (you can get them from office supply stores or even Walmart or Fred Meyer for super cheap).

I like to write the year on the back of each of the cards for my reference. After it's dated, I hole punch the picture and then put it in the binder rings.

Put it on the rings with the rest of your Christmas cards, make a cover if you wanna (I have yet to do that) and you have a make-shift photo album that you and your loved ones can enjoy!

Thanks to my sister for the Christmas card, hers gets to be the example. :) 
You can do this with normal cards too. That's how I've been storing all of the cards that I've gotten from showers and such since my daughter has been born, but because it's not pictures, I'm just using one ring in the corner. Those cards will be put in her memory box and this way they will all stay together. I love finding new solutions for storing my pictures and other stuff that I am too clingy to get rid of. :)

So, if you are clingy like me, I hope this gives you a helpful solution. May you all be blessed in 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Traveling: The Spills

Have you ever flown somewhere only to land at your destination and discover your shampoo has exploded all over your luggage? Yeah...*ahem*...me neither. Honestly though, I think I learned this the hard way; if you don't put it in a plastic bag, it's gonna explode on everything and not just your other toiletries. It's quite frustrating. However, there is a solution! To read about this and many other traveling tips, check out this blog.
Photo from Pinterest
Just wrap your full-sized lotions, shampoos, etc. with plastic wrap! How easy is that?! I tried this recently as we flew to Texas for Thanksgiving. I've not had the experience of exploding lotions and shampoos all that often, other than when it was already in a plastic bag. But, pulling it out of the plastic bag afterwards is messy and the bag can't really be reused as easily. So, I gave this option a try.
 I struggled with it just a bit because it wanted to bunch up as I would tighten the lid on my lotion, but it still worked! My lotion and shampoo and other toiletries made it to Texas without any fluids coming out. It was most excellent.

So, there you have it. A quick, cheap little trick for you travelers out there. Happy trails!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Easy Sock Snowman

These cute little guys are a
quick and easy craft to give
as gifts!


  • Crew socks
  • Rice
  • Rubber bands
  • Buttons
  • Small black beads
  • Fabric
  • Orange foam sheet or construction paper (for nose)

  • 1.  Cut sock in half.

    2.  Turn upper half of sock inside out, secure raw edge with rubber band.

    3. Turn right side out.
    4.  Fill sock 2/3 full with rice.

    5.  Shake sock to settle rice.

    6.  Secure with rubber band.
    7.  Fill head with more rice, secure with rubber band. 

    8.  Fold raw edge of toe end of sock to form cuff.
    9.  Secure with glue onto head.
    10.  Glue on eyes and nose.
    11.  Cut fabric into a 1"x 12" strip, wrap around neck for scarf.
    12.  Glue buttons to front.
    13.  Cut (5) 1/2"x1-1/2" strips of fabric and glue together and add to hat.

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

    Signs for Christmas

    This is, again, a little cheat on my blog. I didn't get these ideas from Pinterest, but I have been busy crafting my little heart out and thought I'd show you my two latest creations. One idea I got from Craft Warehouse, where I saw this cute little sign.

    When I saw it, my initial thought was "I bet I could make that!" And, by golly, I could! (Not surprisingly, seeing as how they make these for folks to find their inspiration. It's how those craft stores grab ya!)
    Supplies that I purchased for this project:
    A wood frame that they sell at Craft Warehouse. You could probably find a frame of just about any kind and make this though.
    Red Paint (which I actually already had at home)
    Ribbon for the border
    Some bling or ribbon or whatever your little heart desires for the inside
    Vinyl for the words
    Mod Podge to secure the ribbon

    Here it is, a blank piece of wood just waiting to have something gorgeous applied to it
    I originally started out with red paint, but it was much too bright, so I got a slightly darker red and repainted it. I liked the end result. And, obviously, you don't have to use red...I'm just not creative enough to come up with my own color scheme. After the paint had dried, I mod podged the ribbon to the border and waited for that to dry.

    Instead of blinging up the sides like the Craft Warehouse example, I used some cute snowflake ribbon that I found and just placed it on the bottom of the frame, again using mod podge. I thought about applying it all the way around the frame, but I think it would've been a little overkill. After all was dry, I went to my amazing Silhouette Cameo and created the text for my copy-cat masterpiece. Once it was applied, my sign was complete and I was quite pleased with the results! The ribbon is a little long and I didn't cut it down quite enough and some of the vinyl is a little cockeyed in spots, but I am settling for the time being because crafting with a two year old and an infant means you have to settle for a while from time to time.

    My other project was for an online auction that my MOPS group was putting on. I have actually made a few of these and I love them. A friend of mine made one and I just had to copy her idea and make it my ownself, plus I found it on Pinterest so I was determine to make it too.

    Photo from Pinterest
     I did this little project on a deep set canvas that was 8x24 in size. (Well, my original was 8x24, this one was 12x24, but my preference is the 8x24).

    So for this project, you just need:
    A deep set 8x24 canvas
    Paint color of your choice
    Paper or vinyl
    Mod Podge

    I wasn't crazy about the red background, so I changed that up a bit this time (I'm a rebel!) and went for a dark night sky blue. I painted the entire canvas including the outside edges.

    After that was dry, I took the paper that I had purchased (sparkly silver paper) and cut it out, again, using my fancy cutting machine - the Silhouette Cameo! Seriously, that machine is AMAZING! After it was cut, I placed the cut-outs on the board to my liking, then I mod-podged them down on the canvas. Be careful not to use too much mod podge as it can leave a little white glaze on the top of your canvas, but for the most part that doesn't happen.

    I have actually made this sign a number of times as gifts and I used a different technique each time to see which way I preferred. So, here is what I learned: Once I used glitter spray paint and painted with that first, then I applied a vinyl of my cut-outs, painted over the top and once it was mostly dry, peeled off the vinyl. This I wasn't as excited about as it left the print looking a bit sloppy or unkempt, in my opinion. (See bottom sign in picture) Then I've tried applying mod podge to the entire canvas after the cut-outs have been applied. This leaves a nice glaze on the sign, but the glittery paper isn't quite so shimmery. If you had nothing to compare it to, you'd never notice though - it still has plenty of shimmer. (See middle sign in picture) and then I've just used glue or mod podge for the cut-outs and left the rest alone. This works well, though sometimes the glue leaves a bit of shine if it's outside of the cut-outs. (See top sign in picture) Either way, I prefer the second or third method over the first.

    3 different examples
    In the end, I just think this is a beautiful Christmas sign, no matter how it is made. But, just so you can choose your preference, here is the 8x24 sign vs the 12x24 sign

    8x24 Sign
    12x24 sign
    So, there you have it. All the beautiful signs I've been making recently. I know there are ways to cut vinyl without the fancy silhouette cutting machine, but since I have it, I will continue to use it. I love it. Happy crafting and Merry Christmas!

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Dusting Blinds

    I remember hearing a tip a while back about cleaning your blinds using some knit gloves. You know the ones I'm speaking of, you can get them very cheap in the fall and winter and they usually come in sets of three. Anyway, now that I want to find this tip I am at a loss! So, I can't give credit where it might be due. Either way, I didn't come up with this idea on my own, but I tried it today and below is my review of this system. Warning and confession: I rarely dust my blinds so they were very icky and I am humbling myself enough to show it here. Eek!

    Here it is, the creeper hand about to go to work on the filthy, dirty, dusty blinds. I started out with one glove and just ran my fingers through the blinds while they were closed.

    I tried doing multiple slats at a time, but that proved to be a bit of a challenge if I actually wanted to get all the dust off. So, I went back to the top and bottom side of each slat. This was a daunting task and not very much fun.

    Gross, right? But, as you can see it was working. I discovered it actually worked better to run the glove through the blinds when they were open, so I switched to that rather quickly, with much better success.

    Another creeper hand picture. Kinda makes me feel like singing "sometimes I feel like, somebody's watching me..." the level of creepiness factor for this picture is over the top for me. A car outside, black gloves peering through the blinds. Yeah...this is definitely a good Halloween post. HA!

    I then decided to add the other glove so as to take on double duty and see if I could finish faster. I have 3 very large blinds in my living room, so it wasn't a quick cleaning. It felt like it took way too long. It was better once I was using two gloves, but still. Boring.

    The next picture truly shows the uber-grossness factor of how well the dusting worked. My window ledge was NASTY afterward. I would not recommend doing this unless you are planning to vacuum right afterward.

    EWWWWWWW!! But, yay for clean blinds!

    So, my review is as follows: the dusting works better (and faster) with two gloves, it still left a little trace of dust on the blinds (static and such, I'd assume). I went over it with the wand on my vacuum for finishing touches and that worked wonderfully. This is something I will keep in my cleaning arsenal, although, as you can tell, the likelihood that I will use it again is slim since I don't clean my blinds nearly often enough and we will probably move before they are cleaned again. Ridiculous, I know.

    After trying to relocate the article I read that recommended this (again, to no avail), I discovered there are some things that may have made this work a little better and that I will try in the future...you know...if I clean my blinds ever again. One, instead of gloves, try using a dryer sheet - it's supposed to help keep the dust on the sheet instead of spreading over the blinds as much. And two, if you do use the glove (or an old sock), dip it in equal parts distilled vinegar and water to actually clean them and not just dust them. I also saw a recommendation to use a lint roller on closed blinds to remove dust and dirt. I may have to try this as well...

    Happy cleaning!

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    DIY Christmas Card Hanger

    Wow. It's been a while since I've actually written a post. I knew, once I was pregnant, I was going to be taking a short break from my blog, so I went to work adding some posts before baby got here. Baby is now here and she is absolutely perfect. I love her very much. Thankfully, brother is quite smitten with her as well. What a blessing that is!

    Back to my blog. Last year, I wanted to find a creative way to hang my Christmas cards that wasn't just taping them to a wall. Because, let's face it, that's really not creative at all. So, I went to Pinterest, as always. I couldn't find the exact pin that I took the idea from, but I found a similar idea today so you can check it out. To check out the blog, click here.
    Photo from Pinterest
    This was very simple to make, and even more simple because I used my Silhouette Cameo to do so. However, it should be fairly easy even without the fancy cutting machine.

    I started by painting a piece of wood red. I didn't actually want the sign to be red, but wanted it to have red highlights in it. To complete that, after the red paint had dried, I painted over it with black paint. Once the black paint was dry, I used a piece of sandpaper and sanded the board ever so slightly in order to see the red paint as well. It kind of gave it a worn look - which is what I was going for.

    This was before the paint had dried and before I applied another coat of black paint.
    Once that was completed, I added my phrase "Season's Greetings" to the board. I used a paint pen to make it look extra cool. I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I saw on Pinterest, a lot of people made signs like these that said "Merry Mail." If I had seen that, I may have stolen their ideas. It is pretty cute.

    After all was dry, I used a glue gun and added ribbon to attach the Christmas cards and a skinny ribbon to hang the sign. As it says in threepartsblessed's blog, a "Command" hook is an awesome invention and should be used for hanging your sign. It comes off clean from your walls at the end of the holiday season. I love them.

    And there you have it. This picture was obviously taken at the start of the season. I wanted to allow for ample time to add Christmas cards. This was a great addition to my holiday decor and it was very useful. I think I will decorate the clothespins next, but I haven't taken the time to do that yet.

    Anyway, I'd recommend making something like this. It doesn't take too much work and it is oh-so handy if you don't have a way to hang up your cards already.

    I'll be posting more before Christmas, but in the meantime, here is a picture of the cuteness that is just a little over a month old that has entered our lives.