Tag Archives: Christmas

DIY Ornament Wreath

5 Jan

wreath

I mentioned that my mom and I made our own ornament wreaths over Thanksgiving. It was really easy, but there’s a possibility that we didn’t really save any money from one we could’ve bought at the store. It was nice however to be able to pick any color combination we wanted. This is the perfect time of year to start gathering supplies because you can find wreaths and ornaments for cheap since it’s after Christmas.

I followed the instructions from this blog. I won’t go over the whole process since it already exists perfectly there, but here are my notes.

To make this wreath I used:

  • an 18 inch evergreen wreath purchased on clearance for $2-$4
  • a can of metallic spray paint to hide the greenery originally $8ish but got for 40% off at Michale’s
  • 4 sizes of shatterproof ornaments all bought on clearance last year and this year.
    – 70 large (my mom got some extra large and we decided those didn’t look that good so go for the regular big size)
    – 35 medium
    – 35 slightly smaller
    – a still to be determined amount of tiny
  • high-heat glue gun and lots of glue
  • pretty ribbon to hang the wreath with

WreathCloseUp

A few other notes:

  • I didn’t realize when I started, but I’m pretty sure the blog linked above is using glass ornaments. I’m torn because hers looks really fancy and mine, when you get up close, is a little cheap looking. Shatterproof ornaments all have seams around the middle (except glitter covered ones), and you can’t really hide them. On the other hand I wasn’t really concerned throwing it in the trunk of my car to transport it back from Kansas because it couldn’t really be broken. A friend also pointed out that I could potentially throw mine in the bath tub wash it if needed. Just something to keep in mind.
  • The other thought I had after finishing was this wreath is HUGE. My mom reminded me in a couple years I may have a house with a bigger front door and this will look just fine, but currently it’s completely taking over my narrow 1930s apartment door. So depending on your preference you may want a smaller wreath (it will also take fewer ornaments).

 

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Christmas Wrap-up

4 Jan

I just pulled the last of my Christmas time photos off my camera and wanted to share.

Nate and I at our work Christmas party

Nate and I at our work Christmas party

We had a little ice in OKC the weekend before Christmas. Thankfully the roads were fine.

We had a little ice in OKC the weekend before Christmas. Thankfully the roads were fine.

I made all my girlfriends and co-workers little Oklahoma cinnamon applesauce ornaments. The ornaments are super easy (and with dollar store cinnamon and applesauce cost me under $5 to make a ton), and make your house smell fantastic.
OKOrnament
I also gifted them with Oklahoma cookie cutters filled with fudge.
OKFudge

Wrapping took me so many hours. I’d purchased some cute polka-dot boxes ($1 for 3 at Target) and a white paint pen, so even though I finished the task exhausted I was pretty happy with the results.
PolkaDotBox PolkaDotWrapping
I was especially proud of this wrapping job. We got Nate’s nephew a Hot Wheels race track. I stumbled across the idea to put a road and car on the outside of the package, and I hear his 3 year old nephew loved it.
SamsCarPresent

My parents dog Zuzu posing with the Christmas tree and gifts.

My parents dog Zuzu posing with the Christmas tree and gifts.

Christmas Decorations

16 Dec

Besides decorating in the fall I also go all out decorating for Christmas. Due to some frustrating apartment things I was really worried that I would spend my Christmas vacation packing and moving rather than enjoying the holiday, time off, family, and friends. Luckily everything worked out so that I can put off moving for a few months which also meant I could decorate for Christmas!

tree

My mom and I have been planning to make ornament wreaths for over a year and I got mine mostly finished over the Thanksgiving weekend. I still want to get a few more ornaments when they go on clearance next week to finish it up.wreath

My elf doesn’t have a name and he just stays on his shelf, but I love to put him out every year. When I was a kid one of my grandmothers had a whole clan of knee hugging elves. When I told my mom about the elf on the shelf that my co-worker was doing for her daughter several years ago, and how it looked so much like my grandma’s elves she gifted me one for Christmas. elf mantle stockingHope you’re enjoying some festive decorations around your homes too!

Canning Labels

9 Jan

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After making a lot of jars of Sand Plum Jelly this summer I still have quite a few left. So they got dressed up with labels and gifted to a few friends and family for Christmas.

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I repeated the general look of the label on my pickled peppers and also on my vanilla (which I’ll share tomorrow).

Washi Tape

8 Jan

I love washi tape. I bought a roll of it when I was in Japan thinking it was really cute tape and I could use it to tape up a box to ship home. After trying to tape a box closed I thought man that’s some crappy tape! Now I know what washi tape is and I keep kicking myself for not buying more when I was in Japan, but back then I don’t think any of us Americans knew what it was!

I’ve been wanting to buy some rolls for a while now, but they’re so dang expensive and I’m cheap. Wandering around Target last month though I stumbled across Up & Up brand Paper Tape which is essentially the same thing (although I’ve heard not acid free). The best part about the Target Washi Tape is that it’s $4 for 4 rolls! They have a red/pink pack, an orange/yellow pack, a green/turquoise pack, and a blue/purple pack. I thought they were so fantastic that I bought a few packs and gifted some friends with a roll each. I’ve also been using them to fancy up Christmas and birthday gift wrapping.
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DIY Fancy Hair Ties

25 Dec

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As I write this it’s the beginning of September, however I’m going to have to wait until Christmas time to post this because it concerns Christmas presents. I love the Christmas season, and for quite a few years now I’ve been making gifts for friends, family, and co-workers. My rules are the gift ends up being fairly low cost and I make it. Among other things I’ve made jars of granola, little clutches, pies in jars, and my mom’s wheat bread.

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This year some friends and family will be getting sets of these little hair ties. Anthropologie sells sets of 5 for $12, but they are super cheap and easy to make. I think they look much cuter on your wrist than regular hair ties too.

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Fancy Hair Ties

Supplies
Fold over elastic (I bought mine from www.hobovian.com, but you can find it all over Etsy under fold over elastic or FOE)
Sissors
Lighter
Ruler

Directions
1. Cut the elastic into strips around 9″ long (5 yards will make you 20 hair ties).
2. Fold in half with the shiny side out and knot the end. Try and get the knot pretty close to the end of the elastic and pull it tight.
3. Run a flame over the cut ends of the elastic to prevent fraying.

Wheat Bread

23 Dec

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I spent some time in the kitchen one weekend making mini loaves of wheat bread for my department at work. I figure the season is full of unhealthy treats so a semi healthy one is nice. Growing up my mom would make this recipe for my brother and my teachers each Christmas. Like I’ve said before I’m a little bit terrified of recipes that involve yeast, but I’ve made this one for two years now and been 90% successful. I did have a little mishap with too much rising and not enough cooking, but more on that in a minute.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is the scan my mom emailed me when I asked for the recipe last year. The worn condition of the recipe just says it’s going to be good doesn’t it? My mom got this from one of her co-workers probably 30 years ago.

Wheat Bread Recipe

Wheat Bread

Ingredients
2 pkgs. of yeast (I use rapid rise, but be sure to let the bread rise for less time especially once it’s in the pans!)
1/3 c. honey
1 T. salt
1/2 c. shortening
warm water3 c. wheat flour
3-4 c. white flour

Directions

  1. Dissolve 2 pkgs. yeast in 1/2 c. warm water (steaming or 100-110 degrees)
  2. Stir in:
    1/3 c. honey
    1 T. salt
    1/2 c. shortening
    1 3/4 c. warm water
    3 c. wheat flour
  3. Beat until smooth.
  4. Stir in enough white flour (3-4 c.) to make dough easy to handle. (Meaning not sticky. I usually end up dumping the partially mixed mess out onto the counter and mushing it around with my hands to mix in the last bit.)
  5. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). (I keep adding bits of flour while doing this to keep the dough from sticking to my hands and the counter. I get nervous at this point, but just pay attention to the dough and after about 5 minutes you’ll see how it’s changed and really is smoother and will stay in a pretty ball easily.)
  6. Place dough ball in greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place about 1 1/2 hours (around 1 hour or a little less if using rapid rise yeast). You’ll know the dough is ready if a finger indention remains when the dough is poked.
  7. Punch down the dough; divide in half. Form each half into a loaf (fold the sides and ends under to make a smooth rounded one), and put in greased bread pans.
  8. Let rise until double, about 1 hour. (Keep an eye on bread at this point because if it goes past double you’ll have bread with a large cavity inside. Mine went about 30 min for rapid rise yeast.)
  9. Heat oven to 350; bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from pans and cool.

Some tips
-Like I said rapid rise yeast means your rising time is cut in half.
-My kitchen is usually chilly, so when it comes to the rising part I turn my oven on the lowest setting and set the bowl and pans on top of the stove so it has a little extra warmth.
-If you make mini loaves cooking will only take 15-20 minutes.
-If you’re making big loaves or have two ovens it’s probably ok to double the recipe, but trying to fit 15 little loaves of bread in a single oven will probably lead to some burnt and some under cooked. (On the plus side you’ll learn where the hot spots are in your oven!)
-I found that foil pans don’t cook nearly as hot as actual bread pans, so when I checked to see if they were done I’d pop the loaves out of their pans a bit to see if they were done on the bottom.

Do you have any favorite recipes you cook at Christmas?

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Christmas Time is Here – Gift Ideas

29 Nov

Christmas and the weeks surrounding it are my favorite. I love to put up decorations, drive around and look at the pretty lights, attend holiday parties, shop for or make gifts and give gifts. I do enjoy receiving gifts too, but I really love to think up something special that my friends and family will enjoy and then surprise them with it. I don’t have any pictures of all the things I’ve done the past several years, but honestly I would spend hours scouring the internet for the perfect thing to make (until Pinterest came along and now I just keep running lists!), so all of my ideas were someone else’s first. So without further ado here are some possible things to gift people with.


Little wristlet via: Splityarn


Mini pies in jars via: not martha


Fabric roses via: Everyday Chaos


Magnets via: not martha


T-shirt infinity scarf via: A Bit of Sunshine


T-shirt fringe scarf via: P.S. I made this


Granola via: Chocolate & Zucchini
(This is some seriously good granola that you should at least make for yourself!)


Baby taggies


Ornaments via: Paloma’s Nest
(I love the simplicity of these to commemorate the date. A friend hosted a get together and we made ones similar and had them fired at a local clay shop.)


Calendars via: Rifel Paper Co.
(This is my 2013 calendar, and there are tons of others to be bought. However with a design program (or through a printing company) and a little time you can make one that’s personalized with your own photos or art).


Shop local – a few years ago I promised myself that every gift I purchased would come from a local shop. It was a fun little challenge and made for unique gifts. I ended up buying things like a case of pop from Pop’s, canned goods from Forward Foods, a headband from ShopGood, a funky pair of socks from Blue 7, candles from A Story of Hope, and a tie rose from a booth at Deluxe Indie Craft Bazaar.

I’ve got a few different things up my sleeve for this year, but I don’t want to ruin any surprises, so I’ll share them after they’ve been gifted! Good luck on your Christmas shopping or creating!

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