Friday, November 30, 2012

Coffee Filter Christmas Decor

It's annual Festival of Nativities time here again, and I got to decorate in the chapel this year.  Last year I did a wall in the gym. So many volunteers put in so many hours of work to create the atmosphere and set up hundreds of nativity sets, and we love going as a family.  It's a great way to kick off the Christmas season.  

I wanted to show you how one simple item, in large quantities, can make a really dramatic impact.  

Here's how the chapel looked when I first got there.  Every year they buy dozens of poinsettias to use here and different places around the church, including two giant ones from Costco.

And here's how it looked when I was done.

Each of those wreaths was so easy to make too--here are my tricks for easy, fluffy coffee filter wreaths.

Cut a ring from cardboard, or even posterboard (which is what I used here for all 15 wreaths--easier to cut!).  Separate about 20 filters from the stack--it goes faster when you get a bunch ready at once.  Take those, one at a time and push it down through the middle, gathering it so it looks like a badminton birdie.  Flatten the bottom of each one just a little.  When you have a whole pile ready, start gluing.  I put just a couple drops of hot glue on the bottom and start putting them around the inside of the ring.  The trick to nice fluffy wreaths is to leave some space in between each glued filter--don't pack them in too tight! Finish the inside ring and work in rows toward the outside of the ring.  Separate them with your fingers a little if needed, and if there are any "bald spots" you can stick another filter in there.

I hope you enjoyed my tips, and if you're in the area that you'll stop by the festival!


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Halloween Ideas for Next Year and a Label Generator

Hey everybody--this is the first of a few guest posts I have lined up over the next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout! I'm also working on showing you my contribution to the Festival of Nativities (if you follow me on Instagram, then you already saw my piles of coffee filter wreaths :)

So, here is Allison Moody:a writer, reader, dancer, cook, nature lover, etc. She is currently working as a freelance ghostwriter and a promoter of her online application Labeley that allows users to easily create labels online for free.

Handmade vs. Bought Party Costumes

Though Halloween is behind us, there are always some costumed parties to go to, and if we are not careful enough, even Halloween next year might catch us unprepared!

There are good and bad sides to both handmade and bought Halloween costumes. This is what it looks like from the parents’ perspective:

Some parents prefer handmade because it is usually cheaper to make something out of available trinkets lying around the house than to buy an elaborate costume. Especially since children usually want the “bestest”, the most popular and latest edition of the ultimate cartoon hero.

Other parents would rather pay good money for a costume than spend several hours cutting, sewing, stitching, stapling and gluing a mask, because they can’t really afford to do so with their hectic schedules.

What Do Kids Say About This

Children are divided as well, for different reasons. Money and time are, luckily, still completely irrelevant in their lives, but costume popularity, what other children will say and how much fun they’ll have during preparations are of major importance.

Most children would rather go for a bought costume, but they also enjoy making stuff, especially if their parents are fun-loving people who know how to make it entertaining. So, if
you’re deciding how to approach this “problem”, simply take into consideration:

a) How much would it mean to you to save on a costume?
b) How much would it mean to your child to get a hip new  costume?
c) Do you have time to create a great mask that would make your kid’s friends become green from envy?

Depending on the answers, you’ll make the right decision.

How to Make an Original Costume That No One Else Has

Now, if you decide to get creative and explore the wonders of Halloween costume making, here are some fun ideas for you and your children:

1) You can dress up as Mirror, mirror – Snowhite’s evil stepmother’s mirror that tells her who the most beautiful woman is. The costume demands a simple tight outfit (tights
and turtleneck) the color of a round mirror you’ll attach to your chest/stomach. You can also paint your face that color (preferably silver or gold).

2) More original and scarier than all those werewolves, vampires or zombies, you can be Blood. Wear everything red: shoes, tights, dress, pants, gloves, red scarf around your
hair, etc. Wear red lipstick and cut out a big piece of red cardboard in the shape of a drop of something liquid, and write “0 positive”, or any other blood type.

3) A vampire Smurf, or any other popular cartoon or comic book character in the vampire mode. Paint your body blue, wear white tights and shoes, put on a white hat (you can
use dad’s huge white sock for that, or think of some other way to design the perfect Smurf hat). Finally add vampire teeth and some scary make up around the eyes.

Costume-making is a great way to spend time with your children and de-stress from work. All you need is motivation and willingness to steal ideas from TV, magazines and  internet, then make those ideas come to life using mostly just stuff from your house.

Thanks for giving us some suggestions for next year Allison.  And I took a minute to play with her label maker, and really easily made this one that would be perfect for attaching to cookies this Christmas!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Duck Tape

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Duck Brand® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Holiday Duct Tape
It’s no secret that I love Duck® Brand duct tape.  You’ve seen it appear in various projects I’ve made, from boots to glow-in-the-dark shirts, so you can imagine how excited I was to have my first sponsored post through Social Spark be for them!
I actually received a couple of the new Duck® Brand holiday patterned tapes to try out recently. While they are perfect for taping up a package that's going to be mailed, I knew there were more possibilites than just that.  My favorite was the peppermint pattern, so I dressed up a simple little box that won't ever see the post office.
I made the box from white cardstock, and similar plain box sets are available in craft or baking stores.   Then I placed narrow strips across the top, overlapping them in the center. To attach the candy to the box I just used a small adhesive dot.  In just a couple of minutes, my little white box went from drab to darling.  On a bigger box, like a shirt box from the department store, you wouldn't even have to cut the tape to make it narrower.  Just use the full width of the tape and arrange a whole handful of candies for a minty blossom right on top.  Who doesn't love bonus candy with their gift, right?
Christmas Duck Tape
I'm loving Duck Tape® for more than just calendars and boots now!  What do you have in mind that could use some Duck® Brand holiday love?  For more ideas and latest products, please be sure to check out their Facebook page!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Photos, Shutterfly Giveaway, and News!

**Winner--#1 Val--Congrats :)**

I don't know if it's the thought of another year coming to an end, or just knowing that it's almost time to send out Christmas cards, but fall is usually the time of year when good-intentioned moms frantically raid closets and stores for perfectly coordinating outfits (yes, even the boys have to wear outfits) and scout out beautiful-yet-original settings for the new family picture.

If you've already captured some smiles from all your loved ones, yay!  If you're going the last minute route (like I did just last week) Shutterfly has some great tips on setting up a photo day and also snapping small moments that can mean more than having a whole group in a perfect pose.  

Our family photo day happened when we recently had a couple of clear afternoons, and I knew that if I wanted outdoor pictures, it had to be right away!  I got onto my favorite color inspiration site, Design Seeds, and loved this palette.  

Source: via Stephanie on Pinterest

Using some items we already owned and picking up just a couple more, I had everyone dress in gray, blue, plum and lime green.

We got one whole family shot that I was happy with and then there was this picture of the kids that I absolutely love!

Are you still looking to order some Christmas cards?  Or a photo book for Grandma's gift?   Shutterfly is sponsoring a $50 giveaway to their site for one Crafting in the Rain reader.  Will it be you?

1--For your mandatory entry, tell me what you'd order from Shutterfly.

Remember when I also said I had NEWS?  Well, I finally got around to joining Twitter and setting up a Facebook page!  Care to join me at either place?  Earn some additional entries: (Be sure to leave a COMMENT for EACH entry)
2--Like my new Facebook page
3--Follow on Twitter
4--Follow on Pinterest

Contest will run until midnight on Dec 6, 2012 (pacific) and winner will be chosen via  Fine print: $50 off your order of $50 or more Offer expires 03/14/2013 (11:59 P.M. PST).  Offer is good for $50 off total order at  Order must total more than $50 before taxes and other charges in order for discount to apply.  Offer valid for one-time redemption per billing address.  Cannot be combined with other promo codes. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. 

And finally, I can't end this post without giving a huge thank you to Shutterfly for sponsoring the awesome dinner I was able to attend this week with Kim from Today's Creative Blog.  I had a lot of fun meeting some other local bloggers and learning how to retweet!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Easy Bathroom Silhouette Art

Over the summer we had our hall bathroom remodeled.  It's the one the kids use, so I wanted to put some kind of cute wall hanging in there, and this is the easy way I did it.

I bought cardstock in gray and yellow/white polka dot and I already had the 3-picture frame in my collection.

I cut out a rubber duck, sink and claw tub from the yellow paper and glued them to gray backgrounds to fit in the frame.

They look great in the new bathroom!


this post brought to you by
Cutting Edge Magazine
the online magazine dedicated to SVGs and digital cutters

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Disney Ornament

Today you can find me over at the Undercover Tourist blog sharing how I made our souvenir Disney ornament.  

While you're there,  you can find all kinds of other Disney tips and plan trips to places like Disney World and Universal studios!

this post brought to you by
Tutus and Tea Parties


Saturday, November 24, 2012

More Ideas for Cone Trees

**ok, so it's not a crazy giveaway like you may see on some blogs this weekend, but for a tiny birthday treat, I'm giving away a pair of custom earrings--go check it out!**

If you liked my round up of Christmas trees the other day, you might like these too that I recently posted in the Holli Days series at Hiya Luv.

First up is the easiest of the bunch.  All you need is a cone, a doily and a glue stick!  Just make sure that the seam of the cone is in the back.

Next up I used a piece of eyelet trim to make pleated rows on the tree.  Start at the bottom of the cone, gluing with hot glue and periodically creating a pleat by gluing the trim back on itself just a bit.  

Cut the trim when you get back to the starting point, then start gluing the next row up the tree.  When you get to the top layer, pinch it up as much as you can (being careful of the hot glue please!)  This would probably look really cute with some kind of topper, but I couldn't think of what I had on hand that would look good.  What would you suggest?

Next is a ruffle tree that's much easier than it may look.  It's that ruffle fabric just pinned around a cone!  

In fact, the one here is a ruffle scarf I own.  I used a few straight pins to secure the end of the scarf at an angle, wrapped the fabric around, put in a few more pins and tucked the rest of the scarf up into the tree!  Just be careful if you do that since, remember, there are pins sticking into it now.

What's great about each of these is that they're so neutral they would fit in with any color scheme you have for Christmas.  But they could also be done with more color too.  
What have you done with these cones?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cars Birthday Party

We had a pretty crazy week around here, celebrating 2 birthdays and Thanksgiving.  I've been excited to show off the few things I put together for Asher's Cars party.  It's obvious that I'm not a professional party planner.  But it just goes to show that a few little things here and there can make for a great and low-stress party!

The Cake.  It's just a round cake with a cookie crumb road and a traffic cone made from orange candy melts and a sugar cone.  

I covered the cone with melted candy, then using a baggie with the corner cut out, I drew a square of orange candy out onto some wax paper.  When it hardened, I peed it off and flipped it over (so the top would be nice and smooth) and used some more melted candy as glue to stick it to the square.  Then a new Lightning McQueen and "drawn" candy 4 finished it up.

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Goodie Bags
These are white lunch sacks with paper circles cut out and glued on the front.

Then here's what's went inside.  From the dollar store: crayons, bubbles and paper cars, then a printed coloring page and chocolate donuts as spare tires.

I just made mini cones using the same process as above, but instead used a serrated knife to just cut off the top couple of inches of the sugar cone.

This in another area where I go pretty low key.  I bought cardboard witch hats on clearance after Halloween and cut the edges to make them look like cones, then painted with primer and orange spray paint.  These lined the table where we ate lunch.

One wall got a Lightning McQueen blanket (that we already owned) pinned up, and I made the simple banner from cardstock and Duck tape .

I'd say we threw a pretty successful party!  I'm pretty happy this little dude is in our family!

And random side note, but still related to birthdays, I picked a good one in my husband--he bought me some of the earrings I said I liked from All-Earz as one of my gifts.  They're great and I love them!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yay For Birthdays

Yep, today's my birthday!  If you follow me on Instagram, you already saw this snapshot of me running some errands :)  I'm predicting that 34 is going be a great year.  

Since it falls so close to Thanksgiving this year, and my husband took the whole week off from work, I even got to sleep in this morning while he got the kids all ready for school.  It was wonderful :)  Tonight we even get to go out on a date for dinner (with no school tomorrow, it was no problem getting a babysitter)

Now I'm off to work on the cake for my son's birthday tomorrow.  You'll get to see a picture of it when I post about his party--and either you can use it for inspiration, or we'll all laugh together about how it didn't turn out.

And while it isn't a huge birthday bash or anything, I'd like to give away just a little something on my birthday.  
If you want a chance to win your choice of paper earrings, (I'm even wearing some in my picture above)  leave me a comment telling me how you like to celebrate your birthday.  Giveaway open worldwide and ends Tuesday November 27 9pm (Pacific) 

Good luck--and thanks hanging out here with me now and then.  You're the best!

**Giveaway winner comment #4--Anna**  Congrats!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Doily and Paper Utencil Pockets

Little touches make a big difference at a holiday dinner.  And that's a good thing too, because I'm much better at little touches that big giant productions.  These silverware pockets are quick and inexpensive, and can be customized to fit any color scheme.

Here's what you'll need:
4.5 inch doilies
Brown packing paper cut 9 x 4 inches (I got my roll from the dollar could also use grocery store bags)
Twine (also from the dollar store!)
Tape or washi tape
Glue stick

Fold paper strip to make a 3.25 inch wide pocket.
Secure with tape.
Place doily on the front of the pocket and food back the bottom and sides and glue.

Tie twine around the pocket.

Add a strip of washi tape for some extra color if desired.
Add silverware.

What simple ways do you have for dressing up a table?

this post brought to you by
Cutting Edge Magazine
the online magazine dedicated to SVGs and digital cutters

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Meet Tutus and Tea Parties

I'm showing off another sponsor today, and it's Lauren from Tutus and Tea Parties.  I first really got to know her when she created a leather project for Make a Splash back in April.

She loves crochet, crafting, and education, and of course her "bug" and often posts about kid-friendly activities.  She also hosts a weekly link party "A Pinteresting Party."

I hope you'll take a minute to go check out her blog, especially her instructions on how to make this adorable necklace onesie!  This is actually how I first found her site and they've been real hits when I make them for gifts!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Easy Handmade Cards

Last week I got to participate in the Handmade Gift Series at Shaken Together and knew I wanted to write about something easy and meaningful.  

My gift idea:  Send snail mail!  

For the last 3 years I've made this the Christmas present for my Grandma and my husband's Grandma.  We all live in different states and don't get to see them very often.

My gift to them is that I will send a homemade card and a picture of the kids every month during the coming year.  They love seeing how the kids are growing and what we've been up to, and I get a place to send all the cards I make :)

But wait, you don't like making cards?  No biggie.  The most important part of the gift is just sending something in the mail.  The picture is a bonus, and handmade is totally extra.

If you want instructions for a really cute and easy card, check out this formula.  It just takes a few cuts (with a straight cutter--no fancy machine needed!) and with a few different papers, you can have a whole set of cards made in 30 minutes.

Buy blank cards, or make your own by cutting a piece of cardstock in half at 5.5 inches.  Then fold each part in half at 4.25 inches.  This will fit in a regular card-sized envelope (also available at most craft stores)

Pick two coordinating papers (an easy way to do this is get double sided scrapbook paper--then you know they'll look good together!)

Cut one paper at 5 x 3.75 inches
Cut another at 1 x 4.25 inches

If desired, rub an ink pad along the edges of your cut pieces and base.

Using liquid glue or a tape runner, glue the larger rectangle to the center of the card front.  Then glue the smaller strip at the bottom third of the card.

Add a flower to the left side of the strip and you're done!

For something extra, add a rhinestone or button to the flower center.

One final note of advice for picking patterns to use, I generally like to mix a big print and a small print, and it doesn't matter which one goes on the bigger rectangle.  Also a solid with a pattern always looks good.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I'd love to hear who in your life would love a gift like this!


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