Thursday, November 29, 2012

DiY Christmas Star Tutorial & GIVEAWAY!

A  few days ago, I shared some Christmas decor and inspiration from our home. Remember the star made from branches?
Well, today I am going to tell you how to make this star.
 You will need:
pile of branches (the straighter the better)
needle nose pliers
wire cutters
floral wire

 Really, it is as simple as playing around with the branches you have and making your star shape. We just messed with it, grabbing different branches here and there, until we got something we liked.
Once you get your shape, you will need to cut small pieces of floral wire and wrap your branches at each corner and in the middle so that your shape holds while you add more branches.
Now, the star I saw on Pinterest was made with bigger, thicker branches so they stopped with just the outline which is also very pretty.
I just had something else in mind and luckily, my husband was on board to help me again! It was much more fun doing it with him.
Once you have your frame in place and held with wire, then you just start layering your branches on top of one another. They do not have to be the same length or size because you will fasten them with wire as well. I personally, like the more organic look.
See the coffee? That's how we roll around here.

And last, wrap your star with lights, hang it, plug it in and sit back and enjoy it's beauty!

Tomorrow is December 1st....let the festivities begin!
And we'll kick us off with a GIVEAWAY! I LOVE giveaways!
 One of our lucky readers will win this cute little bag full of goodies!
Tonight is our Dames of DiY Christmas party/craft night and these bags will be gifted to each dame that attends. So, we thought it would be fun to give one away to our readers too!

The bag contains gifts from:
T's Beads
Teapots and Robots
The Not So Blank Canvas
Circles of Sunshine (US!)

To enter: you MUST leave a comment on this post.

Want to know how to get more entries? Sure you do!

For extra entries:
1. Visit one of the shops listed above and leave a separate comment telling us your favorite item in their shop.
2. Share this giveaway on your facebook page and let us know in another comment.

*Each person can have up to 3 entries each. However, you must leave a comment for each.
The contest is open till Monday, Dec. 3rd at midnight. We will announce the winner in Tuesday's post!

Have fun!

Merry n Bright - DiY Christmas Sign

The holidays are in full swing here in Conway. But unlike some crazy people who stay up to ridiculous hours of the night, I am taking a more phased approach (lol). We got our tree up and now I’m working around the house making and adding new things as I go. Of course every year my décor changes a bit with my style. Some things don’t come out of the boxes and some new things get added. This year I’m adding a few more hand-made touches. The living room arrangement behind the couch got a bit of a Christmas redress and for this particular spot I had in my mind a cute little sign. So, off I went to the storage shed for a couple pieces of scrap wood. I decided to use a couple pieces of old wood flooring that actually fit together which worked out perfectly.

I painted the pieces both white.


Picked a couple cute fonts and printed off the words. Cut them out so I could line them up.


I layed them on the boards and traced the letters. The scrap paper I used in the printer had ink on the back so it left a nice little trace mark for me to follow.

I painted in the words and added a little snowflakeish stencil in the middle to pull them together.

More handmade Christmas décor to come. Share with us the handmade touches in your holiday house!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Handmade Christmas (DiY Christmas Decor)

It is the Christmas season! And now, it is festive inside our home too!
I LOVE LOVE this time of year so much! I was so excited to get some things made and our house decorated that I stupidly stayed up until 3am doing it all. I blame the cup of french press coffee that I drank at 9pm.
I am also excited to share a glimpse of the place we call home with you. So.....welcome. :)
We, sadly, do not have outlets outside so we don't get to hang lights on the house. However, I still like to do a little something on the front porch. My approach to decorating is always to keep it simple; a few pops of color and character go a long way. This plant stand turned candle stand sits beside our front door.

 I almost completely changed the arrangement over the couch for Christmas. I am really pretty pleased with the result. I always love the various ways that people decorate for Christmas; the natural muted colors; the metallics, etc. But I always gravitate towards bright and festive. I guess I like to feel like we're always throwing a party!
I got some free printables that I found on Pinterest and framed them for the wall. I LOVE the chalkboard looking prints.
My mom had given me the cool framed chalkboard, only it was painted hot pink. So, I gave it a makeover with some teal paint and I really love it now. It will probably get to stay there long after Christmas.
Also, found on Pinterest was the idea to make a star from branches and wrap it in lights. I was super excited about this project. I had the kids help me collect sticks from the front yard (fallen from our massive old tree!). And then I began to attempt the star, husband jumped in and was a HUGE help in the process! It's been fun getting him in on my projects lately. I get to be creative with the help of my handy, hot husband!
 And in the corner, I moved our little chalkboard desk to hold our nativity scene and advent calendar. I love that they are situated beneath the bright star on the wall.
I couldn't figure out a good place in our home to hang the advent bags so we used a cute tin I had and I made a "hope" banner for it too.

The other side of the room. I hung some garland, lights and snowflakes. Like I said, I love simple.
Also added a little something to the main bathroom as well. You can't go wrong with glass dishes/vases filled with pretty, shiny ornaments and lights!
The print is another free printable found on Pinterest.
 Remember the chalkboards we made from dollar store platters?

Joy to the world!
Baby Girl and I made some glitter jars. This was so fun and easy and who doesn't love sparkly things?! I plan to fill the large with candy canes and the small jar has a tea light candle in it.
I love adding a little something to each room in the house for Christmas. I made another banner for our room and added some red garland to the mirror and windows too. Makes me smile.

I also added garland to the windows in the kid's room and strung some ornaments on them. And we hung lights and garland in our guest/tv/school room too.

The house is so festive now and fun, with plenty of reminders throughout of the reason we celebrate and love Christmas in the first place.

Links of inspiration for this post and projects:
Star made from branches
Free Printables
More free printables
Glitter Jars

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baby Journal

Many of you are the scrap book variety that do great at keeping up with moments picture by picture. I must admit...I take a ton of pictures, but most of them remain on my computer until I print out a huge stack and work on scrap books for weeks at a time. But something I have done to keep up with special moments is a journal. I started writing a journal the day after I found out I was pregnant. I happened to have a large blank journal I picked up for a great price so I already had it on hand. I wrote all through my pregnancy and Keylee's first year and I continue to jot things down every now and then still. I've talked to my mom here and there about what I did when I did it as a baby and she has a tough time remembering some things (granted I was the fourth kid and she has slept many a nights since then) but I wanted to make sure Keylee could look back and read all about what she did as she was a baby and toddler. I don't stress over having to write in it constantly and I should probably do more but at least she'll have highlights to read about. Also, I've heard from many a mom that when they start saying fun, silly things you should write them down. Keylee has quite the vocabulary and is very much a little mocking bird so I'll probably pick up this journal-type habit as well. These will probably take on a bit of a different form as most of them are one liners but you can always put them together in a cute way to keep them together. 

Happy Memory Capturing!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

DiY Advent Candle Holder

Happy Monday! We are back and had a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving with family. I hope your Thanksgiving was a blessed one as well.
Now, I am in full Christmas mode! I fully intend on cranking up some Christmas music today and decorating the house, making some hot chocolate and possibly even a batch of cookies too! Let the festivities begin!

I am so SUPER excited about celebrating Advent this year and I wanted to share my latest project with you.
I really wanted to incorporate the Advent candles. I love the beautiful visual that they give to the anticipation of the coming of Christ.
However, I am not in love with the traditional look of the advent candle holders. So....with the help of my husband, I made my own!
I had a vision and knew what I wanted but needed a little assistance from my handy man. ;)
I used a 2x6 piece of wood. We measured the wood so that we could find and mark the center.
Next, we took this little guy (our drill attachment) and placed it over our center mark and traced our first circle onto the wood.
We then took some more measurements; measuring from the center circle to the end of the wood to determine where our outer most circles would go, taking measurements from the outer circles to the end of the wood to make sure they were the same on both sides, and then marking and tracing our circles in between.
Now that everything is measured, marked and traced we are ready to head outside with the drill!
This was in fact my first time to cut circles with the drill was really fun! Also, much easier than I would have thought. This could be a new DiY addiction of mine!
 The drill got really hot while drilling the holes and began smoking. So......yeah, we couldn't resist!

What can I say....we have fun together!

Here is a better view of the circles and the drilling and my husband helping me out.
Holes drilled!
And cute little wooden circles too! I am not sure why but I love these. I think they are so cute! The wheels are spinning and I have a few ideas in mind for these cuties. They will be making another appearance on the ole' blog later.
Now, it's time to sand down those rough edges. Go ahead and sand down the whole piece after you finish the inside and outer edges of the circles. Giving it a smooth finish will prep your piece for paint!
Next, it is time for some paint! I really went back and forth with staining the wood or painting it but I kept coming back to the red.
I used spray paint and applied 2-3 good coats. Then, I took my sandpaper and distressed all of the edges and corner a bit. Also, I decided to grab my beloved black stamp pad and run it over the edges and random parts of the whole piece to give it a bit more character.
And lastly, I grabbed some simple clear glass votive holders from Walmart (a package of 12, with the candles for $6.50) and placed one in each hole. They are a perfect fit so if you choose to make one of your own, be and sure and take note of the size of the circular attachment we used, shown in the photo.

I wanted Advent candles. I wanted modern. I wanted something that could be easily be placed on a table and not easily knocked over by little ones. I love the end result!
What do you think?

I can't wait for Advent to begin; to sit down with my family and do our first Advent devotional and light that first candle together. What a beautiful season and even more than that, a beautiful Savior.

A few links with more info on Advent and the meaning behind the candles:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Enjoy time with your loved ones! We'll see you next week.

DiY Super Girl Costume

So, we recently got to celebrate one of my adorable niece's 2nd birthday. You can see her incredibly cute party here.
My Baby Girl really wanted to get her cousin some dress up clothes. However, I thought she would probably get a lot of the typical girly dress up things from other people so I didn't want to do that. Then, it hit me and I knew what I had to do! I mean, I live in a house full of boys and so it is only natural that my thoughts went there.
Let the super hero costume creating begin!
And here it is! I LOVE LOVE how it turned out!
And even better, this is a no-sew project, making it super easy as well!

Here is what you will need:
-1 yard of fleece (you might need more if you are making it for an older/bigger child)
-3 sheets of adhesive backed felt
-wide band of elastic (for the belt)
-thin, flat elastic (for the mask)
-adhesive backed velcro
-iron-on accessories
-stitch witchery

Okay, so this project really doesn't need a lot of instructions. So, I will keep it simple.

First, I laid out my fleece and cut out my cape. Sorry, I don't have a template. I just cut it freehand.  And I did have to go back and do a bit of trimming to get it straight, until my husband finally told me to stop because it looked good! HA! I can't help myself and my need for things to be perfect sometimes! So thankful for the balance he provides.
Back to the cape....the beauty behind using fleece for this is that after you cut it out, it does not require any finishing to the edges. No fraying also means no sewing necessary! And it is cold outside and fleece is warm!

Next, I cut out my heart from the felt and arranged all of the pieces. I cut some strips of stitch witchery, grabbed a moist towel and went to ironing!
Cape done!

My friend Kim already had some templates for masks that I borrowed, so that is what I used. However, here is one that you can download and print. It is not exactly like mine, but still super fun.
First, trace your mask onto both pieces of felt. I used two different colors to tie the whole costume together and make the mask reversible.
Next, cut them out.
Then, peel the backing off both and stick them together. Now you can trim around the edges and get rid of any uneven places or overlapping. You will also want to cut out the holes for the eyes now too.
Now, you can take your rotary tool and punch a small hole in the top corner of each side and simply run your elastic through and knot it (one knot on each side).
And last, I added some iron-on stars to each top corner.

First, get your waist measurement for the little one you are making this for. This will determine how much wide band elastic you will need.
I cut out a super hero symbol from my red felt and then I applied the iron-on star.
Next, I cut some more strips of stitch witchery and applied the whole piece to the middle of the elastic band.
And last, I cut two small pieces of the velcro. The velcro I used has an adhesive back but to make sure that this was going to be good and sturdy for little people play, I went ahead and added stitch witchery and ironed this too.

Cut four strips, the same width and length from the adhesive backed felt.
Then, peel off the backing and stick them together, making two cuffs.
Next, iron on your accessories.
And last, I used the same method with the velcro as I did on the waist band.

Is she not the cutest little Super Girl you've ever seen?!
Don't mind the upside down belt....someone put it on that way. Ahem. ;)
Also, the shadows in the pics. I was more focused on getting these pics fast before our Super Girl decided to take off all of her gear!
And just when you thought this Super Girl wasn't intimidating.....
...take that bad guys! (or aunt with a camera in my face!)

We love to hear from you, so please share if you make some super hero costumes or accessories of your own!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Small Space DiY Storage

Well Thanksgiving is almost here. But for today I’m going to share a quick and easy storage tip for a small space. We recently did a bit of a remodel in our master bath. It is a small master bath so we have to use our space wisely. We replaced the tub and shower and brought in a space saving toilet. Meanwhile we decided to get rid of our over-the-toilet cabinet and brought in a couple baskets for towel storage. Our bathroom feels a ton bigger with these changes and much less crowded. The best part is that our new bath is deeper and wider and we still have more space. WIN!

Basket storage

The baskets I purchased have a metal framing. So I used some Hercules hooks in the two top corners and made sure they were hung by the metal framing. Viola! I tri-fold our towels so they are the correct width. Perfect storage for our towels and a pretty cheap and spacing saving alternative to a cabinet. How do you organize in your small spaces?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Advent Calendar & JOY (Holiday Traditions)

Well, here we are with Thanksgiving quickly approaching and while I don't want to skip over the importance of Thanksgiving, I do want to share some fun advent projects with you.
Since the first day of Advent is also quickly approaching, I wanted to be sure and share my advent calendar with you so that you would have time to make one of your own if wanted to.

 I don't have my bags filled yet but I will post some pictures later of it finished and hanging. I was inspired by this calendar.
I ordered a package of muslin bags that I found for a great price on Amazon. They were sold in a package of 25....PERFECT!
Then, I simply used a Staz On Ink pad and stamped the numbers 1-25 on each bag.
I am going to fill them with a scripture for each day, which you can find a good list of here. I am also going to put a little something fun in each bag. Some bags will have an activity card in them which I have typed on the computer, printed out and will adhere to the cute scrapbook paper shown above. Other days will have some sort of fun treat in them; either candy or something small like chapstick (which my kids love for some reason).
However, the focus will not be on the treats (which is why not every bag will have one). Our heart is for our children to learn the joy of giving, serving and loving others. So, our activity cards will also include some ways in which our family can serve together as well.
Once the bags are filled, I plan on hanging a piece of twine across the wall and using clothes pins to hang the bags. I also plan on either dying the clothes pins red or covering them with cute paper.
If you don't have a wall space big enough to hang them, they would be equally as cute in a basket.

A little something else I have been working on.....a little JOY...
I am super excited to hang this in my living room for Christmas. I am thinking it will look great hanging above the couch or above the advent calendar. I'll post some pics when I decide.

We are decorating a little differently this year. Our tree sort had it after last Christmas. There were far too many strings of lights wrapped on those branches that did NOT work and that were NOT coming off, no matter how hard I tried!
So, we decided to do without a tree this year. I know, I know...that seems C-R-A-Z-Y! And really, for those who know me and my love for are probably gasping in disbelief right at this very moment. But really and truly, I am okay with it. It is not forever, it is for now and it is truly the Lord's timing because I would not have been okay with it last year.
Now, let me say this...there is NOTHING wrong with having a Christmas all. Ours was just done and we already knew we wanted to do Advent the next year and make a few changes, so this is where we are. You can totally do Advent and have a Christmas tree! ;)  For our family, right now, we really just want to focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas, without some of the wonderful things that can sometimes also serve as distractions, especially for little ones.
And really and truly, I am SUPER DUPER excited about Christmas this year! I think I am going to enjoy this even more than years past!
It is so easy to be so distracted during this season and I don't like that. We celebrate Christmas because it is the coming, the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Advent means "coming" or "arrival"; about the coming of Christ. Advent is all about waiting with anticipation for the arrival of Jesus.  I am so excited about focusing even more on my Savior this year. Just reading up on Advent and looking through different daily readings and devotional to do with the kids throughout Advent has already been so encouraging to me and a great blessing.
Check out this information on Advent, complete with family devotionals and ideas for family activities. Click on Advent Guide and print it out.

I'll keep sharing as I go! I hope this is helpful to you.