Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Chirstmas 2014!

Merry Christmas to all.  I pray that you and your family are enjoying the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Nativity set my grandfather carved.
"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
A gift this year from a dear friend.
May the Love of Jesus Christ join your family and friends together today and in the new year.

Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Last Minute Gift Idea #1

Oh no, you have been checking your list and realize you have forgotten to get anything for the neighbors or the dog sitter.  Well here is a quick idea to the rescue.  Holiday paper plates and napkins.

A practical and easy gift.
I received this gift from a family at my school.  It was a simple thing but so appreciated.  Everyone can use a set of pretty paper plates and napkins during the holidays.  They can be used for a party or a family dinner so the clean up is quick and easy. 
No wrapping is required since the plates and napkins are sealed.  Tie the items together using a ribbon or tulle, add a tag and top the gift off with a pretty ornament.  A simple gift that says we were thinking of you this season.  So, grab your car keys, head to the store and your Christmas list will be complete.  Only 1 day left!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Kits for the Kids #2

Hopefully you have all your major projects finished and only need to add a few items to the stocking list.  Today's craft is a quick idea for the younger members on your list.  Craft kits for the kids to do on Christmas day.  These kits work for all ages and will keep them busy while they are waiting for family to arrive so the real fun can begin.

This kit makes one stretchy beaded bracelet.

Contained in this kit are four note cards.
I put these kits together using supplies I had in my stash.  The bracelet kit has a piece of stretchy elastic cord and a variety of beads.  I included some special beads so the bracelet had a fun aspect.  The beads can be simply threaded onto the cord and then tied to fit the child's wrist.
The note card dress up kit includes four blank note cards and simple die cut punches to embellish the cards.  The only other supply needed would be a glue stick.  You could also include some stickers with or instead of the die cuts.  These cards can be used to write Thank You notes after Christmas or to send a special note to Santa.
Each kit was packaged into a plastic bag with a card stock topper stapled on top.  By packaging the kits they work well for stocking stuffers or can be placed on a tray for each person to select one to complete.  The kits make the craft a special activity.
Take time this season to create with your children and you will both craft memories that last a lifetime. Only 2 days left!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Sharpies to the Rescue #3

Ready or not Christmas is only a few days away.  No, I am not ready.  I still have lots of projects to finish so I am always looking for a quicker way to do things.  I like to use small wooden shapes in some of my projects but do not like to get out the paints to paint only a few.  So the other day I found some small wooden Christmas stockings and lights.

These are the thin balsa wood type shapes with no color.
The shapes needed some color so instead of getting down all the paints I grabbed my Sharpie pens and started coloring.  The Sharpie provides a solid color but still allows the wood grain to show through.
The white top of the stocking was done with a Sharpie paint pen.

I used regular Sharpies in green and red,
the silver is a metallic and the white is a paint pen.

The metallic Sharpies work well on the wood shapes
to give a little more depth.

I am not sure what I will do with these shapes yet but they have much more character than the unpainted originals.  I think it would be cute to add some glitter to the tops of the stockings to give them a little more sparkle.

Just a thought on how you can speed up some of your crafting process if you are wanting to add color to wooden shapes.  Only 3 days left!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - A Season of Hope #4

For some people the Christmas season is a time of sorrow and sadness.  But the Son of God came into the world to bring Hope to all people.  The coming of a Savior had been the only hope the Israelites  of the Old Testament had clung to for generations.

When the shepherds and were in the field the angel appeared to give them hope telling them  "Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people." (Luke 2:10) They left their flocks and traveled to see the Christ child.  Also, the Wise Men traveled many miles following a star because "The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage." (Matthew 2:10-11)  The shepherds and wise men knew that one day a Savior would come because they had the hope of better days. 

That hope lives today.  Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and brings hope to all people.  I pray that during this season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus you are reminded of the hope we have in Him. 


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Paper Clip Flags #5

For the teachers and staff at my school this year I made Paper Clip Flags.  The flags are easy to make and are economical to create for large groups.

Paper clip flags are easy to make.
To assemble the flags simply cut a ribbon approximately 3 1/2" long and tie around the end of the paper clip.  When you attach the paper clip to the paper the flag will extend beyond the edge and be easily found in a stack of papers.  These are great for teachers because they constantly have stacks of papers on their desks.  Whether it is papers to grade, send home or next weeks spelling list there is always something that needs to be found quickly.
The fun part of making these for the teachers and staff was the packaging.  At our Holiday Fair this year one idea they gave was to take the small solo type cups from the dollar store and decorate them to resemble a Santa suit.
Isn't this the cutest idea.
The small cups were found at the Dollar Tree.
To make the Santa suit design I used a 1/4" washi tape in black.  The yellow buckle is cut from peel and stick vinyl.  I was able to make about 45 of these for only a few dollars.  I placed 8 paper clip flags in each cup.  I used ribbon I had on hand but it probably took about 4  spools of ribbon to make enough for 45 cups.

Each cup has 8 paper clip flags enclosed.

Simply wrapped in a fold and lock baggie, tied with
a raffia ribbon and a cute tag attached.

I made about 45 of these for my school staff.

All bagged and ready to distribute. 
The teachers and staff loved the small packages and hopefully it will help them find those important papers on their busy desks.  These would also be great for office coworkers.  Everyone can use a little help finding items on their desk.  Only 5 days left!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Food Anyone? #6

The holidays always call for a time in the kitchen to prepare gifts for family and friends.  I try very hard to find recipes that don't take a lot of prep or ingredients.  The ability to find something with the previous criteria and be welcomed by a variety of recipients is sometimes hard.  This year I think I was able to blend the two quite well.

I decided to make Glazed Pecans and pack them in small canning jars for my husbands co-workers.  If you search the Internet you will find dozens of recipes for all kinds of spruced up pecans or other nuts. 

I packaged the nuts in small caning jars and decorated the lids.

These glazed pecans are just the right amount of sweet.

I added the spoon for easy consumption.
I had all the ingredients on hand to make this particular recipe.  It called for 2 Tbs of butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup.  Heat the ingredients in a skillet and stir in 2 cups of pecans.  Then bake the pecans on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  My first batch I cooked longer than 8 minutes and they were a little toasty.  This batch I cooked for the 6 minutes and they turned out to be slightly gooey.  Hence the spoon attached to the jars.  So I guess in my oven 7-8 minutes would be perfect. 
Any kind of food packaged in small jars with decorated lids upgrades that food item.  It can be as simple as peppermint candies, nuts or cupcakes.  Taking the time to wrap the food in cute containers makes the recipient feel loved.  If you are in need of a quick simple gift for your family, friends and neighbors try wrapping up something good to eat.  Only 6 days left!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Wooden Spool Ornaments #7

As you have probably figured out by now I love to craft and sew.  I have a hard time throwing anything away that has crafting possibilities.  As my husband says "You can take the most ordinary item that is destined for the trash and create something wonderful and unique."  So I have on my sewing table a large glass jar that is full of wooden spools that were destined to be transformed in some way.

I was preparing for our annual quilt group Christmas party and wanted to make something small for each member of the group.  Thinking about quilting, sewing etc. I heard the large jar of wooden thread spools calling out to me.  So I created an ornament using the spools, old hymnal pages, beads and a touch of glitter.

I was able to make an ornament for each member of our group.
The spools turned out quite nice as an ornament.
Using pages from an old hymnal I cut a piece to cover each spool.  I glued the music to the spool with tacky glue.  Next I threaded the beads and spool onto a long ear ring wire and created a loop at the top.
The crystals hanging from to bottom came from a set of old ear rings.

Old hymnals hold an abundance of crafting possibilities.

The stack just keeps growing and growing.
To add the final touch to each ornament I made a glittered snowflake.  The small snowflakes are from a punch and then I put a small dot of tacky glue in the center.  Poured fine glitter over the glue to create a glittered center for each snowflake.  This small sparkle detail was just what each ornament needed.  A hanger from gold embroidery thread was added so the ornament is easy to hang.
The snowflakes are buried under each pile of glitter.

This small detail was just what each ornament needed to sparkle.
I was able to make about 25 ornaments before I ran out of the beads I was using.  Yes I still have a lot of wooden spools in my thread drawers.  Before starting this project I made sure it was not going to deplete my spool stash.  I like they way they look in the jar by my sewing machine. 
Packaged and ready to distribute at the party.  

Each quilter at the party loved their new ornament. 
So the next time your spouse or friend gives you a hard time about saving something that they deemed should be trashed.  Tell them you are saving it for a special project.  Who knows what wonderful creations will emerge.  Only 7 days left!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Paint Chip Tags #8

Now that you have some gifts bought and made it is time to wrap them.  Today's project will give you a fun tag to attach to any gift.  Paint Chip Gift Tags.

These tags will be an attractive addition to any present under your tree.

Simple to make and fun to attach.
Gather those paint chips from your decorating idea file or head to your local hardware store and pick some up.  Then cut the tag shape by using a punch or simply cut the tags into rectangular sections.  After you create your tag shape select a smaller punch to cut out at the bottom of each tag.  (Save the drop outs for another project)  Punch a hole at the top and add some ribbon.  Viola your done. 
From the long paint chips you can create several tags.
Strong bold shapes work the best.
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...
This type of tag works great any time of year by changing the colors and the bottom punch.  Hearts in red for valentines, pastel colors with bunnies for Easter, and so on and so on.  Now get to wrapping those gifts and attaching these fun tags.  Only 8 more days left!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - More Cookie Cutter Ornaments #9

If you still have an abundance of cookie cutters in your cabinet you might want to try this ornament project.  Wrapped Cookie Cutter ornaments.  They are simple and can be done with metal or plastic cookie cutters.

Using variegated yarn gives you the stripe effect.
Simply secure the yarn to the cookie cutter and wrap the yarn around the outside.  Be sure to keep the yarn straight and tightly wound.  Secure the end again and add a hanger.  It would even be cute to suspend something from the center of the ornament like a small star etc.
Keep the yarn tight when wrapping.

On tight corners you might have to slightly overlap the yarn.
After you make all of your cookies for the holidays sort the cookie cutters into stacks of "keep for cookies" and "turn into ornaments" piles.  Then grab your yarn and have some fun.  This would be a great craft for the kids to help with.  These simple ornaments great gifts for coworkers and teachers.  Only 9 days left!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Cookie Cutter Ornament #10

Only 10 days left! What, only 10 days left!  Yikes I am not ready for Christmas there is still too many projects left to finish.  Today's project is a fun ornament made from old metal cookie cutters.

These ornaments are quick to make but have that antique quality.
The ornaments are made from the old metal cookie cutters like your mother and grandmother had.  You can paint the cookie cutters (as my friend did above) or leave them in the original metal.  After you have painted the cookie cutter you cut out music or another kind of paper and glue it to the bottom on the inside of the cookie cutter.  Then to finish off the ornament add any kind of embellishment you want in the center.  My friend used simple die cuts from Christmas scrap book paper.  Add a hanger and you are done. 
Even slightly bent this ornament is a prize.
An old hymnal was used in the backs of these
but scrap book paper would work well also.
I found these ornament at a garage sale.  They are copper I think they would look
great as ornaments but probably will not get them done this year.  Oh well, maybe next year.
I think it would be cute to add some old buttons in the center to give it another dimensional layer.  But the simple die cuts are cute also.  Remember Only 10 days left!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Joy to the World! #11

As the Christmas carol says - "Joy to the World the Lord is come: Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing."

As we sing the carols that have resounded across the world for many generations I pray that you and your family will prepare your hearts to receive the King of Kings.  Take time to share memories of Christmas past and may Joy fill the Christmas of 2014. 


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014 - Backpack Tags #12

Attaching items to your backpack has become the new charm bracelet for kids.  Some kids have more hanging from their backpack than is in the backpack.  So to jump on this fun expression of individual style I came up with a DIY backpack tag.  I made a couple of versions based on the same theme -- hearts. 

The translucent design of this tag lets the sun shine through.

The wooden hearts are colored with metallic sharpie.
The translucent design is made from plastic pellets.  I have several packages left from the sun catchers my children made when they were younger.  I placed the pellets in a metal pan I use only for crafts and heated them in the oven until they melted together.  After letting them cool I popped them out and sanded down the rough edges.  I like the added texture the rough edges add to the design. 
The plastic pellets are from old sun catcher projects.
The wooden hearts are colored using a metallic sharpie pen.  After coloring them I let them dry for about 20 minutes and then sealed them with a clear acrylic sealer.  The sealer ensures that the pen does not smear when the tag rubs against the backpack.  I found out it would smear by accident.
In the center of each heart I glued a scrapbook embellishment that has various words like - Smile, Friend etc.  To form the hanger for the tag I bent soft colored wire into a swirl shaped bail.  I hammered the part that would be glued to the back of the tag so it was flat.  You can flatten most wire with a hammer.  I used E6000 glue to secure the bail to the back.
The center embellishments are scrapbook supplies.

The bottom part of the bail was hammered flat for a better fit.

Last part was to attach a hook so the tag could be attached
to the zipper of the backpack.
The wooden hearts are colored silver, purple and light blue.

The opaque silver color looks great against the bright pink and blue.

I love the translucent appearance of these tags.

The above tags (clear and wooden) were made for a kids
craft class I did recently.  It was one of the items in the goody bags.
I know kids love hanging these tags from their backpacks.  So what better way than to give them a tag that is as unique as they are.  Only 12 days left!