Hunting Trees & Holiday DIYs

Our family went and cut our Christmas tree this past weekend. It was a blast and I recommend the tree “hunt” to anyone who hasn’t tried it. Not only do Christmas tree farmers provide trees, they are compostable, sustainable, and local. Picking our tree and dragging back to the car to be loaded made my […]

NaNoWriMo & the Season of Joy

Like Christmas presents, I’ve been wrapping up the loose ends on my stories for National Novel Writing Month. I am not a “winner” coming short of the fifty thousand words needed.

However, I feel like a winner.

Why? Because I’ve been writing. I’ve been proving to myself that with two tiny children I can do this. I have beautiful stories that excite others. I can find the time to do something that I love. I even finished a story (shorter than expected but done!) and began a new one.

What about you?

It doesn’t matter if you “won.” Did you write? Was it more often or with greater velocity than in the past? Did you make new comrades wielding pen and keyboard? I hope so. 

So let’s give ourselves permission this holiday season to admit to relatives, “Yes, I’m writing.” And say with a hint of excitement, “Yes, it’s going well.” Because the definition of well is if you are fulfilling your inner joy of getting words down.

So send out those Christmas cards labeled “JOY” on the front and write a longhand note because you’re a writer and those cards count towards your words for the day!

Keep writing and finding joy this season.

Happy Questing!

 

DIY- Felt Christmas Tree for Toddler

If you’re like my family you have more heirloom ornaments than normal ones on your tree. They are special and mean something even if it makes the tree look cheesy. So how do you have a family tree when you really don’t want anyone in the family to touch it? Especially that glass one from great grandma that sparkles so magically.

Here is my solution this holiday season. An idea I snagged off of Pinterest and modified to fit my home (lack of wall space due to books over here). I’m utilizing more of my tomato cages so here goes (can you tell my garden flopped this year).

You will need:

  • Tomato cage
  • Green felt, about 1 yard
  • Assorted colored felt, I picked several matching colors
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Glitter, gems, or any other décor you’d like to use
  • About 2-3 hours depending if the kiddos help

For the tree- Take your cage and your green felt and begin to wrap the tree using the cage wires as a support. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. If you work in quadrants you can give the tree a more realistic texture, or if you want it to be modern looking try to wrap it in as few pieces as possible. I did one of both and the speed of a single piece wrapping was very handy. I duct taped the ends into a point for the top of the tree.

 

For the ornaments- This can be a fun winter evening project for kids if you want. Gather your assorted colors. Cut out ornament shapes (lots of templates available online) and have the kids decorate. Use more felt, glitter, gems, pompoms, or whatever to make them special. You can use white felt to make snow, or use other shapes to make a theme like woodland, or snowflakes. No limits here on what you can do check the examples I worked from on Pinterest. On a little whim I also made a few present ornaments for the base of the tree using the extra felt I had.

In the end you should have a 3D tree that the kids can decorate, rearrange and move throughout the house for hours of holiday fun.

How did your tree turn out? Did you create a theme or go traditional? I’d love to see some of them.

Happy Questing!

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Vintage Gifts for the Holiday

For Christmas we always play “the game.” You know the one where you get a number, pass the gifts, and steal them from each other (or any variation thereof).

Our newest twist to this game is buying our gifts second hand, either from a yard sale or from a thrift shop. Not only is the challenge to find the best deal, but also to customize it if need be.  So here is my unique gift and I hope it inspires you to search out and find others your family will enjoy.

This fall, on a cool morning, a sweet old lady had a one day yard sale, one of the last of the season. I felt a bit bad for her, she wasn’t getting much traffic, but her prices were spot on. I rummaged through some framed prints and my breath caught at this dirty gem.

She pointed to the covered wagon on the needlework saying, “it was made before cars.” I pointed out the adorable person on skis and said, “I doubt it.”  I’m a jerk, I know, but you got to use your smarts at yard sales. But on another note, how do you date a needlework piece? Here a few hints to get you started:

  • The fabric- Needlework or cross stitch fabric was invented in the mid 60’s due to a renewed interest in the craft. This piece was on a thin piece of cotton.
  • The frame- The style of the frame can say a lot. An ornamental one can date it older, where a plastic one is newer. This frame is a slightly molded wooden frame mounted on a solid wood back board.
  • The subject- Look at the piece. What elements are included? What is the style of dress? Does it look like the creator had a pattern or does is flow organically? Look at the letters, calligraphy, block? All these things can add up to a certain period. This piece doesn’t have a pattern that I can tell, the clothing and wording suggest a time in the 1950’s to me.

She threw in a coloring book for my toddler and I bought it.

To bring this tired piece into a new era of décor I did a few things:

  1. I cleaned it, and boy did it need it.
  2. I reattached the paper backing to the frame.
  3. I painted the frame a coordinating red color.
  4. I sanded the molded edges of the frame to make them pop and give it a rustic appearance.

I can’t wait to see if my $2 investment wins the game this year and everyone’s hearts. What fun thrift gifts have you found this holiday season?

Happy Questing!

 

DIY hand painted ornaments

At any craft store or even the dollar store you can get clear plain glass ornaments. You can grab some of these and have a fun craft night with your kids! Acrylic paint works fine on them, you can also use glitter, fabric or any other type of crafting material.

There are so many ways you can make ornaments with these.  I wanted to list out 10  ideas for when you go to create yours.

  1. Wrap in fabric strips of your choice, use a hot glue gun to adhere fabric.
  2. Put paint inside them and create a cool effect, this one is great for kids they can squirt different colors in and move the ornament around to let it drip or mix together.
  3. Hand paint your ornaments like how I pictured them below.  You can also use sharpie markers if you are better with a marker than a brush.
  4. Hot glue a cool design and when the hot glue is drying drop glitter onto it to make the glue glittery.
  5. Spray with adhesive and make the entire ornament glitter!
  6. If you have very small children maybe try foam stickers, rhinestones, or regular stickers to create your ornament.
  7. Wrap yarn or rope around them adhere with hot glue to create a yarn ball effect.
  8. Hand lettered your childs name onto the ornament and fill a little bit with glitter.
  9. Fill the ornament with pom poms!
  10. Buy glass stain and hand dip the bottoms of the ornaments to get an ombre watercolor look.

Happy Crafting!

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DIY Ornaments
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DIY Ornaments
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DIY Ornaments

DIY Ornaments!

I put up my Christmas tree on election night to keep my mind on happy things, and I decided to create some more fun things to decorate it with this year.  Below I created a video showing you how to create these fun little ornaments.

Supplies:

  • Straws 4 per each ornament
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Wooden Beads
  • Bobby Pin

Check out my video on how to create this simple Christmas ornament using only straws and yarn, you can add beads to make them more unique!

How to:

First step is to cut each staw into 3 equal peices.  You can change the size of the straws to be as big or as small as you would like.  Just make sure all peices are equal lengths and cut about three feet of yarn.

Next string on 3 of the cut straws, and tie a knot to form a triangle.  All you are doing is forming triangles, it may seem a little complicated at first but once you get the hang of it, it will be super easy.

Now you will be adding two at a time to keep forming the triangles, you do this until you have one peice of straw left.

With the last peice you string it and tie it to the very first knot that you made and this will form the bottom of the ornament.  After that the top needs to be tied with an extra peice of yarn, this is the peice I added the beads to.  You do not need the beads but if you want them its easy to string them on with a bobby pin and create a loop on the end so it can hang easily on the tree.

Happy Crafting!

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DIY Christmas Ornament
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DIY Christmas Ornament
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DIY Christmas Ornament
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DIY Christmas Ornament