12/23/2013

Guess Who Had a Birthday!

A 4th birthday to be exact!  I’ll give you a hint... it was this girl!

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And when asked what kind of party she wanted to have she firmly stated that she wanted a “rainbow party… just like my birthday party last year.”  Who am I not to give the birthday girl what she wants, right?  So a rainbow party it was!

A lot of the party was pretty similar to last year… colorful streamers, rainbow themed fruit and veggies, tie-dyed cupcakes, pizza, etc. 

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Luckily, I don’t think any of the kids seemed to mind the repeat of last year.  They all seemed pretty pleased with the decorations and menu.  Especially this little guy!

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But there was one big difference between last year’s party and this year’s.  The weather!  This year it turned out to be 70+ degrees instead of the usual 30+ degrees we're used to.  So the party was able to spill outside, which we’ve never been able to do before.  And I’ve gotta say, it was pretty darned nice to be able to do the cupcakes, presents and playtime outdoors.

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In addition to the overall rainbow party theme, Bailey requested a photo booth be set up.  And I was super excited to be able to set one up outside for her just like at Owen’s party.  The kids seemed to really enjoy dressing up when they first went outside.  Unfortunately, by the time the adults (and cameras) all made it outside, their 4 and 5 year old attention spans had pretty much moved on to other things.  But we did still manage to get a couple of dress up shots.

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The kids (and adults) all really seemed to enjoy themselves and Bailey was over-the-moon excited to have so many of her friends at the party.  It’s hard to believe that she’s already 4!  And I know that 5 will be here in the blink of an eye.  Happy birthday Bailey!  We love you to the moon and back!

12/12/2013

DIY Burlap Ribbon Card Holder

This is a super simple… and I do mean simple solution to all of those holiday cards that are likely piling up at your house right about now.  All you need is a frame (I picked mine up at a thrift store a while ago and gave it a quick coat of red spray paint… it was originally used as a photo booth prop at Owen’s first birthday), scissors, measuring tape, hot glue gun and two roles of burlap ribbon (picked up in the floral section at Walmart for about $3.00 each).

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Begin by measuring each side of your frame so you can figure out how many strip of burlap ribbon you will need.  For my frame, I determined that I would need 5 strips in one direction and 4 in the other.  Cut your burlap strips, leaving just a little extra length on each end… just in case.  Then flip the frame over and mark off where you want to place your burlap strips.  I decided to start placing my burlap in the middle and working my way out… that way I could make sure that things were all even.

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Shoot a small bead of glue down the top and bottom and attach your first set of burlap ribbons.  Repeat the process on the sides, weaving the ribbons over and under before fully securing them.

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Once everything’s all glued down you can trim off any excess burlap that’s hanging off of the sides.

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And that’s it!  I told you it was so super easy!  I think it maybe me 30 minutes to complete this project from start to finish… possibly less.  I LOVE the alternating patterns on the burlap!  I think it adds a little extra fun!

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I stuck it up on the mantle beside the scrap fabric Christmas tree art I had made.  I can’t decide which is more fun to look at… the scrap fabric tree or the burlap ribbon card holder.  What do you think?

12/11/2013

DIY Pallet Crèche

I absolutely love my nativity set!  I picked it up at a local artist gallery a couple of years back.  I look forward to displaying it each year, but have always struggled with how best to show it off.  I’ve always wanted to have a crèche to go along with the nativity set. 

A little over a year ago I found this pallet at the local recycling center and I decided that I would take it home an try to build a crèche out of it.  Unfortunately, I never seemed to have the time to get the project done.  So the pallet has just been laying around… waiting to realize its full potential.  And finally, this year I got the job done!

I got to work disassembling the pallet, which I can say now was a much harder job than I ever expected it to be.  But luckily, once it was done I ended up with a nice big pile of wood to work with.

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I measured my nativity pieces and did a rough sketch of what I wanted the crèche to look like.  I didn’t have an exact plan in mind for it… just a general idea of how I wanted it to look.  Then I just started cutting the boards and piecing them together.  I called Craig in a couple of times for an engineering consult… just to make sure that whatever I had in mind to do would actually work.  And thankfully it all turned out great!  Even better than I expected!

The completed crèche measures about 3 feet in length and 18 inches tall.  It’s also about 18 inches deep.  IT’S MASSIVE!  But considering that my nativity pieces average about 12 inches tall it’s perfect!  And the price can’t be beat—100% F-R-E-E-!!!

I decided to display the crèche on the buffet in the dining room… pretty much because that was the only spot where it would really fit that would also be out of the reach of little fingers.  I added a little bit of straw to the manger and then draped a strand of lights around it.  And I think that the results are absolutely beautiful! 

What a wonderful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas!

12/09/2013

DIY Scrap Fabric Holiday Art

I found a massive, 23 inch wide embroidery hoop at a thrift store for just a couple of dollars about a month ago.  I used one when decorating my Christmas mantle last year and thought that it could be fun to add another one into the mix.  But I wanted to do something a little different this time around… something more than just a few simple, painted words. 

So I gathered all of the supplies that I thought I could possibly need to make some sort of Christmas art. 

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I wasn’t quite sure what I would come up with, but I knew I’d figured something out… eventually.  After a bit of thinking and a little bit of Google inspiration I decided to make a scrap fabric Christmas tree. 

I cut a large circle out of some inexpensive muslin.  Then I began raiding my pile of scrap fabric in search of anything green or even semi-green to use for the body of my tree.  Luckily, I had some Ikat patterned fabric left over from a project a while back that seemed to be perfect for the job (p.s.  the “project” I’m referring to turned out to be an epic fail… the roman shades were beautiful, but definitely couldn’t stand the test of time… especially in a house with two young kids).  So I cut out the green and brown portions of the pattern and began constructing a tree. 

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The next step was to some how adhere the fabric cut-outs to the muslin fabric.  Instead of gluing or sewing, I decided to go a simpler route.  I used an iron-on adhesive (Heat n Bond Lite to be exact).  This was a much simpler application because it allowed me to place each piece of scrap fabric where I wanted it and it allowed me to fine-tune things if needed.  It would have been so much more difficult to scoot things around just a smidge if I had been using glue or sewing.  Luckily the iron-on adhesive worked perfectly!  And this is the sweet little tree I was left with. 

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I suppose I could have stopped here, stuck the fabric in the embroidery hoop and called it a day.  But I didn’t!  I decided to add to the charm even more by adding a couple lines of a very appropriate Christmas song… “Oh Christmas Tree”

Using Microsoft Word I printed out the words you see below.  I grabbed a fine-tip black paint pen, slipped the paper under the thin muslin and began tracing out my lyrics.

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Once finished with one side I slid the paper over and did the same thing to the other side.

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When I was all done I popped scrap fabric tree into the embroidery hoop and stuck it up on the mantle!  And I’ve got to admit… I’m in LOVE!!!  It’s adorable and fun and it fits the feel of this year’s mantle perfectly!

12/08/2013

Oh Christmas Tree…

So, remember that little tree we picked up last week during our visit to the the Cartner Christmas Tree Farm?  Well this is what it ended up looking like after we added the lights, star and all of the other trimmings!

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Another nice, simple tree!  Just what our family likes!

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Not to mention that Santa looks pretty pleased with it too!

12/07/2013

A Holiday Door

They say that “there’s no place like home for the holidays”…

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…and that is certainly true when you get to come home to a nice welcoming front door like this one!

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It puts a smile on my face every single time I see it!  Never underestimate the power of a couple of strands of Christmas lights, fresh garland and a beautiful wreath!

12/01/2013

Cartner Christmas Tree Farm

We always have a real Christmas tree.  In fact, we even cut it down ourselves.  I don’t know why… it was a tradition in Craig’s family when he was a kid and it just kind of stuck.  And now that we’ve got kids of our own it’s kind of become our family tradition instead of just his.  For the past several years we have visited Christmas tree farms that were just around the corner (Fall Branch Christmas Tree Farm and Roan Valley Tree Farm).  This year we decided to go just a little bit further from home. 

We drove over the mountain and a little over an hour to Newland, North Carolina to Cartner Christmas Tree Farm

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The kids enjoyed exploring the tree farm and playing in the last little remains of snow from earlier in the week.

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Once our tree selection was made we headed back to the barn to ‘cozy up’ for a few minutes while we waited on the fellas to cut down and load up our tree.

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We also got to visit (from a safe distance, of course) with Santa.

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And when asked by Santa what she wanted for Christmas, Bailey leaned in and whispered her request in my ear… asking me to play the messenger.

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We had a great day at Cartner Christmas Tree Farm!  We spent the day out in the sunshine and fresh air.  We were able to continue our little family tradition.  We brought home a ‘perfect for our family’ tree. And we may have even snuck in a quick little Christmas card photo shoot (complete with props) while we were there!  All in all, I’d say that was a pretty successful day!