Nov 30, 2012

31 Things

Hi all! It's almost December and I know this month is going to be incredibly busy for everyone, (with shopping, traveling, decorating, class parties & projects) but I wanted to post a list of things to do with kids and family! Most of these won't cost you anything but time (I'm all for low budget crafts and ideas right now!) and hopefully you'll have some fun in the process. Just think of the many photo opts for your December journal. :)

 1. start a Family Advent Calendar
2. donate canned food (this will make room in your pantry too!) 
3. decorate your home
4. make reindeer food (1/2 cup oatmeal, and a dash of glitter - sprinkle outside to attract Santa's reindeer)
5. take your child(ren) to see the snow this year & go sledding
6. make hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie as a family
7. be a secret Santa to someone unexpected
8. donate old coats to charity
9. make dinner for someone who could use a night off this month
10. read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas eve
11. volunteer to wrap gifts for someone 
12. visit Santa at the Mall
13. make paper snowflakes from coffee filters
14. bake cookies and decorate as a family
15. host a gift wrapping party
16. build a fire and roast marshmallows
17. host an ornament making party for the kids in the neighborhood 
18. make paper ornaments and let the kids decorate
19. write a letter to Santa
20. leave an apple or carrots for Santa's reindeer
21. play an old Christmas record or cd as background music for dinner tonight
22. write a letter to our troops stationed over seas this Holiday
23. sort through your kids' toy box and bookcases to donate old or unloved items
24. make a 'magic key' for Santa to use if you don't have a fireplace this year
25. bundle up and take a walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights
26. simmer orange slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves and some water to make your home smell wonderful
27. start an ornament exchange with family members and guests (we do this during Christmas dinner, I have a sleigh full of wrapped ornaments)
28. donate any extra blankets or quilts to a local charity
29. make time to hold a family game night
30. take your children to the library to read Christmas stories from around the world
31. spend an afternoon making peanut butter and bird seed pine cones, tie to a tree and watch the birds come to visit


After a long day this month, kick your feet up, enjoy a cup of hot apple cider and remember to breathe! I'm actually really excited for my to-do list this month as well as spending lots of time at school helping out in the classroom. (Usually I'd be a bit frazzled thinking about how much needs to happen this month.) I think with this year being our first in the new house, I'm feeling more energized and ready for the holiday. Chase is really helping too, he understands so much more this year that it's fun to now be able to include both him and Alaina in all of our holiday plans. It really is the most wonderful time of the year! 

Have a splendid weekend everyone! ~ Tara 

Nov 17, 2012

8 things I love: Saturday

It's grey, cloudy, quiet and the air is very still here this morning. It's kind of perfect weather for staying in and reading a good book or scrapbooking, but the kids and I have a bunch of errands this morning to run. (They want to have a s'more party outside tonight! :))  

I have plans later to finish a few custom orders for Etsy - including the cutest little bundle of Christmas tags and flowers I've ever made. (I think!) Can't wait to start photographing those. I also have this idea for ornaments that the kids can make... I think a trip to the craft store may be in order. 

Hope your Saturday is off to a productive and creative start! ~ T

Nov 16, 2012

Dinner Place Settings: tutorial

This was one of those tutorials that I really wanted to post during the Sweet November week, but I ran out of time and so here it is- a week later. I think I have narrowed down the menu for Thanksgiving and with the place settings and centerpiece figured out, I have a feel days to relax and get other stuff done... like cleaning the house from top to bottom. :) 

Jessica and I talked all week about the different ways we could use an old book and various other things around the house to make our place settings. I like the idea of using whatever I have on hand, 1. it's good to reuse and recycle and 2. with the price of gas, I don't want to be driving all over town if I don't have it! Here's a quick idea for using book pages 3 different ways when it comes to your dinner place settings!

Ruffled Napkin Rings

paper towel roll
book pages
sewing machine
paper trimmer
ribbon & leaf (optional)


1. Cut the paper towel roll into 1 1/2 inch sections 

2. take the book pages and cut into strips about 1/4 to a 1/2 inch wider than your paper towel roll. We'll have them overlap the paper roll so that it's completely covered!

3. Sew the strips of paper by gently folding the paper and sewing over the top very slowly so that the paper doesn't.

4. To make each napkin ring, you'll use 2 strips of paper. Once you sewn the first strip of paper and reached the end, fold another strip of paper under and sew onto the first strip. Keep folding and sewing slowly! Once you have 2 strips of paper ruffled and sewn, back stitch a few stitches and then cut the sewing thread.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have enough ruffled paper to make the desired amount of napkin rings.

6. Take one strip of ruffled paper and add a bit of glue to the napkin ring. Wrap the paper around the ring and when you've reached the end of the paper, you should have enough paper trim to overlap. Add another bit of glue and glue the end of the paper in place. Hold for a few seconds to allow the glue to hold. 

 7. Use a another strip of paper, and coil into a round tube, slip inside the napkin ring and let the paper uncoil so that it fits perfectly inside and glue into place. (Now no one will know you've used a paper toll roll to make your napkin rings!) 

8. To finish, we're just embellishing the napkin rings. You could leave them as is, but I chose to use a shimmery orange leaf and some vintage seam binding to tie around each napkin ring!

I think these ruffled napkin rings look great with crisp white cloth napkins! 

From the same paper used to make the napkin rings, I took a sheet, trimmed it in half and wrapped it around a large jar filled with greens instead of flowers. (I actually love the way green leaves and branches look on a table, so clean and fresh!) Use a little seam binding, lace or ribbon to hold the book page onto the jar. Set the jar on top of a few vintage books, add a couple of tall candle sticks, scatter some leaves (die-cuts using the same book pages) and it's super quick and simple way to create a centerpiece for your table this Fall! 

I've also typed out some little cards to put at each setting. I have an idea for making a very little mini book full of these cards! 

Since Thanksgiving is getting ever so close, have you been playing with dishes and place settings yet? I'm thinking of going with these burnt pumpkin floral and grey dishes. - I've kind of fallen in love with that color combination this season! 

Have a wonder start to the weekend! ~ T

Nov 13, 2012

Sweet November: winner & etsy

Thank you everyone for joining Jessica and I for our Sweet November week and for all of your sweet comments! I will admit that it was kind of nice spending the weekend relaxing and making out my holiday to-do list! (I've be sharing that later on this week!)  

Now onto the fun stuff! The winner of my Sweet November giveaway is: Grace

grace said...
What a cute giveaway!!
I really liked your autumn wreath post. I can't wait to make one myself!

Thanks for the chance to win! :)

I can hardly believe it, but I actually listed one of my cameras today too! It has already sold, and I know it's going to a good home, but oh how these little brownies make me smile! I have my collection of cameras up on a shelf just before the doors that lead into my craft room. The shelf though, was overflowing with vintage cameras and I had starting piling them on the small wooden table beneath. I like seeing them there as I pass by, but it was time to let a couple go!! 

So, that was my weekend, mixed with family, a whole lot of cleaning, some note taking and a little reading. I have plans to find a Christmas tree this week (I gave away my old one yesterday) and I have a new sewing idea up my sleeve that I really would like to get started on at some point. - I'm thinking vintage doily's, machine sewing, pretty fabric and maybe some hand embroidering. Sounds lovely, doesn't it!

Have a wonderful night all! 

Nov 10, 2012

Sweet November: Fall Giveway

Hello everyone and welcome to the last day of our Sweet November week! I've put together a list of all the fun we had this past week ~ lot's of Fall inspired posts all in one place! 

from: the pink couch
Autumn Picnic in the Park
Pumpkin Maple Panna Cotta
Pretty Package & Hostess gift ideas
Autumn Wreath tutorial
Tie Necklace tutorial
Something to wear ~ Fall
Hello Fall - mini scrapbook

from: scrumdillydilly
Hello Fall
Spice it Up
Squash & Succulents
Simple Fall Ensemble
November Sweet Treats
Wrap Some String Around It
Pretty Place Setting
Breakfast Time
Cold Mornings & Happy Scones

- and for the last day of a handmade week a sweet handmade giveaway, from me to you! I've collected lots of little pieces from my studio; yo-yo's, paper stickers, vintage papers, sewn leaves, old buttons, tags and sparkly sequins. Lot's of fun things to add to a Fall mini or a few scrapbook layouts!  

Did you have a favorite post from this past week? I have to admit the picnic post was a lot of fun for us, but my favorite is probably the Fall Wreathe. (I really like the grey-peach combination!)  I also loved Jessica's French Toast bites and those cute pumpkin planters she created!

To enter this giveaway simply leave a comment below and I'll be back on Tuesday (the 13th) to choose a lucky winner of the little Sweet November embellishment kit! 

and once you've enter this giveaway, hop on over to Scrumdillydilly and comment for a chance to win Jessica's Sweet November giveaway!

Thanks so much for joining us this week and enjoy your Saturday! 

Nov 9, 2012

Sweet November: Hello Fall mini

My last project for our Sweet November week! I printed some of those photos from the Pumpkin festival with the kids and started a mini scrapbook that I named Hello Fall

It's main pages are 5 x 7 pieces of chipboard and then in between those pages I added index cards, tags, envelopes and other pieces of cardstock. I still have a few more pages to add, I want to include photos of Thanksgiving and I still have hopes of getting up to Sedona this weekend for a hike through the forest! 

I used small bits of lace, clothing patterns and book pages mixed with some scrapbook pages to create the pages. I kept the colors kind of muted and neutral so that my photos could be the focus. I still have to add a color combination page! 


I love creating mini albums, they take so little time to complete and afterwards you have a pretty little book to display for the season! Do you have plans to create your own Autumn themed mini this year? If you do, you won't want to miss tomorrow's giveaway ~ I've put together a kit full of sweet embellishments just for Fall! 

eta: I actually made a few kits of this little book, they can be found here in my shop.

Nov 8, 2012

Sweet November: something to wear

The one thing I think I look the most forward to this month, is getting to pull out all of my big cozy sweaters, unwrapping my wool coat collection and sorting through my ever growing stash of knitted scarves! I love cold mornings and chilly evenings just because it gives me a chance to put on my fuzzy boots and a big over sized sweater. Yes, Fall is in the air! You can check out Jessica's perfect Fall her afternoon ensemble here

I have plans to spend the remainder of the day finishing an Autumn themed mini - I'll be posting those photos tomorrow and preparing a little giveaway to wrap up our Sweet November week. I'm thinking Saturday would be a lovely day for a giveaway! 

Nov 7, 2012

Sweet November: Tie Necklace Tutorial

Well hello! Today's tutorial is one that I had originally planned to post last year but for whatever reason it never made it to the blog. Now that it is cooling off (it was only 86 here today!) and Fall is on it's way, eventually, I thought this tutorial would be a good fit for our Sweet November week! 

Getting started, you'll need to find a tie. Instead of going through my husbands tie collection, Chase and I went to a Goodwill store where there were way  more to choose from than what Peter had hanging on his side of the closet. That's where I found this great Italian silk tie! When looking for your own tie, just be sure to find one where the material isn't too thick, it should be easy to fold.

Here's what you'll need to get started! 


sewing machine 
2 pieces of lace (mine measured about 10 inches each)
straight pins
large button (optional)
vintage pin
sewing needle and thread


1. Start but laying you tie flat on your work space. Take the bottom of the tie and fold it back towards the middle of the tie. You want to make about 5 pleats or folds, so my first fold measured 4 inches. Each fold, will get a little shorter in length as you go.  

Once you've folded your first pleat, use a straight pin, on the inside of your tie, to secure your pleat. Continue folding and pinning until you have 5 or 6 pleats. *You'll notice that as you're folding the tie it will start to curve inward, almost like the shape of a necklace!*

Once you've finished pinning, now it's time to start sewing. Slowly sew along the inside edge of your tie. As you sew remove the straight pins and set side - we'll use them again for the lace. 

When you reach the last pleat, backstich a few stitches and then cut the sewing thread. After this step, your tie should look like this. If your pleats aren't laying flat use an iron to press them.
Now time for some lace. I'm using a black lace that's gathered on one side. Take the gathered side and following your existing sewing line, pin the lace to the tie. I pinned a small amount of lac to the back of my tie to start.

Just like sewing the tie previously, carefully sew the lace to the tie, removing the straight pins as you sew.

I'm adding one more piece of lace, I found this stretchy lingerie lace that was too cute and dainty plus I loved how ruffly it was! Follow the previous steps for securing and sewing the lace.

Almost done! Now you'll need to measure your tie and decide how long and where on your neck you'd like it to fall. Once you've decided, trim off the extra length of the tie. Fold over the material on the end of the tie and sew close. 

We're all done with the sewing machine now! There are a couple of ways for securing the tie to wear as a necklace. I used a vintage metal pin to to pin the ends together. You could also sew in a metal snap to the back of the tie.

For the top of the tie, I went ahead a sewed a large gold button on for an added embellishment. I like the way it looked, but you could also use a flower or even another small pin. 

Hopefully I took enough photos of the process! It's another one of those lazy weekend projects, plus it's always fun to have a reason to go thrifting!  
Jessica has a Pretty Place setting posted today on her blog that you don't want to miss! I have her idea for napkin rings filed into my 'must make list!'