Dec 13, 2013

diy ideas: holly leaves & gift wrapping

Here's a quick idea for gift wrapping, especially if you made one of the previous projects using the cut-out holly leaves and you happen to have a few extra leaves left-over! 

When it comes to gift wrapping, I love layering! It's my secret weapon to making my gifts look presentable. I'll layer, ribbons, bows, leaves or flowers, gift tags and everything gets clipped together with a little clothespin. 

To make the sewn holly leaves, I cut out 2 different sizes to use, one small and one large. Sew 2 leaves together and look for little pieces of trim, fabric or ribbon to use for the middle of the leaf. Once you have a few leaves sewn, gather materials to layer together and a gift that needs some embellishing! (I think these holly leaves would be really pretty if you used vintage sheet music - I may try that today!)

I have a to-do list a mile long today! It may be a tad overly ambitious for a single days work, but I'm going for it - and, with a little luck, I'll hopefully have a new tutorial and giveaway to post this weekend. 

Happy Friday to all!  xo ~ tara

Dec 12, 2013

diy ideas: Holly Wreath

Make a simple & pretty holiday wreath with just a few paper leaves and a coat hanger! 

Just like yesterdays project, we'll use similar products as well as the technique to make a really simple wreath to hang up this holiday season! 

{I had intended getting this posted last night, but instead I ended up needing to design Ben Franklin with Alaina for a class project. There's always something to do!} 

To start, you'll need a few supplies:
wire coat hanger
wire cutters
gun gun & glue sticks
paper (I'm using a dropcloth)

You'll need to create a holly leaf template. (Search online for a printable one, or just draw one, like I did, onto a folded piece of paper.) Cut out leaves from paper, I used about 40 leaves total for my wreath.
Use a pair of wire cutters to cut the top part of the hanger off. Carefully bend the wire into a circle and use pliers to twist the end pieces together. 

Start to glue the leaves on to the wire. Add a leaf to the back of the wire, add glue and then place a leaf over the wire and on top of the first leaf. You'll want to cover the wire completely with paper leaves.

Once you've finished gluing the leaves onto the hanger, let the glue dry completely and then you can remove all of the glue strings. (I love using hot glue, but really dislike all those glue spider web strings that end up being left over!) Create a bow using string or ribbon to hang up and your paper wreath is complete!  

I have another gift wrap idea to do with the same holly leaves, and then I want to do something with snow globes! Everyone loves snow-globes this time of year! 

xo  ~ tara

Dec 11, 2013

diy ideas: holly leaf garland

Holly leaves, like snowflakes, are one of my favorite holiday embellishments to use! I've created a few quick diy projects that make the most of these little paper leaves! Here's my simple how to: on making a holly garland that you can use for decor or even giftwrapping!  

 First to get started, you'll need to create a template of a holly leaf by either going on line and finding one or by creating one by freehand.  Last week I needed to get some painting done and Chase and I made a quick run over to Home Depot to pick up a few supplies when I came across this kraft like paper. It's called Eco Drop, it's actually a paper dropcloth for painting but it's comparable to a thin kraft paper. Plus it's eco friendly and recyclable - the best of both worlds! I paid about $4.00 for 216 square feet. I'm also planning on using it to wrap presents this year, just dressed up a bit with bows and other pretty embellishments!

You'll also need; a glue gun, glue sticks, some craft or floral wire (mine was really thin and easy to bend) and cut holly leaves. Start by spreading out newspaper under your glue gun, to keep your work space safe, and letting the glue gun heat up. Stretch out the wire and lay out flat. Place a paper leaf under the wire, add a bit of glue and sandwich another leaf on top. I left about an inch space in between each leaf. Continue gluing leaves to the entire length of the wire. 

Once you finish gluing the leaves on, you can hang your wired garland up as a holiday decoration or use it as part of you gift wrap decor! Here's how I used it to wrap up a simple gift card!

 I stared with a little teal box, a gift card, glittered pine cone, holly garland, a small typed tag and some string or a clothespin. Tuck the giftcard into the box, wrap the garland around the box, snipping off the extra and twisting the wire together to hold in place. I used a clothes pin to hold the gift tag and pinecone in place, just clip to the wire garland - you could also use the string to tie everything together. 

It's a pretty presentation for a small gift! I have another 2 projects using the same leaves that I'll post a little later today. I'm off to get some Etsy stuff done this afternoon and then back to crafting! Enjoy your Wednesday! 

xo ~ Tara

Dec 5, 2013

diy ideas: Holiday Gift Tags

It's easy, with all the hustle & bustle going on around us, to forget about the little details of the holiday. Things like gift tags! You wrap a gift, make it as pretty as possible and then remember that you don't have a gift tag to attach! Here are 6 simple gift tags that you can probably make with just the random craft items sitting on your desk right now! 

I'm doing a natural/gold/silver decor this year for Christmas and I made my gift tags to match. I'm also forgoing the traditional wrapping paper in favor of recycle-friendly newspaper! But I think I will make a set of these in bright reds & pinks though. (I bet they would even photograph better than these too!)

gift tags DIY

* use a paper punch to punch out a snowflake on a gift tag, glue scrapbook paper onto the back of the tag (I used a glitter paper)
* hand sew a glittered floral stem (they have lots to choose from in craft stores right now!)
* sew a punched snowflake onto a gift tag
* sew leftover chipboard letters, the first letter of each persons name onto a tag
* cut out 3 circles from felt, sew them from large up to small for a quick snowman tag
* sew pieces of fabric starting with longer pieces on the bottom up to smaller pieces on top for a fabric tree

{{DIY ideas is going to be a little mini-series this month. I have a few more post ideas that are Holiday theme-ish. Hope you enjoy them! xo ~ Tara}}

Dec 1, 2013

Hello December!

I have a clove and chestnut candle burning, The Holiday playing on tv and the living room is lit with the soft light of a glowing white Christmas tree. Let the season begin! 

We all got up this morning and made our way out to the flea market. While we were wandering up and down the isles, I was busy making a mental list of all the things I want to be sure and make time for this month. So, here's my list! (so far) 

10 simple things to-do this month with kids

- spend one night making cookies together, pull out all of the sprinkles, frosting, icings and let them be creative

- on a weekend afternoon plan to make an ornament (or a few) together, or include some of their friends/neighbors

- get bundled up and go out looking at Christmas lights 

- if you're out and about shopping, take a break at a cafe for hot chocolate

- have a Friday night movie night, wear pjs, set out blankets, make popcorn and watch a holiday movie as a family

- let them make their own thankyou cards ~ set out scrapbooking paper, glue sticks, stickers, markers, scissors and blank cards

- while you have out the scrapbooking supplies, use a paper punch to make gift tags and let the kids decorate their own gift tags

- start a 'boxing day' tradition, use a large box and encourage them to give away toys/clothes that they've outgrown

- on the first night of their winter vacation let them choose the menu for dinner

-  play the "Mystery Holiday Words" game. Think of a holiday word, then give out 3 clues to what your word is. (We play this game alot while driving & running errands) It's fun and passes the time by quickly! 

I've been creating a list of tutorials I want to do this month but first, I need to get this house decorated. We've decided on a silver and gold theme for the house and the kids' tree will be a red & pink candy/dessert tree this year. So many fun things to do this season! 

Goodnight and Happy December 1st! 

Nov 30, 2013

sweet november

I am so bad at taking photos! Like, really bad. Sometimes I even don't remember until late at night, long after there is any natural day light left, and other times I just don't feel like picking up the 5 pound camera and lugging it around with me. I think I can honestly say, that I probably (most likely) will never again want to do a 30 day photo challenge. I can't make it. Thinking back, I probably should have started off with something easy, like a 7 day challenge.

So, I wasn't feeling great on Thanksgiving - no photos were taken. Then yesterday, I didn't even bother getting dressed yesterday. It was just one of those days, the kid's and I made an executive decision to stay in our pj's all day, and we did. The only thing that happened yesterday was our family elf, Elfie, made his first appearance of the year!

This time Elfie arrived with a package, but it was much too heavy for his tiny arms to carry and so he had to leave it on the front porch. He left the kids a note sticking to my lamp, saying his generals hellos and welcome back and told them to check the front door for a surprise. It's like an incentive for what's to come so they can be on their best behavior this month. The box came addressed to them from the Toy Shop @ the North Pole, complete with a return label stamp and 'special delivery' tags. Inside, the box was filled with pretty wrapped packages full of little toys, crayons, stickers, candy canes, lot's of "hand-made stuff from the North Pole," (- Alaina's exact words) some Christmas ornaments to share and a special holiday book for Alaina to read Chase at bed time. 

Both kids said yesterday was the best day ever. I'd have to agree, it's really fun watching them so excited about a little Elf that likes to hang out around the house. 

Last day of November, hope you're having a fun Saturday! 

xo~ Tara

ps. didn't take a photo of myself today either - I told you I was bad at this! 

Nov 27, 2013

sweet november: tiny & new

I missed a day! I let my nerves get the best of me yesterday and by evening time all I wanted was to call it a day and head off to bed. Today was better though, photos were taken, grocery shopping done and plans were made for the weekend. I did take this photo yesterday of little Maggie sleeping in her corner of the couch. She is so sweet! Whenever Chase sees her curled up like this he'll motion for me to come over and see her -"no, mom you HAVE to see her this time!" I'm thankful for this tiny girl dog, she's been such a wonderful part of our family. 

As for new - I've been working on this new collection for the shop. It's called Silver and Gold, lots of bright gold and shimmery silvers. Still editing photos and getting things all packaged up. 
 Thanksgiving morning means getting up early to watch the parade together. I have pumpkin waffles and maple sausage on the menu for breakfast. I think I look forward to Thanksgiving Day morning the most - so simple and yet so much fun for the kids and I! 

good night all, and Happy Thanksgiving! 
xo ~ Tara

Nov 25, 2013

sweet november: window view

Just another quick post tonight! We have lots of little kid stuff going on tomorrow to get ready for, fieldtrip, class party, and a preschool party in the afternoon. It's a fun week but it's super hectic!

Oh! and my fellow Sweet November friend is having a pretty little giveaway on her blog. Don't miss it! 

xo ~ Tara

Nov 24, 2013

sweet november: pretty

Just a quick post tonight before bed. Pretty to me is flowers, especially peach roses! 

Nov 23, 2013

sweet november: on screen + (giveaway winner)

Today was a really lazy Saturday. We cleaned, I cooked, we ran errands, the kids played and then we settled in to watched Sister Act. Apparently, I've never had them watch it before. Alaina is in choir this year at her school and she seemed to really like the movie, so much so that she stuck around to watch part 2. I loved both of those movies! 

Tonight, I was able to work for a few more hours on my Christmas collection for the shop - it's very pink this year! There was a brief break in the work when a stuffed dog had a minor emergency and needed his ear sew back on. (Chase's little face as he peeked around my craft room door "Mommy, my dog needs help, tears in his eyes as he held some of the stuffing in his hand. He has me wrapped around his fingers, he is so sweet.) I'm hoping, fingers crossed that the sun make an appearance for decent photos, I'll be adding everything to the shop mid week. Taking photos, I think, is the most exciting part for me. Love seeing everything come together!

As for the winner from last nights post.... congrats to: 

Sandra Flores said...
Rain outside, hot tea inside. Books to read, warm bed to sleep. Someone to hug. Dreams to follow, hope in my breath ... Love in my eyes.

I think your idea of comfort sounds pretty wonderful! Please send me your contact info to:

I have another giveaway - a holiday theme - to do next week that I'll work into one of the posts. Thank you for stopping by tonight! Have a peaceful weekend! 

xo ~ Tara 

Nov 22, 2013

sweet november: comfort (giveaway)

I'll say it right now, I don't have a photo for today's post. It's wet, it's cold and it's very grey out and I don't really feel like taking a photo. With this type of weather though, I can tell you what Chase and I have been doing today! It started with hot chocolate this morning, warm fleece sweaters being pulled on, grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, pine scented oil in the warmer, old Christmas records being played. It's kind of a perfect day for comfortable things, especially food! 

Because I don't have a photo I thought we would do a giveaway instead! It's a good trade! I wanted to give away some Fall themed items from my etsy shop this month. I'll put together an envelope of handmade embellishments and some fun vintage papery things and my favorite book page leaves! 

Leave a comment below or tell me what 'comfort' means to you. :) I'll choose a winner tomorrow night! Happy Friday everyone! 

Nov 20, 2013

sweet november: pumpkin (recipe)

Tis the season for pumpkin everything. I wonder when pumpkin became so trendy? Of course it has wonderful health benefits, but when exactly did everything about the season include the word pumpkin....? I have no idea, but I can't say I mind either! I love pumpkin, I like using it throughout the year and especially when it's in desserts. :)

I cheated a little today - I'm reposting the pumpkin dip recipe that I posted on Flickr 7 years ago! (7 years ago! I was shocked when I saw the date. How has that much time gone by!) Since then, I've swapped out some old ingredients for more updated ones and adjusted the sugar content. This is such a great dip, and with Thanksgiving next week it makes a perfect appetizer!  

Pumpkin Dip 

1 container (8oz) of Weight Watchers whipped cream cheese (at near room temp.)
1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. canned pumpkin pie mix
2 T. maple syrup
1/4 t. roasted ground cinnamon
apples slices, ginger snap cookies
Add the cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin, maple syrup and cinnamon into a mixing box and beat with an electric mixer for 2 or 3 minutes, or until smooth. Cover and chill 30 min. Serve with sliced apples, thin gingersnap cookies or cinnamon pita chips.

If I have to use cream cheese, I'll use Weight Watchers. I don't notice a difference in the taste at all. The only difference, and it's when I use it for this recipe, is that the cream cheese isn't as thick (because it's been whipped) so in order for the dip to set and thicken a little, you have to put it back into the frig. I also found this new cinnamon, it has a smokier/warm flavor to it, so I cut back on the amount. If you're using regular cinnamon start with a 1/4 tsp. and then add more to your taste. I was originally using 1/2 tsp. 

This is the second time I've made it in the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure how long it lasts for in the frig because the kids have never let this dip stay there too long. Try the recipe and let me know what you think! I think you're going to like it! 

Happy pumpkin everything! 
xo ~ Tara

Nov 19, 2013

sweet november: light

So today's prompt was light. I've been thinking about this prompt for a few days, knowing that it was coming up, and I kept going back to the idea of sun light. I got up somewhat early - for me anyways!-  and took a couple of quick photos this morning as the light was filtering in through the windows down stairs. This is my little reading corner. It's also our tv room, but since I don't watch tv I made my own corner filled with magazines and my old comfy chair. Even Chase has his mini leather chair there, although he likes to use the space to plug in his I-pod and play. Someday though, he will join me in reading. 

 I realized a couple of things about myself when looking at these photos:
1. I like natural colors and textures - especially shades of cream/brown
2. I've collected alot of random things from our travels 

Even the mini dog blends in to the room! 
I filled 2 large glass jars up with the driftwood we painted this summer in Oregon and stuck them next to the tv. I love seeing them out, it reminds me of fun times being had on the beach! 

and guess who got her old camera out! 

xo ~ Tara