Monday, December 30, 2013

One Little Word for 2014

Have you chosen your one little word(#olw) for 2014 yet? After weeks of pondering, making list, trying to find something that would be inspiring to me I found LOVE. It's funny because we did a family photo shoot this summer, and I made a banner for us to hold, and the banner stated LOVE. It seems to be a word with a reoccurring theme for me over the last 6 months. I have started reading a daily devotional book, and as I look through it, LOVE is stated over and over again. And after last year, which had so many changes, we moved, my parents moved, built a house, sent my oldest off to college, lost my beloved papa, loss of friendships, and lots of chaos, I LOVE how my life is now settling down, and our new house is feeling like home. I miss my oldest when he is away, but I LOVE, how he is going out in the world making his own dreams come true. So how will I use the one little word to help guide me through 2014. I will try my best to LOVE life to the fullest. I will make sure my husband and children know that I LOVE them every day. I will make sure good and loyal friends, and extended family who are near and dear know that I LOVE them. I will continue with my daily prayers and devotion because Jesus was the ultimate teacher of LOVE. He made sacrifices for us so that we could have eternal LOVE. I really believe that if we all based our actions out of LOVE and respect, then this world would be a better place. LOVE can make a lonely person feel special, it can open your heart to happiness and joy, and it can bring hope to a hardened heart. So as I move forward into 2014, I am going to make sure that I am only doing things I LOVE, and things that bring my heart joy. I will choose LOVE over hate. And I will only surround myself with people who I feel truly LOVE me and have my best interest at heart. Sometimes LOVE brings heartache, and that's ok. There is always a lesson to learn from heartache, just look for the silver lining, and know that you will be better off in the end, something better is out there for you. So moving forward my motto will be for 2014 "LOVE it in 2014, Leave it in 2013."

Since LOVE is going to be my #olw for 2014, I decided to make it the focal point for my NYE mantel. I have been wanting to make my own version of marquee letters since my friend Jessi Senti posted hers that she made on IG. So I collected my materials. The lights I got on clearance from Target. The BIG letters were from JoAnn Crafts. They actually have 3 different sizes of letters. I chose the biggest ones, because our mantel is pretty big, and I liked the scale of them. First, I cut the backs out of the letters using a box cutter.
I painted the letters with a gold paint.

Once the paint dried, I then tackled making the holes for the lights. I only had 2 strands of lights to use, so I had to make sure I planned this out strategically. I actually sent my boys and hubby out to see if they had anymore lights, and they didn't, but I was able to make it work just fine. I used a box cutter, very carefully, to make the slots for the lights. I tried my best to space them evenly, some are a little off, but that's ok. If you are a perfectionist, then I would recommend measuring them out evenly. ;)

The way that I was able to make the letters appear seamless, is because I made sure that they were touching, so that you could not see the light cord stretch between them. I tucked any extra cords inside the letters. I seriously adore the way they turned out. I told my hubby I was going to put them in our bedroom when, and if, I ever decide to take them down from the mantel. I figured at this point they can stay up through Valentine's day.
The rest of the mantel was pretty easy to pull together. I bought the gold tinsel garland 1/2 off at Target. I made the other garlands by using a small punch. I then strung them together. I used a combination of gold, silver, and music sheet papers. The other silver garland is vintage, and was giving to me by my aunt for Christmas. She knows my love of vintage. And I have a collection of silver tinsel trees from Hobby Lobby, so I used them for fillers on the sides. :)

Wishing you much LOVE in 2014, I hope that it is an amazing year for you, and I want you to know that I truly appreciate you stopping by my blog. I hope you find some inspiration.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hosting for the Holidays

Every year for the past 20 years my high school friends and I have gathered together for the holiday season. I have know these ladies for over 20 years. We have been there for each other through just about everything you can think of, and I am really blessed to have these girls in my life. These girls are like sisters to me, and I love them dearly. So it is really fun to be able to host our holiday get together, and make these girls feel special.
Here is a break down of my holiday table setting. I get asked all the time about my polka dot burlap table runner. I got the material at Joann Fabric. Not sure if they still have it, but you could make your own by purchasing burlap and adding the polka dots to it. Just a thought. ;) I used my milk glass to add some height to the bottle brush trees. Those are the trees I bleached and dyed myself. You can find the tutorial here.
I made this little bell jars and filled them with white chocolate peppermint bark that my son Noah made. I got the idea from my friend Melissa's blog you can find the tutorial here.
I also get asked a lot about these lovely deer plates. I bought them last year at a local boutique, but you can find them online here  They are by Rosanna, and they are called Walk in the Woods. I found the paper placemats at Target. I got 10 for $5.00. I love the layering effect. I used my velvet ribbon from Anthropologie to tie up the napkins.
This is my vintage tinsel tree that sits in my dining room. 
My collection of vintage inspired houses sit on my buffet. I used a pair of old shutters as back drops, and make a garland.
Christmas isn't just about presents, it's about gathering with the people you love. I am so happy I have the opportunity to host these girls for our Christmas get together.
Happy holidays to you, and I hope you feel inspired to host a little holiday get together at your nest.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wrapping Presents

I love giving gifts at the holidays. It's such a simple gesture, yet it really lets someone know that you care. One of my favorite parts of the gift giving season, is the wrapping of the presents. I get to use all those leftover strings, ribbons, buttons, stickers, doilies, and whatever else I have used from craft projects throughout the year. Never underestimate the power of 4 inches of leftover string, or a piece of scrap paper.
I had bought a big bag of these silver stars, and thought they would make the perfect little ornament to put on top of a gift. I embellished them with some vintage music sheets. It's really easy to make these. First you cut a strip of the paper. Then you fold it back and forth like an accordion fold. Like this....
You will need two of these to make a circle. You just use double sided tape, or hot glue to tape each end together. You will then end up with something like this. Put a dab of glue in the center to hold it together.
I then just added a little embellishment in the center, and glued it to the silver star. You can tie a string to it, so that the recipient can keep it as an ornament. :)
For the rest of the gift, I just tied twine, and sparkly ribbon scraps around it. I added the doily and washi tape for some extra fun.

Now I am not encouraging hoarding behavior, but never underestimate the use of some good scraps ;). And be sure to think outside the box, ha-ha, when you are looking for things to wrap your gift with. Antique and craft stores are just full of wonderful things. I like to pick up the Christmas picks this time of year, they are usually 50-60% off, and make wonderful present toppers.
Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season, thanks for stopping by. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vintage inspired Christmas mantel

Do you ever decorate on a wing and a prayer? Well that's what I did this year for my mantel. I had all these ideas swimming around in my head, but how in the world was I going to make it work? Originally I was going to go with creams, golds, silvers, and of course a little aqua, but I had been eyeing these stockings from Anthropologie, so I was inspired to add a little more color. I thought about making something similar myself, but since the entire store was 20% on Black Friday, I opted to purchase them. I am so glad that I did. They are made really well, and I love the wool and pom poms they used to make them. So I started by hanging the stockings. Luckily, I had just made a pom pom garland for a christmas card photo shoot, in the color scheme of aqua, cream, and red. I added the garland, but felt like I wanted another layer. I dug through my Christmas decor and found this cute tinsel garland with snowmen, and snowballs on it. I had found it at TJ Maxx a few years back. Never underestimate reusing decorations you might already have on hand. The only "new" purchases for my mantel this year were the stockings, and the amazing vintage pipe cleaner wreath. I found the wreath antiquing with my mom, and I love how it looks against the frame. Everything else I already had. :)
The chalk art sign took some time, and some "do-overs" I looked for inspiration on Pinterest for the lettering. There is some really amazing chalk art out there. I wanted to chose something fairly easy, and simple. JOY to the WORLD is one of my favorite Christmas songs, it is the reason we celebrate the season. I usually keep this chalkboard in my studio, and keep an inspirational phrase written on it, but brought it out for my holiday mantel this year. All the "fluff" on the side is stuff I have collected over the years. I am definitely one of those people that if something really speaks to me, than I purchase it. I may not have a place in mind for it, but I will eventually find a spot. I love my little vintage plastic Santa. The silver trees I had purchased a few years back at Hobby Lobby, I'm sure they have something similar again this year. The bottle brush trees, I have been collecting for years. You can make your own version, just check out this blog post I wrote about it. I have also been collecting the open frames while out antiquing, and I just painted them all aqua, of course. The vintage globe I found this summer, and I adore it. I thought it was appropriate since my sign said "JOY to the WORLD." So as you can see, things just started to naturally come together. I like to get all my decorations out, so that I can see what I have to work with. I suggest, coming up with a color scheme, and just running with it. Think outside the box, and have fun with it. I really love our mantel so much this year, I find myself sitting in our family room at night, enjoying every element of it. Hope you feel inspired to create a mantel or book shelve in your nest this year. I'll be back soon, with other Christmas decorating ideas, until then...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

DIY Advent Calendar

So, I have been pinning all these adorable advent calendars since last year, and this year I decided to make one myself. I love the idea of having my boys open a little gift every morning. We have done advent calendars in the past, they were pre made ones that I have found at the store, but I wanted mine to be unique and special. I'll give you hints of what I filled each day with later in the post. First, I will list the supplies that I used.
1. Scrapbook paper
2. Double sided tape
3. Scissors
4. Glue gun
5. Twine
6. Trims, washi tape, stickers, clip art
7. Clothes pins
I found the number vellum paper at Archivers Craft store. I'm sure it would be easy to make your own numbers too! All the other supplies I had at home, I kinda hoard craft supplies ;)
Making the envelopes out of scrapbook paper was pretty easy. I just fold the 12x12 sheet in half. Next I   folded the paper into 3 sections.
Then I cut the paper so that I had 3 separate pieces. Once this was done, I folded each piece in half. This made the envelop. I simply then left the top open, and used double sided tape to tape up the sides.
Once the envelopes were made, it was time to decorate them! This is the part where you can get really creative. 
I cut out all of the dates December 1-25th.
Then I began to decorate each of the envelopes individually. 
I found these little wreaths at Michaels Craft Store, I thought they added a fun touch to some of the envelopes.
Once I finished decorating all 25 of the envelopes, they were ready to be strung. I will say that I worked on this project over several days. I do not think it's a quick and easy project, so be sure to give yourself ample time if you want to start your calendar on December first this year. 
I have several vintage open frames, but none of them seem to be the size I wanted/needed to make my project work. So I went on the hunt down in our basement. I came across a gorgeous mirror that I had painted aqua. I had not found a place to put it in our home yet, and I worked out to be the perfect size. I would recommend checking out the size of your mirror/open frame first, then making your envelopes to accommodate that size. I just happened to luck out ;)
I used my aqua and cream twine, and ran four rows across the back. Each row has five envelopes. Once I secured the twine tightly, I started assembling my advent calendar. I used clothes pins, that I had been collecting, to clip each of the envelopes. Voila' It is finally finished, now I just need to put something in each one. Some ideas that I have, without giving out the surprises are, little lego guys, candy, a dollar bill, and each day I will put in there a special heartfelt message for my boys. I thought it would be nice to write little reminders of why they are special, and give them encouragement to participate in Christian acts that day. Because, after all, Christmas is about spreading love and joy! For example, one message may say. "Sit by someone new at lunch today" "Tell your teacher how much you appreciate them" 
So there you have it! That is my advent calendar. I am really looking forward to this tradition this year, and continuing it on for many years to come.
May your days be merry and bright, and may the joy of the season be ever in your heart! Thanks for stoping by.