Candles- Heidi Style!

I had fun learning how to make custom candles from Heidi's blog. I've been a fan of Heidi Swapp for years. She took me through step by step in her video tutorial! I've always wanted to try this and now that I have.... I have so many ideas I want to try.

I made these for some friends and neighbors at Christmas. I tried different sizes and shapes, but the best part was putting a personalized message on them. I bought the Santas in a digital kit from house of 3.

candles

I had one left and I decided to make a new years candle. If you can't read it in the picture it says, "welcome 2010," and has some fireworks in the background. And I couldn't resist putting a little Martha glitter on for fun. I'm addicted to the stuff lately. I'm thinking I should've asked for the big multi pack for Christmas! I'm thinking I need to make Monogramed candles, Valentine, Easter, St Patrick's Day, 4th of July candles and the list of possibilities goes on.

new year candle

Anyway, just thought I'd pass on the tutorial for ya!

Happy New Year's Eve!

Merry Christmas to Ashleigh (and me- he he!)

For years I've been threatening. Wishing. Waiting.....

To mess up Ashleigh's perfect, matching, far cuter than anything I could come up with Christmas wrapping.

For those of you who didn't see her Christmas wrapping post, scroll here. You will understand why I felt it was my duty to help her tree look, well, like the rest of ours.

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Thanks Ash, for being so organized, perfect, matching and lovely in all you do. I really do love that about you. I just felt the need to make myself feel better, and laugh a little. That's your Christmas gift to me even if you didn't know it.

Our Cards

Merry Christmas!

I thought we should share this monumental step we both took this year...

Digitally designed Christmas cards. :) / :(
We "made" them in photoshop.

It's the first time we haven't ran around buying paper (the stores are always cleaned out of red cardstock) ,
ribbon, glue, envelopes, cut, pasted, slaved, and created our cards by hand.

the card
Ashleigh's Feelings: Mixed. I miss scrapbooking them because it's tradition. It really is fun if I'm organized, have a good idea and I'm not stressed about getting them done. But realistically, I usually am a bit stressed when they take way longer than planned. Digital really was easier.

Christmas Card_edited-3
Kathryn's Feelings: "I'm converted! Somethings gotta give when you're 8 months pregnant with your 6th. I'm happy with how they turned out and it took away some Christmas stress!"

It was a new adventure, and the fact is, it simplified our lives.

So here's to clicking "add to cart"
and having them arrive on your doorstep with envelopes and all!

Snowflakes

snowflake cookie

The Good News:
* the frosting turned out just the martha-ish color I wanted
* Jenna got pretty good with her snowflake art yesterday

The Bad News:
* this is what we ate for breakfast today
* plus hot chocolate
* my kids are really hyper

Nutcracker Gifts

My two girls were recently in the Nutcracker ballet. They love it not only because of dance, but because of the excitement of being a part of something, looking up to the "big girls," and exchanging gifts backstage with friends.

Jenna was a "gingerbread cookie" so we made her cookie friends a cookie kit!

cookie costume

This was inspired by my good friend Lauri's Chirstmas gift years ago. She thought of putting them in a corsage box. Since then it has been one of my favorite ways to package things. My floral supply store has a variety of sizes. I made sugar cookies instead of real gingerbread because I know all kids love a sugar cookie. I bought a wilton squeeze bottle for each and made frosting, packed some treats, made a bow and a tag, and they were a really fun gift.

cookie kits

Lindsey was a "baby mouse" so I had to really rack the brain to think of a mouse treat! I had some of the take-out style boxes and with a little grey paint and felt, they were transformed into a mouse treat. They were looking like a bunny until I made the face pointy. They still aren't a masterpiece, but I'm sure the kids liked the treats in it!

mice stuff

My favorite part of the costume is the tail that is attached with a pink bow.
I made sure the boxes had that too.

back of the costume

This is the fun stuff I love to do with my kids when we aren't in school and we can just play!

To be honest, I think we're been "playing" too much because I've been running really late in the Christmas department. Oh well, It will get done... hopefully... deep breath.

Homemade Calendar

Here's another tradition for ya.

Kass and I have been making a calendar for our grandma for 6,7,8...
I don't know, a lot of years now.

She loves them, so we keep them coming every Christmas.

There are many brands you can buy, but they look something like this:

blank calendar

We make a 12 x 12 scrapbook page for the top of each month and fill in the dates.
Each of her great-grandkids has their own month and then we add some combo picts to fill in the rest.

Here's a few of the months, I'm sure you can guess which ones:

Calendar

This has been so meaningful to our grandma and it makes us happy knowing she enjoys it all year long.
At the end of the year, she doesn't want to throw them away,
so she cuts up the calendar and puts it in an album. I'm sure she has quite a collection now.

By the way, Kass is scrapping away because she makes one for her husband and in-laws too!

Recycled Christmas Card Garland

Maybe because our mom was a teacher she was constantly saving random things like juice lids, meat trays, baby food jars etc. to use for some fabulous art project with her students.

I have partially inherited this tendency, ok lets face it, disease. This is why I now have a large collection of lace and soda pop tops that I am saving for some unknown reason and why I have saved every Christmas card received in our 17 years of marriage.

So, if you by chance have this disease or are just sentimental and have some old Christmas Cards, get them out and make a garland! PS If you don't have any, you know who to call, I've still got enough for at least 25 more:)

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I got out cups and bowls to trace around and some scissors and the kids had a great time finding their favorite cards for their very own garland. Then they backed the circles with red and green cardstock. I strolled down memory lane as I read notes from friends and family over the years.

The kids hung them up over their doorway or over their bed and are very proud. I am very proud that I am recycling and entertaining my kids for yet another project and my husband hasn't tried to medicate me for this disease (yet)!

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Peppermint Gift

Apothecary Jar + Peppermints + Bow = quick and easy Christmas gift

mints 1

This is what I did for my neighbor gifts last year, little baby jars.

neighbor mints

You can put a saying like, {we "mint" to wish you a Merry Christmas}
or {you have "mint" so much to us}.

My favorite mints are Bob's brand.
They melt in your mouth like a pillow mint and I like the a cute round shape.
I have only been able to find them at Walmart.
I unwrap each of the mints, they come individually wrapped.

bobs mints

Just in case anyone is behind like me, thought I'd put this idea out there.
I haven't started this year's yet. Sorry neighbors.

Gift Card Holder

This is one of my favorite ways to wrap a gift card.

christmas

I've got a stash of these pillow boxes from oriental trading company.

They are really inexpensive and I just add them to my shopping cart when I'm making an order for something else.

blank

They come flat like this, and I just glue some scrapbook paper/ ribbon/ whatever
to them to quickly dress them up!
After it dries I fold along the pre-scored lines and it pops into a pillow box.

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I usually put some sort of filler inside that matches the paper.
This was rafia, but I usually use paper shreds.
And then I put in a gift card. Target might be the best kind of gift card to get!
There is always something I want at Target!

inside

I gave these to my kids' teachers, ballet teachers, you name it. But the possibilities really are endless...

Any fun paper can make a good birthday gift card holder!
It's fun for kids, because it looks more exciting than a card.

birthday

Here's a baby gift version:
baby

And probably the easiest thing to do is to cover it with wrapping paper. Then my gift card wrapping can match the other wrapping under the tree. Same bow and all.

wrapping paper

Kathryn makes fun of me for having the same gift wrap for every single present under my tree.
It changes from year to year, but each year, there is only one. Is this a problem?

She jokes that she's going to put messy gifts for my kids under my tree to mess up my wrapping mojo!

What can I say, it simplifies the gift wrap shopping and I just thrive with some continuity in my life!

She thrives with variety and creativity and says she would die of boredom if her gifts were all the same.
I do admit a variety of cute wrapping looks good.
(At other people's houses).

I can be creative for other people's gifts, but as for me, only one of these gift boxes is going under my tree.

Chocolate Candy Suckers

Making chocolate suckers is a tried and true family tradition, like since the 70's. It is totally kid friendly craft, so off track craft time, here we come. We have a stash of these plastic molds for every holiday, you can find them at your local cake decorating store, or if you live close to me, come on over and borrow them. Buy some melty chocolates, they come pre-colored in these Wilton bags for about $2 each. We melt them in bowls in the microwave or use a cupcake tin and this treasure of a hot plate that we have saved from the 70's for just these occasions.

First use a toothpick to decorate the different colored detail portions of the mold. Then, put the mold in the freezer for a few minutes to harden.

Next, pour the main color of chocolate with a spoon into your mold. Then, put the sucker stick into the mold and spin it around so it is completely covered in chocolate.

Pop the mold back into the freezer for maybe 5 minutes to harden up, then pop the sucker out of the mold like you would an ice cube, by twisting the plastic a bit.

The kids love doing these and we give them artistic freedom for the process. If your kid thinks snowflakes are green, I say, let her express herself. If Rudolph looks like he has a red ski mask on and is robbing Santa's sleigh instead of having just a red nose, be proud.

If you are Ashleigh and all about the presentation, you put them in individual clear bags and tie cute ribbon and a tag on them. They really are a great thing for your kids to do for a class treat, especially if you just fill the mold up with one color because that is so fast. Sorry, my "presentation" is putting them on a plate for you all to see.

Chocolate Suckers

Gingerbread Cupcakes

My kids are under the impression we need to do a project/ baking/ crafting every day while they're off track.
I'm totally on board with that, it's just that we still have laundry and other various responsibilities.

Well, if I can manage to keep up with the necessities of life, you will see lots of kids' projects this month.

So be patient with the finished product pictures, they were made by 2, 6 and 9 year olds.

Jenna went through her Hello Cupcake book, mentioned in this post, and chose to make these.
Pretty cute and very simple.

book

Just baked the cupcakes, dipped them in store bought frosting (if you microwave it for 30 seconds it is thin enough to dip in),
and set them on the tray in the shape of a gingerbread man!

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Then I got my trusty squeeze bottles out, (I must have mentioned them 89 times on this blog so far),
and filled it with vanilla store bought frosting.

I always stick with the Betty Crocker brand. It's a loyalty thing.

They drew on the man, used "dots" candy for buttons and M&Ms for eyes.
done

Simply good fun. Jenna had a friend sleep over and do this.

A sleep-over and baking is her dream come true!

Endless Ornament Possibilities

The little kids are off track for all of December (so excuse the off-track hair and wardrobe of my sweet little ones) so to keep our sanity we are taking turns hosting kids craft time. We were getting a little spoiled there, having mommy craft time while they were at school and the preschoolers could just watch a video, but now, back to reality.

There are soooooo many things to do with these clear glass ornaments and since they are only $2 for 5 ornaments, stock up now and get your creative juices flowing. We did two methods- paint and paper.

Paint- Pull the metal loop part out of the top of the ornament. Drizzle some acrylic paint down the inside of the ornament. The kids used 2,3 or 4 colors. Turn it and swirl it as it coats the inside. Then, turn it upside down and let it drip into a disposable cup. As it dries, the paint continues to swirl and look very cool. Pop the top back into the ornament. Then, we let the kids raid my stash of scrapbook rub ons and they put their initials on for a finishing detail.

Paper- Cut strips of patterened paper into strips about 1/4 inch wide. Double sided would probably be better but we're winging it here. We let the kids roll up each strip and pop it in the top of the ornament. The kids were very impresssed with themselves and rightfully so. One craft time down, lots more to go.

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Treat Boxes

Martha really helps me out with "presentation."
I got these boxes at Michael's and I've really enjoyed them.

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They are really easy to spruce up and embellish. For these I cut a strip of patterned paper, added a bow and it made a cute gift box for the chocolate cookies I made. Seriously took 2 minutes.
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I gave these to the secretaries and principal before my kids' school got out for the holidays. Just a small gesture, but I like to show up with a happy face in the office every so often in case I ever need their help. :)

Cookies in a Martha box can't hurt, right?
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