Friday, December 14, 2012

Gift Wrapping Fun (Part 3)

Note:  Apparently I have no tech skills and my set-up to post this on 12/14 didn't work out.  Being gone from the interwebs since 12/13 I had no idea.  Needless to say it is now after Christmas and a little dated but the first two little ladies (ok, their parents) loved the gifts, hopefully the other 2 do as well when they receive them next week.

I've finally wrapped most of my Holiday gifts (at least the ones I actually need Christmas Eve and Christmas) for friends and family this year.  I got all my cards out too.  Making cards really does take a bit of time.  I've got a post coming soon about how I brain storm for making my Christmas cards.

But we're talking about little girl gifts and how FUN they are today.  My focus here is the adorable clothes I bought the 4 girlies in my life.  Besides clothes I got them bath toys paired with a DIY bath paint recipe, books, and CDs.

For the very soon to be 2 year old:

She's a silly little monkey, so when I saw this at Old Navy on the clearance rack I bought it.

Aren't these details with the bow and ears just the best thing ever?

I decided to pair the awesome jacket with a simple polka dot onesie and red pants (also Old Navy).  I think it brings out the blush on the monkey's face.

Oh, and if the jacket wasn't cute can you not love the little ruffled butt!

For the 9 month old (who is in 12 month clothes almost and the little sis of the above):

Adorable frog pajamas.

I can never pass up anything that says "Aunt" on it.  I'm a sucker.  I just love me nieces!

Her Mamma said she needed some winter clothes so I provided lots of sets.  I love how these can be worn in a variety of ways.  We have a long sleeve onesies, striped pants and a thick, warm jumper.

PS:  How cute is the little owl detail peeking out of the jumper's pocket?!

Another set I found (these 3 outfits are from Target) is a bit dressier.  I thought this set would be fun for church or an outing.

For the 1.5 year old:

I found this little shirt (dress?) while online shopping at Old Navy when they had a lot of great sales.  It's sweet and simple.  For a girl who likes to play around it'll be great.

I also picked up (from Old Navy) a little long sleeve heart onesie and the pants are ruffled.  Seriously I can't get enough of the ruffles!

For the 3 month old (sis of just above):
Found this while shopping the clearance rack of Target.  I got it right after my niece was born and shortly after we got our kittens.

Never to young to start animal prints.  MEOW!

When my niece was born and we found out she was a girl (it had been a secret the whole time), I ran right to the store to pick her up an outfit.  I was on the hunt for a "little sister shirt"  (because I got her big sister a "Best Big Sister Ever" shirt).  When we found this I had to buy it.  We've been looking for an "Uncle" shirt for the longest time.  I could never find one reasonably prices.  It's still a bit big for her but it'll be on hand at her house now.

How did i wrap these up?  I like to go simple.  Coordinating colors, usually gift tag-less, some bows.  We all know little kids all like the wrapping, ribbons, box, etc the best anyways.  Especially when it comes to clothes.  Wait till their teenagers, and they will LOVE when their Aunt offers to buy them clothes...

(Please ignore the poor lighting quality.  I rarely see the sun these days leaving for work at 6 am and getting home at 5 pm)
I love using this snowman wrapping paper for kids.  It's just fun.  I just realized you can't see the darn blue wrapping paper I paired with this.  I went patterned, solid, patterned and then wrapped it all up in a bright, festive bow.

Sometimes it's just easier to throw your gifts into a big.  The one of the left is so simple.  I just added some glitter paper inside (sure to make cleaning up 10 times harder).  The right bag has a Christmas scene on it so I stuck with solid colors.  I liked the green to bring out some of the trees and holly on the bag.

Here is another fun "kid's" paper.  Just wrapped it up, no box required.  I added a variety of bows for festive flair.

You may have noticed all these clothes wrapped up are pretty void of sharp edges.  I usually leave the box behind and just fold the clothes up nicely and wrap.  Why have something else to throw away and I always feel silly asking for the box back to re-use.  It's a lot easier to pack this stuff up to carry for traveling on the holidays because it packs tighter.  When I take the presents out I just fluff up and bows and we're good to go.

Hope this Gift Wrapping series helped you figure out some ideas for gifts or how to wrap gifts for the Holidays.  Remember just have fun!  There is always someone who is a worse wrapper than you.

Are you done wrapping all your presents yet?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Card Making

I've always been a scrapbooker, but in the past year or so I have got more interested in making cards.  I don't do it often because I am usually not confident in how they will turn out.  I don't want to give someone a crap wedding card.  "Congrats, I care so much that I made you this piece of crap to save a dime on you."  Not what I'm going for.

The one occasion I have been making cards for the past 3 years in Christmas.  I have so much Christmas stuff for cards and there is a plethora of Christmas card ideas on the internet (like Pinterest) so I am confident that my cards will come out cute.  I since it's more of a thinking of you and wishing you the best this time of year, I feel like personal is better.  And I reserve the crappy cards when that happens for close friends/family (sorry mom). 

It all starts with having the basic supplies.  You need the following:
1. Cards (or paper to make cards)
2. Envelopes
3. Solid and Patterened papers
4. Tape (double sided)
5. Colored pens
6.  Scissors/cutter

Pens, tape (double sided, roller), small cutter

I personally buy packs of cards and envelopes that come together at Michaels in both beige and white.  With a coupon they are under $10 for a pack of 50.  Yes, FIFTY!!!  That's 20 cents a card people.  At the card store I personally have a rule of no card over $3 dollars (unless it's super cute or I've already been there an hour looking).

Then I'd like to call these next items the starters kit:
7. Fancier scissors that cut various edges
8. Stamps (from Thank you, to Christmas, to Thinking About You and everything in between)
9. Ink
10. Stickers
11. Ribbon

A sample of my holiday stamps.  I usually look for sale ones or use a coupon at Michaels for them.  The "Joy" and "Noel" were actually dollar section ones.  The ornament shaped, "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" same in a pack of Holiday Sayings. 
All the square ink pads were under $2 in the sale section at a local scrapbooking store, Archivers.  The others are from Michaels I believe.
This is a collection of scrap paper and holiday stickers.  I try to keep everything like this together so it's easier to find when I'm card making.  I keep most scraps unless they are very tiny.
I stash all my ribbons in an old Hershey box.  I got it as a gift for something with candies inside but it was too cute to throw away.  Glad I found a use for it.  Most of these ribbons come from weddings I've been to (on the bulletin, announcement, favors, wrapping my bridesmaid flower stems, etc) or from various gifts.

These items make the cards fun and festive.  I love stamps that say a Holiday greeting that I can then add my own personal message to.  I usually use the patterned paper, stickers, and stamps to really embellish the outside.  The inside I keep pretty minimal.

These items really help to add a little extra to your cards:
12. Special stamping kits/packs
13. Packs of specialty paper or cards
14. Heat embosser
15. Die-cutting and embossing tool

Holiday paper packs paired with a regular cardstock pack

Specialty cards

The only realm of these extra items I've broke in to is the specialty packs (No. 13).  I have picked up quite a few packs of holiday or just colored cards.  Most packs were just in the $1 section at Michaels (catching a theme here?).  I have a few packs of Holiday paper too that I actually bough for scrapbooking originally.  I love that I can use it for both, since paper packs are usually a bit pricey (over $10 dollars or so), but you do get a lot for your money.  I have about 5 different packs for scrapbooking and in 10+ years I've never finished one.  That's what I call bang for your buck folks!

I've used 13 and 14 a few times at craft stores and friends' houses but just don't have the space to store alot more stuff, plus these are a little most costly usually.

Enough chatter let's look at some cards.  I like to mostly browse ideas online then do something a bit different myself.  Otherwise I'm afraid I might send the same card to someone from one year to the next.  Because the basic card itself is the same, I love to make no two alike.  Even a colored card can be made two different ways. 

Ok, I lied, I made these two alike BUT they are in different colors (gold vs. silver).  I made sure the people who got these would not be people who see each other over the holiday.  We want everyone to feel extra special.

Sometimes I do a card that is more focused to a kid, or more "seasonal" compared to Christmas specific, or that is religious.  I then decide which cards best fit the people I send them to.  Again, it's about wishing them a good season and to let them know your thinking about them.

The first says "Fa La La La La" and then we have jingle bells.  These cards are kind of like ornaments too.

I love how these two open.  Same card style but two different wasn't of making them.

The santa cut-out one is always fun to decorate and the maroon card was just adorned with a simple sticker.

Sometimes I use pieces from old cards (left) or I write my own message on the outside with raised cut-outs (right).

An important thing to note is to ALWAYS "sign" your cards.  A few years ago I found this "R" stamp and I use it on the back of every card.  Then I just write my initials and the year.

Inside your card you not only want to make it pretty and festive, you want to ad your own message.  I keep it pretty generic over all so I can send to whomever later.  I might add an extra special note when I send it out then.

As you see here, I did some stamping inside but added Holiday messages too!

Definitely remember to keep it fun!  Card making is pointless if you don't enjoy it too.  If you'd rather send out a picture card or buy a pack and send the same to everyone then do it.  Just never forget to add an extra message to make it a bit "home-made."

Hope this was a great reminder to send out your Christmas cards or inspire you to make some.  Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday House Tour 2012

I recently had a discussion with a co-worked about the number of boxes of decorations I have.  She seemed astounded that I have 3 large plastic tubs of Christmas decorations.  After reading all your blogs out there, I do believe I am at the low end really.

I have one tub of Christmas ornaments and two tubs of Christmas decorations.  Besides that I have a separate box with the tree stand, 2 smaller boxes with manager scenes (that have nowhere to be put right now), a plastic garbage container that holds wrapping paper (for all occasions), a picnic basket holding tissue paper and ribbon, and an old popcorn tin for bows.  Ok, maybe that's a bit more than 3 tubs...

Now to show you around the house for the Holidays.  Since this is also one of the first looks of my house, don't worry if you get confused in the layout, although it is pretty easy and I only decorated the first floor plus the upstairs hall bookshelf.

Our hallway/kitchen "window" where out stockings hang below (also seen here).  I have some holiday dishtowels hanging too.

I try to stay away from a lot of red/green for Christmas since our house has a lot of orange decorations.  I LOVE these jingle bells stacked in an apothecary jar from our wedding (it was filled with M&Ms).

I the living area we added some Holiday cheer to the shelves my husband built.  (See orange painting as example of our orange colors in the house).  A little snowflake garland I've had since college, the North Pole and a gold candle stand.

The North Pole is a collection of Cat's Meows I've had since high (middle?) school.  I use to use it to decorate in my room.

This boot sits under our coffee table and is filled with fake pine branches and berries.  I got it from my Mom when she was getting rid of Holiday decorations.  My favorite decorations are free.

The lazy susan on our table holds a glass hurricane candle holder year round that I change up the filler inside per the season.  Right now we have some red and silver ornaments.  I was going to use the jingle bells but since I loved those so much I wanted them prominent.  These little red guys are festive without overdoing it (remember we are minimizing red).

Our Christmas tree is shoved between the tv and table.  Right now a lot of meals are spent at the couch and ottoman so we can catch up on DVRed shows while eating.  To read more about our tree decorating read this post.

In the kitchen I have this cute plate (from Kohls last year) that sits out and usually hold various kitchen items.  I also have matching mugs stowed away in the cabinets.  On the cabinets you can see how I am displaying Christmas cards.  I started this idea last year and love it so much I may have kept them up until Spring.  I've only got two cards so far but I'll probably end up filling three cabinets again like last year.

On the door to the garage we have a star hung to add a bit of cheer to our foyer area.  I found this on sale last year at Target after Christmas.

When I bought this little hanger last year from Michaels or Hobby lobby, I have hopes of hanging it on one of the cabinet pulls in the kitchen but the loop wasn't big enough.  So I hung 'er up here in the bathroom. 

At the top of the steps we have my bookshelf.  I got the stars in the Target dollar section last year.  There is a stained glass manger at the top.  It's not styled very well otherwise but it's the only place I have for books so they all just get shoved in there.

These are paper mold my mom made a LONG time ago and hand painted.  Not sure why/when they got framed but she had the in the pitch pile and I took them home.  I especially love that my mom made them.

Finally, my crowning glory is my picture wall hung at the staircase.  When we bought this house I knew what I'd do here.  You can see it from the foyer and in the upstairs hall.  I need to get a post on how I arranged this sometime.  Not much Christmas here except for my small painted canvas art.

Here's my favorite.  I bought a ten pack of these mini (4x6?) canvases from Michaels and super glued picture hangers on the back.  Then I bought some cheapo paint and hand painted some snowflakes.  I love the simplicity of this one.  Usually other canvases hang here in their place.  You'll have to wait and see what when I do that post.

Well there you have it.  Nothing overly spectacular but it's simple and sweet.  And for our small house it's enough.  I probably didn't even use half the decoration I own. 

Do you have a Christmas theme going on it your house or do you have odds and ends from your parents too?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gift Wrapping Fun (Part 2)

Told ya I'd be back with more gift wrapping! 

Do you have a large family, or lots of people to buy a simple gift for?  The neighbors, church friends, teachers?  I have a large extended family and when Christmas time rolls around I'm always looking for a simple gifts to hand out to everyone.  My main goal is to keep it simple and relatively cheap.  I'm always on the hunt for a deal when it comes to these gifts but I want something that can be realistically used and unique.  Not just another dish towel or winter accessory.

Last year, my first year as a married 'adult' in my family, I wanted to start this gift giving.  The Christmas prior I found some snowmen candle holders on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond and scooped a bunch up.  So many in fact that I had 3 left.  Two are going to people on the other side of my family and one (that had broken its eyes off) has joined my Christmas decor (seen here).

This year during cyber Monday (more like cyber week, man retail is getting crazy) I got a BOGO deal on Bath and Body Works hand soap.  The holiday flavors scents seemed perfect too!  I got Vanilla Bean and Candy Apple.  One in each scent of each type of their hand soap.

I already knew how I'd make the overall gift a bit fancier too.  I'd had my eye on some laser cut wooden ornaments from Timber Green Woods on ETSY.  These things are BEAUTIFUL!  Even more so in person.  I got these ones.   I must admit though that their tiny size surprised me.  I'm an engineer so I know what 1.5" is but the picture made them look ALOT bigger.  None the less, they were actually the perfect size to pair with the hand soaps.  I'm even thinking of how to use the leftovers in my holiday decor.

See?  Beautiful, right?

I had saved some 'strings' from the burlap I used under my Thanksgiving tablecloth last year, so it was perfect to tie these little rustic ornaments to the soap and gift wrap them up.  I wrapped the hand soap in a Christmas baggy then tied it with ribbon and added on the ornament at the end.  Since these are a generic gift for various people in my family, no name tags are needed!

The best part really is that each of these were under $10.  The wooden ornaments just add that something extra to make them special.  At least I think so.

One of my kittens was not being helpful during the ornaments trying process and decided instead he would swat at the strings, so he went to kitty jail while I finished up.  Poor boy, I love him.

That's all I've got for the episode of Gift Wrapping.  One more to come as I show off some cute baby girl clothes and fun ideas on wrapping gifts for kids.

Are you dying to go buy those ornaments now?

PS:  I wasn't pair or perked to mention anything I bought above.  I just have always loved Bath and Body Works and now love Timber Green Woods.