Little Girls’ Felted Purses

Okay, so these were supposed to be for my nieces’ birthday this year, but I wasn’t done in time. That’s alright, because it’s even better to give them the purses in person while they visit us for the holidays!

The concept is similar to the striped felted purse I made for myself, so you can read more detailed instructions there. I somehow managed to forget that the felting shrinks more in length and width, so the purses ended up a bit stouter than I intended, but I think they will work out. I added a little button and loop closure this time. I also made the straps out of fabric, rather then knitting and felting them, because I find the strap on my purse a bit scratchy. I think I’m going to go back and line my strap with some fabric.

Other than that, I’m very happy with how the purses turned out. It was fun to put some contrasting fabric inside, and I hope the girls have a lot of fun with them!

Make these little girls' felted purses | Jewels at Home

Make these little girls' felted purses | Jewels at Home

Make these little girls' felted purses | Jewels at Home

Make these little girls' felted purses | Jewels at Home

Make these little girls' felted purses | Jewels at Home

Make these little girls' felted purses | Jewels at Home

Make these little girls' felted purses | Jewels at Home

Make these little girls' felted purses | Jewels at Home

“Jewels”

Cardinals in Winter – a Red and White Christmas

How are you spending this Christmas Day? After a super-hectic December, the Bay Area has given us a clear and cool day to enjoy. We’ve opened presents and took the whole family to the park. Now, it’s time for some rest. The last few years, I’ve been inspired to try new color schemes for holiday decorating. First, there was the silver Christmas, and last year’s was all in white. This year, I was inspired by the brilliant red of cardinals on a snowy backdrop, and I added back dashes of red. The result is serene and festive at the same time.

After making new decorations for our silver-themed Christmas and white Christmas, this year was easy – all I had to do was re-use those decorations and add back a bit of red! Here’s how some of our decorations came together:

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

 

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home

 

I love looking around at our red and white decorations. A bright and crisp day outside is making for a perfect Christmas!

“Jewels”

Gifts Made by the Boys

The fact that I’m writing this when it is already Christmas morning in most parts of the world tells you what kind of crazy-busy December we had this year. I’m definitely looking forward to a few days of downtime with the family.

We don’t do a lot of shopping for Christmas. The adults in my family have generally agreed to not exchange gifts, and our kids get so much from their grandparents and aunts and uncles, that at most, we pick up one or two little things for them. However, on the night of December 23, I realized that I really wanted to have something to give to my dad and brother-in-law who are both celebrating Christmas with us this year. There was absolutely no way I was going to go near a mall on Christmas eve, so I wracked my brain and scoured my craft supplies to come up with a few meaningful projects that we could make at home.

We reprised the mugs that we made for Steve’s birthday and Father’s Day last year, and the boys also made these fun picture collages. We enjoyed going through old pictures to find our favorites, and I also added some extra copies of Christmas cards from the last few years. The boys did all the cutting and gluing themselves, as evidenced by the fact that there are duplicates right next to each other and other quirky touches. I think that our family is going to love these!

Gifts made by the kids: Hand-painted mugs | Jewels at Home

Gifts made by the kids: Family photo collages | Jewels at Home

Gifts made by the kids: Family photo collages using old Christmas cards | Jewels at Home

And for me, being able to stay in on December 24 was the best present of all.

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home
Merry Christmas!
“Jewels”

Modern White Christmas Village DIY

It’s no secret that I love decorating for Christmas. Even so, I’ve always held back a little from building a miniature Christmas village. Maybe it’s the expense, or the worry that my kids would break off the small parts, or the thought that if I took that step, there would be nothing left to distinguish my house from a Christmas museum. Well, here goes nothing!

I had already been playing around with my head with ways to DIY a village, possibly out of cardboard or paper, when my coworker and friend Beth found these adorable miniature wooden birdhouses. We used them for a group holiday project last year, and I turned mine into this pretty monochromatic village.

In addition to the birdhouses, I found a variety of unfinished wood and houses at the craft store. These were really inexpensive, ranging from about $1 to $10.

I did a few modifications, like removing the strings from the birdhouses and adding some embellishments with popsicle sticks and other wood pieces.

I painted the houses in all white for last year’s all-white Christmas, but I’m welcoming back some color for a red and white theme this year!

You can add tiny wreaths, doors, and as little or as much detail as you want.

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home

Modern White Christmas Village DIY | Jewels at Home
Walking in a Winter Wonderland…

“Jewels”

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels – Teacher Holiday Gifts

“So….,” says Steve with studied casualness, “Um, I noticed a lot of new towels in our house…?”

My awesome hubby gets a lot of points for calmly observing many the craft obsession. Dozens of beaded snowflakes? Check! Table full of dip-painted utensils? Check! Washing machine filled with felting? Check! He rarely seems phased, so I know this must look particularly strange.

I’m stamping tea towels to give as holiday gifts for our teachers and coworkers this year. And there are a lot of them!

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

Supplies:

Instructions:

  • Prewash and iron the dish towels
  • For the stamps, spread some ink on a plate or flat surface, spread it with the brayer, and then roll onto your stamp and stamp the fabric
  • For the cookie cutters, you can dip the cookie cutter into the paint directly
DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

Fun citrus print! I made this stamp by sticking adhesive foam to the wooden block from another stamp. I spread the paint onto a flat surface with a brayer and then rolled it on to the stamp.

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

  • Hang the towels to dry. This drying rack came in handy!

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

  • I read a lot of ideas about how to heat set the paints to make the colors last. I ended up letting them air dry for several days, running the towels on the hottest setting in my dryer for an hour and then ironing to finish them. I tried using the oven to heat set, because the ironing was so tedious, but a few towels got scorched, so I would try that with caution.

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home
DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

I love how our new towels look in our new kitchen!
DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

Look who joined in the fun!
DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

And off we went to play Santa!
DIY Hand-Stamped Tea Towels | Jewels at Home

I’d love to try some more designs soon. Check out these other cute stamps from Yellow Owl Workshop!

Yellow Owl Workshop Mushroom Snail Stamp Set
IMG_2963.PNG

Yellow Owl Workshop Apple Honeybee Stamp Set

IMG_2965.PNG

Yellow Owl Workshop Le Menu Stamp Kit
IMG_2964.PNG

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

“Jewels”

Ten Tips for a Clutter-Free Kitchen

When we renovated our kitchen, I couldn’t bear to see the fresh new space get all cluttered up. I wanted to ooh and aah at the gorgeous counters and tile all day.

So, I went on the search for tips and tools that would help keep our space looking organized, and here are my favorites!

1. Dish-drying mats

After almost two decades of marriage and three kids, Steve and I agree on so many of the most important things. And yet, the topic of where to dry our hand-washed dishes became a battle. He was all for function – big clunky red dish drainer sitting on the counter.  I was for form – hide the drying dishes inside a sink. In the end, I conceded that there were better uses for our sink, so I set out to find the most unobtrusive dish drying racks possible. I settled on this OXO Good Grips Large Silicone Drying Mat for drying large items and this OXO Good Grips Dish Rack for reusable water bottles and lunch containers.  These are both compact enough to store under the sink, when we’re not using them.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: sleek dish drying racks that hide away when not in use | Jewels at Home

 

2. Suction cup sponge holder

Is this a new thing? I don’t remember seeing them before, and now it seems like everyone has one! I tuck our bottle brush next to our suction cup sponge holder, so it also stays off the counter.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: a suction cup sponge holder keeps the counters clear | Jewels at Home

 

3. Clear vase for holding utensils

We hide most of our kitchen utensils in a drawer next to the stove, but I like having a few frequently-used items at our fingertips, including the dip-painted utensils I made for holiday gifts last year. A clear vase or mason jar gives a clean look while showing off those pretty painted handles!

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: a mason jar or clear vase for holding utensils | Jewels at Home

 

5. In-drawer knife block

I like having the knives out of the way, both for safety and to free up the counter. There are many varieties of these knife blocks, so you can find one that’s perfect for your needs. We have the Victorinox Swiss Army 14-Slot In-Drawer Cutlery Tray, which leaves us a little room left over scissors and other kitchen tools.
10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: a knife block inside the drawer keeps the counters clear and protects little ones from sharp objects | Jewels at Home

 

6. Appliance storage

There seems to be a gadget for everything these days, and it’s hard to find a place for the waffle iron, the crock pot, the mixer… We compromised by leaving a few daily essentials – the toaster and coffee/tea supplies – out on the counter, and the rest are stored in cabinets. I put the heavy and/or heavily used items down low and the rest in our high cabinets that we access less often.


10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: Tuck away as many appliances as possible| Jewels at Home

7. Group items on decorative trays

Using a tray to collect smaller items definitely clears off the counter.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: Use a pretty tray to corral loose items| Jewels at HomeYou can buy a tray or try one of these beautiful DIY ideas:

My friend Ariana wrote a great post about using trays over at Revolving Decor. Her site has a daily blog and listings for great used furniture.

8. Under-sink storage

Measure your space, and you’ll find the perfect garbage can, shelf, or organizer to make the most of the area under your sink.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: measure and maximize the spaces under your sink | Jewels at Home

 

9. Semi-opaque glass fronts

I like the look of glass fronts on cabinets, but I didn’t want to worry about keeping everything perfect inside. This fluted / reeded glass pattern gives an open feel and a glimpse of the cabinet contents, without sharing all the details!

If you already have clear glass in your cabinets, you can add Etched Glass Window Film to your glass. I did this to a hall cabinet we have upstairs.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: fluted glass is stylish and hides a multitude of clutter | Jewels at Home

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: fluted glass gives an open feel but means you don't have to keep your cabinets perfect!| Jewels at Home

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: Using this fluted glass in the cabinet fronts gives an open feel without spilling all your secrets | Jewels at Home

10. Out-of kitchen storage

The last tip for a clutter-free kitchen isn’t in the kitchen.  We have an overflow pantry area in our basement that has a deep freezer and all the extras of pantry items and kitchen supplies.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: An overflow pantry out of the way in the basement or garage can be a spacesaver for your kitchen| Jewels at Home

Looking for more beautiful and functional finds for your kitchen? I always find some good deals on great items at Zulily!

Those who know me might be surprised that I am writing about organizing, since I’m definitely not the neatest person around, but that means that if I can do it, so can you!

“Jewels”