It has been a busy few months here, but I’m sitting by the fire and finally have a minute to share our Christmas decorations – just under the wire this Christmas Eve. If there were a graph showing how many … Continue reading
I have a lot of craft projects “incubating” – I get excited, I buy supplies, and then… I wait for the perfect moment to create them! We could also call this hoarding of craft supplies, but that’s not in the spirit of the season!
We’ve got an enthusiastic new social committee at work, and they organized a “Secret Snowflake” exchange for the holidays. “Handmade is encouraged,” they instructed. Now that’s my kind of challenge. My gift recipient loves to host dinner parties, so I found her a cute serving bowl, some holiday dish towels, and I am finishing off the package with these DIY coasters!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- White 4″ square tiles – very inexpensive at the hardware store, or you can order online
- Decorative paper – choose thinner paper that absorbs the adhesive and molds to the tile
- Mod Podge
- Water-based varnish
- Silicon bumpers
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut paper to fit tiles
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge on tile
- Lay down paper and smooth out
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge over paper
- Letting dry between layers, add one or two more coats of Mod Podge
- Add three or more coats of varnish, for a more durable finish
- Add silicon bumpers to bottom
Here they are in my home and getting ready to go spread cheer in my friend’s home!
Next time, I’d like to try making these coasters, with the paper sandwiched between glass, because I think they’ll hold up even better. Next year’s teacher and coworker gift? Maybe!
Hope you are having fun sharing treats and gifts this season!
Julie aka “Jewels”
I’ve mentioned before that we use our formal dining room for most of our meals. This was a tradition my mother started when my sister and I lived at home, and I enjoy continuing it with our family.
I’ve posted about durable tablecloths and table runners to give your dining room a more formal look while still holding up to the kids. Recently, I have been debating about adding a dining room rug. I never even entertained (ha) this idea until the last few months, now that the kids are older and (a little) less messy. I really wanted the finished look of a rug, but I need to keep things practical as well.
I’m going to share my inspiration rooms, our current space, and the rugs I’m considering. There are literally thousands of options out there, and I’ve narrowed them down to my favorites.
First, here’s how our dining room looks now, without the rug.
The vintage rugs in these rooms feel accessible, because the complex patterns will hide small stains. This set me on a hunt for a vintage-style Persian rug for our dining space. While part of me would love to find a gorgeous high-quality wool rug, I am just too chicken – or too smart? – to put a few thousand dollars under my table for my kids to drop food on and my dog to lick… so, at least for now, I decided to look for an inexpensive synthetic rug that won’t make me cry every time something falls on it.
Here is my short list of rugs. My color scheme is greys and blues, and I was looking for something that had pattern but was still muted enough to feel neutral.
And I have more rug ideas and inspiration rooms on my Pinterest board.
So, what do you think? Here’s another picture of the room currently. Our mantel is pretty busy, so I don’t want to add more busy-ness to the room, but I think it would really define the space and also show off the base of the table, which is a lovely Craftsman design.
I haven’t made a final decision yet, and I like all these rugs so much, that I might by more than one and put it in the living room or upstairs hallway…
So, whadya think?
I’ve had my eye on these tin can luminaries for a while. I love an upcycling project that doesn’t look like it would have been better off left in the recycling bin 🙂
I started off by collecting some cans, washing them, and filling them with water to freeze. This helps the can keep its shape while you punch the design. I found a lot of patterns online and printed my favorites. I then used rubber bands to hold the pattern in place while I made the pattern with hammer and nail.
I finished them off with some spray paint and put some LED candles inside. I made mine for Christmas, but the designs are neutral enough for any occasion (well, maybe not the snowflake…)
I love creating things from stuff around the house. I can’t look at my pantry the same way anymore.
This year, the boys and I created these portraits for Steve and their grandfathers. You know by now that I have an endless supply of scrapbook paper, which I used to create the letters. The boys were really good sports (they aren’t always!) with taking the pictures, and I love the final products.
I printed individual pictures and put them in a frame with three openings and a matte that the boys signed.
Wishing the best to all the hard-working and loving fathers out there!
It’s graduation season! Somehow (well, I guess we know how), I ended up with boys graduating from middle school, elementary school, and Kindergarten all in one year. This calls for some crafting. I decided to make graduation leis for the boys and their friends using ribbon.
I researched a ton of ideas, which you can browse on my Pinterest page. Some of those ideas are definitely for the expert level lei-maker, and I am a humble beginner. However, I did find inspiration for something that is both easy and pretty over at Sakacon.com. These spiral ribbon leis don’t require advanced skills, but they do take some time. I modified the method a little, and I love how you can mix and match so many ribbons for infinite ideas!
- wide ribbon 7/8″ to 1.5″ (8-10 yards). This is the ruffle-edge ribbon I used.
- narrower accent ribbon(s) 3/16″ to 1/2″ (same yardage). This is the picot ribbon I used.
- embroidery floss to match the accent ribbon
- clear nail polish to finish the ends of the ribbon
- needle, scissors
First, go to your local craft store and go crazy! I actually feel like I have accomplished a project just by getting supplies (…but I realize this isn’t quite true). Since the design of the leis is simple, you can add a lot of detail by picking interesting ribbons. You can see i found some ribbons with ruffled edges and picot ribbon (apparently this is what you call the ribbon with the little loops in the side) that really make your “flowers” look more realistic. For fun, I bought some rainbow stripe ribbon, and the possibilities are really endless.
To make the lei, thread three strands of embroidery floss onto your needle. I used about 18″ of floss at a time. Tie a secure knot at the end of your floss.
The Sakacon version has a long tail you can use to tie the lei on with a bow. I decided to make a continuous round lei, because I thought it would be more comfortable for the boys. I still staggered the length of the wide and narrow ribbons – ie left a long tail of the wide ribbon before starting my lei – so there would not be an obvious join in the lei.
I lined up the narrow ribbon to one side of the wide ribbon, folding under the edge to avoid fraying, and sewed a few stitches in place to secure it. I then started doing a long running stitch, with stitches every centimeter (3/8″) or so.
Once you have sewn a few stitches, pull the thread to make the ruffles and guide them into a spiral shape to look like a chain of flowers. This really feels like magic!
You basically continue this for a long, long time. To make the lei a continuous loop, I cut off the wide ribbon first, and picked up the section of wide ribbon I had left as a “tail” at the beginning, continuing I until I reached the start of the narrow ribbon.
I bought spools of craft ribbon, which comes in 3-6 yard sections, so there are several joins in the lei. These aren’t visible, because the ribbons are staggered, and there are so many ruffles. At the ends of the ribbon, I used clear nail polish on the wide ribbon and just folded under the ends of the narrow ribbon. I also changed embroidery floss a few times, being sure to tie secure knots and hide the ends.
Behold! Here are the finished leis. I’m still making more and will add the pictures when they are done, to give you more ideas for ribbon combinations. I can’t wait to share them with my boys and their friends in a few more weeks!
The new pine cone tree fits right in with his felt and feather cousins!
I might paint it another time, but for this year’s Scandinavian-inspired theme, the natural finish seems perfect! It took a while to put together, and Steve took the opportunity to make about two zillion conifer-inspired puns, so I have multiple reasons to be glad that project is over:)… but I’m really happy with the results!
This year’s Christmas is pared-down and pretty (if I don’t say so myself!). Most of our decorations are white, with touches of gold and silver.
I love how our simple white felt stockings from West Elm have fit into all of our Christmas themes, just by changing the ornaments. Here are the links to the past years’ mantels:
And this year, I used scrapbook paper and gold contact paper to make these ornaments that add a bit of gold and glam to our mantel. The stripes and dots make me think of a beautiful Kate Spade look.
And a few more looks at our mantel this year. Like the simple Christmas branch, it came together so quickly, which is a relief this busy season!
Last year, we celebrated a fabulous and fun retro mid-century Christmas with lots of over-the-top colors and decorations. This year, I’m going in a different direction with a pared-down Christmas.
I was inspired by pictures of simple branches hung with ornaments. I was going to do this in addition to our Christmas tree, but I’ve decided to do it instead of a tree, and it feels very liberating! This idea is great for people who live in small spaces or just want to simplify.
Our overall look this season is Scandinavian-inspired with touches of gold and glam, and our centerpiece here fits tight in.
Hope you’re feeling cheerful and warm this season!
Thanksgiving at our house has been pretty small the last few years. Most of our family is not in town, so we enjoy a quiet long weekend with just me, Steve, and the kids. Sometimes, however, I crave the hustle bustle madness of a big Thanksgiving celebration. I’m excited this year because we get to host one of my new coworkers!
To help make our Thanksgiving dinner this year extra festive, I have some new decorations planned. One of them is this simple linen table runner.
I sewed the runner and used gold craft paint to add this feather design inspired by a rubber stamp Creatiate on Etsy.
Up next, a “stenciled” runner for our dining table. Red wine included 🙂
Happy Turkey Day! May your hearts be full of thanks!