Thursday, December 20, 2012

top posts of 2012

I had more Christmas crafts and projects I wanted to do this year, but once I got my tree up and my mantel decorated, I kind of felt done. Last year I went all out and used every Christmas decoration I have, and it felt like too much. My house felt cluttered and it drove me crazy all of December. So much, in fact, that I couldn't wait to take everything down after Christmas. That's unusual for me, because usually I wait until New Year's and even then I'm sad to pack it all away for another year.

So this year, I decided to simplify. I love my tree and mantel, and I only have a few other Christmas things here and there. It feels like the perfect amount. That means some of the things I wanted to do or mentioned here and said I would post later aren't going to happen, and I'm okay with that. Maybe next year.

You can see my mantel and tree here if you missed them.

Today I'm going back through some of my most visited posts, starting with my top 3 of all time:

#2 my ruffle shirt

And #1 my glass block snowman {you guys really love this one!}

From that list, the only one that I posted in 2012 was the curtains and curtain rod, so I'm also going to list the top 3 from 2012 {besides the curtains}:

These are some of my favorites too!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! I will be spending my 11 days off work {YAY!} doing some much needed work in my bathrooms. Check back next year for pictures of that {you won't believe the before pictures!}, and another year of fun crafts, recipes, and diy projects!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas mantel

For this year's Christmas mantel I used the trees I made that I showed you here and here. It took a lot of rearranging to finally get the end result, but I LOVE how it turned out!

This sparkly reindeer is new this year and I think it might be my favorite part of the mantel.

I already had the garland and the pine cone and berry picks I added in to fill it out a little more, and since I made all the trees, the whole thing came together pretty inexpensively. I love using things I already have in a different way than how I've used them before.

I'm still working on a wreath idea for above the mantel so that part will come later, but I'm loving how everything is coming together! 

Do you do one crazy deck-the-halls day, or take your time and do things slowly like I am? I've done both, and even though the mess of doing it slowly is driving me a little bit crazy, I kind of like it this way. In past years I have just used all the same stuff with a few additions each year so I pretty much just put everything where I had put it before, but this year I'm changing things up quite a bit so it's taking more time to figure out where I want it all. I'm having so much fun with it!

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

TP roll ornaments

Earlier this week I showed you how I decorated my rustic Christmas tree this year. I made a lot of the ornaments and I love how everything came together. After seeing all the things made out of toilet paper rolls on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to try some ornaments. The cardboard is perfect for my rustic theme this year, and they cost very little to make! Today I'm going to show you how I made these ~


I started saving rolls awhile ago not knowing exactly how many I would need {or even exactly what I was going to do}, and with about 10 or 12 rolls I ended up with 9 ornaments. The first thing I did was spray the outsides with Krylon Caramel Latte to cover up the marks from where the paper is glued to the roll. It's the perfect shimmery caramel color and it's my new favorite spray paint color. Then I cut each roll into rings that are about 1 inch wide. The roll got bent and creased as I cut it, and that was perfect for what I had in mind.

Then I started to assemble my ornaments. Originally I was just going to make the snowflake ones below, but as I was arranging the rings I noticed that some had randomly fallen into place like this ~
I loved it and decided it looked like a bunch of hanging pine cones. For those I just hot glued the rings together in each spot where they meet, and I glued some brown ribbon between the top 2 rings to form a loop to hang the ornament.

To finish them off, I bought some berry picks from Hobby Lobby and glued them on. I'm so happy with how they turned out!

For the snowflake ones, it was pretty much the same process of gluing the rings together where they meet and adding ribbon to hang them.

Here I was trying to capture the difference between the regular cardboard on the inside of the rings and the caramel latte on the outside. It's hard to see in pictures, but I love the combination.

For the front I just gathered pieces of lace in the middle to form circles and glued them on with rhinestones in the middle.

I love how the lace softens the look of these ones and the sparkle of the rhinestones on the tree.

When I started making these ornaments I wasn't sure how they would look or if I would like them, but I'm so happy with how they turned out!

They are so perfect on my rustic tree!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

rustic Christmas tree

 I haven't quite finished putting up all my Christmas decorations yet, but today I'm going to show you my tree! I bought a new pre-lit artificial tree this year and I am loving it. My old one was not pre-lit and it was short and fat compared to my new one. It's funny  how even artificial tree styles change. When my mom bought my old tree years ago {and then gave it to me when she switched to pre-lit} all the trees looked like it. Now they are all taller and skinnier. I always felt like the old one took up half of my living room, so this one is better in every way!

 I made a bunch of new ornaments this year too. My tree is completely different than last year and I really love how it turned out. I'll show you more about these later, but I made them out of toilet paper rolls. They're supposed to look like a bunch of pine cones hanging with leaves and berries.

 These snowflakes are also from toilet paper rolls

 Here is one of my lantern ornaments that I showed you here

And of course I still had to use the ornaments I have bought in my travels. This one is new this year.

This is one of twelve and they're not new this year, but I love how they look with the rest of my tree this year. They're from Prague.

This one from Ireland is also new this year.

 This close-up shot shows you all the things I love about my tree this year ~ burlap, twine, lace, pine cones, a little bit of red, and snowflakes.

I usually change out my purple curtains for red ones in December, but my HOA doesn't like it because they aren't white on the back {lame}. I haven't decided if I'm going to buy white fabric and line them, or just hang them how they are and let the HOA be mad for a month. The purple has to go though.

More Christmas decorations ~ including my mantel and more details on the toilet paper roll ornaments ~ coming soon!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Cooking Day

This past weekend I went to St George for a mini-vacation with my friend Rikki. We shopped, ate good food, saw Taken 2, had lunch with my grandma who lives there in the winter, and had Christmas Cooking Day. It's something we used to do in high school but have only done a few times since then because we don't live close to each other. We would spend the day making all the Christmas treats we wanted to try, then that night we would have our friends come over and eat them. It was a great way to try lots of things but not eat them all ourselves.

This is Rikki's kitchen in the middle of the disaster. We had several recipes going at a time and cleaning up seemed pointless. All part of the fun, right?

And here are the finished treats!

Rikki's daughters wanted to be in a picture

If it was closer to Christmas we would have taken plates of our treats to friends and neighbors, but we thought that would seem weird since it's not even Thanksgiving yet so this was just a practice run. Not giving away those brownie cookies is a good/bad thing. They are going to make me a bigger person. 

We had so much fun this weekend and now I can't wait for Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

forest of handmade trees ~ part 2

A few days ago I showed you these three trees that I made. You can see that post here if you missed it.

Today I'm going to show you three more!

First, the ruffled fabric tree ~ I love this one. I've had this fabric for years {I made a quilt and way overestimated how much fabric I would need} so it was fun to dig it out and find another use for it. All I did was cut some strips and then folded them over to make ruffles as I wrapped them around the cone. I didn't measure how wide the strips are, but I would say about an inch. I left the raw edges because I think as it starts to fray it will add even more character. I just used pins to attach the fabric to the styrofoam.

I think it turned out so cute!

Next, the furry tree ~ I have mixed feelings about this one. It's made out of scraps from a blanket I cut up and I think it's cute, but I'm not sure if I love it. What do you think?

I added some beads for a little bling and I think that made a big difference. On its own it might not be the cutest one, but I do think it fits very well with the rest when they're all together.

This is where the scraps came from. I bought this blanket because it was the softest thing I have ever touched and it was on sale, but it really wasn't that warm when I got it home. So I cut it up and made pajama pants out of it! These are the most comfortable thing I have ever worn and I'm so in love with them. Definitely better than the blanket.
I didn't take pictures as I was making the pants, but if you want to see a good tutorial, here's one

And finally, the lace tree ~ I love this one too, and it took about 3 minutes to make. I just wrapped strips of lace around the cone and secured them on the back side with pins.

This picture is kind of blurry so it's hard to see the detail of the lace, but it's really pretty and I love the feminine touch it adds to my forest of rustic trees.

And here are all six of my trees together! This picture makes me so happy and I can't wait to see them all on my finished mantel!  

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