Dec 15, 2014

Santa Ornaments and Decorations

It's official - we are moved in.  I unpacked my last box on Saturday and then shortly after I spent several hours hanging out in the craft room making things.  To my long time followers, you know it's been a long time since I've done that.  It was wonderful.

So, just in time for Christmas I made some ornaments and a few more popcorn gifts. They are different from last time though, I mean, can you spot the popcorn in the photo above?  (I'm kinda addicted to this whole popcorn as a gift thing - it has seriously made neighbor and friend gifts so easy)

The great thing about what I was making the other night is that even though I made three different things, they all follow pretty much the same steps.  The sizes and quantities may be different but the over-all idea is the same.

So, if you are in need of an easy craft to do with the kids - or just want to make something yourself - here you go.  We'll start with the little guys.  They are ornaments.

You will need:
Styrofoam balls (check the Dollar Tree for package like shown)
Yarn ( have no idea the brand of what I used, got it at Hobby Lobby)
Wooden balls or beads in various sizes
Hot Glue Gun and Glue
Optional:  needle and floss

Step 1- Select a Styrofoam ball, I used the medium size in the pack shown above for the little gnomes and the larger one for the Santa ornament. And, set aside a little wooden bead for your nose.  Again, smaller for the gnomes and the larger for the Santa

Step 2 - Take your yarn and wrap it around your fingers several times.  The more you wrap the fuller the beard.  I wrapped it about 5 or 6 times.  Carefully remove the yarn from your fingers, keeping it in a circle and lay it down.

Step 3 -   Then, take a piece of yarn, a single strand, and put it through the circle and then tie it in a knot.  This will secure all the yarn together.

Step 4 - Once it is tied together, clip the opposite end so you no longer have loops.

Step 5 - Repeat the steps above so you have two sections of yarn, tied together and clipped like shown in photo above on the right.

Step 6 - Next, take one section of yarn and hot glue it to the bottom of your ball.

Step 7 - Now, take the other section of yarn and glue it slightly above the other section.  This will cover the bottom of the ball and give you a nice full beard.

Step 8 - Now we can move on to the felt.  Take a piece of felt and wrap it around the ball.  You want it to slightly over lap the starting point.  Then, use scissors to cut a small notch to mark it.  Unwrap from ball and continue cutting the felt so you have a piece that is the right size to make the hat.

Step 9 - To make the hat you want to fold the felt in half and then on the side opposite the fold, cut on a diagonal.  You should have a triangle when you are done.

Step 10 - Once you have your cute little triangle, fold the bottom edge up and glue in place.  This will create the brim of the hat.  (honestly, you don't need this but I think it looks better with it)

Optional:  You can now add in some embroidery work if you want.  I'm not great at hand sewing but I did want to add a little somethin' to the brim.  I choose a quick blanket stitch for mine.  You could completely skip this step or even just glue something in place.

Step 11 - Once your hat is ready, place it right along the beard line and glue in place in the back. Glue first along the brim, and then fold the hat and glue along the long edge that closes the hat.  To finish the hat off, just run a quick piece of floss through the point and tie the floss into a loop.  This will act as the hanger for the ornament.

Step 12 - Your last step is to just add the nose and then you are done!

So, there you have it.  That's how you make an ornament.

Variation #2 - The Santa.  Above we made the little gnome/elves but if you want your ornament to look more like a Santa, just fold the hat over, tie a little bow to the end and secure with a little bit of glue.  Then sew on your floss loop at the top of the fold to make the hanger.

Variation #3 - The disguised treat bag - mine is hiding the yummy kettle corn popcorn I talked about last week - I had to go buy more bags because we gave all our others away (or maybe we ate some of them - shhh!) My disguised treat bag has popcorn in it but you could probably do this with any type of treat bags.

Would you ever guess that there was a bag of popcorn hiding behind this cute Santa? Well, it's true, there is.

Here's the deal, I basically just followed all the steps for the tutorial I shared above but I increased my sizes. The beard is fuller and longer, the hat is wider and the nose is bigger.

Also a quick tip on making the beard - Use 5 sections and run a piece of twine or yarn through all the loops.  Make your twine long enough that you can just tie the beard on, using hot glue on a plastic treat bag isn't really a great idea as it will melt it.  Also, making the beard this way will allow your daughter to play dress up, because well, beards are awesome and who doesn't want to wear a big bushy Santa beard?!


P.S. Thanks to everyone who went and checked out A-Maize'n Kettle Corn.  I've heard that some of my readers have been buying popcorn from them and from what I understand some of you are even having it shipped.  I wasn't paid to promote them in anyway but I do like sharing when I find a local business worth sharing.  So thank you for helping me support them. They introduced a new flavor for Hanukkah, it's blue and white called Wintermint, I couldn't resist making a snowman out of that blend.

Dec 6, 2014

Popcorn Treat Christmas Gift

Are you on the search for a fun little gift for your neighbors this holiday season?  Well, you are in luck.  I've got a great idea for you.  First though, here's a little back story.

(Miss M affectionately hugging her popcorn, because well - it's just that good)

I live in a pretty cool town.  Fort Collins has this great part on the northern end called Old Town.  It's full of quirky shops, great restaurants, fun music festivals, and all kinds of charm.  We head up there quite often to do photo shoots in the back alleys and sometimes to just roam.  

A few weeks back Fort Collins kicked off the holiday season by having a lighting ceremony.  It's when they turn on all the beautiful holiday lights that outline the trees down the main road and in Old Town square.  It's charming, it really is. Miss M and a friend headed out to enjoy the festivities and when she returned she had a bag of the most amazing kettle corn I have ever had.  I'd like to tell you that we had great restraint and only ate a handful but that would be a lie, a big one.  It was so good. 

Needless to say, we wanted more and now are dedicated fans of a local small business called A-Maize'n Kettle Corn.  So, when it came time to find some thank you gifts for some friends who helped us move last week, it was a no-brainer.  Kettle Corn!  Of course, Kettle Corn!  

We bought bags of popcorn as thank you gifts however with Christmas coming up, I thought this would make a great idea for neighbor gifts too so I'm passing along the idea.  

Now, I know the majority of my readers don't live in Colorado and you can't come buy fresh kettle corn in Old Town, however, the idea could still be used.  Maybe you could make your own or find a popcorn place in your own town or if you want the good stuff, you could ask them to ship some to you.  (Miss M sent some to a friend serving a church mission in California and it shipped great and stayed fresh)

So, here's what did, are you ready?  It was super easy.

1 - I bought the popcorn (love buying from and supporting a local family business)

2 - I made some tags with a clever little saying

3 - I attached the tags using cute ribbon in holiday colors

and then...

 4 - I delivered the goodness to my friends

Super quick, super easy. It saved me a ton of time as I didn't have to bake anything myself.  

If you are thinking this idea might work for you, here are some popcorn themed sayings that you could put on a little gift tag.  Think friends, neighbors, co-workers, the mailman, me - who wouldn't love getting some?

- This might be the CORNY-est way to say it, but Merry Christmas!
- When we think about special friends you POP right into our minds
- Just POPPIN' by to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year
- To my most POP-ular friend, Merry Christmas
- Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, from your CORNY friends


p.s. - tell me what your favorite gift to give to your neighbors is.  I'd love to know.

Dec 1, 2014

Welcome December!

Hello December!

How did we make it to you already?  You are the last month of the year and usually the most stressful.  Yet, I find that having the calendar turn is a calming thought for me.  I welcome you, December, into my life.

You bring hope and love, family and friends.  Craft projects.  Colorful decorations.  Happy children.  Warm blankets.  Hot chocolate.  Surprises and snowflakes.  And, most of all, the reminder that there is still goodness in the world.

So, welcome December - I'm happy to have you here.


 In other news,

Nov 6, 2014

DIY Frozen Breakfast Burritos

I posted on my private Facebook page last night about making breakfast burritos that you can make in large amounts, freeze, and then heat up for a quick breakfast on the go.  As a result of that post a friend and also my sister asked for my recipe.  So, this blog entry is for them.

I must say, I'm not inventing the wheel here.  This is not my original idea and I know if you Google it, you'll get several pages of results.  I didn't follow a specific recipe though and instead made up my own.  So, for my seester & my friend, here's what I did...

 (photos by cell phone - sorry they are lacking)


Oct 10, 2014

Homecoming Dress Fix

So, I've been away for awhile.  I'm not really sure where, seems life just caught me up in it's swift moving currents and now we have washed ashore into October.  I've done a few little creative projects here and there and thought it might be time to check back in and share.

Up first is the Homecoming dress fix.  This cute girl of mine decided last minute, and by last minute I mean the night before, to go to her Homecoming dance.  That was on a Friday, the dance was Saturday.  This is all great and everything BUT she didn't have a dress!

So, in between some already scheduled events on Saturday afternoon we hit a store, bought a $30 dress that was cute but, meh - it was lacking, and we dressed it up a bit.

We wanted to make it better and a little more modest.  Granted, compared to some dresses we looked at, this one was pretty conservative.  Still though, a little more length and a little more coverage on the shoulders was desired.

Here's the before....