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Thursday, November 20, 2014

{seaonal style} Travel Map Christmas Ornaments + More Than 35 Other Ideas to Trim Your Tree

Have you started decorating for the holidays? Today I am joining more than 35 of your favorite bloggers to share our fun and festive ideas.  From ornaments to tree skirts, you are sure to be inspired by all of these amazing handmade ideas to Trim the Tree

Trim the Tree this Christmas with more than 35 ideas to inspire from your favorite bloggers! #trimthetree

When we lived in our condo downtown, the only place we had room for a Christmas tree was in our travel-themed den. To trim that tree, I bought a set of gold travel landmark ornaments from Pottery Barn. Years later, those ornaments are still some of my favorites, but since moving in to our current home, our tree has been located in our basement family room and the travel ornaments have remained packed away. However, I have grand plans to add a few more trees to our Christmas decor in the next couple of years, including reintroducing our travel themed tree. 

With that in mind, I wanted to make a set of ornaments to commemorate each of our travel destinations. I absolutely love maps {as evideced by this post}, so travel map ornaments seemed the obvious choice! 


I considered a lot of different way to create my travel map ornaments, but my number one priority was making them simple enough that it will be easy to add more over the years as we check more cities and countries off of our travel bucket list. 

Let's start with the supply list:


{1} Fiskars Round and Round Squeeze Punch - X-Large {available at Joann}
{2} Standard hole punch {available at any office supply store}
{3} Tres Port Postal Rubber Stamp, Inkadinkado {available at Hobby Lobby, $6.99}
{4} EK Success Squeeze and Roll Glue Pen {available at Michaels}
{5} Red Sharpie
{6} Recollections Brush Markers {full sets available from Michaels}
{7} Airplane Twill Ribbon, The Paper Studio {available at Hobby Lobby, $.99/2 yard roll}
{8} 2.25' Metal Rim Kraft Paper Tags, American Tag Company {available at Hobby Lobby, $4.99/ pack of 10}

In addition to these supplies, I obviously needed maps of each of our travel destinations. For this, I simply copied maps out of my National Geographic Family Reference Atlas, but if you don't own an atlas, you could just as easily print maps from the Internet. I copied the maps onto white cardstock weight paper.


I planned to affix one map to each round kraft paper tag, and originally assumed that I'd have to cut each circle with scissors, being very precise to get the size just right. But as I was printing the maps, it dawned on me that I owned several Fiskars squeeze punches in different sizes of circles. I was thrilled to find that my 2 inch squeeze punch cut a circle exactly the right size to fit just inside the metal rim of the round kraft paper tags.

In addition to being a major time saver, my favorite part about the squeeze punch is that it allowed me to see exactly what I was going to cut before cutting it. I was able to position the map within the center of the punch, ensuring that the city names I wanted were visible.


In the photo above, I was cutting a circle from the very bottom of the map to document our recent trip to Cape Town, but when I needed to cut a circle from a location not along the edge of the paper, I simply used scissors to cut the paper down until the section I wanted could fit within the frame of the squeeze punch.

As I cut my map circles, I also kept in mind that I would be punching a hole in the top center of each to add the ribbon for hanging. With that in mind, I was careful not to position the names of important cities near the top center of the circles.

Once I finished cutting all of my maps, I began gluing them to the craft paper tags using an acid free glue pen {which won't cause the paper to discolor over time}. Each tag has a metal rim around the edge, but the rim is wider on one side than the other {in the photo below, the side with the thinner rim is at the top, and the thicker rim below}. The maps fit perfectly inside the thicker rim, so I had to pay attention to glue them to the correct side of each tag.


After affixing the maps to the tags, I had to punch a hole through each in order to later add the ribbon for hanging. I used a standard hole punch and lined it up with the original, slightly smaller, hole on the blank side of each tag.


With the maps on one side of tags, I decided to use the reverse side to note the year that we traveled to each destination. But the year alone seemed a bit boring, so I picked up a rubber stamp at Hobby Lobby with three postmarks {which, because they are not quite legible, also remind me of passport stamps}. 


I recently experimented with hand-coloring rubber stamps {when I made stamped place cards}, and my Recollections brush markers worked so well that I decided to use them again for this project. I colored each post mark in a different color - red, brown and green {and I opted not to color the signature across the bottom of the stamp}.


Three important tips to keep in mind when hand coloring a rubber stamp: (1) After coloring, but before stamping, you have to "huff" on the stamp {blow hot air on it with an open mouth} to re-moisten the ink in order to get nice, vibrant colors; (2) Re-color after each stamp; and (3) When you are done stamping, baby wipes work well to remove all of the excess ink and ensure that the stamp does not get stained. 


I then used a red Sharpie to write in the travel year corresponding to each map next to the red postmark stamp.


Finally, I added a piece of ribbon to each ornament for easy hanging. I was thrilled to find some adorable airplane ribbon at Hobby Lobby for only $.99 per 2 yard roll. I stocked up on quite a few rolls, so I'll be able to use the same ribbon when I make more of these ornaments in the future. I tied a simple knot by wrapping the ribbon around my finger and then pulling the ends through the loop. I pulled each knot tight and then trimmed off the excess leaving just a bit of ribbon poking out of the top. As of now, the ribbon doesn't seem to be fraying, but if the ends of the ribbon do begin to fray, I'll add a bit of FrayCheck to keep them looking nice.


These ornaments were so simple to make, but I really love the way they turned out! They are prefect for commemorating each of our travel destinations and documenting the year of each trip. I bought extra of the tags and ribbon, so I'll be able to quickly and easily make a new ornament each time we travel.


As the years go by, it will be so fun to reminisce about our adventures as we hang each of these map ornaments on a travel themed tree!


These small ornaments will pair perfectly with my set of gold landmark ornaments!



Now that you've seen my travel map ornaments, I am excited to share more than 35 other handmade ideas for trimming your tree from some of your favorite bloggers! Below each set of images, you'll find links to the DIY details of each handmade project.
  Trim The Tree 1 1. Advent Calendar Pocket  2. Polymer Clay Poinsettia 3. Yarn Wrapped Ornament  4.  Vintage Green Paper Ornament 5. Trim the Tree Garland 6. Ribbon Stuffed Ornaments 7.  Wooden Star Ornament 8. Melted Snowman Ornament 9. Felt Christmas Tree 10.  Santa Star Ornament   Trim the Tree 2 1. Vintage Map Ornament 2. Yarn Joy Ornament 3.  Embossed Wood Bird Ornament 4. Snow Man Wood Slice Ornament 5. Christmas Garland 6. Tree Skirt for under $20 7.  Star Painted Ornament 8. Neon Christmas Tree Topper 9. Wooden Spool Christmas Tree   Trim The Tree 3 1. Gingerbread Cookie Ornament 2.  Wood Etched Cork Garland 3. Bow Christmas Tree Garland 4. Travel Map Ornaments 5. Homemade Glitter Ornaments 6. Felt Candy Ornaments 7. Make Love Ornament 8. How to Decorate your Tree like a Pro 9.  Joy Ornament 10. Glitter Pinecone Ornament   Trim The Tree 4 1. Scented Gingerbread Ornament 2. Diy Tree Skirt 3. Pinecone Decorative Tree 4.  Wood Slice Ornament 5. Wood Slice Child Silhouette Ornament 6. Tips for Decorating the Christmas Tree 7. Mason Jar Lid Ornament 8. Gold Basket Weave Ornament 9. Rustic Christmas Tree Garland 10. Starfish Christmas Ornaments

Still looking for more holiday inspiration?! Here are some of my favorite Christmas projects:


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

{shopping for style} Christmas Crafting Made Easy at ConsumerCrafts.com

Ok, so you've seen that graphic making the rounds on Facebook that shows how women shop versus how men shop, right? Men go in the door, get the one thing they came for, and then leave. Women on the other hand go up and down every aisle {two, or three, or four times}. Yeah, that's definitely me in a craft store! I need to be able to browse, see all of my options, and consider what items might work well together to create the perfect project. I put things in my cart and take them back out, criss-crossing the store over and over.

Or at least that's how I used to shop for craft supplies. Then I had kids. Have you ever tried taking two toddler boys to a craft store? If not, then just take my word for it... it's a challenge, and I almost always leave frustrated at not having been able to find what I was looking for within the short window of my boys' patience. Fortunately, I recently discovered a crafty mom sanity saver in the form of ConsumerCrafts.com! And the timing couldn't be better since I have lots of Christmas crafting planned!


When ConsumerCrafts.com reached out to me and offered to sponsor a Christmas craft post featuring a DIY gift idea, I was immediately excited! {sponsored post disclosure} Then I started browsing their website, and my excitment grew exponentially! Not only is the selection amazing, but the prices are extremely affordable! 

The website offers lots of ways to shop. You can browse by product category, by season, or you can use the search function to find exactly what you are looking for. And under the Sale tab, you'll find a large selection of clearance items neatly organized by category as well. This girl loves a clearance section - so you know I'll be checking back there often! And did I mention you get free shipping on all orders over $75?!


Best of all, they have a fabulous feature that allows you to save products to your "Favorites" list! For me, shopping online usually looks a little something like this... put the kids down for a nap; open laptop and begin shopping; two year old yells that he needs to go potty; walk away from the computer to assist with potty; return five minutes later to continue shopping; one year old cries because he dropped his stuffed elephant on the floor; rescue elephant and return him to his rightful place in the crib; sit back down at the computer and try to remember what I was looking for in the first place. But thank the the Favorites list on ConsumerCrafts.com, with just one click I was able to save items as I was browsing - so no matter how many times I walked away from the computer, I never lost track of the products I was interested in.


Rather than walking back and forth across a store twenty times taking things in and out of my shopping cart, searching for items, and driving home only to realize I forgot the one item I went in for, I instead took my time and shopped the ConsumerCrafts website over the course of a couple of days before making my final purchase. I was able to look at all the options while getting inspiration, brainstorm exactly what I wanted to make, and then sorting through my list of favorited items to make my final selections.

When I was ready, I was able to quickly move the items I wanted to buy for my Christmas gift craft to my cart, while still saving all the other items on my Favorites list for potential future projects. There's a convenient little shopping cart calculator in the top corner of the screen at all times that shows you the running total of all the items in your cart, and it let's you know how close you are to qualifying for free shipping - perfect for keeping me on budget!


If you are like me and need time to get your creative juices flowing before you can decide exactly what products you need - ConsumerCrafts.com is going to be your new best friend! And if you need some inspiration to get you started, they even have a fabulous Holiday Flip Catalog that even includes many project ideas complete with tutorials and links to all of the needed products! You'll also find a 30% off coupon code at the end! 



Not only is ConsumerCrafts.com a perfect fit for my need to shop like a woman {seeing all of my options before I commit}, it's also perfect for those times when I want to shop like a man {grab what I need and out the door}. Just yesterday, I thought of one more item I needed for an upcoming project. Rather than having to bundle up the kids, pack them into the car, and drive on icy roads, just to unpack the kids and drag them through a store, I was able to simply hop online while they ate lunch. Before they could even ask for refills on their milk, I had my order placed and on its way to my front door.

I tend to be a procrastinator when it comes to making gifts, so I am very thankful to ConsumerCrafts for motivating me to get an early start, sponsoring this post, and taking the headaches out of craft shopping for this busy mom!

Be sure to stop back in a couple of weeks to see the products I purchased and the fun gifts I am making for all of our neighbors! And in the meantime, be sure to grab the 30% off code from the Holiday Flip Catalog so you can get started on your Christmas crafts as well!




Friday, November 14, 2014

{five minute friday} Dress Up Your Christmas Card Display While You Wait for the Mail

I can hardly believe that Christmas card time is nearly upon us, but they are bound to start showing up in our mailboxes before we know it! I am definitely not one of those people who is so on top of it that I have cards already ordered {I am usually mailing them at the last minute}, but I do have some very organized friends and family members who always manage to have their cards arrive on the day after Thanksgiving.

With that in mind today's Five Minute Friday is all making your Christmas card display look fabulous throughout the holiday season!


There are a lot of fabulous DIY Christmas card display ideas out there {and I'll even be sharing one next week}, but a few years ago I found a silver Christmas tree card display at the Container Store and I just couldn't pass it up!


I love the style of this card holder, but I don't like how bare it looks in the early days and weeks when only a few cards have arrived. When it's bare the card display is a bit of a bore, and  with only a few cards clipped here and there, it somehow look even more pathetic...


Finally, I couldn't take this sad little display any longer, so I came up with a super quick and easy solution to dress up the tree while waiting for the more cards to arrive - and it would work to dress up any Christmas card display!

I sorted through my stash of scrapbook supplies and picked out a few red and teal patterned papers to match the colors of my Christmas living room. I cut the scrapbook paper into squares - some a bit larger (5"x5") and some a bit smaller (3"x3").


I clipped the scrapbook paper squares all over the tree, and in five minutes flat I had a much more fabulous situation that felt like a part of my decor rather than a detractor from it!



 


As holiday cards arrived, I simply removed pieces of the scrapbook paper and stashed them away in a ziplock bag to be used again the next year. Here's what it looked like last year when it was about half cards and half scrapbook paper.



No matter what kind of Christmas card display you have, you can easily dress it up with some scrapbook papers that coordinate with your decor so that it looks full and fabulous while you wait for the mailman to bring you more cards from your friends and family!


As I look at these photo, I realize that the red shiny paper on top of the tree would look much better if it were cut into the shape of a star - so I'll be making that change for this year!

Christmas will be here before we know it, so if you are looking for even more holiday inspiration, look no further! Here are some of my favorite holiday projects:


Thursday, November 13, 2014

{seasonal style} Reverse Those Jack O'Lanterns for Thanksgiving

I always enjoy finding ways to repurpose things, but if there's one thing even better than repurposing - it's finding a way to make one item do double duty! And that's the story of my Peek-A-Boo Jack O'Lanterns, which are now also a part of my Thanksgiving decor!

Last year I really wanted to buy some craft pumpkins, but I just couldn't bring myself to pay the high prices at the craft stores. I mentioned my frustration with the $25+ price tags to my mom, and earlier this fall she called to let me know that she had spotted craft pumpkins at Walmart for just $7. At that price, I was finally able to justify purchasing some, especially knowing that I would be able to use them again year after year.

I had a lot of fun carving these faux pumpkins and painting them on the inside. I loved how they looked lined up on my entry table, and when Halloween ended, I really didn't want to pack them away! Then I realized I didn't have to! I simply turned them around, and decorated the other side for Thanksgiving. Bam! Halloween Jack O'Lanterns that reverse for some Thanksgiving glam!


I originally created five Jack O'Lanterns, but to spell out "THANKS" on the other side, I needed to add a sixth pumpkin, so I carved one additional face to add to next year's Halloween decor, then flipped it around to put a letter on the other side.

I debated a long time before deciding how I wanted to write the word THANKS on the pumpkins. I thought about using decorative thumbtacks to spell it out, but I didn't want the thumbtacks to poke through and be visible on the Jack O'Lantern side. Then I thought about simply painting the letters on, but I wanted something a bit more interesting. Finally I decided to use a simple Sharpie silhouette technique similar to the one my friend Cory, from Tiny Sidekick, used to create her leaf plates.


I determined the size of letters I wanted, and cut them out of some white adhesive backed vinyl using my Cricut electronic cutter.


More indecisiveness ensued when it came to picking a colors for my letter silhouettes. I own Sharpies in just about every color - so I decided to test out a few options. I peeled up the center of the "A" and stuck it to a piece of paper and tried out some variations, including teal, orange, grey, and finally, the winner - gold and silver.


Earlier this fall, I created a fun, fall Tic Tac Toe game for my boys by spray painting some plastic pumpkins silver and gold, so I like the idea of coordinating my THANKS pumpkins with the Tic Tac Toe game on our coffee table.


With my colors selected, I stuck each letter on the pumpkins on the opposite side as the Jack O'Lantern faces. The letters didn't lay perfectly smooth on the curves of the pumpkins, but I was able to smooth them down with my fingers as I worked.


Then I simply used my silver Sharpie marker to make dots around the entire outline of the first letter.


Once I had the letter outlined, I continued to make more and more dots working my way out around the letter.


After creating all of my silver dots, I went back and added gold dots.


When I was done with all the dots around the letter T, I peeled off the vinyl sticker. You can see that I had a little bit of bleed through here and there, but it's not noticeable except up very close.


I used the same process for the rest of the letters. It was actually really fun making all those dots, and each letter took me only about 5 minutes to complete.


I really love the way the metallic Sharpie dots catch the light and add a touch of glam to my new Thanksgiving pumpkins.



When they are all lined up on my entry table, you would never guess that there are Jack O'Lanterns on the other side!


Not only did I get a great deal on these craft pumpkins, but now I can use them for two holidays instead of just one. Talk about a win/win!


If you are looking for more fall inspiration, or want to pin some Halloween ideas for next year, you might be interested in these posts:







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