Saturday, December 31, 2011

some Christmas presents and a New Year's Resolution

Sorry I've been mia the last little while... I've been pretty sick the lat few weeks, and I was busy finishing last minute Christmas orders, plus all the Christmas festivities!  But I wanted to share a little of our Christmas and get ready for the new year.

So here are a few of the Christmas presents I actually managed to get finished in time:

Meet Mike Wazowski!  My little boy is in love with most Pixar movies, but especially Monsters Inc.  (I think he thinks Sully is a big dog.  And he loves dogs.)  So I made him this little guy for Christmas!  He's given him hugs many times now, and tried to pull his mouth off a few times.  I think it's a success.  

I'm really proud of how the eye turned out - I drew it on by hand with fabric markers.  It may not seem that impressive to most of you, but I'm terrible at drawing, so any time I "draw" something that looks good, I feel a little better about myself.  :) 

And this pillow was for my sister.  She's in love with The Princess and the Frog.  Don't worry - she's in college.  She's cool like that.  ;)

Some day I'll finish the five or six others that being sick - and being me - prevented me from finishing.
Like these dinosaur slippers that I got all cut out but never sewn... Or the pirate quiet book I started in October that is going to be super awesome!  Soon.  Hopefully.

Now for some good news and a New Year's resolution!  The blog passed 1,000 views right about Christmas!  Even in spite of my not posting much recently! 

So here's my resolution:  to post more regularly.  

My original goal was to post a tutorial every Monday, and 1-2 other posts the rest of the week. I'd really like to do that, but I'm not sure if it will happen.  But I will resolve to post at least once a week from here on out to keep building up my viewership and (I hope!) providing you readers with some fun and useful posts.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

flannel hand warmers

So I had this great idea where I was going to do a 12 days of Christmas thing, and call it the "12 Crafts of Christmas," with tutorials and ideas for fun Christmas crafts that went with the number for each day.  You know, 3 wise men for day 3, something with a 5 pointed star for day 5, etc.  Great idea, right?!  But life has a way of catching up to you, and, well, that idea is going to have to wait until at least next Christmas.

Instead, I decided I'd just blog about some of the Christmas presents I'm making for my family members.

So today's is a present I made for my younger sister who is currently serving a mission for our church in St Paul, Minnesota.  And since it's freezing there, I decided to make her a little something to help her stay warm while walking around the city.

(Please ignore how wrinkly my hand looks in these pictures... it was the way I was holding the hand warmers.  Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.)

Not only are these little hand warmers super cute, and very useful, but they were also really easy to make!
But if you don't feel like making them yourself, check out my shop where I've got them for sale.

Here's what you'll need:

Flannel in any color/pattern (you only need about a 6" square for a pair of hand warmers)
Coordinating thread
Pencil or fabric marker
Rice (about 2-3 Tbsp per hand warmer)
Pinking shears
Sewing machine

1. Find or draw a heart shape approximately 3" x 3" (I just drew/cut mine on a piece of paper.  But a cookie cutter or stencil would work well too.

2. Trace 4 hearts onto the fabric.

3. Cut out with pinking shears.  (Regular scissors are fine, but the pinking shears help keep the edges from fraying.  So if you use regular scissors, you might want to use fray check or something on the edges.  Or if you're awesome and have a serger, just use that.)

4. With wrong sides together, stitch around the edge of the heart, leaving at least 1" open to fill with rice.

5. Fill with 2-3 Tbsp. of rice

6. Hand stitch the heart closed the rest of the way.

7. Warm it up in the microwave for about 30 seconds, and keep your hands warm for about 30 minutes!

You can use other fabrics besides flannel, but I like to use flannel because it's soft, fairly durable, and holds the warmth pretty well.  

Another bonus about these hand warmers?  They would make great stocking stuffers!  They're the perfect size to stick in a stocking.  And if the heart's a little too girly, any shape will work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

festival of trees

For the past several years I have gone with my mom to the Festival of Trees in Salt Lake City.  If you live in Utah and haven't been, you should definitely go next year!  There are literally hundreds of trees - some small, some huge, and they are all beautifully decorated.  And what's even more amazing is that every single one was donated.  They are then auctioned off, and all proceeds go to Primary Children's Hospital. Ticket and food sales go to Primary Children's as well.  So if nothing else, go to support that.

But if you love Christmas, and are looking for some fun decorating ideas, go check to see all of the amazing trees!  There are a lot of kind of Christmas standards - lots of Santas and snowmen and candy canes.  But there are always some that are a bit more "creative" - like Harry Potter themed, BYU themed, or even Wizard of Oz.

Here are a few of my favorites from last year and this year:

This was a craft themed tree for all my crafty friends out there!  It's got measuring tape for ribbon, scissors, pin cushions, fabric ornaments, etc.  So fun!

I just thought this tree was really pretty with soft shades of gold and vintage inspired ornaments and Santa.

(They also had quilts and other crafts there) This quilt is an advent calendar!  What a fantastic idea!  Now if only I could quilt...

A neon tree donated by... The Neon Trees!  Seriously.  Pretty great.

How awesome is this?!  It's a whole row of Christmas trees curved to look like a wave, with a surfing Santa!!  Definitely one of the most original, coolest displays I've seen at the festival.

This tree was absolutely beautiful.  All of the nativity ornaments were hand painted.

Just loved the turquoise and gold with musical instruments.

This one's for all my fellow White Collar fans!  I may or may not have a crush on Neal Caffrey... don't tell my husband.

There's always at least one upside down tree.  I thought this one was super cute with the dog on top, and all the dog treat ornaments and such.  And my little guy really wanted to climb in there and hug all the stuffed dogs.  He's kind of obsessed with dogs.

And probably one of my all-time favorites: The UP tree!  Complete with mailbox, paradise falls jar, explorer goggles, Kevin, Doug, and of course - the house and balloons on top of the tree!  So great!

Well, there you have it.  If you can believe it, I had to seriously cut down on all of the pictures I wanted to post because there were so many amazing trees!  But I figured I'd share some of the more original ones - things you might be less inclined to actually put in your home, but that are so much fun!

My goal is to be able to decorate and donate a tree myself for next year!  Any great ideas?  

Monday, December 5, 2011

snowball garland

Here's a really simple Christmas/winter decoration that you can make in about 10 minutes!

We don't have a fireplace, so I was trying to figure out how and where to hang our stockings this year, when I decided to make this little garland to hold our stockings.

What you'll need:
Fishing line
White pom-poms in at least 2 sizes (I used 3/4" and 10 mm)

1. Measure out the length of fishing line you'll need for wherever you're planning to hang your garland.  If you want it to drape, be sure to add several inches extra.  (It's better to err on the side of it being too long.  It's really easy to just slide the pom-poms down and cut off the extra line later if you need to.)

2. Tie a knot at one end of the line.

3. Thread the needle on the other end, and then start skewering the pom-poms!  I tried to mix it up, and not just do big, small, big, small.  Sometimes I was really crazy and did two of the same size in a row!  Just to keep things from getting too boring.

4. When you think you have enough pom-poms, spread out the fishing line and then space out your "snowballs" how you think you want them.

I tried not to space them too evenly, again so it wouldn't look super rigid and boring.  If you think you need a few more, keep threading pom-poms.  If you have too many, take a few off!  

5. Tie a knot at the other end, and you're done!  See what I mean about easy?  Now just hang it up and enjoy!  (If you're lazy like me, you can even just use some clear tape to hang it.  Or you can make loops at either end, and use nails.)  

If you're planning to hang your stockings on the garland, you can either just "thread" them on, or you can make separate loops of fishing line to tie on.

Another fun idea for a garland like this would be to add some paper snowflakes!  I just might have to add some to mine... 

I kind of have a thing for making paper snowflakes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

nativity finger puppet set

It's officially Christmas season!  Which means that most of my posts for the rest of the month will be about Christmas - Christmas crafts, activities, products, presents, and fun!

One of my favorite Christmas projects I've done lately is this Christmas nativity finger puppet set.

 "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2: 10-12

I made the original for my son for one of his Christmas presents, and then decided to list it in my shop as well.  It's been my best selling product so far!

One of my favorite things about this set is how the stable is also the pouch to hold all the puppets.  Cute and functional!

(Ignore the goopy glue around the magnet here... don't worry, I'm not selling this one.  It was my first attempt and got a little messy!)

These puppets are so fun to make, and a really fun way to tell the nativity story with kids.

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Jud├Ža in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
Matthew 2: 1-2
I think the wise men puppets are my favorite.  Don't tell the others.  Maybe it's the bright colors.  Or the glitter.  :)

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
Luke 2: 7