Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013

There are many ways to make a top 20 list. I could have chosen the most viewed posts, the top pinned ones, the ones with the most comments...but no, I just picked 20 projects that make me smile...and I hope they do the same for you! 

Click on the pictures to see the original posts.

I framed Abe's penny collection and added it to the gallery wall in his room.

I made some felt fruits and vegetables and promised to post patterns like a year ago. I'll get on that eventually...

At least I had a good excuse...we had a baby! (In case you can't tell, these are not in order of importance because she'd definitely be #1.)

We took a fun trip to Phoenix to visit my family and enjoyed a hike in the White Tank Mountains.

I finally posted pictures of my terrarium, which sadly is no more. The plants are still alive but the container cracked (I think I set it down on a small rock or something) and it had to be thrown away. At least I have the pictures to remember it by...

With random toys and game pieces, I put together a simple color matching game for Abe.

My tulips bloomed and I shared a childhood story about my favorite flower.

My spray painted planters looked so cheerful all summer! I'll definitely be doing that again.

We discovered some scientific art activities and experiments, and now I never seem to have enough baking soda and vinegar in the house.

We prettied up our deck a bit and enjoyed it all summer!

I'm a few months behind on writing the updates, but I'm still taking monthly photos of Edie. (Click on the photos if you want to read the updates.)

Dinosaur crayons!

Abe's dinosaur third birthday was my favorite party EVER... 

...and the dinosaur dig s'mores cake was delicious!

We spent some time decorating spiders, bats, and pumpkins for Halloween...

,,,and enjoyed some gorgeous fall weather for our annual trip to the pumpkin patch.

Abe was finally old enough to really enjoy Halloween, and boy, did we have fun!

We made a new advent calendar to hang on our chalkboard wall...

...and put together some Lego ornaments to hide in the bags.

I put my kid in a snowglobe - and it cracks me up every time I look at the tree!

Ok, so this makes 21, but that chubby little painted face is too cute to leave off the list. I'll be back next week to share some Christmas photos, and then it's time to start planning Edie's first birthday!

Want more to explore? Check out my Top 20 from 2012 or the recipescraftsholidays, and local attractions tabs at the top of the page.

Monday, December 23, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 12: Laminated Photo Cut-Outs

I took these picture of the kids in their Christmas jammies back in November intending to turn them into some sort of photo ornaments. I didn't quite know what to do with them though until I saw this tutorial from Jackie at Teal & Lime.

The process I used was pretty simple: 
1. Print photos and cut out. 
2. Doodle snow globes and angels on paper until I was happy with the size and shape of each one.   
3. Trace finished doodles inside laminating pouch using Sharpies. 
4. Add glitter, photo cut-outs, and laminate. 
5. Add a string and hang!

Maybe I should have turned Abe into a snow angel. He makes a snow angel on our deck every time I send him outside! (Then he usually rolls over and starts eating snow...) He was pretty happy to see himself in a snow globe though. I used white acrylic paint on the back of the snow globe to fill in the "snowbank" he's sliding down, the space behind the words, and to add a few extra "snowflakes" since the glitter didn't stand out much.

So that completes another round of Christmas decorations. Find the complete list (from this year and years past) right here!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 11: Knitted Wreaths

I felt like knitting something so I made a few of these simple wreaths for our tree...

This is a great project for using up bits of leftover yarn. I used the green yarn from the frog I made for Abe and the glittery copper "eyelash" yarn that I used on my cardboard Christmas trees

If you're a better knitter than I am you could make these on circular needles, but I just knitted a roughly 3 inch square and then stitched the sides together to make a tube.

Then I started rolling that tube into a wreath. (You could totally do this with cute socks that have lost their mate if knitting isn't your thing!)

Once it's all rolled up, use a yarn needle to stitch around the back to keep the end in place. Next, use a yarn needle to attach a string for hanging (or just tie off the tail end of your yarn if it's long enough), and decorate however you wish. I did french knots to look like berries on my green wreath, and now I'm thinking if done in the right colors, these could totally end up looking like donuts. Colorful "sprinkles" would be so much fun! 

Find lots more DIY decorations in our holiday index!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 10: LEGO Ornaments

We're big into Legos at our house. Like entire-afternoons-spent-rebuilding-sets-that-have-been-taken-apart-rather-than-doing-the-dishes big. Yep, some things are just more fun than doing the dishes...even when you're an adult. Last Christmas, Noah found a great deal on two sets of bricks (one Lego and one Duplo) and picked them up for Abe. We gave him the Duplos for Chrismas, but held onto the Legos since he was still a bit young for them at the time. This year I used that set of Legos to make some ornaments to put in our advent calendar.

In addition to the holiday themed ornaments, I also made a few of Abe's favorite animals. The animals went in the advent calendar too but I didn't put a string on them. They'd be pretty cute hanging on the tree though!

You can find the instructions for the crocodile, rhino, and giraffe at LEGO.com. For the rest of the ornaments just collect the bricks listed below and assemble the pieces as shown in the picture (click on it for a better view). I'm listing the bricks that I was able to find in the set I used, but obviously you can replace 2 1x2 bricks with 1 1x4 brick, or use different colors or whatever makes it easier. To hang them, just slip a piece of string under one of the bricks and tie the ends together.

For Santa, you'll need 1 black 1x4, 9 red 1x2 bricks, 2 black 1x1 bricks, 1 yellow 1x2, 2 red 1x3 bricks, 2 white 2x2 bricks, 4 white 1x1 bricks, 2 yellow 1x1 bricks with eyes, 1 red 1x4, and 2 white 1x1 triangles (for the top of his hat). 

For the present, you'll need 8 white 2x2 bricks (or any other color for the "paper") and 5 red 2x2 bricks, 1 red 2x4, 1 red 2x6 plate for the "ribbon", and 1 red 2x4 plate and 2 red 2x2 inverted slopes for the "bow."

For the tree, you'll need 2 brown 1x1 bricks, 2 dark green 1x3 bricks, 2 dark green 1x4 bricks, 2 dark green 1x2 bricks, 2 light green 1x3 bricks, 5 light green 1x2 bricks, 2 light green 1x1 bricks, 1 yellow 1x2, and 6 red 1x1 circles. I could only find 5 solid colored red circles in the set I used, so I used one transparent red piece for the last "ornament."

For the candy cane, you'll need 5 white 2x2 bricks, 1 white 1x2, 3 red 2x2 bricks, 1 red 2x4, and 1 red 1x2. 

Have fun building...and don't forget you can find more DIY ornaments right here!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 9: Baby's 1st Christmas

It's a little hard to believe that this will be Edie's first Christmas. It's been fun seeing the season through the eyes of an almost-but-not-yet-one-year-old. She definitely loves all the music (Abe has been singing Christmas carols since October) and the lights and snow! We've taken her sledding a few times, but it's been so cold out I've mostly been bringing the snow inside for her to play with. She usually crawls into the pan of snow and happily sits there licking snowflakes off her mittens until there's nothing left but a puddle beneath her. But where was I...

Edie's first Christmas ornaments! I already made a yarn-wrapped twig monogram and a felt pie for my Edie Pie, but I wanted a couple Edie versions of my favorite ornaments we made when Abe was little. I love tiny baby hands, so of course we made one of these hand print ornaments from air dry clay. I was also lucky enough to find a good silhouette among the shots I took for our Christmas card, so I turned that into a sweet little silhouette ornament. (Double chins are the best!) If I ever make it back to the craft store I'd like to make her a first year photo cube as well, although I have no idea how I'd choose only 4 pictures! So her collection of ornaments is well under way, and I'm sure in a few years I'll look back and wonder what ever happened to those chubby fingers and double chins...

Don't forget to check out our holiday index for lots of other ways to fill up your tree!

Friday, December 13, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 8: Blue Fox

I made a pie ornament for Edie, so I figured I should make Abe a blue fox in honor of his creative choice of costume this year. I was planning to make it from felt, but when I saw this tutorial (and free download!) for making taxidermy trophies from cut paper I knew that is what I had to do.

I printed the fox head on cardstock and covered the orange parts with blue glitter (I also added some white glitter to that triangle section of his chest below the nose). Then I folded it according to the instructions and mounted it on a piece of cardboard, which I had cut into the shape of a shield and covered with a faux bois pattern. I added a string, the date, and some details on the back about why this fox is blue and now he's hanging out on our tree with all the other woodland creatures.

To make your own fox...or deer or raccoon...look for the tutorial and free downloads over at Madame Citron. And check out our holiday index to find other fun things to make for your tree!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 7: Felt Berry Pie Ornament

It's not every year that I'm inspired to make a Halloween costume based on my child's nickname, but this year I couldn't resist turning our little Edie-pie into an actual "Edie Pie." She looked so cute and miserable and delicious...I'm sure she'll never let me dress her up ever again! 

At any rate, I made this little pie ornament to hang on our tree to remember her nickname (in case she ever outgrows it) and her first Halloween costume (which should fit her for at least three more years). It's a miniature version of her pie costume (without the arm and neck holes of course) made from the leftover scraps of felt.

My embroidery skills aren't the best, but I made sure to add a little note on the back for when Noah and I are old and can't remember which one of our kids we dressed up as dessert...

Just kidding. We'll never forget how scrumptious this little girl is!

Oh, and I made a pattern for this but my scanner isn't working so I can't get my sketches uploaded. Boo technology. I'll update this post with a link to the pattern once I've got it all worked out. I realize not everyone will want a mini pie to hang on their tree, but as you can see, these pies are good for more than just Christmas decor. Felt food...yum!

Find more things to hang upon your tree right here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 6: Lollipops and Candy Canes

I knew I'd have some clay left over from my dinosaur ornaments, so I decided to make a clay candy cane to add to my collection. 

It was pretty easy. I used one bar of red Sculpey clay (those small blocks each contain 4 bars) and one bar of white. I rolled each bar into a long strand and then laid the red and white strands next to each other and gently squeezed them together so they would stick. Then I held one end and started twisting from the other until I had one long, twisted rope. I put it on some parchment paper on a cookie sheet and shaped it into a candy cane, then I trimmed the ends so they were even and inserted a small loop of wire at the top. I baked it at 275° F for about 30 minutes along with the lollipops I made. 

I made the lollipops the same way but wound my twisted ropes into a circle instead of a candy cane shape. I cut a bamboo grilling skewer in half and carefully slid those a little more than halfway through the lollipops. I inserted a little wire loop at the top of those too.

Once they were cool, I painted them with the Sculpey Gloss Glaze and hung them up to dry. (The glaze will drip as it dries so make sure to put something underneath to catch the drips!) I was planning to add a little glitter to these but Abe wanted to play with them as soon as they were finished, so the glitter will have to wait.

Find lots more Christmas DIYs right here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 5: Dinosaurs!

Normally, dinosaurs wouldn't be my first choice for a Christmas decoration, but since our tree is more of a mismatched collection of happy memories than a gorgeous display of pretty baubles, I figured Abe's love of dinosaurs (and recent dinosaur birthday party) deserved to be remembered. 

I already had some white Sculpey clay left over from another project, and the silicone mold I used to make the dinosaur dig cake for Abe's 3rd birthday, so I just filled the head with clay, added a string, and baked it.

I also thought it would be fun to make some little ornaments (for his tiny tree) with the dinosaur molds we used to make recycled crayons, so I bought three packs of the Sculpey Bake Shop clay in red, yellow, and blue, and mixed the colors to make orange, green, and purple.

I carefully turned the clay out of the molds before baking so I could insert a little wire loop for hanging. Then I baked them at 275° F for about 20 minutes. Once they had cooled, I painted them with two coats of Sculpey Gloss Glaze to give them a shiny finish. 

Now we have one dinosaur ornament as a reminder of Abe's third birthday on our tree, and some colorful little dinosaurs for the kids' tiny tree - which Abe happily decorated and undecorated until we finally put up our real tree last night! 

Find more DIYs for kid-friendly Christmas ornaments right here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 4: Sparkly Snowflakes

This little pink snowflake was one of the first things I added to my Christmas board on Pinterest when I first created it a few years back. I've been meaning to make some ever since, and this year I finally got around to it.

Of course a little searching turned up a tutorial from Martha Stewart, so head over there if you want to make your own. The only supplies I needed for this was a pack of tinsel pipe cleaners that I picked up at Joann and something to cut the wires with (I used an old pair of scissors). It took 3 pipe cleaners to make each 6 inch snowflake.

I think the gold one is my favorite...

...or maybe the green. I probably shouldn't hang those two so close together. I may not be a Vikings fan but I do still live in Minnesota...

Find lots more DIY decorations here!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

12 Days of Christmas - Day 3: Twig Letters

When I saw these twig ornaments I decided that I had to make some. It wasn't until after I'd tied the twigs together that I bothered to look at the instructions only to find out that those "twigs" were actually wire! Oh well...at least I was working with easy letters.

I started by finding some twigs and tying them together. (Hot glue would be helpful at this point but mine stayed in place fine with just the string.)

Then I wrapped my twig letters with yarn. I used Patons multi-colored yarn ColorWul in "Bramble" that I found at Joann. I just tied and wrapped mine, but a little hot glue would help keep the yarn from slipping off the ends. Once my letters were wrapped, I used a yarn needle to attach a short piece of twine to the back of each letter for hanging.

I also made a yarn wrapped candy cane (this one used wire) with some yarn leftover from the Gopher scarf I made for Noah a few years ago. I wrapped the whole thing a couple times with maroon yarn and then followed up with a quick wrap of gold. I would have used red and white yarn if I had some, but I really like how the team colors candy cane turned out. I might need to make a navy, white, and orange one for our tree...

Find more Christmas ideas and DIYs here.