Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homemade Nativity Christmas Tree Decoration

This Christmas tree decoration is so cute and fairly easy to make. I think the hardest part is finding the wooden clothes pins.
You need:
three wooden clothespins (I couldn't find the rounded top ones, the flat top ones work fine)
three scraps of material different colors of your choosing
skin tone paint
other acrylic paints that match material you chose
blush or red chalk
hand saw
hot glue gun
jute twine
wooden star painted yellow

1. cut one clothespin the size you want the baby with the hand saw.
2. paint all heads skin tone.
3. paint the two large clothespins desired colors. Paint wooden star.
4. cut fabric to a size that fits the clothespin (a little longer than the clothespin and about three inches wide )
5. when paint is dry, glue fabric to clothespins. Apply glue on top of head and to the sides and where ever else you figure it needs.
6. once all figures are clothed, cut the jute twine into the length you desire, remembering to leave extra room for a knot at the top and to be glued between Mary and Joseph. Tie a know about an inch and a half from the top of the twine. Glue painted star on the knot.
7. glue the twine between Mary and Joseph, leaving room for an opening so the decoration can hang on a tree.
8. put lots of glue where baby Jesus is to be glued (but not too much that it will show).
9. some glue may need to be applied to the back. Try to do so in a manner that you can pull the fabric over to hide the glue.
10. draw on eyes. Put blush on cheeks with a cotton swab.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Homemade Humbug Christmas Hat

I made this hat for my husband last Christmas as a last minute gift. I stayed up way too late, or should I say, way too early to make this - but it was one of those "I've got to do it" moments. I made it from the materials I had on hand so I think it turned out pretty good considering. The purpose for the hat? For my husband to wear when he puts up the Christmas lights. He has a history of getting in a bad mood when it comes to putting up the lights for several reasons - the tangled mess of lights coming out of storage, putting the lights up only to find out they don't work even though when we checked them they worked, oh and the list can go on and on. This hat must have some Christmas magical properties because light hanging day this year went without a hitch. I totally recommend the hat for those bah humbug moments. This is all made from scrap fleece. I compared one of my husbands hats to get the width I needed and just improvised how to sew it. I cut out the letters free hand and hand sewed them on. For the pom pom I cut out a BIG circle, stitched loosely around the the whole edge, and pulled the thread tight to gather the fabric together to form a ball. I stuffed the ball with stuffing before I secured it and then sewed on top of the hat.

Humbug Hat
Hat action shot

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sketch of Baby Jesus

You can download this sketch of baby Jesus that my daughter drew (for personal use only please).
I used it on a card that you can find by clicking HERE.
Baby Jesus by Maria Ferguson

Baby Jesus Christmas Card

I saw a really nice card in an old Paper Crafts magazine. It had a beautifully sketched picture of Santa. The card style and layout inspired me, but I wanted the reason for the season on it instead. My daughter is an awesome artist so I asked her to sketch a picture for me. She did an awesome job.

Baby Jesus Christmas Card
Here is a link to download the art:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Matchbox Advent Calendar Tutorial

Matchbox Advent Calendar 
When we moved into our brand new house, my husband was not thrilled about the idea of putting a nail in the wall for an advent calendar. To keep the peace, I went on the hunt for table top advent calendar ideas. I came across this idea and fell in love with it. Although these do take a considerable amount of time to make - I love making them. I gave four away last year. I am making it a tradition to make and give at least one of these to someone who might need a little holiday pick me up.

24 matchboxes (You can probably find empty craft ones somewhere, but I bought these at a $ Store)
24 brads for drawer pulls
Desired Cardstock
Desired Embellishments
4 wooden beads (optional)
thin cardboard (like from a cereal box)
hot glue gun
glue stick

Here's how you do it....

1. Empty matchboxes if applicable. Place them in eight piles of three.

2. Prepare all pieces for gluing. You will need
- base: 1 thin cardboard, 1 patterned paper (4 1/4 " x 4 1/4")
- top: 1 thin cardboard, 1 patterned paper (4 1/4 " x 4 1/4")
- layer stabilizer: 2 thin cardboard (3 1/4 x 3 1/4)
- rectangle cover: 8 patterned paper (2" x 1 1/2")
- covers for drawer (optional - you can paint them or leave them the color they are. You can cover just the middle ones with paper or paint them so it is not as much work).
*All measurements approximate. These were the measurements according to the boxes I had. I have found that different stores and      different years the matchboxes have been different sizes.

3. Start gluing. Glue the thin cardboard and patterned paper together for the top and the base with lots of glue from a glue stick or whatever adhesive works for you. Trim to approximately 4" square, or desired size. Set aside for later.

4. Hot glue the matchboxes together in the pile of three's PRESSING FIRMLY but gently to make for a tight fit, and making sure the drawers are as square as possible.

5. After all the boxes are glued together in sets of three - TAKE OUT THE DRAWERS and set aside for later. Arrange two sets of four into a square as shown in picture to the right. Working with one layer at a time, arrange the boxes as square as possible. As quick as possible, put hot glue on the top of the boxes, then put a line of glue long the edges of the stabilizer and adhere to boxes, again arranging them as square as possible before the glue sets.

6. Glue the two layers together, making sure the box is secure and as square as you can get it.

7. Glue on all patterned paper. I start with the panels first. Before you glue them on, make sure the paper is the right size. Make the necessary adjustments. Glue on top and base. Embellish as desired. Glue wooden beads on bottom for pedestals.

8. Prepare the drawers. I put a piece of foam in the drawers (I found one from a fancy brads package). Poke a hole with a push pin. Insert the brad slide the drawer into an empty slot. I wrote the numbers on, but you can use stickers, stamps or print numbers out on your computer.

9. Add desire goodies to each drawer. My personal favorite is chocolate. The Hershey miniature chocolate bars are a perfect fit.

Advent Calendar Collection

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leftover Turkey Recipe Album Embellishments

This pdf file has the title I adhered to the front of the Leftover Turkey Recipe book. There are a couple of helpful hints for how to pick that perfect turkey as well. The pattern could be used for tabs or other embellishments in the album. For pictures of the album and a tutorial how to make it click here.

Leftover Turkey Album #3

Leftover Turkey Recipes - Collection #2

Find the tutorial to make the recipe book here.

Leftover Turkey Recipes #2

Left over Turkey Recipe Collection #1

Here are four recipes I put in my leftover turkey recipes album. You can go to the album and tutorial how to make it by clicking here.

Leftover Turkey Recipes #1

Leftover Turkey Recipe Collection: Gift Idea

I have given this little recipe book away to many people for a little Christmas gift. I love having a quick reference for left over turkey recipes. (Scroll to the bottom of post for recipes)

Left-over Turkey Recipe Book

Here is a paper bag album tutorial.

1. For this paper bag album I used two pop in lunch bags. They are the easiest bags to use to make a paper bag album as they don't have a bottom.

2. Cut the end of the bag off. The width of the bags I used measured 4.5 inches. I wanted the album to be square so I cut it to a length of 9 inches.

3. Fold the bags in half. Place one on top of the other alternating ends (bottom bag - closed end on left, opened end on right
 top bag - open end on left, and closed end on right.

4. Choose paper to decorate. I cut the paper 4 1/4 inches square. I trimmed some off the title page part to make for easier hole punching. Glue paper on front and back. I found gluing on BOTH the paper and the paper bag made for better adhering.

5. Cut a 2"x 4 1/2 inch piece of cardstock. Fold in half. Put over folder ends of album. Making sure the album is aligning square, punch holes 1/4" into the paper. I punched four holes and threaded them with twine, tying a bow in the middle.

6. Print out desired leftover turkey recipes. I have some available to print on my blog. Cut each recipe into a 4'x4' square. Some cards will need to be trimmed a little more before adhering to the album, but this is a good starting point.

7. Open up album. Before pasting anything down, crease a fold on all the the pages to make it easier to work with and easier to open. I put two recipes each in the pockets (open ends) making four recipes in all that go into pockets. Make sure those recipes have space on the side to staple or glue a pull tab to. Paste other recipes to pages, sizing the recipes before adhering for a proper fit and decorating as you wish. *remember* put glue on both the paper and paper bag for  better results.

8. Staple tabs on recipes that are going into the pockets. My tabs are made out of paper that I dry embossed and inked. They are slightly wider than 1/2 an inch, and 2 inches long. I folded them in half length wise and stapled them on the recipe card. Stagger the tabs so you have one at the top, one at the bottom and two in the middle.

Paper bag album
Here is the finished result.

Here are links to download and print the recipe collections:

PDF file for leftover turkey recipes collection #1

PDF file for leftover turkey recipes collection #2

PDF file for leftover turkey recipes Embellishments

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Sending Holiday Cheer" Christmas Card

This card idea was inspired by a card Nicole Heady made. The holly is cut from the "Joys of the Season" cricut cartridge. I cut out a holly that was too big for the card, so I cut out the leaves to make a different looking holly. I stapled the ribbon on the card, making sure to hide the staples with the round sentiment.
I rounded the card corners with my chomper, and inked all the edges.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Creative "Try"als Christmas Kick Off

There is one month until Christmas so....... this blog is going to start looking a lot like Christmas. Stay tuned for a Christmas post every day until Christmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Free Christmas Tag Download

These tags are so cute. I am going to print them off on brown kraft paper. I am also going to make a variation of this tag for gifts that HAVE to be opened BEFORE Christmas, so stay tuned for that. I hope you enjoy them!

Do Not Open Until December 25th Tag

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy BRRRthday Card

This is the first time I have done heat embossing. I am so far behind the times, I know. I bought the embosser in January and thought I better use it. I used black, red and white for the colors because red was the only sparkly embossing powder I had. I love the idea for the BRRRthday saying for a November birthday. So cute. The white snowflake is a Martha Stewart punch.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

I LOVE gingerbread cookies. They are a perfect cookie to add to a cookie exchange as they keep for quite a while. I like making gingerbread cookies at Valentines Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and of course, CHRISTMAS. I do all sorts of different shapes for different occasions. The easiest way to decorate them is to make a thin Royal Icing, so it is easy to spread on the cookie, and then add sprinkles. Lately I have been cutting the cookie dough into squares and then piping on a thicker Royal Icing. No matter what you do, they look impressive and taste great!


1 cup shortening   1 cup packed dark brown sugar    1/4 cup fancy molasses
1/4 cup milk    3 1/4 cup flour     2 tsp. baking soda     2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp ginger     3/4 tsp ground cloves     1/2 tsp salt

In large bowl, beat together shortening, brown sugar, molasses and milk until smooth and creamy. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt; using wooden spoon, stir into
creamed mixture in 3 additions just until smooth dough forms. Divide in half; form into 1/2 inch thick discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or over night. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling. Cut in shapes. Cook for 5 minutes, or to your desired firmness.

Royal Icing: 3 egg whites   1/2 tsp cream of tartar    3-4 cups icing sugar

In bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar (found in baking section with spices. I buy mine bulk at Save on Foods) on high sped until frothy. Gradually beat in icing sugar until mixed. If using for houses - beat until very stiff (about 4 minutes).

If you don't like using egg whites you could use 3tbsp meringue powder and 6 tbsp. water to replace eggs and cream of tartar.

Here is the recipe card....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Homemade Doggie Bed

I needed to make a dog bed for my daughters dog. This bed is going to go in his dog house that is outside.  I need to get rid of my boxes and boxes of fabric, but a lot of it is scraps. Since this bed was going outside I thought it was a good opportunity to use up some of those scraps. The dimensions of the bed are approximately 3'x 3 1/2 '. I sewed a pillow from a bed skirt that I purchased for 50 cents at Liquidation World. I stuffed it with quilting batting. Then I sewed the scrap fleece to form a pillow case. After each seam, I sewed a reinforcing zigzag stitch to reinforce the seam as I plan on washing the pillow case often. Here is how it turned out.....

It is not the greatest looking bed - I wasn't going for a designing award by any means. It is warm, cozy, and FRUGAL! If you don't have scrap fleece from past sewing projects -  take a boo in your closet for fleece shirts that have not been worn in years.

Here it is in the dog house. My daughters dog loves it!

"Don't Forget" Cards

I made some cards to give away to the young women at my church when we spotlight them in our women's meeting on Sunday. This card was inspired by a card I had seen online (sorry - don't recall where I found it). I made the sayings on my computer and colored the lettering with puffy ink.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Halloween Scrapbook Page Idea

I scrapbooked these pages last year. I made the black journaling strips on my computer. I put a black journaling box on the page and typed out the words with different fonts and colors. The big "boo" and "eek" were masked on using Tim Holtz font masks. I love making the 8 1/2 x11 scrapbooks, so I like to print a lot of my pictures half the size. The Kodak printers have an option of making mini prints. I love getting two or four pictures with each mini print.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gift Idea For Dad - Envelope Album

I have made one of these albums for almost everyone in my family and I am still going.  The idea came about after a few deaths in my family. I wasn't sure if those people who meant so much to me, really knew how I felt about them. I also felt some of the pain my mother in law experienced when she didn't have many physical, personalized items to turn to from her daughter, who was tragically taken from her. She desperately needed that card or letter from her daughter that said - "I love you mom".

My family gave this to my father in law for his birthday, although I did want it to be his father's day gift. I have given these albums for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, anniversary cards/gifts, and Valentines gifts. The envelope album idea came from the Pine is Here blog and Heather Nichols gives a great tutorial how to make it. I didn't use the square envelopes she used, but rather, I used the envelopes that fit a full 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, folded or cut in half.
Here is what I did for the album for my father in law....

I took pictures of pictures that related to the personal things I wanted to add to the albums. I picked a favorite picture for the title page. For all my male albums so far, I have used black, white and green as my color combinations.

On one of the pages in the album (that didn't have an envelope pocket), I added a dedication page, explaining the intent of the album, and a note of thanks.

On the pages that had an envelope slot, I made a pocket that I could slip a tag in. I printed out some quotes that I liked, and pasted the quote on the pocket. The tag would have some memories written on it, and some heartfelt personal sentiments. I used the quotes to inspire the personal sentiments that I wrote on the tag.

For each of the envelope pockets, I would include pictures, and some quotes. Each "tag" for the envelope pockets was an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet cut in half.

Here is the back page of the envelope album. Again, more pictures and quotes.

These albums are very well received. Who doesn't like getting an album of appreciation? Who doesn't like being told that they hold a special place in one's heart? Telling others how much I care for them was something I knew I needed to do more of,  and I loved the idea of sharing those feelings in a creative way.  I wasn't sure what one of my brother's would think, but I was surprised how much he liked his album, and the bigger surprise was how much his thirteen year old son (at the time) liked it.

So go ahead and create that album of appreciation for your dear ones who have a special place in your heart.

Here is a pdf file of the quotes I used....

Father Album

Monday, November 8, 2010

Senior Citizen Survival Kit

My mom turned "65" last week and I wanted to make a memorable gift for her. Since I love making survival kits, I wasn't going to waste this opportunity. I wasn't too nasty to her. I wanted everything in the survival kit to be practical, but I also wanted some humor. This is what I put in it....

Oil of Old Age - Olive Oil. I added on some beauty secrets that one can use with olive oil. I have tried it on my skin and it actually feels amazing.

Here are the beauty secrets I found....
Olive Oil Beauty Secrets
by Melissa Eaton
We all know that olive oil is wonderful and healthy for us to cook with, but what about its other uses? Truthfully, olive oil is another main ingredient in several beauty products you can buy on the shelf. See for yourself how you can make your own skin cocktails and save a little money at the same time.
1. A mixture of 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup water used as a night cream will make your skin glow. The olive oil softens and moisturizes and the vinegar lightens discolorations, kills bacteria and loosens dead skin cells. Splash water on your face before applying.
2. Olive oil can be used as cleansing cream if your skin is dry.
3. For a facial, wet face thoroughly, then massage olive oil into your skin. Use about a half teaspoon of sugar and scrub your face with that, then wipe off gently with a warm, wet cloth until the sugar is all gone.
4. Use olive oil on your feet with clean white cotton socks. Helps to soften up you feet and it absorbs better than baby oil.
5. It seems when you pour olive oil out there is always a drip, so wipe it up with your hand and rub it in to your elbows. Wonderful softening properties
6. Use olive oil as bath oil. Two to three tablespoons will do the trick.
7. Use olive oil for your hair. Not only does it condition, but it also gets rid of the frizz. Put a small drop into your palm & then rub both hands together & apply it to dry hair.
Wrinkle Remover - Iron on Starch for when the iron isn't enough.

Energizer Batteries, to keep you going and going.

Act II Popcorn, welcome to another stage of life. Play your part well!

Socks - Sit back and kick up your feet. Relax! You've earned it!

Life is a Puzzle - Just in case you haven't figured out the "big" picture, here is one you can.

Laughter is the best medicine - but when that isn't enough, try the medicine cabinet
(pain reliever and antacids)

Senior Moments - memory loss mints

I printed out tags and tied the tags to each item with golden tulle. I bought a waste basket (I wanted everything to be practical) and put all the items in it. I printed out a BIG label for the waste basket that said - Senior Citizen's Survival Kit - for those golden years. I taped the sign on and tied a golden tulle ribbon around the basket. I concealed the items in the waste basket with gold tissue paper.