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Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Sophisticated New Year's Eve Party.....At Home

Easy elegance on New Year’s Eve. That is what most of want when we are prepping for a party - whether it’s for four guests or forty. The big secret to achieving this? Creatively using what you have on hand. You really don’t have to spend a lot to create an elegant New Year’s atmosphere - just be creative with the pieces you have!

Fringed garlands are a huge trend right now. With a pack of tissue paper and a little bit of string and glue, you can have a dazzling backdrop in minutes. For our “Happy New Year” banner, we went simple. 4.25-inch circles were cut out of glittery cardstock, letters out of black glitter cardstock and tied everything together with some shiny curling ribbon.

A sprinkling of sparkling lights and candles always helps to set the mood at a party. We brought out a few of our white pillar candles, and to dress them up for the occasion, we banded them with some glittery paper. Quick and easy! We even added some glitz to our champagne bottles to double as a wow-worthy centerpiece.

How To Get Your Reward

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

When God is first place in our life, and we make pleasing Him our highest priority, then we can truly and fully expect to live a blessed, fulfilled life! In the key verse, notice who God’s not people who half-heartedly seek Him ~ it doesn’t say “people who only think about Him when they’re having a problem” or “people who will only come to church when something special is going on.” Rather, God rewards people who earnestly seek after Him. That means we are determined, we get up every morning and thank Him for His goodness, we go through the day meditating on His promises, we give Him praise in the good times and the tough times, we are constantly stretching, growing, learning and striving to know Him better.

Remember, when we diligently seek God, He promises that a reward is coming. He promises He will give us strength, wisdom, favor, good breaks, promotion, healing and restoration. When we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him, and we won’t be able to outrun His goodness and blessing!

Father, I desire to please You in everything I do. I declare that You are good and faithful. I trust You with my whole heart and believe that You are a rewarder of those who diligently seek You. I bless You and honor You today in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

11 Fun New Year’s Eve Party Ideas for Food, Games & Decorations

Picture a great New Year’s Eve party at your home with all your friends: Sparkling decorations and candles all about. Your guests take hilarious photos, dance with loud, crazy noisemakers, and enjoy a selection of appetizers. When the clock strikes 12, you toast with champagne and feast on a midnight supper.

This scenario has to cost a fortune, right? Well, not necessarily. With a few money-saving tricks up your sleeve, you can host a great New Year’s party on a budget that people will be talking about for a long time to come. From food, to refreshments, to games, you can cut costs everywhere without sacrificing any of the fun! And if your New Year’s resolution is to save money, this is a great place to start.

Party Food Ideas
1. Make It a BYOA Affair – Bring Your Own Appetizer
Phone your invitees and inform them that it’s a BYOA event. There are a number of cheap and easy appetizers that your guests can bring, but if someone doesn’t know how to cook or what to bring, suggest raw veggies and hummus, a fruit and nut platter, or a cheese and crackers plate. If someone claims that even those are too difficult, ask them to bring a container or two of mixed nuts – you can provide the bowl!

2. Serve Champagne Sangria for Midnight Toasting
This is an easy and delicious way to cut down on champagne costs that will be appreciated by all! To make champagne sangria, simply use these ingredients and follow the instructions below:
One 32-ounce bottle of apple juice
One 12-ounce can of frozen cranberry juice concentrate
One cup of orange juice
One-and-a-half liters of champagne (or ginger ale for a non-alcoholic version)
Keep items chilled (or frozen) until use. Combine the apple juice, cranberry juice concentrate, and orange juice in a large bowl. Stir well. Add sliced oranges, kiwi slices, and any other fruit you like. Slowly add the champagne or ginger ale at the last minute to keep it bubbly. This recipe serves 12, but you might want to double up for thirsty guests!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's Almost Christmas! These Are a Few of My Favorite Trees.......

We were asked to participate in our town's Holiday Homes Tour as I previously stated in early posts. I will have a "homes tour" posted before the new year of each room BUT in the intern here are a few of our 16 5-10 foot tress.....yes 16 full size tress all decked out in their glory (and if you're wondering that means each room of the house gets a tree =}).

The Big One ~ The Living Room: This is our traditional tree that boasts over 1000 ornaments and it is a 10 foot splendor. Ornaments are an array of everything and yes, since everyone seems to be talking about my wrapping, the presents underneath all coordinate.

The Woodland ~ The Dining Room.Staircase: This tree displays all things nature pine cones, berries, pussy willows and twigs. It sits in a basket nestled on a table surrounded by coordinating Christmas items.

The Kansas State Tree ~ The Mud Room:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Party Ideas for New Year's Eve ~ Ring in the new year with these recipes, crafts, and games!

Spin Drum
Ring in the new year (on December 31 or on January 31, the Chinese New Year) with this homemade noisemaker, a hand drum based on a traditional Asian design.
What you'll need
serrated knife (an adult's job)
empty oatmeal canister
acrylic paint
tacky glue
glitter (optional)
hole punch
1/2-inch-wide dowel, 1 foot long
16-inch length of string
two 3/4-inch wooden beads
2 plastic lids that fit the oatmeal canister
Use a serrated knife as a saw to cut a 1 3/4-inch ring from the top of the oatmeal canister (an adult's job). Neaten the cut edge with scissors. Paint the outside of the ring, then add glue and glitter if desired. Let the paint and glue dry. Punch a hole in the center of the ring's width. Punch additional, overlapping holes to gradually widen the hole just enough to fit the dowel. Slide in the dowel so that it touches the inside of the ring. Secure the dowel to the ring with glue. Punch two side holes in the ring directly opposite each other. Wrap the ends of the string with small pieces of tape to make them easier to thread. Tie the center of the string to the dowel inside the ring. Thread the ends through the holes and thread a bead on each end. Measure the string against the ring so that the beads will hit the center of the drumhead. Knot the end of the string and snip off the excess. Place the two plastic lids onto the sides of the ring. Cut paper circles to fit the tops of the lids, decorate them, and glue them in place. Tie ribbons to the dowel at the drum's base. Play the drum by holding the dowel upright between your palms and rolling it quickly back and forth so that the beads hit the lids.

Bubbly Jell-O® Parfait
Grab a spoon and toast the New Year with a cool, sparkly dessert that wiggles.
1. Make bubbly Jell-O® according to the directions on a box of Sparkling White Grape Jell-O®. Be sure to use club soda, seltzer, or ginger ale and follow the tips on the box for getting the gelatin to sparkle.
2. Chill the Jell-O® in champagne flutes or parfait glasses. We suggest making these the day of the party, since they might lose some bubbliness if they're made further ahead. Wind a metallic multicolored star garland (available at party stores) up the stem of the glass for pizzazz.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Throw the Easiest New Year’s Eve Party Ever With These 4 Easy Steps

You don't have to add to your holiday stress and debt trying to decide what you should do to ring in the new year. Why don't you just invite a few close friends over and ring in the New Year with an easy, intimate party at home.

1. Plan Games ~ Make light of New Year’s resolutions by turning them into a guessing game. Give partygoers cards (download the New Year Playing Cards) and have guests finish the sentences with hopeful wishes―or tongue-in-cheek witticisms. Gather the cards, read them aloud randomly, then let the gang try to figure out who wrote what. Print cards with these fill-in-the-blanks: "The bad habit I want to kick this year is ―――." "The good deed I want to do this year is ―――." "The person I want to be more like this year is ―――." "The skill I want to learn this year is ―――."

2. Pick Up the Provisions

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

10 Christmas Cocktails Sure to Be a Treat ~ With or Without the Adult Ingredient Added

Cranberry Cocktails
This cranberry cocktail is a swirl of favorite flavors: maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and red wine. Serve it with a stirrer beaded with poached cranberries. Our Santa clip art is affixed to a sphere of honeycomb paper and topped with his signature hat. Download Santa Swizzle Sticks Clip Art for the festive touch! With cooked cranberries sweetened with maple syrup and lightly flavored with lemon zest and vanilla beans form the base of this wine-and-seltzer cocktail.
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
Thin strips of zest from 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, crushed
Pinch of coarse salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups seltzer
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put cranberries into a large, high-sided skillet; set aside. Bring syrup, wine, brown sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, lemon zest, peppercorns, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, whisking occasionally. Pour over cranberries. Cover tightly with foil, and bake until cranberries are soft but have not burst, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a bowl; cover with 1 cup cooking liquid. Let cool completely. Bring 1/2 cup cooking liquid and the granulated sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, whisking until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to low; simmer until liquid has reduced and barely coats the back of a spoon, about 6 minutes. Pour through a fine sieve into a medium bowl; let cool completely. Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use, up to 3 days. Reserve 40 cranberries. Puree remaining cranberries and liquid in a blender. To serve, place 10 reserved cranberries on each of 4 decorative skewers. Pour 1/4 cup puree and 1/4 cup syrup into each of four 12-ounce glasses; stir to combine. Add skewers, and fill glasses with ice. Top with seltzer, and serve.

Mulled Cranberry Cocktail
This cocktail can be served as a dessert, or you can drink it instead of tea on a freezing winter afternoon.
1 quart cranberry juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a medium saucepan, combine the juice, cinnamon stick, and cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, ground cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of water and heat over medium-low heat, gently stirring, until the cranberries pop and are well coated with the sugar mixture. When cool enough to handle, thread 3 to 4 berries each on 4 decorative toothpicks or skewers. Pour the mulled cranberry juice among 4 mugs and garnish with the cranberry swizzle.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Easy Christmas Centerpieces

Sleigh Ride Centerpiece ~ Elevate your centerpiece with a handsome vintage sled. Top with an assortment of cloches, ornaments, and greenery. After the holidays, keep the sled, but replace the Christmas-theme accents with winter wares, like white pillar candles in glass hurricanes surrounded by faux snow.

Holiday Gifts Centerpiece ~ Pretty presents aren't just for placing under the tree. Wrap empty boxes to look like gifts and decorate with a few embellishments to use in a centerpiece. These boxes are decorated with pom-poms, buttons, bows, and jingle bells, and finished with dramatic bows. Display the final products on wide candlesticks intended for pillar candles.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Santa Claus Christmas Crafts Ideas

Santa Wreath
Greet rosy-cheeked guests with a showstopping holiday wreath featuring old Saint Nick. Bright assorted glass ornaments add playful pops of color to the wreath, while a large red ribbon makes a bold statement. To make, simply hot-glue the materials onto a store-bought evergreen wreath, then display for all to see.

Santa-Hat Place Cards
Welcome Christmas guests to your table with Santa-hat place cards. All you need to make them is tracing paper, glitter felt, glue, pins, and a gold jingle bell. The glittery fur-trim hats also make great party favors.

Santa Claus Banner
Wave a flag for Santa's favorite season. Reuse Christmas cards featuring the jolly old elf's image in a festive banner. Choose a single Santa image or string different depictions for an eclectic view of the season's familiar gift giver. Add printed or handwritten sentiments between ribbon-hung Santas for a banner that expresses your personal holiday perspective.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Front Door Christmas Decorating Ideas

Change Your Holiday Greeting
Most seasonal displays are fairly static, but small elements can help you add a bit more personality to your front door decor. Here, a tiny chalkboard allows the homeowners to add a changing message on the front door wreath. Other ideas: a countdown to Christmas, or ribbon or wreaths that change weekly.

Minimize Color Variation
Similar colors can have a powerful impact in Christmas door decorations. Here, silver and white create a magical winter wonderland on the porch of this cottage-style home. Strands of light, accented with oversize snowflakes, hang from the ceiling, and branches in galvanized pails suspend more snowflakes. For the final touch, spray-paint wire baskets white, hang, and fill each with a sparkling silver orb.

Match Front Door Decor to Architectural Style
A basic design principle can be all you need to create a pulled-together front door. For example, traditional style homes equal traditional style seasonal decorations and rustic calls for a more casual set-up. That's the case with these lovely, easy-breezy accents, including a simple garland over the entry and two nearly unadorned wreaths by the door.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Cupcake Recipes

Reindeer Cupcake
These dashing desserts pay homage to some of Santa's best-known helpers. They also make a fun activity for little hands after a holiday meal. Using pretzels for the antler, abTootsie Roll cut and shaped into ears, a vanilla wafer and Red.Brown.White M&Ms with a little black decorating gel, you too can create Rudolph and his friends that are good enough to eat!

Santa's Hat Cupcake
A Santa hat Cupcake that is chocolaty and delicious! All you need is red and white icing and of course a choclate cupcake.

Snowman Cupcake
This snowman wears a fine winter hat: a chocolate-covered mint AKA Junior Mint beret. His plump figure is two marshmallows, cut a slice off the top one and squish to make it smaller. Dabs of icing hold parts together. His eyes are chocolate sprinkles (poke holes first with a wet toothpick), and his nose is cut from a gummy fruit.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pink Petunia Pearl on Etsy ~ End of Year Sale

Now through December 31.2013 ~ 15% off all orders, enter code 15off.  Click the logo above to start shopping.

The time has come to start cutting back.  With older kiddos, health issues and a part-time job, it time for me to re-focus and re-prioritize.  PPP will be closing after I rid myself of stashes of fabric, many of which are rare and discontinued, as well as notions.....therefore a HUGE SALE is on for Customs, Samples, Fabrics and Notions!  I will be listing a ton more fabric and samples after the new year, so check back often.

Plus, FREE shipping on all orders over $50 ~  Enter coupon code FREE50 at checkout!

*All custom orders take between 7-21 days depending on my schedule however, most orders leave my studio with 7-10 days. I do work part time as a Jr. High School teacher so if you need something sooner than my turn around time just let me know in advance and I will be more than happy to work something out with you!  

Thank you so much for making PPP such a successful venture over the last 8 years.  God has truly blessed me in this venture!! 

Decorate With Christmas Garland & Swags

Big Bow Christmas Garland ~ Graceful bows with long tails dramatically enhance a simple evergreen garland. Cut extra-long strips of material, tie into bows, and attach to the stair railing about 3 feet apart.

Multiple Sizes and Styles of Garland ~ Garlands used to be pretty basic holiday decor, evergreens draped on mantels and stairwells. Now you can go bigger, like this room: Pretty evergreens add texture on top of the mantel, but a ribbon garland draped through miniature wreaths accents the large corner bank of windows for a festive pop of color.

Creative Spots for Garland ~ There are probably more opportunities than you realize to add beautiful garlands to your holiday displays. For example, oversize artwork, cabinet drawers, and frames are spots that allow garland to naturally drape. Tip: Choose pieces of evergreen in both light and dark greens to enhance the visual interest.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cute. Unique & Fun Holiday Decorating Ideas for Any Space

Create a Hanging Window Display
Look out on something pretty ~ a basic painted frame strung with ribbon and hung with ornaments jazzes up a window and requires zero rearranging.

Make Room for Holiday Decorations
Save space by swapping out year-round photos, figurines, and knickknacks for your favorite holiday decorations. This bookshelf got a merry makeover from jolly snowmen, wrapped boxes, and a natural garland.

Transform Table Space
Let side tables do their part by topping them with a forest of merry paper trees. Each one features colorful patterned paper and a festive star on top. Best of all, they hide small bags of candy for your holiday guests.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Holiday Decorating for the Worn Out and Weary

Believe it or not, some of us genuinely love the holiday season, even if we aren't up for the crafting blitzes and marathon-style decorating sessions that come with it. However, leaving our home unadorned can feel a little bah-humbug. Luckily, we've found 10 ideas that can bring a little holiday cheer into your space without much effort.

Go Big ~ It doesn't matter how many lights the neighbors have illuminating their home. Save on the electrical bill and still get in the spirit of the season with these oversize outdoor Christmas ornaments. SHOP NOW: Outdoor Christmas ornaments, $60,

Fir Sure ~ Hang this ornament anywhere in your home to get that nostalgic holiday smell, without having to gather and assemble a potpourri of freshly cut pine, berries and pinecones.SHOP NOW: Frasier Fir Botanical Ornament, $12,

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Decide Ahead of Time To Be Thankful

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Have you ever said to yourself, “I’d be happy if...” ~ “my friends, family or spouse treated me better.”, “my boss moved to another planet.”, “if I didn’t have to sit in traffic every day.” If we are thinking these thoughts, then we are allowing what we can’t control, to sour our life. We have to change our approach to the negative things in life ~ or the things we think are negative.

Before we ever even step foot out of bed each morning, we need to make a decision that no matter what comes our way, we are not going to get upset.  Rather we are going to give thanks for everything, even the bumps in the road.  Those bumps are just than, bumps and bumps can be smoothed! 

We need to decide that no matter what somebody says, we’re not going to be offended. No matter what interruption or delay, we’re not going to be sour. The key is to decide ahead of time, then when life happens, when traffic is worse than normal, when our children forget their homework at school.home, or when our plans don’t work out, it’s no big deal ~ we’ve already decided that “this is the day the Lord has made, I'm going to rejoice and be glad in it!”

We can’t wait until we’re in the heat of the battle, we need to make up our mind before life happens to rejoice no matter what situation comes our way. Let's make a conscience effort to decide ahead of time to give Him praise and thanksgiving in all things so we can move forward in the joy and peace that He has prepared for each one us!

Father, today I choose to rejoice in You. In all things, at all times, in every circumstance I will praise and thank You. I release what I cannot control. I submit myself to You and thank You for the victory in every area of my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DIY Christmas Decorations

Festive centerpiece
Branch out from conventional tablescapes by using an extra-long tree limb as a platform for displaying ornaments. Simply knot lengths of twine around the branch and hang it from a row of five or six ceiling hooks.(Silver and green ornaments, from $23.75 for 12; for stores. Cultural Intrigue ornament in bronze, from $4; Chairs, $275 each; Martha Stewart collection glasses, $36 for four;

These simple gift tags, which cost less than a dollar each, take center stage when hung in vintage cages. The paper doves also look lovely dangling from chandeliers or even doorknobs. (Tags, $9.95 for 12; Birdcages, from $10 each;

Bird-themed tree
The shining star of this avian-themed tree? An egg-filled nest perched at the top.

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Crazy Life ~ Up in Smoke, My QUIT Story

What an anniversary ~ 1 year without a cigarette! YAY for me and this is how this journey came about....

I LOVED to smoke, crazy I know, but it was my comfort, my best friend, my life line and it's so sad to admit!

Last September after having a cough since July, that wouldn't go away on it's own or with meds (I had pneumonia and/or bronchitis at 2-3 times per year so meds were always in my diet), the doctor sent me to a pulmonologist ~ the lung doctor in laymen terms. That in and of itself just sounds scary! She was STUNNED that since my mother is a 8 year lung cancer survivor and NEVER smoked a day in her life, that someone such as myself with that kind of history was sitting on her table.

I was told that this was it, COPD was beginning to creep in at the age of 39 and if I didn't quit ~ and quit for good this time ~ I would be carrying an oxygen tank by 42. Okay then, that was it, enough said ~ somehow I had to find a way to lay those darn things down and I knew just where to turn, my praying momma!

Believe me, when my mom was diagnosed with cancer I tried quit. I did Chantix and it worked but made me so sick I stopped taking it and with 6 months was smoking again =( You may also be thinking I surely quit when I was pregnant with my 3 beautiful babies and unfortunately the answer to that is YES I quit with the first one (we do everything right the first time....right), I started again after a month of giving birth and then became pregnant with my 2nd 3 years later.  I "cut back" without quitting altogether like I did the first time and then 5 years later with I became pregnant the 3rd time, I smoked off and on but not like I did in the previous pregnancy. So SHAME ON ME, I didn't ever really quit the nasty habit even then! Why you ask, because I was so scared of gaining, or rather, not taking off the baby weight.

You see 22 years ago at the prime of my battle with eating disorders (story at a later time ~ it's a lengthy one) some crazy person told me that smoking would curb my appetite and rev up my metabolism, so I choked them down and before long was 100% addicted. I so wish some other crazy person would have told me to "just NOT do it" instead.......this was the hardest fight of my life to date, the battle of quitting!

So in September of last year I left the pulmonologist office with a prescription for Chantix and started this battle again! I called my mom, my prayer warrior, and simply said "I know I can't quit, we have prayed again and again, year after year for God to give me the will power to quit and I just don't have it". "We have to start praying that I will just literally wake up one day and not remember ever smoking." At that point I think I was put on every prayer chain she knew of.

I started Chantix in October and within a few weeks I was so sick, I even had students asking me if I was pregnant! HECK no, I wasn't pregnant but I sure had morning sickness like I was! I had to stop the meds and keep praying.....keep believing my miracle was coming!

Thanksgiving weekend last year, must have been the last time I had a cigarette.....that sounds strange doesn't it? I say "must have been" because I don't really remember smoking a "last" cigarette. All I remember is looking at my husband one day and saying "I don't think I have smoked a cigarette in a few days", and there was still a pack of cigarettes in the drawer with only a few missing.

A few weeks go by and they were still in the drawer with the same amount missing. "This is REAL" I tell my mom and husband,"I don't remember smoking and quite frankly can't believe I ever did that ~ it smells awful!!"......

I finally threw away that pack of cigarettes late this spring ~ I kept them as a reminder, to me and everyone, of what MY GOD can do!  Please know that what He did for me He can do for you too! We have to have faith, faith as little as a mustard seed. I knew that I could NOT do this on my own, I had tried for 9 years! I knew that the only way I would quit and never go back was for God to perform a miracle within me!

Scripture tells us in Matthew 17:19-21…Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said,"Why could we not drive it out?" And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."

To date, I haven't had a cough, I haven't even been to the doctor for an illness since that appointment with the pulmonologist over a year ago AND I can sleep on my back without gagging for the  first time since I was 20 ~ PRAISE GOD and to God be all the Glory! (I also said I would never be a 20 year smoker ~ well that came and went, with my new goal to be quit by age 40.)

God knows our dreams, desires and needs ~ I had laid those cigarettes down 3 months before my 40th birthday.......I still weigh what I weighed at the time of that doctor visit too (so that part of my past is truly still in my past).......if that wasn't God at work =}......    

Thank you Lord God for your word, your truth and your life. Thank you for delivering me from the enemy that held me captive and for giving me an opportunity to share your miracle working power through this testimony. I pray Lord, that if anyone is reading this that they too will be delivered from the power of cigarettes, that they will be able to lay them at your feet, turn from them and focus on you instead of their addiction. It is through you that we have our strength, in you and you alone! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Don't Get All Frenzied Out Over Black Friday ~ Make These Quick and Easy Handmade Gifts for Teachers, Staff, Etc. and AVOID The Crowds

Teatime Gift
Dress up a mug by gluing a scrapbooking border just below the rim. Set the sugar-cube-filled mug on a small plate and add a tea ball and lidded clear tubes filled with loose-leaf teas. Identify the teas on computer-typed labels.

Decorated Treat Jar
Trace around a jar lid on paper; cut out. Glue the paper circle to the lid. Cut a piece of ribbon to fit around the center of the jar, and glue it to the jar. Fill the jar with goodies and finish with an ornament and ribbon attached to the lid if desired.

Cookies in a Colander
Nestle cookies inside a classic colander, wrap with ribbon, and personalize with a handwritten note on a round tag.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas

Get Inspired by the Season
Who says casual, kid-friendly centerpieces should be relegated to the kid table? This feathered friend is sweet and charming enough for a seat of honor at the big-kid table. To create, have every guest write their thanks on a piece of construction paper, cut, crease, and fringe to resemble a tail feather. Tuck each feather into an oversize pinecone. Make the turkey's head and neck from pieces of paperboard cut in oval shapes; add googly eyes and a beak and wattle. Elevate by stacking on top of several boxes or baskets. To complete the rustic look, surround with gourds and use a kraft paper runner.

Hang Painted Acorns
Contrasting colors and interesting textures add visual variety to this outdoor-inspired centerpiece. Select a few acorns; carefully remove the tops and set aside. Spray-paint the seeds a bright color, let dry, and reattach the tops with a bit of hot glue. Secure a twine loop to the top with more hot glue and hang from an intricate branch (suspended in a pretty vase). Place the vase off-center in a tray and add more acorns and a complementary bowl to complete the vignette.

Use "Thanks" as a Centerpiece
There's a clever way to remind you and your family of the true reason for the season -- and create a centerpiece in the process, too. Each day of November, have family members write something they are thankful for on a leaf shape, cut from multicolored construction paper (search the Internet for copyright-free art). Punch a hole in the top of each leaf and use string or twine to tie from a branch. You can paint the top of the branch white or leave it natural. Prop the branch in a tall vase filled with acorns, nuts, or small rocks.

Friday, November 15, 2013

DIY Gifts ~ Cute Crafts Projects to Make as Christmas Gifts

Get ready to pile handmade gifts under the tree. Whether you're giving a Christmas themed gift or something they can enjoy year round, jump start your holiday crafts with these cute ideas.

Decorative Tea Towels
Add pizzazz to plain tea towels for a heartfelt and practical Christmas gift. Simply cut trims (ribbons, ruffles, etc.) slightly longer than the width of the towel, then topstitch the strips in place.
Perfect For: A domestic diva or your holiday party hostess.
How to Make It Say Christmas: Use holiday-theme trims or a color palette of red and green.

Zoo Animals Gift
Go a little wild with this Christmas gift you make yourself. Kids adore animals, and these silhouettes are a fun room addition they'll love through the toddler years. Cut animal silhouettes from plain white cardstock, and mount them on colorful patterned paper. Adhere each paper to a white mat board cut to fit a frame. Insert silhouette in the frame, and tie a ribbon around the exterior.
Perfect For: The parents of a baby, toddler, or any zoo animal-lover.
How to Make It Say Christmas: Cut out reindeer, penguin, or polar bear silhouettes. Make bows from Christmas ribbon, or attach Christmas motifs to the frames.

Flannel Wine Sleeve
When the wrapping is this lovely, the wine tastes even better. Whether given alone or with your favorite vintage, these wine sleeves serve with style. Plus, they're eco-friendly! Made from the sleeves of flannel shirts, it takes only a few stitches to refresh them for their new use. Cut a section of flannel shirt sleeve to the desired length; turn under the ends. With a needle and embroidery thread, tack the edges in place using blanket or blind stitches. Trim the wraps with buttons or decorative embroidery stitches as desired.
Perfect For: A wine devotee, recycling enthusiast, or country-style buff.
How to Make It Say Christmas: Choose flannel in holiday red-and-green plaid, or look for sleeves sporting a holiday pattern. Top the bottle with holiday-hue ribbon. Add glasses with etched snowflakes or other winter motifs.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Decorating Using Fall Finds

Fall Harvest Basket ~ Rimmed with pinecones and casuarina pods, this bentwood basket is ready to hold the fruits of your harvest. Golden pecan stain gives the inexpensive container a rich patina.

Simplicity Reigns ~ Dress up a side table for Thanksgiving with a simple arrangement of tall pheasant feathers in a ceramic urn. Surround with small gourds, pinecones, and loose feathers.

Elegant Acorns and Pearls ~ Add a touch of elegance to an autumn element using luminous pearls. Glue acorns to a crafts-foam wreath, placing the caps squarely on its surface. Mix whole acorns and acorn caps for a natural look. Hot-glue large pearl beads to some of the acorn caps to add pops of pearly white to the rich brown ring of nuts.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Crazy Life ~ Eme's Christmas Room Reveal

So it took more time than I had anticipated to get her room finished and posted HOWEVER, I was working on several other rooms at the same time (I will post those as well later) while I waited on things to arrive to finish her room. Also because of our home being our town Holiday Homes Tour December 7th......Christmas decorations took precedence as I have 16 full size trees that needed to get up during this time as well! So here it is with her Christmas tree because, well I had to get them all up early so I can clean and paint before the 7th! I will post more pics of her room once the tree is taken down the first of year.

I can't even describe how much fun we had re-doing this room! Eme and I would look through catalogs, magazines, websites, and pinterest, then go around her "then" room as well as the house and look for things we could re-do and re-purpose! We both had a hand in crafting the items and we had to compromise a lot (I learned after her purple room that a young girl will not have the final say =}, I just wish her dad and brothers would learn this lesson as well)!