A Little Claire-ification

bright ideas for the busy & budget minded…

The Holidays At Home – Best of The Weekend #5

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Happy Monday and welcome to the “Best Of The Weekend #5”!!  This one going up a bit later than usual today but, hey.

I was wrapping gifts.   (< — she’s lying)

Rats, foiled again!  Well I hope that you are all finished with your shopping because I, for one, am waaaayyyyy behind, this year.  And I will get it done online very soon but I keep getting distracted by wonderful posts like these below!!!

Alright, you know the drill so here we go, in no particular order – a handful of my favorites from this past week!!   As always, if you are featured or have been featured in the past, feel free to grab the button above and proudly flaunt it on your site.  I will be posting this on FB as well, so come on over and “Like” my page so I will know you saw it!  🙂

Edible Snowflakes @ The Mandatory Mooch

How beautiful are these??  And Nichi gives a great tutorial on how to make them.  I think these would look beautiful on any holiday treat platter!!

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100 Top “Dollar Tree” Decorating Ideas @ Fox Hollow Cottage

Ok, Christmas is about giving and, while my “Best Of The Weekend” normally highlights approx. 10 great posts.. this is like a little gift INSIDE a gift.  A little “nesting doll” (of 100 extra ideas!!) if you will. 😉   And Shannon’s rhymes for each entry made me laugh the entire time I was looking through this post.  Not to mention… HOLY cheap holiday decorating, Batman!  I have not gotten over to the new Dollar Tree that opened recently and I see a trip in my very near future.  As in 10AM tomorrow.

http://www.foxhollowcottage.com/2012/12/over-100-dollar-tree-Christmas-DIY-decor-craft-ideas.html

How To Make A Skirt from Ties @ Crystelle Boutique

So you might be thinking “What in the name of Rudolph does this have to do with the holidays?!?”  Well, I’ll tell ya’.  I want everyone to make one for meeeee for Christmas, that’s what!  LOL  I thought this was just awesome.  And how easy are ties to find at thrift stores??  Love this!   It is actually a really cute gift idea for any eclectic friends or hard to please teens.  😉

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Peanut Butter Christmas Trees @ Sweet Simple Stuff

Brenda had me at Reese’s… and another fun one to make with kids.  I, however, opt to make them alone so that nobody knows exactly how many are missing…

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Book Page Christmas Trees @ Alderberry Hill

The beautiful Miss Sarah is always hopping over there at Alderberry Hill!  I don’t sleep much over here but I am starting to think she might have a clone with as much as she has going on!! 🙂  Here is Sarah’s take on Book Page Christmas Trees  – I just  L-O-V-E the bases!!  Now I am not sure we have any “unused” books in our house, but I do see them all the time for less than $1 at thrift stores so that will be easy enough to find!!  Thanks busy lady!!

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{DIY} Pom-Pom Wreath @ Life In Grace

This is such a fun craft posted by an even more amazing gal!!!  To say that Edie is one of the most inspirational bloggers I have ever come across would be such a major understatement.  Right up there with “The sun is hot” and “I like cute shoes”. (Duh).  Whether Edie knows it or not, she has single handedly changed the way I look at life, one post at a time (and she was most likely wearing awesome cowboy boots the whole time!).   Edie and her family lost everything in a house fire just days before Christmas 2010…  her family’s journey to rebuild their home and their lives, as well as her faith in God, is just too hard to describe in words.  {Caveat Salutor (“Visitor beware”):   By clicking the link below, you acknowledge that you may spend hours on Edie’s site lost in all of her amazing posts and wonder where all that time went…  😉 }

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Ornament Display @ The Sweet Survival

Ok who else has a gazillion extra ornaments they bought at half off over the years???  Or am I just the only one with a problem here?  Hmmm.  Well if you DO have some extra ornaments, this display by Trisha is Ahh-DORABLE.

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Pecan-Praline Cheesecakes @ Crazy For Crust

Is there anything that Dorothy posts that doesn’t make me want to just lick the screen?  I daresay, “NO. No there is not”.   Girl may be “crazy for crust” but her recipes and beautiful photos are INSANE.  Keep ’em coming, Dorothy.  I’ll be fat and happy in my straight jacket… 😉

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DIY Mercury Glass Ornaments @ The Frugal Homemaker

I SO love mercury glass.  These are gorgeous!! Thanks Christina – I need to find my 40% off Hob-Lob coupon ASAP!!

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{FREE} Video Message From Santa @ Portable North Pole {PNP}

This one is not a blog but I cannot say enough about how cute this is and how much my kids have enjoyed this for three years in a row – I had to share!  This is also not a sponsored link, and I can tell you that the guys at PNP also do NOT spam after you make a video.  This past year I got three emails.  One that included the link to the video I created.  One telling me my 2011 video was about to expire (maybe around March?).  And one about a month ago reminding me to create a new video for 2012 (thank GOD because I would have forgotten!).  Love this and it’s super easy, too – it only takes about 5 minutes or so.  Again, while they do offer some packages you can purchase, the basic video is free! (PS: Unless your child is an absolute SAINT, I recommend choosing the “Naughty/Nice” video.  Talk about keeping them on their toes!!)  (PSS: Since it’s a video template, I show my children their “videos from Santa” separately).

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Hope you are all inspired by some of these great posts! Have a great week!

xoxo,

Claire

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The Holidays At Home – Handmade Holiday (sweater embellished!) Gift Tags

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Hey y’all!!  I hope you have had a great weekend!   We certainly did and I was also very (very, very, very) excited to receive some new holiday baker’s twine and holiday crafty tape from “Pick Your Plum” in the mail yesterday!  It was like early Christmas!! (yes, I have a low joy threshold like that).  Even better, last year after Christmas I bought some holiday stickers and some other holiday craft tape at 75% off  that I had completely forgotten about (I AM my Mother… and I am ok with that).  As I was looking at these festive items all together it made me think about creating some fun gift tags!   Well, anyway it seemed like a better idea than decorating the dashboard of The Teenager’s car as a “holiday surprise”.  😉   Bet he would just L-O-V-E that.  (N-O-T).

Does this not look like a bunch of fun just waiting to happen??

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I also had a green thrift store sweater that I bought about 6 weeks ago to make some “holiday sweater trees” and never got around to making them but I was able to put it to great use with these fun gift tags!  I’ll bet you have something in your closet that you just don’t wear or like anymore  – or maybe in your kid’s closet or already sitting in a bag headed to give away  –  that you could re-purpose too!

So grab your hot glue guns, ladies & gentlemen.  Here’s how it’s done:

For starters, here’s my $1 thrift store sweater  – I know it looks kind of cute in the picture but it was actually pretty worn and a bit “nubby” so don’t fret.  It’s being put to good use.  And I only used a few inches so, believe me, I have some other ideas for this material down the road!!

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Next, speaking of using things we have on hand, I do love our faux pepper berry wreath but if you have one, did you ever notice some of the pepper berries get a little wonky over the years?

Pepper Berry Wreath

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Well I am going to put some of those jacked up  “berries” to good use in a minute! 🙂

To start, I created some gift tag templates (the template is included at the end so you can print as well).  You’ll notice I added “To & From” on some and left some blank for more options.  I printed mine on an off-white card stock:

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After cutting out the tags, I snagged paper hole reinforcements from the kid’s school supply stash (that’s right kids, nothing is safe from Mommy on a crafty mission).  Since I only had clear reinforcements on hand, I used a trusty Sharpie to color them red (believe me, if the world should end on 12/21 as per the Mayan calendar, I can help fix it with my glue gun, Sharpies and some duct tape):

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And I am sure you can actually buy red reinforcements if you want to save 30 seconds…

Next I took the sweater and cut out some “holly leaves” using my (pink) pinking shears:

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I then used some of the crafty tape and started embellishing the tags on the bottom and sides – there is no right or wrong here.  I had so much fun using the different tape patterns.   I used hot glue to place the sweater “holly leaves” and the (wayward) pepper berries, placing the damaged side down and using the red Sharpie again as needed to spruce up any white or damaged areas.  “Pepper berry Botox”, if you will. 😉   I also added some of my red & white baker’s twine and jute twine  for the ties.

Holiday Gift Tags - FINAL

I am so excited at how easy this was and how cute they turned out!   As for the other tag pattern, I placed some of the fun holiday stickers I had to add some holiday “bling” and also added in some green holiday ribbon and green reinforcements (thanks again to my Sharpie addiction collection) along the way.

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I finished off the gift tag fun by using some red mini pom-poms I had to create a few Rudolph tags.  I just free-handed it, trying a couple of different things but if you really don’t want to hand-draw anything, you could always print a reindeer image or maybe have your kids do a “thumbprint” Rudolph and then just add the 3-D nose!

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I packaged a few of each design in some cello-gift bags to add in with our teacher holiday gifts this year.

Holiday Gift Tags in Bag

Overall another easy holiday craft that you could also do with your kids!  You could use different colors of card stock and whatever crafty items you have on hand.   Just some good old personalized, holiday fun!!

Here is the gift tag template – right click, download and print:

Holiday Gift Tags Template

Hope you enjoy it and be sure to comment and send me pics of any creative gift tag ideas you come up with too!!

xoxo

Claire

Linking Up To Some Fabulous Parties!

Power of Pinterest Pinning Party @ Fox Hollow Cottage

Live-Laugh-Linky Party @ Live Laugh Rowe

I Freakin’ Did It Fridays @ Miss Information

Christmas Inspiration Party @ Top This, Top That

Wildly Original Link Party @ I Gotta Create

Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm

Handmade Tuesdays @ Ladybug Blessings

Mop it Up Monday @ I Should Be Mopping The Floor

Busy Monday @ A Pinch Of Joy

Clever Chicks Blog Hop @ The Chicken Chick

Handmade Christmas @ Alderberry Hill

Make The Scene Monday @ Alderberry Hill

Sundae Scoop @ I Heart Nap Time

Saturday Show & Tell @ Cheerios & Lattes

Flaunt It Fridays @ Chic On A Shoestring

Christmas Craft Party @ The Nesting Place

 

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The Holidays At Home – Sweet Feature & TGIF!

Howdy everyone!!!   Please raise your hand if you are as happy as I am that it is Friday!!!

I have missed you all this week!!  It has been a crazy week at work with a big launch which entailed a HUGE media Press Event yesterday so I unfortunately haven’t been able to post since Monday.    I am working on my next post now but I wanted to take a moment to share how very grateful I am for all of my new followers on both this blog and on the “A Little Clairification” FaceBook page  and also for Julie, over at Red Head Can Decorate.  Julie posted SUCH a sweet feature about my “12 Days of Christmas” hand painted pillows today!  I am so grateful!!!

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Julie’s post also included some FANTASTIC ideas and tips for outside holiday decorating!!

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To see her post click here:

http://www.redheadcandecorate.com/4/post/2012/12/outdoor-christmas-decor.html

I hope you have all had a wonderful week!   And what do YOU have planned for this weekend?  Anything exciting??  I know that I will be loving on my boys and also catching up here at “ALC” so stand by for more fun craft ideas and yummy holiday recipes!!

xoxo,

Claire

4 Comments »

The Holidays At Home – Best Of The Weekend #4

I hope that everyone had a great weekend!  I know a lot of people said they were in “full-on decorating mode” so can’t wait to see more decorations, pictures and great ideas from your homes.

Ahhh.  The “Holidays at Home”.  There is something to be said for not traveling and just staying put for the holidays, right?  Snuggling up.  Hunkering down.  Nesting.  Whatever you want to call it…  it’s just so nice to wake up on Christmas morn in your own bed and thoroughly enjoy the day with family, isn’t it?

This past week I read more beautiful, inspiring posts.  Posts that just made me want to sit in our big, over-sized comfy chair and wrap up in a blanket and drink hot cocoa while listening to holiday music in front of a beautiful fireplace.  And, if you recall, I live in Florida, so that says a lot!   I love posts that inspire!  SO much talent out there.

So once more – in no particular order – a handful of my favorites from this past week.  If you are featured or have been featured in the past, feel free to grab the button above and proudly flaunt it on your site.  I will be posting this on FB as well, so come on over and “Like” my page so I will know you saw it!  🙂

A Beautiful Christmas Mantel @ The Lilypad Cottage

I just came across Kelly’s blog this past week.  I love this mantel.  You will see that I like a lot of mantels. Kelly also has a lovely “Home Tour” on her blog too!

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Homemade Vanilla @ Love Pomegranate House

This is a GREAT holiday gift idea  and I love good vanilla!!  Thanks Talitha!

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Sweet Candy Cane Sauce @ Echoes of Laughter

What an easy and sweet gift idea Angie has posted!  I can just imagine this over ice cream!  Yum, yum, yum!

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Easy Vintage Holiday Decorating @ Number Fifty-Three

First of all – our main tree is all greens and blues and silvers this year so I am WAYYY in love with the look of these vintage ornaments and the way Angela has used candlesticks to display them.  This one is definitely something I have to try out!  Beautiful!

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Hanging Greenery Pouch @ Under The Table & Dreaming

I think these would make a beautiful hostess gift!  So pretty and what a great way to recycle cardboard paper towel rolls! Think I will be using some of that extra burlap I have to make a few of these!  Thanks Stephanie Lynn!

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Tufted Wool Wreath {Anthropologie Knock Off} @ It’s Overflowing

I love great knock offs.  I love Anthropologie. And I LOVE that Aimee gives a video tutorial on making easy pom-pom balls.

That’s a lot of love.

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12 Days of Christmas “6 Geese A-Laying” Ornament @ 52 Mantels

It’s almost too hard to describe.  But as Emily says in her post “Feathers. Pearls. Glitter. Burlap. Lace. Yep, it’s all there.”

Too much fun – as is doing an ornament for each of the 12 days!

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Printable Reindeer Food Box @ A Typical English Home

This is so cute.  My kids love to sprinkle “reindeer food” on the front lawn on Christmas Eve (for us that is usually a mix of oats and glitter!) so I will have to print this one so we can have “official” reindeer food this year!

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Memory Ornaments @ Calico & Cupcakes

This was actually posted in October but I just stumbled across it this past weekend.  What a wonderful idea to do with your kids or even just an annual tradition with your significant other – place all of the best memories from the past year into a keepsake ornament.  I love this!

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No-Sew Ruffled Tree Skirt @ I Heart Naptime

This is an adorable project and no sewing machine required!  Think of all the fun patterns and textures you can mix up! Thanks Jamielyn!

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Hope you all have fun looking through these creative ideas and if you make any of them, make sure to send me a picture!  I may have to go back and do “reader side-by-sides”!   Have a great week and stay inspired!

xoxo

Claire

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The Holidays At Home – Burlap “Believe” Pillow

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Happy December!!!  The countdown is really on now – we are busting out the Advent calendar this eve and the boys are pretty excited!   So ok now, let’s have it.  Who is already done with all of your holiday shopping (so I can be mildly jealous of your superior organizational skills)??  I usually try and shop throughout the year but that plan has been an Epic. Failure. this year so I really have some ground to make up.  We are really going to try and keep it simpler this year.  I’ll let you know how that works out.

This little project is super simple if you have a sewing machine.  Decorating with burlap has been all the rage this year in so many of the crafty posts I have read.  It’s cheap, shabby and rustic and you can make so many things that it’s no wonder so many people have been using it for so many holiday crafts!   I bought about 4 yards before we left for Thanksgiving.  It was $3.99/yard and I had a 50% off coupon so at $2 / yard… pretty inexpensive!

While being flexible and pretty simple to use, burlap is also a bit very messy – you definitely want to shake it out really well and get all of the little loose fibers out or your lint roller will become your best friend.  It also has a unique “burlappy” smell (Littlest declared it to be “stinky”) so I shook mine out really well and let it hang outside for a day which helped.

I had some leftover red cotton fabric but not enough to make a whole pillow so I decided to use some of the burlap on the front and the red on the back and it turned out pretty darn cute!

I am kind of a pillow freak so we actually have a bag of leftover throw pillows in the garage that I can’t part with and I used one of those (a 20″ pillow) for the insert on this easy-peasy project.

I started by cutting a 21″ x 21″ square of the burlap.  Then I cut both a 21″ x 16″ AND a 21″ x 7″ rectangle out of the red fabric.

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Just like my “12 Days of Christmas” hand painted pillow, I am making a “sham style” cover.  These are so easy to take on and off so they are super easy to store in the off season.  I used my sewing machine to do a zig zag stitch on both of the red rectangles to prevent fraying.  For the burlap, because it is so “stringy”, I actually folded each side over by 1/2″ and did then did the zig zag stitch just to be safe.

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I finished off one long side of each red rectangle with a standard , double folded one-stitch hem.

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I then printed out the word “believe” and made my own stencil.  Obviously you can do whatever word you want (ie: Peace… Joy… Chocolate – you get the idea).  And you can, of course, buy letter stencils, and I actually have some, but I wanted larger letters for this size pillow.   Additionally, if you have a CriCut or Silhouette type machine (I will not be jealous… I will not be jealous..) that will cut letters for you, you will obviously save a little time there.  But it really only took me about 10 minutes or so to cut out the word.  Besides, with three kids I have all the time in the world, right?? 😉

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I centered and taped the stencil in the middle of the burlap square and traced the letters with a thin sharpie.

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Then I busted out some red fabric paint and got to painting.  Because there are so many tiny holes in burlap, make sure you place some newspaper down before painting.   Also, it took a few hours to really dry so a bit longer that when I was painting on duck cloth.

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Once the paint was dry, I placed the burlap paint-side up and placed and pinned the larger red rectangle at the top finished side down (towards the paint).

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Then I laid the smaller red rectangle at the bottom of the burlap (again, finished side down) so that the red fabric overlapped by a few inches and pinned all three together.

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Sew the entire perimeter and turn right side out.  Insert your pillow into the cover and there you have it!

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Instant rustic, burlappy cuteness.  It was almost too easy so I hope I don’t lose my “crafty card”!  🙂

Anyone else using burlap in DIY crafts or gifts this year?  As always, love to hear your comments and ideas!

xoxo

Claire

7 Comments »

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 25 – Best of The Weekend #3

Wow!!!   So many inspiring & creative posts this past week and I am so excited to share some of them here.

First, today I am thankful for those that teach our children.  Teachers are generally under paid and under appreciated.  I am very grateful that my boys have some super teachers this year and that they are all doing so well in school.  Thank you to all teachers!!

Now that does not in any way mean that the kids are ready for the Thanksgiving break to be over, mind you.  🙂

So here we go, in no particular order, with the “Best Of The Weekend” – a handful of the “bestest” and “funnest” things that I have come across this past week.  We’ve been traveling this week so, while I may not have had time to post much myself (I’m asking Santa for better “planning ahead” skills this coming year!), I did still find some time in the wee peaceful hours to hop all over the glorious web and check out some great things!  If you are featured or have been featured in the past (hey, even if you just like the cute lightbulb – knock yourself out), feel free to right click on the button above and slap it right on your (“claire”ly fantastic) post.  Or your fridge.  Whatever makes you happy.

Felt & Jute Christmas Trees @ Living Well, Spending Less

I simply adore these.  Ruth gives a great tutorial with beautiful pictures (as always!).  I may have craft envy. 😉

Beautiful Holiday Gift Wrapping @ Red Head Can Decorate

Julie has some gorgeous gift wrapping tips.  I am currently plotting and scheming a way to convince her to come wrap all of my presents for me!!

Christmas Decorating Inspiration @ Perfectly Imperfect

Well, if you aren’t quite inspired to decorate this might just help.  Shaunna’s amazing style and beautiful pictures would inspire even the grumpiest of elves!  And while you’re over there, make sure to read her posts about her beautiful new store she just opened a couple of weeks ago in Troy, AL.  I cannot wait to visit someday. Gorgeous!

How To Make Mercury Glass Plates @ The Shabby Creek Cottage

I am just in awe of Gina and this post.  Are you kidding me how easy and inexpensive this is??  My head is already full of spin-off ideas (and THAT, my friends, is what real inspiration is all about!!)

Simple 5-Ingredient Homemade Chicken & Vegetable Pot Pie @ Atta Girl Says

Not only do I love pot pie, but Amy’s posts are just plain funny and fun to read.  And, in case you are wondering, I was born under “the sign of pizza” (but you’ll have to read her post to understand!).  😉

DIY Advent Calendars @ The Sweetest Occasion

My kids are already asking when we can bring out the “calendar with the little doors”.  🙂   And I’ve seen several posts about DIY Advent calendars but haven’t seen so many ideas in one convenient post.  Definitely some great ones that I have not seen before!

Ballard Designs Holiday Table Runner Knock-Off @ At The Picket Fence

I bookmarked this a week or so ago and just remembered!  How cute is this runner that Vanessa made?  I absolutely love Ballard Designs – my catalogs are dog-eared (and drooled on) and, as you can tell by my hand painted holiday pillow, I also love great knock-offs, don’t you?

Whimsical Hand Painted Christmas Chairs @ Lake Girl Paints

These just make me want to whip out my brush and paint anything that is wooden and not nailed down.  Deb did a great job on these and who doesn’t need a little holiday whimsy?

Holiday Burlap Bunting @ Shabby Art Boutique

Lots of “Shabby” cuteness in this post, no?   I am just love, love, loving the burlap this year. This is super cute and easy to make.  Thanks Kerryanne!

50 Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Teenage Boys @ Silver Boxes

Being a Mama to three boys, one being a very hard to buy for teenager (yup, I am just surrounded by testosterone on a daily basis), I especially appreciated this post!   And in a more recent post there is also a list for Teenage girls too.  Great ideas, thanks Steph!

Now that’s a whole sleigh full of fun stuff right there, huh?  Hope you enjoy looking through it all and please let me know if you have any great holiday crafts or recipes, etc.  that may inspire me and everyone else who pops in!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, my friends!

xoxo,

Claire

3 Comments »

30 Days Of Thankfulness: Day 18 – Best Of The Weekend #2

It’s another beautiful day – chilly and windy but sunny.  I am enjoying my coffee on my back porch watching as the wind blows through the tree branches and makes ripples on the lake.  I don’t see the ducks this morning… probably because they are smarter than I am and are huddled together under a tree somewhere down on the bank, heads tucked in and snoozing.   The water reflecting an amazing palette of greens and some yellows reminds me that we have such an amazing Creator.

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised”. (Psalm 113:3)

Today I am thankful for another day and for the gift of sight to take it all in.  No matter what your beliefs, if you are sitting in front of a computer or any electronic device reading this, you probably realize that even in the toughest times, we have so much to be thankful for.

Now on to the Best Of The Weekend #2!  I have once again been blown away and so inspired by so many beautiful decorating ideas and delicious recipes I that have seen this past week.  As always, some of these posts may have been posted prior to this week, but they are ones that I have just found and enjoyed so I want to pass them on.  I try to keep it at 10 posts but will break that rule if I ever can’t just narrow it down!  Claire, the little rule breaker.  That’s me.  So here we go in no particular order at all.  If you were featured last week or today, feel free to right click and grab my “Best Of The Weekend” button above and tack it on your post.  Sorry I don’t yet have an official button.  I’ll figure that out some day.

Nesting Place – Fall Decorating With What You Have

The Nester has a beautiful blog and if you haven’t ever stopped by, you really should!  I love this post about using what you already have to subtly “Fall-ify” your home for the holiday.  This is great advice for Christmas as well!

Mom On Timeout – Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

These make me want to lick the screen, y’all.  Trish always has great ideas!

Nap-Time Creations One Yard Summer Dress

Two things. Well ok, three.  First, yes I know it’s almost Winter.  Second, I have three boys so I have to just sit back and wait for the possibility of Granddaughters one day (please let it be at least another 10 years).  Third, how stinking CUTE are these little dresses??  So now you have all Winter to make some for your daughters or Granddaughters.  So adorable.

Miz Helen’s Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

Ok, sweet Miz Helen had me at “cheese” – this looks so yummy (and also a sneaky way to incorporate some cauliflower in the mix!  Smother it in cheese?  Brilliant!)  Can’t wait to try this one. Miz Helen was also so nice to feature my Chocolate Orange Snickers Cake on her “Full Plate Thursday” post on 11/15.

Junk Chic Cottage – Vintage Holiday Home

I am just in L-O-V-E with every single eensy little detail pictured over at the Junk Chic Cottage.  To say that Kris has a beautiful way with style and interior design is the understatement of the year.

Real Housemoms – Super Juicy, Brined {Roasted} Turkey

Anyone else ever get intimidated by “the bird”?  My experience with brining has always turned out great, juicy turkeys.  Stacey & Aubrey over at Real HouseMoms always have some great recipes and this humorous post links up to a great recipe for a perfectly brined bird every time.  Who’s getting hungry??

One More Time – Sweater Christmas Trees

A funny little story about these… a few weeks back I saw some sweater Christmas trees at Target.  I immediately went and thrifted a few sweaters and even bought a few styrofoam cones.  If you saw my hand-painted Target knock-off holiday pillow a few days back, you know I like to see if I can make it myself!  Then literally the next day I saw THESE little beauties that Tammy over at One More Time posted.  They are SO much more gorgeous than the ones at Target so once I get around to finally making mine, I am happy to say it will be a “One More Time” knock-off instead of Target!  🙂 Thanks Tammy!

Funky Junk Interiors – Holiday Entertaining {With Nature & Junk}

There’s a reason Donna over at Funky Junk Interiors was featured in the FOLK magazine 2012 Christmas issue.  Her ecclectic “junky” style makes me want to go raid every garage sale and thrift store in a 25 mile radius to see what “junk” I can repurpose!

GingerSnap Crafts – Festive Christmas Countdown

This is actually a post from 2011 and I can’t even remember where I just saw it this past week but I bookmarked it because it is too cute!  Ginger gives a great little tutorial on “how to”.

Crazy For Crust – Blueberry Slab Pie

There are so many reasons to love all posts over at Crazy For Crust. I think I gain a pound every time I click on one of Dorothy’s beautiful pictures.  Frankly, it was a toss-up between this and her more recent “Pie Round Up”  post but The Husband loves blueberry and this is on my list to make.

Ok, post-edit here.  I am already breaking the rules but just saw these and MUST.  Share.  So here’s #11:

Hungry Happenings – Cheesy Crescent Roll Leaves

You might have noticed by now that I am a complete SUCKER for cheesy goodness.  How yummy do these look??  And how darling on your Thanksgiving table?  If they even make it to the table…  Thinking I would eat very last one.

Hope you are all feeling the urge to create or bake something fabulous and that you all have a beautiful and inspired Thanksgiving week!  Make sure you comment or throw a picture on my Facebook page and show me what you create or something that inspired you!

xoxo,

Claire

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 15 – Hand Painted “12 Days of Christmas” Pillow

This week is flying by and I can’t believe there are now only 7 days until Thanksgiving.  What??  I feel like we were just starting Summer a minute ago and now that’s long gone and here we are barreling towards year end.  Somebody stop this train!

Today I am thankful for my Mom and Dad and all of their support over the years.  You have a lot of time to think when you are hand painting little details for an hour or so.  My parents are always there when I need them and I love them dearly.

Speaking of painting… I just finished a rather fun (and definitely gratifying) little project.  If you are anything like me then you have most likely seen an item in a store at some point and maybe looked at the price tag and thought “I could make that myself”.  The creative wheels start turning and maybe you ventured as far as to actually do it!  Well a couple of weeks ago I saw a Christmas pillow that I thought was sooo darn sweet at Target (Raise your hand if you follow my blog. Keep it up if you are surprised I was at Target.  If your hand is still up you need to go back and read all of my posts!). 🙂

Considering the detail (and the cuteness) the price tag wasn’t really too bad at $19.99 but, in this case, I actually thought “It would be fun to try and make that myself.”  And so I did!  I’ll show you a side by side at the end.

I started with some dark red duck cloth that I already had purchased for another project.  I had 1 & 1/4 yard  ($6.50 after a 60% coupon at JoAnn Fabric) and I didn’t even use half of the material!  I decided to make this pillow cover as an “envelope” or sham style cover, rather than a zipper.  Frankly, I need to go back and practice my zipper sewing skills and I also didn’t want to spend any more than I had to anyway.

My materials:

Duck cloth   $3.00 (approx).

One 20″ pillow (repurposed one I already had)

Metallic Gold Fabric Paint ($1.52 after another coupon)

(2) White Fabric Paint Pens ($1.49 each after more coupons = $3)

Fabric paintbrushes and white fabric marking pencil (already owned)

I started by cutting (1) 21″ x 21″ square from the cloth, and then (2) 13″ x 21″ rectangles for the back of the pillow cover.

Then I got to work on my number stencils.   Now I do not own a fancy CriCut or anything like that (but it’s on my list annnnd they are 40% off at JoAnn right now, so maybe The Husband will read this and I will get an early Christmas present!).  If you do own a machine that will cut adhesive vinyl numbers and lettering, you will spend about two hours less than I did on this project (you lucky dog!).

So I printed numbers in varying sizes:

My Mother taught elementary school for 44 years.   She will be proud to know that my cutting, tracing and “staying in the lines” skills are finally paying off.   I cut the numbers out (yes, by hand using scissors – so stone age, I know!) and laid them out onto the 21″ square of cloth.

Once I had them where I wanted them, I traced them lightly using the white marking pencil:

Then I got to painting all of the numbers gold:

The fabric paint dried pretty quickly, albeit maybe a bit tacky for a while, so I didn’t have to wait too, too long before I could go in and start writing the script with my white fabric marker.  I was just careful not to rest my arms on the fabric.  I freehanded the script in pencil first by looking at the example of the one I had seen in the store.

Oh I know it’s not perfect.   But it’s also not printed on a machine by the thousands somewhere across the world so it’s just perfectly personal and handmade.  As an aside, I told my Husband I wasn’t happy with the way one of the words turned out and he looked at me like I had three heads and said “Are you kidding? It looks perfect!”  Ok, that’s good enough for me.  (And then he wandered off muttering something that might have been about me being a perfectionist.  Or crazy.  Or maybe he was going to search “CriCut” on Amazon.  God love him.)

Anyway I let that dry overnight (not because I am really that patient, but because I had to go to sleep).  The next day I used my sewing machine to do a zigzag stitch on all of the edges of all three pieces of the fabric EXCEPT one long side of each rectangle, as those will end up showing on the back of the pillow and will be finished off.  The zigzag edge will prevent fraying so it’s an important step, especially with duck cloth.  I am NOT a seamstress y’all, but I make it work.   Hey, I’m just glad I remember how to thread a bobbin since I only get to really sew every 3-4 months.  If I can make this, “sew” can you!  This project has re-inspired me.  🙂

I then did a traditional (twice folded, one-stitch) hem on the two unfinished sides of the rectangle pieces.

PS – do try and remove the pins before the needle passes over to prevent your needle from breaking.  I missed a couple and got lucky.   Some machines can definitely handle it (ie: Viking) but it’s just easier to take ’em out and save yourself the hassle.   Once that was completed, I laid the painted square face up, and then lined up the first rectangle (finished side down towards the paint) with the top of the square and pinned it.  I then lined up the second rectangle (again, finished side down) with the bottom of the square and pinned that.  The rectangles will overlap by several inches.

I then sewed the entire perimeter of the three now-attached pieces and turned it inside out, using my finger to really get into the corners because I can’t find my little tool that does that  (FYI – I would not recommend using scissors to poke the corners out.  I have seen bad things happen.  I’m just here to protect you and your projects).  😉

Insert your pillow just like you would a pillow into a sham cover.  Shimmy it, fluff it, love it…  and Voila!  One very merry and festive holiday pillow!

And here’s the side by side.  On the left – a picture of the “inspiration” taken on my iPhone.  On the right – my “made-right-here-in-the-US of A-in-my-very-own-home “masterpiece”.   Pretty fun, huh?  Theirs is really cute and I still adore it (and I will definitely beef up my #5 on the one I am making for my son’s teacher – it seemed so much bigger when I was working on it!!!) but hey, not bad for hand painted and freehand cursive and $7.50 out-of-pocket!

I just hope you are all inspired to get out there and create something this week!   As always, I love to read your comments or hear about any fun projects you are working on!

xoxo,

Claire

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Linking up to some fabulous parties!!

 

Christmas Inspiration Party @ Top This, Top That

Sundae Scoop @ I Heart NapTime

Clever Chicks Blog Hop @ The Chicken Chick

Flaunt It Friday @ Chic On A Shoestring

Saturday Show & Tell @ Cheerios & Lattes

Tutorial Tips & Tidbits @ Stone Gable

Countdown To Christmas @ Dixie & Dottie

Whatcha Work Up Wednesday  @ DIY Crafty Projects

Shabbilicious Friday Link Party @ Shabby Art Boutique

Busy Monday @ A Pinch Of Joy

Holiday Highlights Party @ DIY Showoff

The Inspiration Board @ Homework

Thankful Thursday @ My Crowded Kitchen

Upcycled, Repurposed {Newbie w/ a Twist} Party @ DebbieDoos

Make The Scene Monday @ Alderberry Hill

Mop It Up Mondays @ I Should Be Mopping The Floor

Power Of Pinterest Pinning Party @ Fox Hollow Cottage

Shine On Fridays @ One Artsy Mama

Once Upon A Weekend @ Family Ever After

Party #80 @ Redoux Interiors

Anything Goes @ Bacon Time

Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage

Lovely Crafty Weekend @ Lovely Crafty Home

Friday Flair @ WhipperBerry

One Creative Weekend @ One Creative Mommy

I Freakin Did It Friday @ Miss Information

Home Sweet Home @ The Charm Of Home

Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence

Fantabulous Friday @ Little Becky Homecky

Friday Happy Hour @ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy

Time To Shine Party @ A Diamond In The Stuff

Catch a Glimpse Party @ A Glimpse Inside

Grace At Home @ Imparting Grace

Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm

Transformation Thursdays @ The Shabby Creek Cottage

Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style

 

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 12 – Best of The Weekend #1

Today, I am very thankful to have “met” so many amazingly talented and sweet bloggers (albeit virtually) over the last 5 weeks.  And of course, thankful to continue being inspired by some that I have followed for almost two years!

 

 

Today is my first ever “Best Of The Weekend” post – a list of 10 blog posts that I read this weekend that inspired me the most-est, even if some were posted prior to the weekend.  DIY projects, fantastic food or recipes, crafts and everything else in between that just tickled my fancy or touched my heart and made me want to bookmark it.   I’ll start by saying that I will probably always have more food posts than anything else because I love to cook and I love to eat good food but I do try to highlight a great variety of things!!

Oh and you should also know – there were WAY (way, way, wayyyy) more than 10 posts that I bookmarked and so enjoyed reading this weekend.  Like, a LOT more, but I have to narrow this down somehow!  Here goes, in no particular order:


Simple Living & Eating: Ground Beef Stroganoff

Not only does this look delish, I was also  touched by Diane’s story about her family being without power for 7 days after “SuperStorm Sandy”.  Her pictures of her family cooking up the contents of their fridge and freezer reminded me of what we went through in FL after Hurricane Charlie with no power for 6 days.  But we weren’t freezing cold!

Fairhope Supply Co. : A Veteran’s Day Story

So glad to have read this today…

Lizy B: Fall Leaf Cookie Tutorial

I am definitely trying these (gorgeous) cookies out ASAP!

Life In Grace: 12 Days of {Handmade} Christmas

All I can say is that I am SO making some of these felt scarves for me AND for gifts.  Talk about adorable AND thrifty!  LOVE!

Country Cleaver: Breakfast Reuben Sandwiches on Pumpernickel English Muffins

Kill me now.  I cannot wait to try these.  I am thinking about Christmas morning with my Dad’s hash browns.  You might see this one again before Christmas!

Living Well Spending Less: Operation Christmas Child

I posted this on Facebook and I will say it again – this is a FANTASTIC way to teach your family about the importance of giving back to those in need!  Ruth gives all of the details out in her great post – check it out and start a new tradition with your kids!

Today’s Creative Blog: Washer Lined Tray

I love this and I know it’s something I could make too!  Pretty darn cute!

Home Is Where The Boat Is:  Mini Pumpkin Pies

I make all kinds of “pumpkin-y” goodness between now and Christmas so these are right up my alley!

Fox Hollow Cottage: Decorating With Thrift Store Finds

Fantastic – I love finding something at a thrift store and turning it into something new!  Great for holidays on a budget!

Life As Mom: Busy Holiday Cooking Plan (Freezer Cooking)

I know – food again!  But, as a working Mom of three boys I have an extra fridge/ freezer AND a chest freezer in my garage – I don’t mess around!   I love to cook and we love to portion things out and freeze them for meals throughout the next few months.  I coupon shop the sales and freeze items for later.  I’ll be posting about this within the week as it pertains to our holiday prep!

I hope you all have a fantastic and blessed week!

xoxo,

Claire

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A Month To Give Thanks: To Whom Much Is Given…..

Happy November!   Thank you all for following along so far.  I have truly enjoyed your comments and feedback and have also really enjoyed “meeting” (linking up) with some fantastic bloggers over the last month!!

This October’s “31 Day Challenge” was tough!  If you missed it, you can start with Day #1 here.

It pushed us to make things happen.  Some projects, like the card catalog and the front room, took longer than we thought they would.   We missed some days and some deadlines yet exceeded so many other expectations here in our home!  And, in case anyone is wondering, yes we WILL get back to the garage reveal as we were SO close.  There is a neighborhood garage sale this coming weekend and there are now so many things we have identified as “need to go to a good home” (sounds nicer than “junk”) we will be able to post better pics after that.  We are on the right path and I hope that October was a good month for you all as well!

Now we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, two of my all time favorite holidays…  I am curious how you all feel moving into this season?  I know that the holidays evoke all kinds of memories, feelings and emotions that are different for each and every one of us.

And as much as I love the season, it is a pet peeve of mine that stores put out holiday decorations before Thanksgiving!   I would just like to simply enjoy Thanksgiving and can’t stand how commercialized Christmas has become.  Clearly, I don’t think I can change the retailers minds so I just try to not look at it until after Thanksgiving.  In fact, a few days ago I was buying Halloween candy and as I turned the corner, on the NEXT aisle there were Christmas trees up!!   Ack!!  One store team member saw me turn my head and shield my eyes in mock horror and he actually laughed.  Ha!

Anyway, by getting organized last month, we have been reminded that we have so much and can give back more than we thought.   This will be a month of Thanksgiving and of GIVING for us.

“…to whom much is given, much will be required…”.  Luke 12:48

I am looking forward to sharing traditions, recipes and also some ways you can give back and get your family involved too!

For now, here are a few fun ideas I found that I plan on trying with my boys (each image is linked to the original source – I think it’s important that when we find an idea on Pinterest, etc. that we give proper credit for all that hard work!!):

I L-O-V-E this thumbprint tree… “Thankful”.  I think I would frame that and keep it up year round!

And these button napkin rings are pretty stinking cute too!

And, I have a bunch of fall patterned and plain colored ribbon and some fabric – I love Leen The Graphics Queen Burlap Rose idea and think I have to try it with some of that Fall ribbon I already have.  I definitely have a now bedraggled wreath I can re-purpose!  and she even gives a video tutorial!  Check it out!

Would love to hear some of your favorite Fall decorating ideas too!  Kid friendly or just for crafty “big kids”  😉 either way!

xoxo,

Claire

Time To {Linky} Party!!

 

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