Snowflake Specimens

This is just about the easiest project you can make. I think it took me all of 15 minutes!

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The key was having this handy dandy punch in the shape of a snowflake.

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I’m not sure if it’s still available because I got it at Michael’s last year around the holidays. I didn’t get a chance to use it until now.

I started by cutting a piece of plain old electric blue scrapbook paper into an 8.5 x 11 piece. I taped it to the back of my framing mat.

Next, I punched out a bunch of snowflakes. I liked that the punch gave them each a little curl to make them more 3D.

Then, I just arranged the snowflakes until they looked nice. I went for straight rows and columns.

Finally, I glued each flake on by the middle, and fluffed each one up a bit.

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What I got was a cute, cheap winter decoration that will stay up until it’s time to decorate for Valentine’s Day.

Good spot if you noticed those are the same hurricanes as from my Winter Brunch tablescape. I thought all the white looked great with the pop of blue.

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Wreath Decorating Party

Last night I hosted a wreath decorating party for a few of my friends.

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We bought some wreaths from Alive Rescue, as one of their fundraisers, and thought it would be fun to decorate the wreaths together. My friend Erin and I did this last year, and it was fun to add more people to the tradition this year.

I kept mine simple this year and created some silver glitter stars ahead of time to attach to my wreath.

Can you guess what the stars are made from?

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A cereal box!

I used cookie cutters and free-handed a large star onto the cardboard and cut them out.

With a pencil, I drew lines from the center of each star to the points. Then, I traced over the lines with an exacto knife.

I did the same thing for the folds inward.

After some cardboard bending, I got some pretty cool looking 3D stars.

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To get them sparkly silver, I had Dan spray paint them using some silver paint we had laying around. After they dried, I dabbed on  two coats of sparkle paint.

Not exactly the most difficult craft in the world, but I was very pleased with the result. They look like shiny metal stars, which was exactly the look I was going for.

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All in all, a fun night of wine, more Elf, glue guns, and good friends.

Tree Trimming with DIY Felt Garland

Christmas Craft #2 this year is complete! (See Craft #1 here if you missed it.)

I had intended to make felt circle garland for my Christmas tree last year. Somehow, the holidays got away from me and a couple days before Christmas, I realized (1) I hadn’t cut out any of the felt circles, (2) I didn’t have access to a sewing machine, and (3) there is no way the garland was being made in time for Christmas this year. Oh well, the best laid plans.

This year, I set out on this project early, so I could get it done. Even then, I was still frantically cutting out circles while at my in-laws’ house to use their sewing machine. This project definitely got some big help from my family.

I used this blog tutorial as my basis for the project. It had the wonderful idea of ironing freezer paper to the felt to get better shaped circles. Genius.

Once the freezer paper was ironed on, I used a shot glass and a sharpie to trace a ton of circles.

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You can guess what came next – lots of cutting. In total, we used 2 sheets of felt each of red, white, and green.

When the circles were cut out, it only took a little tug to remove the freezer paper from the felt.

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To make the sewing process go quicker, we stacked the circles in the order they needed to be sewn: red, white, green.

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Finally, Dan’s mom got out her old and trusty sewing machine and showed me how to use it in a very, very basic way. I found it most difficult to keep sewing at a steady pace while having to constantly feed another circle into the sewing machine.

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I ended up only sewing about 20 circles myself until the pros took over and I went back to my great skill: cutting.

We ended up with a pretty long piece of garland that was maybe 25 feet long.

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Dan draped it on the tree the next day, and I was so happy to have the cute whimsical garland I’d been wanting for over a year.

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We’ll be sure to enjoy this craft for years to come.

Last Year’s Advent Calendar, This Year’s Activities

Remember this Advent Calendar that I made last year?

Well, I pulled it out of the Christmas decoration box and put it right up on the wall.

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I’ve been coming up with Christmas activities for us to do over the last few weeks, and I made a printable, cut out list.

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I decided this would be easier than making tags again. Just print, cut, and you’re done.

All I needed was the calendar itself to get the days of merriment rolling.

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The Advent calendar starts on December 1, so I’m ready to go for whatever Christmas fun is lined up for tomorrow.

Happy almost December! I can’t wait for the season of Christmas lights, hot chocolate, family, and friends to begin!

Star with Royal Beauty Bright

As I mentioned on Monday, we decorate for the holidays on the day after Thanksgiving. While watching Elf.

I love how homey and peaceful the apartment feels with the glowing lights of the Christmas tree, so I always want the tree and decor up as soon as possible. That works fine for the stuff we put out every year, but not for all the wonderful Christmas crafts I always intend to make, then run out of time.

Not this year. I picked out just a few crafts to make, so I wouldn’t overwhelm myself in trying to make a winter wonderland in my living room. One of the first items on my list to make was this natural wooden star, which I think turned out quite well.

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Making it only took about half an hour, once I gathered up all the sticks from outside. It wasn’t super easy finding suitable sticks while walking down local streets in Chicago, but I made do with what was there.

To keep the sticks together, Dan drilled little holes in the sticks and used thin wire.

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I didn’t like how the wire looked, so I took some red, white, and green yarn and wrapped it around the wire for a bit of whimsy.

I wanted it to light up, so I strung mini battery powered LCD lights through the branches.

I knew the perfect place to put the star – on the shelf behind our couch. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in.

The star looked lonely up there buy itself, so I added a mini Christmas tree with old looking bells, a sparkly white dove, and a framed Christmas saying. First, I had the famous Elf quote: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” See above. But, as much as it made me smile every time I saw it, the print didn’t really go with the more natural, toned down elements in the room that I wanted.

Out went the Elf print and in went this wonderful chalkboard printable that I got from here.

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Yes, I jumped on the chalkboard bandwagon. I love the look.

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Christmas craft project #1 this season…SUCCESS!

A Different Kind of Sweater Weather

I’ve always loved sweater pillows.They go with the fall like the sweaters I wear do.

Pottery Barn had some great ones last year. This year, I’m lusting after these from West Elm.

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But, at $39 a pop, without including the pillow inserts, these were just too rich for my blood.

I’ve seen many sweater pillow tutotials on pinterest, so I decided to try my hand at sewing some sweater pillows of my own.

I started by choosing some colors I’d want. I decided to stick in the light blue/beige/off white family. I figured it would match my living room colors, and would translate well from fall to winter, and even be OK for the holidays.

Dan and I took a trip to a local thrift store on half price day, and I think I bought all of these sweaters for less than $8 total.

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Now, it was just a matter of sitting down and sewing.

Because I don’t own a sewing machine, or know how to work one for that matter, I sewed everything by hand.

I didn’t really have an idea of how I was going to make each pillow cover. I just looked at each sweater, all in different styles, and tried to figure out what the easiest thing to do would be.

I think the results came out rather well.

I made four pillows.

Two for the chair and a half.

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And two for the couch.

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I think my favorite is the light blue cable knit pillow with the rosette embellishment I made from the collar of the sweater and a stray pearl button I had.

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Dan really likes this toggle closure too.

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Maybe they don’t look exactly like the West Elm ones, but with a savings of $148, again, not including the cost of pillow inserts, I think mine will do just fine.

Last Name Letterpress

Over the summer, Dan and I checked out Lit Fest, down in Printer’s Row. It was cool to see some seriously old books, meet some authors, and just generally be downtown in the city on a nice (hot) day.

We ended up buying some bestseller paperbacks to help a local school, and some old letterpress letters.

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Oh. So. Cool.

Looking through them made your fingers all inky, but it was really neat seeing all the different fonts, symbols, and styles. I just had to have some.

We ended up buying the letters for our last name: THORNE. As this was a popular booth, they didn’t have all the letters we needed in any one specific font or size. Turns out, the variety made this project turned out much better anyways.

At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Put them in a cool jar? But then you wouldn’t be able to see what the letters spelled.

I finally figured it out and decided to mount the letters on some wood, and use it as a sort of sign to display.

My original thought was to use a couple pieces of distressed pallet wood, but as I thought about it, I didn’t love the idea.

I ended up deciding to use…get this…a hardwood floor sample.

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Uh huh. I picked up a bunch of samples, put the letters next to them, and picked the one that worked best with the colors in the letterpress stamps.

Once that was decided it was quite an easy project.

I just took some wood glue and, after having spaced out the letters the way I wanted them, I glued them in place.

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I put a couple heavy books on top of the letters while they dried overnight.

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Now, this cute little piece sits on the shelf behind the couch in our living room.

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And look, from the side, you can see the grooves where the letters fit into the letterpress machine.

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This guy will probably find a new home elsewhere in the apartment, but for now, I like seeing it when I walk in the front door.