12.23.2014

Tutorial Tuesday!

DIY Angel Wings (not in English but plenty of photos):


10 Festive Christmas Cookie Recipes:



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Hope Studios

12.21.2014

Soul Sister's Annual Ornament Exchange!


We all got together once again for our annual Soul Sister's Ornament Exchange!  The rules are simple, you must sip drinks, eat good food, laugh, pose for pictures, and exchange handmade ornaments that cost you $10 or less to make.

Here are the winners this year:


I made this felt Christmas Tree.  I layered the sections together and used embroidery thread to outline it in chunky stitches.  I hot glued the same shapes onto the back to hide the back of the stitches and sandwiched the twig for the bottom and the hanging string at the top.  I stitched a tiny star charm to the top and sprinkled the whole thing with some super fine clear glitter.



The Treat Girl knitted these teeny tiny mittens!  They are like 2 inches tall!  She used this pattern.


Marzipan went old school with traditional cinnamon ornaments she baked in the oven using this recipe.   The aroma is heavenly!


 Marjorie was inspired by some plastic sheeting she was given by her brother.  This plastic and felt hand stitched holly was so cute!


Finally, Megan started out attempting to make a salt shaker snow globe ornament like this one but the ridged glass wasn't clear enough, so she compromised by coming up with a Salt Shaker Snowman!  We all said it reminded us of Mr Salt from Blues Clues!

Merry Christmas from the Soul Sisters!  Here is to a 2015 full of crafting and laughing!

Selfie  S.S. style!

12.19.2014

Disguising Gifts of Cash


Maybe I'm a pooper, but I hate to give teens an envelope of cash for holidays.  I know it makes them happy, but I love the look of disappointment when they see a box to open when they asked for money. This year, I disguised cash in a couple different ways.

Above, I made a tube from card stock and placed it into a jar with cash inside. Then, I filled up the jar around the tube with candy and screwed on the lid.  Heh, heh, the poor kid thought he was getting a jar of candy for his 16th birthday! Hilarious.

For his second gift, I removed candy from a box of chocolates and filled the spaces with folded up cash and candy coins:


Happy gifting!

12.17.2014

The Last 8 Days of Elf Ideas!



My kids are older (12, 13, and 16) but the youngest still gets a kick out of searching for The Elf every morning.  His humor is a little more sophisticated than a small child so I can get a little more imaginative. 

3+ years into this, sometimes I feel like I've done it all with that darn Elf!  I know there is a whole movement to stop The Elf because it's a pain and causes parents stress, blah, blah, blah...

Um, we're parents, stress is where we live, people! If I can do something that takes me 5 minutes per day to make my kids smile I'm going to keep on doing it.  Their happiness is my crack.  Not even a bit sorry about that one.

In the home stretch before Christmas, I needed a bit of inspiration and found it at my local craft store.  I bought a few things that will carry The Elf through the rest of the month.  So here you go for the final 8 days:

1.   In the cake decorating section, they have little sugar cake embellishments that look a lot like cookies. I picked some that resembled gingerbread men.  I cut out a tiny apron from felt (no sewing!) and will set The Elf up with a tiny cookie sheet (cardboard covered with foil) near the oven.

2.  I found a tiny 16"  burlap tree and tiny ornaments he will decorate over night.

3.   At my local Dollar Tree I found little ceramic houses that The Elf will set up as a little Christmas town one night while we're all asleep.

4.  There are tiny ball ornaments with kids' names at Michael's Craft store and tiny gift boxes in their dollar section that will appear under the tiny tree one night.

5.  Also in the Michael's dollar section, there are teeny tiny ceramic mugs.  I got a snowman one that I will fill with hot chocolate and set him up near the tea pot.  I added 3 snowman mugs for the boys with hot chocolate mix in them.

6.  I have a nutcracker display waaay up on a shelf so I lined The Elf with the nutcracker soldiers and will sit back and laugh at how long it takes him to find it!

7.  I trapped The Elf under a drinking glass with a sign reading "HELP!"

8.  I found a tiny fireplace and glued tiny stockings to it with my boys' names on them.

Need more ideas?  Check it out from past years:

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Elf on the Shelf Linky Party

Good Luck and have fun with it!  You are creating memories and there are only a few days left - go out strong!

12.16.2014

Tutorial Tuesday!

Jute Ornaments:



Grinch Party:


Indoor Snowball Fight:


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Hope Studios

12.11.2014

A Perfectly Lighted Christmas Tree

It's time to get the tree!  Enjoy this repeat post from 2011 explaining how to get the perfect lighting effect on your Christmas Tree!




Over the years I have developed the perfect system for achieving my Christmas tree goal - I want it colorful and bright with LOTS of lights!

Here is my system:

Begin by covering the tree in small, clear twinkle lights. I have used My Modified Martha method of pushing the lights into the center of the tree, moving up and down rather than around and around like this:


Next, I use the same method for small, colored twinkle lights. (I think a tree with only colored lights is too dark).

Next, I cover the tree in old fashioned, large clear bulbs like these (I don't go in and out with these lights):



Finally, old fashioned, large opaque colored bulbs like these:



Tada!



Do you have trouble getting a good, glowing picture of your Christmas tree?

1. Turn off your flash
2. Set your camera on a solid surface
3. Set the timer to take the picture

12.09.2014

Tutorial Tuesday!

Birch Bark Ornaments:


Thumbprint Christmas Cards:


Most Clicked: 

 20+ DIY Gift Ideas



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12.05.2014

A 16 Year Old!


Yep, I have a 16 year old!  He passed his permit test and hasn't stopped begging to drive ever since:


Driving is a big responsibility and a big expense, so it wasn't a big present year.  We still wanted to make a big deal out of his birthday without all the gifts.  Birthday Balloon Ambush was born:


Using a cheap plastic tablecloth from the dollar store, we taped a pocket over his closed door and filled up the space with balloons.  When he opened the door the balloons all fell in and he had to fight his way out (blurry action shot):






We also made his favorite "cake" which is really a candy tower:



Hot glue and a ribbon, with a toilet paper roll lollipop holder in the center...it's a good thing...

12.02.2014

Tutorial Tuesday!

Acorn Advent Calendar:


Nutella Hot Chocolate:



Suspended Shelf for Garage Storage:


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11.25.2014

Tutorial Tuesday!

Banana Fluffernutter Pie:


Pumpkin Spice Frappe:


Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

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11.24.2014

DIY Cheap, Easy Christmas Cards!


I just finished making my Christmas Cards for this season and wanted to teach you how to do the same.  It's super easy and waaaay cheaper to do this yourself rather than order from the pricey companies out there.

DIY Christmas Cards

Instructions:

Choose your favorite photo or photos

Upload to your favorite photo editing program (photoshop, or the free online site PicMonkey.com)

Resize your photo to 5x7 inches 

Using filters and editing tools make your photo super special.

Add text using the text tools by clicking the text button - Say whatever you want to say in whatever font you love!

Save photo to your computer.

Upload photo to your favorite photo processing site and order 5x7 prints in a matte finish (I ordered mine through Sharpprints.com).

Buy card-sized envelopes (5 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches).

Mail out to all your friends!

I just ordered 60 prints for about $30 and found envelopes for $10 per 50 pack (I found mine at Walmart.com ship-to-store). 

So that makes less than $50 for all my cards this year!

11.20.2014

$5 Kitchen iPad Stand - 2 Ways!


I don't know about you, but I have a whole stack of cookbooks I rarely use anymore.  Just about everything I use I have saved on Pinterest (God help me if Pinterest ever goes away - my family will starve!)

I've seen these iPad stands in some of the catalogs I've gotten in the mail and wanted to try to reproduce it on the cheap.  I found an 8x11 inch bamboo cutting board for $3.99 at Marshall's and some blocks from my kids' stash and knew I could do it. 


Under $5 sound good to you?

$5 iPad Stand

Supplies:

8x11 inch cutting board
Triangle shaped wooden block
Long, thin wooden block, about 4x1/3 inches (this is part of a Lincoln Log set, but anything with these general dimensions would work)
Wood glue
Paint (optional)

Begin by gluing the blocks into place, the triangle on the back will serve as a stand and the long thin block will serve as a mini shelf for your device:


Functionally, your stand is usable as soon as the glue dries, but to make it pretty try some paint!

I started with an undercoat of black:

Then covered it with a topcoat of ivory.  I added some kitchen-y words and sanded the top down until some of the black peeked through - especially on the corners:


I made this one as a gift then made a second one for myself out of a $5 chalkboard from Hobby Lobby and the stand up back I removed from a picture frame glued the the back:






I ended up with an iPad stand that doubles as a Menu Board...Tada!



 

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