Friday, November 30, 2012

Tip of The Week--Clothes Clean-Out Made Easy



Can you believe January is just a month away? This year has flown by!

The first of the year is usually when I start cleaning out everything and clothes are always a hassle. Trying to remember when I wore what always ends up with me getting frustrated and just keeping everything.

Luckily, I found this trick at Family, Home and Life and it makes deciding which clothes to keep a breeze.  Just hang all of your clothes backwards at the start of the year. As you wear them, turn them around the right way. By December, all of the clothes still hanging backwards get donated. Easy, right?


How about you? How do you decide which clothes stay and which go?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Homemade Gift Ideas--Personalized Coffee Mug



I haven't met a grandparent yet who doesn't love homemade gifts from the grandkids. And since all of Sophie's grandparents are coffee drinkers, a personalized coffee mug was perfect. All you need is a ceramic mug and Sharpie markers, and your kids will do the rest. I know, I know, kids and Sharpie markers are a dangerous combination. Don't worry. Even if they color all over themselves, this little trick takes it right off.

For a fun grown up project, write your favorite quotes, song lyrics, or memories on a mug, plate or other ceramic surface and give as a gift.


Supplies

Plain ceramic mug
Sharpie Markers


Directions

Decorate the mug with Sharpie markers.






Place mug on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.






Remove from oven and let it cool completely before handling. Give as is or fill with hot chocolate, coffee, or other goodies.




To avoid fading, wash by hand only.


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          What's cooking, love?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Crafts for Kids--Reindeer Ornament



My Grandma taught me how to make reindeer ornaments back when I was 8 or 9 years-old and I still have fun making them to this day. I even have a few of the originals hanging on my Christmas tree this year! All it takes to make this reindeer ornament is a few supplies and you're in business.


Supplies

Popsicle sticks
Googly eyes
Tacky glue
Yarn or ribbon
Round bead or pom pom
Marker


Directions

1. Glue 3 popsicles sticks together in the shape of an upside down A.







2. Attach eyes with glue.






3.  Create a loop with yarn or ribbon and glue to the back. Attach nose with glue.






4. Attach accessories and add details (like eyelashes).






Once glue dries, it's ready to hang!

Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Turn Dollar Store Toys Into Holiday Decorations





My daughter is a collector (i.e. hoarder) of all things tiny. McDonald's toys, Dollar Store toys, anything small and painful when stepped on is what she loves to collect. Problem is, there's no more room to store all of her little treasures. So instead of tossing them, I decided to upcycle her Dollar Store toys into cute holiday decorations. All I had to tell Sophie was that we were going to use glitter and she was on board.

The deer family was perfect. Holiday-ish and they had not been played with for months. Score!


Supplies

Cheap miniature plastic animals
Krylon Metallic Brilliant Gold spray paint
Glitter
Mod Podge or glue
Hot glue gun
String (if making an ornament)



Directions

Spray paint each toy. It may take a few coats to get all the nooks and crannies. Let dry.






Add to a tablescape or wreath. Want to make an ornament instead? Keep reading!






Create a loop out of string and use a glue gun to attach it to the top of the deer. It will be covered in glitter so don't worry about making it pretty.






Coat with mod podge or glue and cover with glitter.






When glue dries, it's ready to hang!






Easy, right? What toys are you going to turn into decorations?



For more holiday craft ideas, check out the Holiday & Seasonal page!



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I'm linking up at some of these great parties and Savvy Southern Style and Shabby Creek Cottage.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tip of the Week--How to Get That Holiday Smell





I love holiday smells, don't you? This is a little trick I use while I'm pulling out my Christmas decorations and don't have the seasonal candles out just yet. It's super simple and will have your home smelling like holiday cheer in minutes.


Just bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the following:
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
Optional--1/2 tsp cloves

Reduce to a simmer and enjoy!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thank You!


I was originally going to write a Thanksgiving post about my family's plans for the week; the places we were going to visit, the food we were going to eat, the traditions, etc... Half way through the post, I stopped. It dawned on me that the reason I am blogging about my Thanksgiving plans in the first place is because of you.

I am so thankful to have started blogging this year and for the amazing opportunities and relationships that have resulted since writing my first post on July 22. What I thought was going to be just a creative outlet while Sophie was at preschool has become a full-time job and I am loving every minute of it.

To all of you who take time out of your day to read my blog, thank you. Time and attention are the two most precious gifts you can give a person. I appreciate you so much for giving me both.

For all the bloggers out there, thank you for welcoming me into the blogging community with such warmth and support and thank you for all the helpful advice and feedback. I am inspired daily by your creativity, ingenuity and skill. You all are amazing and I am looking forward to getting to know you better and learning more from you.

I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I look forward to seeing you back here on Monday!





Monday, November 19, 2012

Fall Crafts for Kids--Handprint Turkey





It's not too late to squeeze in one last Thanksgiving craft, is it? Nah, I didn't think so either. 

If you couldn't already tell by the Handprint Fall Tree, we like fall crafts in my house! I love the Handprint Turkey for the same reason I love the Handprint tree: it's fun, it provides a chance to teach about everything from colors to turkeys to Thanksgiving, and the end result is a precious piece of seasonal wall art. Here's what you need: 


Supplies

Orange, red and brown acrylic paint
Googly eyes
Card stock or construction paper
Sponge tip brush or paint brush
Tacky glue


Directions


1. Coat one hand with red paint and press down firmly on paper, making a fan. Coat the other hand with orange paint and press down firmly, filling in the gaps between the red hand prints.






2. Cover the bottom of one foot with brown paint (don't paint the toes) and guide the foot down onto the paper.






3. Fill in the rest of the foot area with brown paint.






4. Attach eyes with tacky glue and make the rest of the face with scrap pieces of construction paper or with paint.



Enjoy and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!




Friday, November 16, 2012

Tip of the Week--How to {Easily} Clean Silverware





Cleaning silverware and silverplate flatware doesn't have to be a long and tedious process. With just three ingredients, you can clean every piece in minutes, and without the use of harsh chemicals. Here's what you need:


Supplies:

6" x 6" piece of aluminum foil
4 cups of water
1 Tbsp baking soda



Directions
Place foil, water and baking soda into a large saucepan and bring to boil.







Using tongs, place silverware into boiling water for 20-30 seconds, with a maximum of 4 utensils at a time.










Remove from boiling water and rinse off. (Heavily tarnished pieces may need additional polishing.)







Wasn't that easy?








I'm linking up at some of these great parties and Savvy Southern Style and Shabby Creek Cottage.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall Crafts for Kids--Handprint Fall Tree





Sophie loves all things art, especially if it involves painting. So you can imagine how excited she was to make a handprint tree! I came across this cute little project in an old preschool activity book that my mom had (she's a teacher--her home is a Mecca for kid craft ideas).

Not only was it a fun craft to make, but it was also a great way to teach the seasons and review colors. Needless to say, it was a hit! I can't wait to display it with my other Thanksgiving decorations.


Supplies:

Brown, red and orange acrylic paint
Card stock or construction paper
Paint brushes or sponge brushes







Directions

1. Use a sponge or paint brush to apply brown paint to one hand and press firmly on paper.

2. Fill in the gaps between fingers and create the trunk using a paint brush. Let dry before making the leaves.

3. Dip fingers in red and orange paint and dot around the limbs to create the leaves.

4. Let dry for 1-2 hours before displaying.




Isn't it cute? Definitely a keeper:)




Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving Tree




I've been seeing Thanksgiving Trees all over the place and fell in love the idea. There's not much to it: get some branches, a vase and decorate your Thanksgiving Tree with little notes of the things you and your family are thankful for. I had fun writing out my gratitude notes with my husband and daughter and I love being reminded of all of our blessings every time I pass by our tree.

The great thing about decorating with branches is that you don't have to look further than your own backyard to find them. Whether you decide to paint them like I did, or leave them alone, branches are a beautiful way to incorporate nature into your home's decor. For a rustic touch, add a twine or rope-wrapped vase.


Supplies:

Vase
Twine, string, rope or yarn
Glue gun
Twigs
Spray paint (Valspar Metallic Aged Copper)
Fabric or ribbon
Scrapbooking tags


Directions


1.) Wrap vase in twine or rope.  Secure it with beads of hot glue in various places so that it doesn't shift.











2.) Spray paint branches.







3.) Punch out tags (or buy them already made in the scrapbooking section.)







4.) Write your gratitude messages on the tags and hang them using yarn or string.




Enjoy your Thanksgiving Tree!


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Full Circle Creations

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tip of the Week: DIY Flavored Coffee

I love flavored coffee but I don't like paying for it. I also don't like all of the artificial ingredients. So I make my own! Just add the flavoring of your choice to the coffee grounds before brewing, and you've got a specialty pot of coffee for a fraction of the cost. 

Some of my favorites include:
  • cinnamon (pictured below)
  • all spice
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • vanilla extract
  • orange peel
  • peppermint extract
Use 1/4 tsp of flavoring for every 6 cups of coffee. 





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mop it up mondays feature

Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Crock Pot Baked Apples



My Aunt Diane's Crock Pot baked apples are always awesome so you can imagine how excited I was when she gave me her recipe. Yum! The recipe calls for Granny Smith apples which is what I used for this batch. But if you're looking for something sweeter, Fuji apples work too. Just adjust the cook time down to 4 hours.


Ingredients

3 lbs Granny Smith apples (about 6 apples)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small cubes

Directions

1.) Peel and core apples and place them in the bottom of the Crock Pot.







2.) Add sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and corn starch.








3.) Stir completely and dot with butter.







4.) Cover, leaving slightly cracked to allow steam to escape. This keeps the apples from getting too mushy.







5.) Cook on low for 6 hours, stirring about halfway through. Serve as a side or as a dessert with ice cream.




Serves: 6