A “Joy”ful Wreath

I found some lovely crocheted mustard yellow squares while thrifting the other week. I love finding things like this because it means I don’t have to make it myself. I was trying to think of some ways to use them. I decided to make a Christmas wreath with three of the squares first. I embroidered the letters on with yarn, using a plastic yarn needle. Then thread them together with yarn. I added some pom poms for a finishing touch. 

It looks so perfect on our front door right now. Any other ideas for the squares? Some shared some good ideas on instagram already, but would love to hear more! Have you made a wreath for this winter season?
-Jess

Woodland Creature Photobooth DIY and Free Animal Mask Template

Post and giveaway sponsored by OshKosh B’gosh, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.
Woodland Creature Photobooth

You guys, I seriously had so much fun prepping for this post. OshKosh challenged us bloggers to create a photobooth idea to share. I immediately thought of a winter forest and all the fun creatures in it. It could easily fit into a holiday party theme or even just a family get together. Most people love taking fun photos! My six year old really got a kick out of picking out her look and seeing her pictures when we did this.

Woodland Creature Photobooth

Let’s start with what you will need. For the background, I used kraft paper, white paint, paint brush, pencil, tape, and black sharpie. Cut out a piece of kraft paper to the size you want. Tape it down to a hard surface. Draw on simple birch tree like shapes with your pencil. Then paint in the trees with white paint.

Woodland Creature Photobooth

Once dry, mark black lines on the trees to look like bark. This took me hardly any time at all to create.

Woodland Creature Photobooth
(Note: Forgot the fox’s whiskers in this picture)

For the masks, you will need the templates, which can be downloaded here. You will need the cardstock (size 8 x 11.5) colors listed below, scissors, a glue stick, and elastic thread (you can find it with the notions in the sewing section).
Rabbit: 1 white, 1 light pink
Bear: 1 black
Deer: 1 brown, 1 tan
Fox: 1 orange, 1 white

Cut out your templates and trace on back of cardstock paper. Cut out traced pieces.

Woodland Creature Photobooth

Glue inner ear pieces on top of outer ear pieces. Then glue ears/antlers underneath of mask. Glue on fox whiskers on top as shown. Using a glue stick is easy and makes for quick drying.

Woodland Creature Photobooth

Then cut out a 8.5″ piece of elastic thread for each mask. Make a small hole on both sides of masks. I used a nail to do this, but you could use all kinds of things.

Woodland Creature Photobooth

Tie on elastic and they are ready.

Woodland Creature Photobooth

When putting together your photobooth, consider who is coming when picking out props. You want things people will have fun using. I added some props that were taped on sticks, some hair accessories, bow tie, scarf, and silly glasses to name a few. It’s worth going through your own stuff to see what you can add in.

Woodland Creature Photobooth

Place props in a basket near where the photobooth will be. Add some lights to look like they are hanging in the trees in the back if you want as well.

Woodland Creature Photobooth

If it will be happening during the day, try to find a well lit area near a window for beautiful natural light. If at night, just make sure there are enough lights on for cameras to get good shots. We took ours as the sun was setting, so we had some natural light and tungsten lighting to get enough light because I really didn’t want to use my flash unless necessary. But most people would probably be using cell phones for taking pics. Tape the backdrop at a height where you think most guests will be. If only adults, you could put it higher so they can just stand. I put ours lower and added a bench for us grown ups to sit on. Not that miss E really got in any of the photos anyways :) She was having none of that haha. Here are some pictures we took:

Woodland Creature Photobooth
Woodland Creature Photobooth
Woodland Creature Photobooth
Woodland Creature Photobooth
Woodland Creature Photobooth
Woodland Creature Photobooth

It was funny to watch and participate in the photobooth. Laughter is such a good thing! Thank you OshKosh for the challenge this month!!! I also want to congratulate Alisia for winning the $50 gift card. Have fun shopping! Don’t forget to check out all the awesome clothing that OshKosh B’gosh has out right now for the holidays. In fact both the girls are rocking OshKosh clothes in these pics. You can check OshKosh out in stores (find a location near you) or online in their holiday shop to see baby winter clothes  and kids winter clothes.

For Girls:
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Embellished tees are perfect for playtime and all-day wear. Sequins, bling and bows make these tees super stylish!
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OshKosh B’gosh has darling dresses that are soft and easy-to wear. Pair them with a cardigan to keep her cozy and complete her spot on look.
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Dress up her outfits with sparkly ballet flats with comfortable tights.
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Let her make a statement with OshKosh B’gosh bangles, ribbon necklaces and headbands galore.  

For Boys:
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Button-front plaid shirts are perfect for all occasions! Pair them with corduroys, khakis or jeans for an easy outfit.
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He’ll have fans all over the neighborhood after he carols in the handsome combo of fleece-lined jeans and a denim shirt.
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A cable knit sweater vest is perfect for dressing up his holiday outfits. He’ll look picture perfect.


“Like” OshKosh B’gosh on Facebook, mention  @OshKoshBgosh on Twitter and follow them on Pinterest for outfitting ideas, vintage ads, deals and special events!


Disclosure Statement
OshKosh B’gosh partnered with bloggers such as me to help promote the OshKosh B’gosh Holiday Network. As part of the program, I received product or gift cards. OshKosh B’gosh believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words, and therefore did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products I used. OshKosh B’gosh policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. The winner of any giveaway in this program will be randomly chosen and gift card fulfillment will be handled by a third party.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Well hello! It’s been a while. We were very blessed to be able to go visit Virginia and see all of our family this year, so I took a little break from the blog. (ok, a long break)

Christmas 2012

It was a long drive up there (over 21 hours each way), but we did it and I was so impressed with how my girls did. I was expecting the worst, but they pleasantly surprised me.

Christmas 2012

The girls were in heaven with all the family they got to see (and all of the Christmas’ they got to have).

Christmas 2012

It was such a wonderful time and made me homesick.

Christmas 2012           Christmas 2012
Christmas 2012

There was lots of laughter, good talks, fun play, and good food.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Miss J was so excited to see her cousins and their animals. Now all she talks about is getting a bunny! Or 3……

Christmas 2012

It was also good to be back in the cold Virginia air. When we left Louisiana, it was still humid and warm so that was a welcome change! Of course it isn’t so warm here anymore, but we are still a good 20 degrees warmer than there.

Christmas 2012

It’s time now for me to work on some goals/resolutions/and all that good stuff. I’m a little behind with that since it is already January 6, but I’ve learned to have lots of flexibility! haha So happy new year to you and I look forward to spending another year with you all!
-Jess

Our Family Pictures

Family Christmas Photos

I was so happy to have someone help with our family pictures this year. Last year we kept trying to do them using the camera timer, but we were not as successful as I would have liked. My parents came to visit this past October, so I took advantage of that for these pictures. I found this beautiful spot and we got there an hour before sunset. It was actually sooooo hot and the bugs were terrible, so we did this very quickly! I set up the camera and placed us. My mom played silly behind my dad while he snapped a bunch of pictures. I knew some would come out good no matter what :) Then hubby and I took pics of each other with our kiddos. Miss J wasn’t into the pics as much and wanted to explore, but we still got some with her in them.

Family Christmas Photos

Family Christmas Photos

Family Christmas Photos

Family Christmas Photos
Family Christmas Photos
Family Christmas Photos          Family Christmas Photos
Family Christmas Photos
Family Christmas Photos
I just loved the sunshine in these! Being that Christmas is almost here, I will not be around too often while I enjoy time with family and friends. Enjoy this special time of the year! 
-Jess

Hot Chocolate Party in a Box

Hot Chocolate Party in a Box Gift

I have been making a lot of gifts this year. It’s for a few reasons, but it has really stretched me in a good way. One thing I just finished up is a few Hot Chocolate Party in a Box gifts.

Hot Chocolate Party in a Box Gift          Hot Chocolate Party in a Box Gift
I found this really cute Hot Chocolate Party invitation here. I filled it in with very vague info as it is for a gift. I then made some pom pom’s for the outside packaging.

Hot Chocolate Party in a Box Gift

For the inside of the package I crocheted little coffee mug cozies (pattern used is from here). I used Lily Sugar n’ Cream yarn, so I had to make the cozies smaller than the pattern as she used a different type of yarn. I suggest having a cup with you while crocheting then “trying it on” and adjusting throughout the creation.

Hot Chocolate Party in a Box Gift

I ended up making 10. All using what I had in my stash. It ended up being very therapeutic this weekend as I processed what happened on Friday and prayed a lot. It still grieves my heart so, but I am so thankful for God’s peace.

Hot Chocolate Party in a Box Gift

Lastly, I cut out coffee mugs from card stock and put it in the cozy. That way they would know what it was for :) Of course, I also add a bag or marshmallows and hot chocolates in the gift as well. If I had the time, I would have tried making the marshmallows and hot chocolate on a stick! Maybe next year :)
-Jess

Yarn Ornaments

A Tabletop Tree

When we pulled out our Christmas stuff, I found a box with some vintage ornaments I had thrifted two years ago. I had plans to use them to make something with them and hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I decided it was time to do something with them this year though. I took three blue silk covered ornaments and made them over.

A Tabletop Tree

I wrapped and glued yarn on them and then embellished two (circles and stars). It didn’t take too long and I like how they came out. I grabbed some sticks from the backyard and put them in this vase for my new ornaments to hang on for now. I had to add a few more things, so I made yarn tassels and pom poms for it too.

A Tabletop Tree

I have it in our room for now, but might put it in my daughters room because she got so excited when she saw it. It always makes my day when she loves something I put together. 
-Jess

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

At first glance, these simple trees are probably screaming “kid project.” Right?  May I confess these were actually a simple nice “mom project”? Let me explain myself.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

My daughter’s school is having a little contest where each student can make a Christmas tree/ornament/nativity scene/wreath/etc. to enter. Miss J immediately told me she wanted to make a tree ornament from pipe cleaners. So off to the store we went and found some nice colorful pipe cleaners. She sat down and made this:

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

I sat down and made these curly ones. She liked mine, but thought hers was better ;) I seriously love how that girl is so confident in herself. Love it! I thought this would be a fun kid project though and wanted to share with you.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

It doesn’t take long at all and can be an inexpensive craft to make.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

You will need:
-Pipe cleaners
-Ruler
-Scissors
-Stems (I used 7″ sticks, but you could use popsicle sticks, dowels, etc.)
-Glue (I used a hot glue gun, but with little ones regular glue works)
-String

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

Choose four pipe cleaners for the tree. Cut them these lengths from bottom to top: 7″, 6″, 5″, and 4″.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

Wrap each one around your finger and then stretch it out.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

Glue the pipe cleaners onto the stems.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

Let the glue dry.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

Take a piece of string (mine were 10″ long each) and fold in half. Knot together at open end.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

Place top of tree stem in the middle of string.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

Take the end with the knot and up and over the stem. Pull it through the loop at the other end until tight.

Curly Pipe Cleaner Tree Ornaments DIY

Bring the string to the back and glue in place for extra hold.

Have fun!
-Jess

Advent Bag Tutorial and Pattern

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I was able to team up with XO GiGi Fabrics recently to bring to you a fun Christmas in July project to do.
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Gigi sent over these fabulous prints that can be found here. She’s really great to work with and has such a fantastic fabric shop.

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I have always wanted some type of Advent calendar to do with my kids and I figured this would work even better for us. We don’t have too much extra space and we are renters, so this allows me to have something I can hang without putting extra holes in the wall and it doesn’t take up a ton of room.I created 
numbers on wooden circles for the countdown numbers. They are velcroed on. My oldest daughter has already been putting them on and off.
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To create an Advent bag you will need:
-1/4 yard of fabric for outside (check out Gigi’s great Christmas fabric selection here)
-1/4 yard of fabric for inside
-1/2 yard lightweight or mediumweight interfacing
-Scrap fabric for front under numbers
-Heat and Bond iron on adhesive
-Twelve 1.5″ wooden circles
-Number Stickers
-Velcro
-Pattern printed. See here to download. *note: there is a 1″ marker on there to make sure that it prints correctly. If it does not, please email me and I can send it to you that way.

*All seams are 1/4″ unless otherwise stated.*

1. Cutting the Fabric Out 

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After you have printed your pattern pieces, you will cut out everything. You will end up with 2 pieces of fabric for the strap and 1 piece of interfacing.

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2 pieces of fabric for the front of the bag (inside and out) and 1 piece of interfacing.

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2 pieces of fabric for the back of the bag (inside and out) and 1 piece of interfacing. Please note that these are a bit higher than the front of the bag pieces. This is done on purpose for later on.

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2 pieces of fabric for the bottom of the bag (inside and out) and 1 piece of interfacing.

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One piece of fabric for inside pocket. This is for where you can store the wooden circles.

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You will also cut out one piece of the iron on adhesive and then iron it on according to directions, to where the fabric you want for the front under the circles.

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Then cut it out.

2. Preparing the Pocket

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Start by taking the pocket piece and folding one edge down, wrong sides facing, about 1/4″.

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Then fold it down one more time the same way about 1.5″. Sew across the top and bottom of fold.

3. Sewing the Outside

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Place the front piece interfacing down and the front piece of fabric on top of it, right side up. Then put the back piece (right side up) and it’s interfacing piece together. Pin them together, right sides facing, and sew together.

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Take the other side of the back part and pin to the other side of the front part. Sew together.

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I basted the interfacing piece and bottom piece together first as it can slip around easily. Make sure fabric is right side up and interfacing is underneath. Then pin the middle of the bottom part to the middle of the front part that you previously sewed.

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Continue pinning until it is all together except for the back part.

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It will look like this on the other side. Sew together.

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Now pin the back bottom to the back top part and sew together.You will be sewing over the side seams some.

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It will look like this.

4. Sewing the Inside

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You will sew the inside the same way except there will be only fabric and remember to sew on your pocket to the back piece before putting together.

5. Sewing the Strap

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Place the two fabric pieces for the strap together right sides facing. Then put the interfacing on top. Sew along the edges of both long sides and then turn right side out.

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Top stitch along the edges if you like.

6. Putting the Bag Together

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Turn the outer part inside out and the inner part right side out. Place the inner inside the outer. The right sides of fabric on each will be facing each other.

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Pin together along the top edges except for most of the back. This is where the bag will be turned right side out so the strap can be sewn in. Sew together. Remember, the back is higher, but sew the same even on the back. I just made it higher so there is more fabric for when turning the fabric in.

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Turn right side out through the opening.

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Push the inner part inside the outer part and push in the fabric at the opening. Iron it down.

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Now take your strap and fold it like this.

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Place strap inside the back opening and pin in place. Make sure it is just enough to sew in place so it will fit over a door knob.

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Sew strap in place and continue sewing all the way around the top. Then iron on the front fabric piece where the numbers will be. Sew around edges after it cools.

7. Making the Numbers

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For the numbers, I just stuck on stickers I found. You of course could create numbers in so many different ways. You will need to have numbers 0-9 and make sure to make two 1′s and two 2′s.

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I used sticky velcro and put a small piece on each number. I also placed two pieces on the front fabric and sewed in place. Make sure that whichever side velcro you use on the bag, you use the opposite on the numbers.

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You can store the numbers in the pocket on the inside for safe keeping.

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Now you have a little bag that you can use for Advent.
Make it your own and please share if you make some yourself :)
-Jess

Felt Trees Continued

In a row

Last year I made these, inspired by this. I shared a written explanation of how I made them, but this year I took a few pictures to help give more of a visual of that.

Felt Christmas Trees

I happened to make three more this year for a gift.

My helper :)

My daughter was very involved with the picture taking.

Gone with the wind

Especially since the wind kept blowing them down. She was kind enough to keep standing them back up :)

So, last year the ones I made, I used plastic trees that the dollar store had as the base. This year I didn’t see any when I went, so I just made some out of cardboard (cereal boxes, etc) in different sizes.

Then I grabbed felt and fleece in a certain color spectrum I liked and a hot glue gun. You can use fabric as well. Alexis, from Made by Lex, made these pretty ones with fabric last year.

And then this is the most random part. I just take a piece and see if it will fit around the base. If it does, I just glue on one end, wrap it around and glue on the other side. Then I trim off the extra at the bottom, the top, and where it meets. I layer as many layers as I like on each tree until at the top.

I then leave the top open a little bit so I can glue in the embroidery thread which is tied onto the pompom.
***I hand made the pom poms. See here for how to do this.

I love how whimsical they are. They now adorn my daughters dresser for part of her bedrooms Christmas decorations.

Vintage Clothespin Snowflakes

Looks like Christmas

Doesn’t it? These are my first made Christmas things of the year and I heart them. I was the proud recipient of some awesome vintage clothespin this fall. I knew I had to do something with them, but couldn’t think of anything….until now.

Away in a manger

I first mod podged some vintage paper all over the clothespins. Then I hot glued the open end of 5 clothespins onto a wooden circle (you can get precut shapes at craft stores) so it looked like a snowflake.

Let It Snow

Then I bought the doilies from the Dollar Store (2 in a pack) and glued them on one side. I hand embroidered different Christmas things on some scrap linen and machine sewed it to a larger and darker piece of fabric. Then I glued that on in the middle of the doily.

Back of Ornament

I also added some glue and glitter randomly on the front. A little round piece of felt covers the center back for a clean look and some hemp string tied on for it to hang. I’m tempted to leave them out all year!

Doily Snowflake Ornaments