Word Photo Ornament

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Holidays are the best time for crafting.  I love the excuse to come up with cute decorations to make our house festive.  I have been trying to find ways to commemorate our travels, and decided to come up with some travel ornaments for our Christmas Tree.  That way every year when we set up the tree it is a walk down memory lane.  A few years ago I made an ornament with sand from Maui, so this time I decided to make a word photo ornament to remember Rome.

Handmade travel christmas ornament made from a vacation photo

Starting out I gathered my supplies.  In this case I used:

  • Mod Podge
  • Craft paints
  • Word letters
  • Photograph
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes
  • Ribbon
  • Glue gun

Handmade travel ornament for Christmas

Step one, paint the wooden letters any desired color.  You only have toy focus on coating the back and edges, being that you will be gluing the photo to the front of the letters.  Allow to dry thoroughly.

Making a DIY christmas word ornament

Next, trace the letters face side down onto the photo you wan to use.

Making a christmas ornament- travel memories

Remember that everything is backwards so you will want to have the letters in the correct order to have the image correct when finished.

DIY christmas "word" ornament

Carefully cut out each letter.

Christmas ornaments -travel memories

Match the letter with the wooden version

Handmade travel christmas ornament

Paint in some mod podge to each letter and adhere the photo.

DIY christmas Rome ornament

Allow to sit and dry so that the photo does not slide off the wooden letter.

Handmade travel Christmas ornaments

Thoroughly coat each letter with coat of mod podge on the front and back to fully seal on the photo to the letter.  Also to dry completely.

DIY christmas word ornament

One dry, it is time to glue the letters together.  For this step, I flipped the letters upside down and arranged as desired.

Handmade travel christmas ornament made from a vacation photo-Rome

Next I took the glue gun and applied a dollop of hot glue to the seams of each letter to adhere them together.

Christmas ornament- travel memories

In order to hang the ornament on the tree I dug around my ribbon supply and found a brown ribbon to use. I tied a bow in the middle of the ribbon.

Handmade travel ornament

I then glued each end of the ribbon to the back of the word ornament.

DIY christmas ornament

Allow to dry and hang on the Christmas tree.  Now each year when we add this ornament to the tree we will remember our time in Rome.  I will be working on more travel ornaments and hope to share them soon.  Have you made any DIY ornaments lately?

DIY christmas ornament made from a photo


Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

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To continue on with the theme this week of my favorite cookie recipes, I just had to share this peanut butter cup cookies recipe from Real Simple.  It is definitely one of my favorites.  I mean biting into a warm cookie with gooey peanut butter cups throughout, so amazing!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12-ounce package small peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. This helps make the cookies easy to remove.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set bowl with dry ingredients aside. In a second bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Add your egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture, combining until just incorporated. Gently fold in the peanut butter cup pieces.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Drop tablespoon size mounds of dough approximately 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies Recipe

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on a wire baking rack.  These cookies are so good!!  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Recipe


Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

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When I think about making cookies, one of my favorite from my childhood are Snikerdoodles!  I am not sure where this recipe came from as it is one my mom taught me and I have been making for years now.  These are a great choice to bring to the holidays for children or picky eaters.  Everyone loves a good sugar cookie right?  Plus you can easily make them festive with sprinkles.

The BEST Snickerdoodle recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • cinnamon & sugar

Snickerdoodle recipe

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer.

Baking snickerdoodle cookies

How to make snickerdoodles

The BEST Snickerdoodle cookie recipe

Add your egg and beat until combined.

Snickerdoodle cookies- yum!

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar.

Snickerdoodle cookies

Add sifted dry ingredients to the butter, sugar & egg mixture.  Mix together until fully incorporated.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Snickerdoodle cookie dough

After chilling the dough, roll it out into walnut sized balls.  Roll each dough ball through a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  If you want to add sprinkles to the cookies, make sure to add them to this cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Sprinkles will not stick well after the cookies are cooked, so adding them before hand it key.

Snickerdoodle cookie recipe

Place dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Making snickerdoodles

Cool on wire rack.  Makes about 24 cookies.  These are still one of my favorite cookies and a big hit with kids! Enjoy :)

Making snickerdoodle cookies


White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

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Merry Christmas!!  I rarely make cookies, except for during the holiday season.  Then I tend to go a bit crazy trying out new recipes as well as a few tried and true.  One of my favorite recipes is the Ocean Spray recipe for oatmeal cookies with white chocolate chunks and cranberries.  They are so good, and really simple to make.

Oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chunk cookie recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5-ounces Dried Cranberries
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Cranberry oatmeal white chocolate cookie ingredients

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Oatmeal cranberry white chocolate cookies
Cranberry oatmeal white chocolate cookies

Add eggs, mixing well to combine.

White chocolate cranberry cookies- YUM!

In another bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt.

Cranberry oatmeal white chocolate cookie -YUM!

Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each.

Oatmeal cranberry white chocolate cookies -YUM!

Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.

Cranberry oatmeal white chocolate cookie recipe

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

White chocolate cranberry cookies

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

White chocolate cranberry cookie recipe

Cool on wire rack. This recipes makes approximately 2.5 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

Oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chunk cookie recipe


Holiday Decorating: Snowflake Wreath

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Merry Christmas Eve!! Today we will be heading down to spend the holidays with Alex’s family and I can’t wait.  Good food, wine and a present swap.  I know I promised this tutorial on how to make an easy snowflake wreath a while back when I first posted about our holiday mantel for this season, and here it is finally.

Snowflake wreath

To get it started, I found these foam snowflakes at Joann’s.  My initial plan was to use felt and cut out snowflakes, but then I spotted these snowflake packs at 50% off I knew I could save a lot of time and labor by using them.  Half the pack is glittered and the other half is plain white.  Being that I wanted all glittered snowflakes, I bought 2 packs.

Crafty snowflake wreath

Next I grabbed a wire wreath frame and a 12×12 piece of paper.  I then traced a large circle onto the paper to act as my wreath frame.  With the foam being so light I did not want to use a real wreath frame, but I created a paper one to make sure I kept my snowflake in a perfect circle shape.

Holiday snowflake wreath

Once traced onto the paper, cut it out.

Holiday festive wreath

Now you have the perfect circle for the wreath base.

Holiday wreath

Using my glue gun, I started gluing on the snowflakes.

Christmas snowflake wreath idea

Keep adding on snowflakes as you work around the wreath.  To make them look more random, I moved around as I added them and made sure they did not all overlap in the same way.

Making a crafty snowflake wreath

And after about 25 snowflakes, we have a finished snowflake wreath!

Crafty snowflake wreath tutorial

Once all the snowflakes are glued down and it has cooled, it is time to add ribbon.  I found this shiny green ribbon in my wrapping tote and thought it would work great.

Christmas snowflake wreath

I glued the ribbon down on the back in the wreath and created a fun little bow to the front.  To hang it above our fireplace I simply used a tack through the middle of the ribbon bow.

Snowflake holiday wreath

And there you have it.  A super simple holiday wreath.  I think it looks great in our dining room on the bold navy walls, but you could also hang it on your door for some festive holiday decor.

Holiday mantel stockings


Holiday Decorating: Our Christmas Tree 2013

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Oh Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!  I meant to share our Christmas tree last week, but with all the festivities I ran out of time until now.  Want to see what we have been up to? Check me out on Instagram :)  But without further ado, here is our 2013 Christmas tree!

O Christmas Tree

This year we went bigger and better since we finally have a house and tall ceilings.  But that did mean more money and having to be a bit more creative about how we were going to be able to get the tree home.  In years past we could simply put the seats down and push it in through the trunk, but not anymore!  This year we had to strap it to the roof of my little Honda!  Luckily the tree lot we go to was not very far from home and we made it safely.

Getting our Christmas tree

After pulling out all the Christmas boxes from storage, I decided to use the fabulous flower tree skirt that I diligently hand stitched last year.  I think I need to find a use for it every year for at least 10 years to make up for all the hours of labor that went in to it. And, lucky for me, it still looks big enough even with a larger tree.

O Christmas Tree skirt

Once again this year we opted for an eclectic tree displaying all the fun and random ornaments we have started collecting over the years.  I do love a good themed tree that looks like it stepped from a magazine page, but there is a special feeling hanging up all the ornaments with a story and memory behind them too.

Wiener dog christmas ornament

Plus I love the fun of picking out new ornaments too.  Like this cute little owl from Target.  Someday I have the vision of a rustic critter filled tree, so maybe this little guy is just the start of a fabulous collection.

Owl christmas tree ornament

Then there are ornaments like this turtle to remind us of our Hawaii honeymoon.

Hawaiian turtle christmas ornament

Or this clothespin reindeer that my hubby made when he was just a little kid.

Clothespin reindeer ornament

And no tree is complete with a jolly Santa.

Christmas tree santa ornament

And at last, one more new ornament this year.  Is anyone sensing a owl theme here?!?

Ceramic owl christmas ornament

I had to sneak in a cute pup pick to commemorate our first Christmas with little Augie too of course.  They look like such good, well behaved dogs here, but do not let them fool you.  It is amazing what a handful of cookies can do!

Puppies under the christmas tree

Next year I want to invest in buying twice as many lights to really make it sparkle.  I felt like I had to spread them our a bit to thin since we were only working with 5 strands.  But overall I love my eclectic Christmas tree.

O Christmas Tree


Holiday Decorating: Glittery Acorns

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Happy Holidays!!!  I am so excited to be decorating this year in our new house :) I knew I wanted to do a holiday decorating  project with some sparkle, and I got this idea while browsing Pinterest. The acorn idea is from stacywinters on Etsy who makes and sells these cute gold glittered acorns, and i figured with all the acorns falling in our yard and the ridiculous surplus of glitters I own, this could be a great free project to do this holiday season.

Glitter acorns

Cute right? A little rustic meets a little glam.  To start off this project you will need to have access to acorns.  In our new backyard there is an oak tree hanging over from the street that was full of beautiful large acorns.  As the weather turned colder, they began to fall into our yard.  As long as I collected daily, because the pups love to chew the acorns up as soon as they find them, I was able to get a nice large collection.

Fall decorating with acorns

Next I removed any acorn caps that had not naturally fallen off.  Taking my exact-o knife, I drilled a tiny hole into each cap.  You could use a power tool, but since the caps are so thin, I found it easy to just twist the tip of the knife through.

Making glitter acorns caps

Make sure the hole is drilled all the way though and large enough to fit string through later to hang them.

Fall decorating with gilttered acorns

Once the hole was drilled, I grabbed my trusty Mod Podge and a paint brush.  Next I covered the acorn cap with a nice coating of Mod Podge.  You could really use any glue product for this step, and I used what I had on hand that thought would work well.

Making glitter acorns

While the Mod Podge was still wet, I grabbed my silver glitter and sprinkled it all over the acorn lid, making sure it was thoroughly coated.

Holiday glitter acorns

Set aside to dry and continue the process with your remaining acorn lids.

Making glitter cap acorns

I just love how much they sparkle!  Give the acorn lids a few hours to make sure completely dry.  I allowed mine to sit over night before moving on the the next step.

How to make glitter acorns

Now you will need to scrounge up string and scissors.  I used red embroidery floss, but if you are going more rustic you use twine. I varied the way each was hung, making some only one per stand and other, like the string below, designed to hang two acorns from.

Fall decorating with glittery acorns

The process from here is pretty easy, using a large tapestry needle, I threaded the ribbon into the acorn lid.

Holiday glitter acorn tree decoration

Next I tied a knot to make it secure.

Holiday glitter acorn decorations

Then I took my hot glue gun and placed a dollop of glue int he acorn lid, making sure to cover the string knot for extra hold.

Christmas glitter acorns

I then placed the cap on the acorn, holding for a moment to secure.  Make sure to not add too much glue each time or it can ooze out of the cap and onto the acorn.  After a minute or so, they are ready to hang!

Making glitter acorns for the holidays

Fall decorating with giltter acorns

Glitter acorns for fall

These acorns are so pretty and great as a stand alone decoration using a vase with tree branches.  They can also be used as Christmas tree ornaments or as cute accessories tied to a Christmas present.  For now, our are adorning the entry table by the front door as a cute rustic “tree”.

Fall decorating with a giltter acorn tree

 

 


Holiday Decorating: Christmas Mantel

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Happy Holidays!!  I could not wait to start my holiday decorating this year.  Immediately after Thanksgiving I was ready to break out the Christmas boxes and get to decorating, starting with our Christmas mantel.  I don’t know if it is just the fact that I love Christmas or being in our home for the first year, but I was so happy to be decorating for the season.

Holiday mantel stockings

With the freshly painted walls and mantel (more on that here and here), I kept the mantel pretty simple.  First thing I did was dig through the box to see what we were working with.  I had the ornament swag that I made last year for our faux bookshelf mantel.  It was a bit short for the new mantel, but by placing it in the middle and adding a candle to each end, it actually looks pretty good.  And at no cost I gotta love that!  Maybe in a future year I will buy more ornaments and make a longer, dramatic swag.

Snowflake wreath holiday mantel

We still had the stockings from Target last year (Wez & Augie are going to share), but I had two stocking hangers from dollar tree that are hideous.  So after browsing the aisle of Target, we settled on getting 3 unique stocking hangers, the star, the tree and my favorite, the silver deer.  At $10 each, they make the mantel a lot more sophisticated.

Silver reindeer stocking holder

Next up, I did a quick DIY project and made a snowflake wreath for above the mantel.  I will share the tutorial soon.  It only took about 45 minutes to whip up and I love the contrast of stark white on the deep navy walls.

Holiday festive mantel

So there you have it!  Our first real Christmas mantel.  Now to finish decorating the tree, getting up a few more outside lights and enjoying the season :)  After that is is back to finishing the house, like maybe adding curtains to those poor bare windows around the fireplace.

Holiday decorating and festive mantel

Check out more awesome holiday mantels at the Holiday Cheer Link party with Our Fifth House & Ten June and the Holiday Party at Thrifty Decor Chick.


Holiday Tablescape: Holly & Candlelight

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Thanksgiving it officially in the rear view mirror and it is time to think about Christmas! Alex hates when Christmas encroaches on Thanksgiving, so I make a point to wait as patiently as I can to start the decorating, and with Thanksgiving being so late this year it was a challenge.  So, I have not done my decorating yet, but I had a tablescape for holiday entertaining from last year that I never got around sharing so I figured better late than never! After making this holly wreath for our door last year and having it fall off the door 15 times, I started thinking about what we could do with it indoors instead.  That is when I realized it was the perfect size to fit around our large candle to dress up the table.

Holly Wreath Table Centerpiece

It almost looks like I planned it right?  Amazing when it all comes together and works out. With the few extra sprigs, I continued the holly theme along the length of the table as well.  I also used my beautiful new gold and silver place mats from Cost Plus World Market and did a quick project of making chalkboard holiday wine glasses.

DIY Christmas Chalkboard Glass Tutorial

Simple, easy and festive!

Holiday tablescape with a holly wreath

And it looked great with the overhead light turned off so we could dine by candle light only.

Holly Wreath as a Table Centerpiece

Now to decide on this year’s decorations and get started sprucing up our new home for the holidays!  I can’t wait to start sharing a few fun and simple holiday decorations over he next few weeks.  Plus a few more posts of the rooms changing colors as we finish up painting our house too!

Holiday Tablescape

Looking for some affordable holiday decor items?  I tend to have good luck at Work Market. And if you are shopping around on Cyber Monday, you could get a great deal…20% OFF EVERYTHING!  Use the link below :)

I am linked up to the Dare to DIY link party.

 


Holiday Traditions: Dill Dip Recipe

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! There are some things in life that will always make me giddy with excitement, and one of those is our family’s dill dip recipe.  It is so simple, but one of those things that we only make around the holidays for some reason.  Imagine me doing the food dance in the kitchen while eating an entire bowl of this to myself.  That is probably what I am doing right now as you are reading this, because this dill dip recipe is seriously that good.

Dill Dip Holiday Recipe

Not only delicious, but ridiculously easy too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion flakes
  • 3 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 3 teaspoons beau monde

Dill Dip Holiday Recipe Ingredients

Mix all the ingredient together in a large bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Trust me, the dip is better once chilled so that the dried herbs are not crunchy.  Serve with your choice of veggies, cracker or bread.  I prefer carrots, celery and bell pepper as my dipping weapons of choice.  I am so excited for the Holidays can can’t wait to be gorging on all the amazing food.  Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving :)