Sunday, December 25, 2011

30-minute stockings

I thought I better post these stockings before Christmas is over. Well, I guess it pretty much is over, but better late than never, right?! We have been using random stockings over the last few years... I made mine and Pete's when we were first married, and the kids stockings were given to us by family... none of them matched of course. So I decided to whip out some matching stockings for the whole family (and the newest member-to-be.) I made these in November, just when the Christmas busyness was beginning, so decided to keep them as simple as possible. They literally took me less than 30 minutes each (which still added up to 3 hours, but I thought that was pretty good!) And I even have some fabric left over in case of any later additions to the family :)


I didn't take pictures for a tutorial because I thought they were pretty self-explanatory, but here are the instructions in a nut shell.

What you'll need:
* Quilted fabric
* Bias tape
* Sewing machine

* Trace an old stocking for your pattern. Cut two stocking shapes out of the quilted fabric. With right sides together, sew them together, leaving the top open.
* (I didn't do this, but if you want to add a lining, it would be super easy at this point... simply cut two of the same stocking shapes out of a thinner fabric, sew right sides together leaving top open, then insert into the quilted stocking. You could then sew the tops (the quilted fabric and thinner fabric) together... then continue on to the next step.)
* Sew bias tape around the top. Make a small loop with the bias tape and sew on one end of the top of the stocking so it can be hung.

It really is that easy! I was able to take a picture of our stockings on my parents' mantle... sadly we have no fireplace in our house, so had to hang them on hooks that we stuck to the wall. Someday!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas cloth napkins

I was making our family some cloth napkins to use this Christmas season and thought they would make fun gifts as well. I'm always on the lookout for gift ideas that people can actually use and won't just take up space, so I thought these would be perfect! I gave a set of 8 to my sister and sister-in-law who both have kids, in hopes to make their meal times a little more festive. I originally got the idea from my friend Nicole (thanks Nicole!) and had never even thought to make cloth napkins before, but our family has loved using them. I didn't post a tutorial, but they seem pretty self-explanatory. I made mine double-sided, with green on one side and red on the other, cut them into 10.5"x14" squares, and sewed them basically the same way I made my burp cloths. Thinking ahead, they would make fun Mother's Day presents as well! But with a flower pattern of course.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Homemade ornaments

Last week the kids and I made these ornaments for our Christmas tree and to give to grandparents. Dan helped me make them while John was at school and Joe was sleeping... Dan's becoming my craft/baking buddy in the afternoons, I love it! He loves following me around and helping me with whatever I'm doing. Then the next morning the kids all got busy painting them.

John star

Here's how you make them:

* Combine 4 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and 1 1/2 cups water in the mixer and knead for 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 15-20).
* Roll dough out and cut out with cookie cutters or use kids hands to make handprints (if you need to roll out dough a second time you can add a little water to soften it a bit).
* Use a straw to poke a hole in the top so it can be hung and prick with a toothpick to prevent air bubbles.
* Transfer shapes to a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour (times may differ depending on the thickness of the dough).
* Paint away!
* You can glue felt or cardstock to the back for a more finished look, then hang with a piece of string.

Boys painting ornaments

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A simple Christmas card display

I love getting Christmas cards from friends and family and am always trying to come up with a good way to display them. This was the solution this year. I ran two ribbons from the top of our pantry door to the bottom, using a flat thumbtack to secure them. Then I simply have to staple the cards on to the ribbon as they come. It doesn't take up counter space (which is very limited in our house) and makes it easy to see all the cards.


What do you do with your cards?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Painted block presents

I did these last year, but thought I'd share this idea again. Painted block presents. A fun Christmas decoration for a table, desk, counter or simply under the tree. They could also make a fun gift. All you do is paint a block of wood, sand the edges once the paint is dry to give them a distressed look, then cut a long strip of fabric to use for the bow. You can leave it like that or attach a wooden tag with twine. I really like the look of the fabric bow, I might just use that idea to wrap some of my own presents this year!


Friday, December 9, 2011

20-Minute Santa Hats

Last week, while John was at school and Joe was down for his nap, Dan suggested we (I) make some Santa hats. We had about an hour before John was going to get home from school, so I set to work and came up with a hat that could double as a hat to wear out in the cold. I had some fleece leftover from the kids Christmas PJ's, so I used that. It even came out looking somewhat Santa-ish, and I was finished with all 3 in 1 hour! Dan and Joe wore their hats for the rest of the afternoon and have worn them on many outings. Joe has even taken a couple naps with his hat on, so I consider it time well spent.


Read ahead for the tutorial...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Homemade Christmas Cards

Designing our family Christmas card is something I look forward to every year. In the past our cards have included a lot of cutting, gluing, time and energy (which, for the most part, is enjoyable to me). But this year, as a part of attempting to simplify every part of my life (something I'll write about in the future), I decided it's time to design a card that isn't going to take hours away from my time with my kids and husband. So naturally the answer was getting the kids and hubby involved! John drew the picture for the front of the card, I added the type and got them printed, all the kids helped color the fronts, and Pete helped stuff them one night after the kids had gone to bed. We also included a picture of our family and highlights from this year inside the card. The kids each colored a few every day for a couple weeks (thankfully they all really enjoy coloring!) until they finally got burned out. But they colored enough so that at least all our close family and friends could get a personalized card. And while they colored I was able to address all the envelopes. It was fun helping everyone feel apart of our card giving this year. And nice for me to not have to spend so much time on them. Success!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas pancakes

This isn't anything glamorous or new, but my kids sure had a fun time doing it! It was John's idea to use our cookie cutters to make the pancakes into Christmas shapes. One way to make breakfast fun and festive.

Joe woke up after the other kids were pretty much done, so he was the lucky one who got to eat all the edges and remnants. He didn't seem to mind :)
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