Dough Ornaments

Here, on Katy Elliot's blog, is a great tutorial on how to make your own ornaments.  They are beautiful and cheap.  I made a few of these as a kid and loved the whole process.  Somehow the ornaments above turned out better than my attempts asa  kid, though!


Recipe: Crockpot Roast Beef and Gravy

It is the day before Thanksgiving and I thought I would share an easy recipe to make when you don't have much time...

Crockpot Roast Beef and Gravy

2 lb. Stew Beef (uncooked)
1 packet Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
1 large can Sliced Mushrooms
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and heat on low for 8 hours.  Serve over rice or egg noodles.


Get Cooking Week

My Christmas 2007 Mantle

Get Cooking Week
November 22-28
  • Address Christmas cards
  • Stamp and put together Christmas cards
  • Write notes to any "special" family members for cards
  • Start prepping for cookie baking and put together shopping list
  • Find any cookie recipes to try
  • Determine gifts for people
  • Buy baking goods for cookie making


Christmas Cards

Mailed out for Christmas 2007

It has been a Christmas tradition of mine to create my own Christmas cards to mail out every year.  I have been doing them for about 8 years now.  Some of them were hand created and others computer created.  Last year I bought cards to mail because I had a two month old baby and couldn't find the time to be creative while he napped.  This year I created cards again using a program online at SeeHere.com.  It was not really from scratch like I used to create them, but the site does let you pull the elements on that you want to use and move them around.  It, also, let's you use photos and crop and manipulate them.

The best part was that I ordered 50 prints for free, using a special offer good through Nov. 30th. from Freebies 4 Mom.  Click here if you want to use the deal.


Felt Trees

via CB2

I found these cute felt trees at CB2 for $4.95 to $9.95.  You can buy them here.


Gift Wrapping

via Real Simple December 2009 Issue

Real Simple Magazine has a lot of great gift wrapping ideas in the December 2009 issue.  I especially like the giant button idea.  You can view the options online here.

I, frequently, utilize twine, ornaments, and bells to decorate my packages and set them apart.  I collect many of the items after Christmas and save them for gift wrapping season for the next year.  It's amazing how cheap you can buy ribbon and bows after Christmas.  Target slashes prices to 90% off by the second or third week of January.  Then, when I open up my stash, it's a surprise all over again to look at the great items that I got for a steal  the year before.


Giving Week & Holiday Music

 I just found the AccuHolidays website yesterday and they have great options for listening to Christmas music online.  They have a number of stations to choose from or you can create your own list of artists that you can listen to.  Click the photo to go to their website.

The Holiday Lite is a tried and true Chicago station that plays a mix of new and old Christmas music.  Click the photo above to go to their website and listen to the live radio feed.

Here's my To Do List this week:
Giving Week
Nov 15- 21
  • Put Christmas cards together
  • Do a quick declutter of home
  • Verify gifts purchased up to this point
  • Schedule boarding for animals for Christmas
  • Begin making gifts
  • Begin making decorations
  • Purchase needed Holiday Clothing
  • Purchase any needed items for gift crafts
  •  Purchase any needed items for decorating crafts


Paper Snowflake Table Runner


A couple of years ago I saw a tablecloth that had been made out of paper doilies.  It has stayed in my head and I decided to do my own version as a table runner.

Paper Snowflake Table Runner

  • 1 roll 12" white tracing paper (found in drafting section of craft store)
  • 1 pack (20) large paper doilies
  • 1 pack small paper doilies
  • Scizzors
  • Spray Mount

  1. Fold and cut the paper doilies to create snowflakes
  2. To flatten creased snowflakes, lay a few heavy boks over them.
  3. Cut trace paper to length desired.  (I allowed the runner to overhang my table and creased the runner at the table edge to get it to lay nicely.)
  4. In a well ventilated environment (that's also spray mount/ sticky proof) spray one side of a snowflake and place on paper runner.  Repeat until you get the desired look.


Christmas Albums

via Amazon  

I have a personal tradition every year of buying one Christmas CD to add to my collection.  I think I'm going to buy Carpenter's "Christmas Portrait" this year.  You can preview it here.

Here are some of my favorite Christmas albums:
Do you have any favorite albums that I should consider?


Best Children's Book

Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.  Little, Brown. $16.99. 

The New York Times has released there 2009 Holiday Gift Guide here.  One of their categories is "Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2009" and it includes the above book, which I've been hearing about for a few months now.  I think that might be my book purchase for one of my son's and it's only $9.93 at Amazon.

I was a big fan of Aesop's fables as a kid and really enjoyed reading my illustrated book that has since gone missing.  I would love to pass on my joy for these stories to my son.


Oh, Deer

This is a cute ceramic deer that I found on Etsy.  It's a but pricey, but so cute.  Don't you just want to pick it up and hold it?  You can find it at Art Mind's shop here.

As shopping comes into full swing for Christmas gifts, I am going to keep this in mind for each person:
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read
  • Something they want
  • Something they need


Paper Wreath

I ran across this tutorial to make a beautiful paper wreath.  I have already purchased my door wreath's from a local church, but I think this might be a great craft idea for over my fireplace and in a large size.  I might even think about doing it in a square form and if I have the time to create this I will post pictures!


Vintage Holiday

I love vintage cards and design.  I found a stash of childrens' prints a while back and I ended up framing a couple of them for my son's room.  I think that there are tons of ways that you can use vintage holiday prints, too.

A great resource is available in Vintage Printable and they have a section on Winter Holidays here.  All of the images are within the public domain and free to print.

I think I will print out a few and make gift tags with them.  Another option is to print a few out and make decorative seat assignments for my holiday table setting.

Christmas Jar

This is a new tradition that I want to start this year that I saw on Mom Advice.
  1. Find any jar or vase and decorate it..
  2. On pieces of wrapping paper, create an activity to do each day and tuck it inside of the jar.
  3. On December 1st, begin the ritual of drawing from the jar and completing the activity for the day.
A few ideas for activities:
  • Make cookies for a neighbor
  • Shop for items to be donated to a Food Pantry
  • Have a board game night
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Drive around looking at lights


Favorite Recipe: Pesto Pinwheels

Pesto Pinwheels

1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1/3 cup purchased pesto
1/4 cup chopped purchased roasted red bell peppers
Marinara Sauce
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Unroll dough into 2 long rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Spread rectangles with pesto to within 1/4 inch of edges; sprinkle with bell peppers.
  3. Starting at shortest side, roll up each rectangle; pinch edges to seal. Cut each roll into 8 slices. Place, cut side down, on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 13 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm with Marinara Sauce.
I have a love for pesto and crescent rolls; this seems to be the perfect marraige of the two.  Still tastes good when it has cooled, but really good when warm.


Letterpress Gift Tags

These gifts tags are so delicate and cute.  I can easily picture them on a red and white polka dot wrapped gift.  You can purchase them here.

As a side note...I would really love to learn the art of letterpressing.  Unfortunately, there are no classes in my area.  Does anyone out there have tips or no of good ways to learn?


Bauble Garland

I really like the idea of creating a pretty garland out of leftover ornaments.  I have ornaments I don't use on the tree every year and I end up putting them into a bowl; this idea is much more creative.


Get Organized Week

I create a binder every year for my organizational Christmas items.  The calendar above is one I created using a Microsoft Office template found here.  I tweaked it a little bit and put it at the front of my binder so that I can scribble things to remember on it.  You can see that I have noted days to do some baking.  If I don't put them on the calendar I will easily forget them.

I, also, have a weekly "To Do" list and that list starts this week.  I will be posting my list every Tuesday, but the idea is to actually get most things done before December so that I can relax during the holidays.  This list really helped me out as I was on Maternity Leave last year.  It was hard to focus on anything except my little boy, but this list helped me stay a little grounded.

Get Organized Week
November 4-10
  • Update Christmas planner
  • Update Christmas calendar
  • Update Christmas card addresses and locate missing addresses
  • Finish up needed home improvements
  • Christmas photo for cards
  • Buy postage stamps


Ornamental Tradition

Wedgwood Vera Wang 2008 Baby's First Christmas Ornament- buy here

As a child, my mom always bought an ornament for me every year for Christmas.  It was fun to decorate the tree and look at each ornament with the dates on them and the tree began to fill up as the years progressed.  The funny thing is that I have a few Snow White ornaments because pickings were slim back then.  It was always a trick,as I got older, to find an ornament relevant to what I had been doing that year.

A couple of years ago my mother-in-law gave me a box of my husband's annual ornaments, but I haven't been doing anything with his ornaments or mine.

I bought my son his first ornament last year (pictured above).  I look forward to finding him an ornament this year, too.  I think I am going to start a new tradtion that I will pull out the ornaments from my box and my husband's box that correspond with our son't age.  We can showcase all three ornaments together!
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