Sunday, December 17, 2017

Easy Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Handmade Christmas Ornaments, what sweet gift to give during the holidays!  I decided to make a few different ornaments this year.  One was for an ornament swap I participated in over on Instagram.  Pop over to my IG (ddcamp170) to see what ornament I received.  The other two ornaments below were just fun to do and I'm sure I'll find a good place to use them.
Not only would they make a fun gift, but what a cute embellishment they would make to your Christmas gifts.

I knew I wanted to use cinnamon sticks in my project because I already had so many of them on hand from creating my Hot Cocoa Station. You can read about that in my last post by clicking right here.

Anywhoobs, the one I'm going to show you how to make is a cinnamon stick Christmas Tree.  Easy! 
Its pictured above.

You will need the following items to recreate my tree:

Fabric of your choice (I used Fat Quarters)
6" Cinnamon Sticks (Mine were short so I glued two together)
Twine (for hanging)
Buttons to match your fabric
Hot glue gun and glue (use low temp)
First I made several "rag" strips of fabric.  To make these, make a small cut to start the fabric so you can tear it down to the other end. These need to be at least 9" long and about 1/4" wide.
I glued the twine on first to the back side of the cinnamon stick.  If you use your glue gun on low temp, you can use your thumb to smash the twine into the crack in the stick.  Not necessary though.  Let it cool completely.
Tie each piece of fabric using a square knot (Right over left, then left over right).
Keep going until you have about 13 strips of fabric on the stick.  Make sure you are pushing them up to keep them tight and scrunched together.
Now flip it over and add the button on top with a bit of hot glue and then trim the fabric on each side until it resembles a Christmas tree.  I used red and green, but you could certainly use all greens for a more tree like look.
Here is a another cinnamon stick tree.  Its even easier than the last one was.

You'll need the following items:

6" cinnamon stick
Garland Ties
Fabric scraps
Hot glue gun and glue (low temp)

First add your hanging twine just like before.  Now add your branches (garland ties).  Cut four pieces that measure at 4 1/2", 3 1/2", 2 1/2" and 1".  Hot glue on your branches to the cinnamon stick.  Now add tiny strips of fabric tied in one knot and glue to the tree on each "branch".
And the last one is my fabric yo-yo tree.  I've made these in the past to give as gifts so when I signed up for the ornament exchange on Instagram, I knew I wanted to make one of these.

You will need the following items:

Fabric of your choice
Tiny Jingle Bell
Pine branches (for the base)
Needle and thread
Yo-yo makers or round object to trace around
Hot glue gun and glue (low temp)

Different sized yo-yos will get the graduated tree shape you're going for, so you will need to make several different sizes of yo-yos in different fabric patterns.  I have 9 layers on this one, but you can use lesser amounts if you'd like.  After making all the yo-yos, I like to tack them together by running a string of thread (up the center) from the largest to the smallest and then end with the tiny bell.  Next I add a tiny bit of hot glue in between each yo-yo to help hold the shape.  Next I tie the hanging twine on right below the top yo-yo.  Lastly add the trunk and base with hot glue.  My honey cut the real pine branches for me using his chop saw, you can use a hand saw too.  We sanded them to make them smooth.

There you are, three different handmade ornaments that you could whip up and give as gifts or add to your gifts for embellishments.  Hurry, you still have time! *wink*

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
The Dedicated House  - (I was featured)

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cocoa Station for Small Spaces

Yum!  Hot Cocoa in the Winter is the best!  It's especially good if you have a cute little cocoa station to make it even more fun!  It makes it very convenient for anyone who wants a hot cocoa to serve themselves anytime.  Everything you need all in one spot.
This is the very first time I've created a cocoa station in our home and we love it.  It's located on the left hand side of our sink in the kitchen.  It's a perfect spot for all the yumminess we need for hot cocoa to be for the winter.

Just use what you have, but I used lots of my Pioneer Woman collection dishes to house each ingredient and also just to decorate with.  Of course I added some of my vintage collection in there too.
The tiered tray holds most of the goodness.  On the top I have cinnamon and sugar, marshmallows and candy canes.  On the lower tier I have some Land O Lakes specialty cocoa mixes, Pirouline Cream Filled Wafers and extra mugs.  Those cute white mugs are from Dollar Tree and yall, they were only $1 each and they are nice heavy mugs.
We also have the soft peppermint sticks (they melt quickly in the hot cocoa), chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon sticks, and a few varieties of mint candies.  I got most of these edible goodies at Dollar Tree. 
Off to the side there is a large bowl with a variety of extra hot cocoa packets.  We keep the cream topping in the fridge of course, but its there if anyone "needs" it! *wink*
Do you keep a cocoa station out in the Winter months? If so, what ingredients to keep on hand?  I'd love to hear your ideas.
If you're hosting a holiday party this year, you may want to create a cocoa station of your own.  I think this would be cute for any Winter holiday party, baby shower or bridal shower.  Cocoa stations are just plain FUN to say the least!

Here's a homemade Cocoa Mix that's fun to give as a gift in mason jars:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Place all ingredients (except chips) in a blender or food processor, pulse a few times, this makes a fine powder so mixing all ingredients together is easier.
  2. Serve the hot chocolate with one cup of water or milk, its your choice. Stir in two or three tablespoons of the mix, top with whipped cream or marshmallows and enjoy!
  3. Drink up! :) 
P.S.  If you're giving as a gift, tie the chips in a cute bag to the jar with a tag that includes this recipe on it.

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
The Dedicated House  - (I was featured)

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

How to Create a Gorgeous Holiday Mantle on the Cheap!

You don't have to spend a lot on decorations to make your home look beautiful this holiday!  Try shopping your own home to see what you have before spending loads of money on holiday stuff!
I spent a total of $6 on our mantle this year.  I bought the two candles at the Dollar General on Black Friday for $2.50 each and I found the "Merry Christmas" sign at the Dollar Tree for $1! Bargain!  All the other items you see here I have collected over the years.
I knew I wanted a lit garland on the mantle, so I went to our Christmas goodies to see what we had.  I grabbed some twinkle lights and faux garland.  The garland was really long so I folded it in half and twisted it a bit to hold it.  Next I wrapped the lights around it to hold it all together.  Our mantle is a little over 5 foot long, so this was just right.
Next I shopped my stash of holiday picks.  I've saved these from fresh wreaths we've had in the past and my Mama saves things for me too. *wink*  I also went to my craft supplies and grabbed a ribbon and some baker's twine.  You'll see why shortly.

I placed the garland with lights up on the mantle and made sure the lights still worked after I "man-handled" them to get them wrapped up on the garland. Next I added my sign. Looking cute so far!
Then I added my sweet little bargain candles that smell delicious!  I just sat them in a vintage plate for added charm and protection.
Now to decorate the garland.  I used this method of making little poofs so I didn't waste too much of my ribbon.  Cut your ribbon to size (depends on what look you want) and then tie the end with a small piece of twine to hold it all together.
Now you're ready to tuck them in here and there and everywhere.
I just placed them around the garland and then stepped back to see if it looked even to me. Anything YOU like is fine!
Next I just grabbed my floral holiday picks and started tucking them in here and there.  Again, no right or wrong here, just make it look the way you want it to.
I tied a regular bow for the center of the mantle and I added it right above the sign.  I made mine with long streamers so they could come down and tie the sign in to the whole set up.

Keep adding your picks and poofs until its just the way you like it.  I would just add a few things and then step back and see if it was all even looking and then go on from there.
Do you see the "cute" vent peeking through and disturbing my pretty mantle look?  Those are for when we use the fireplace, but that is rare because we live in Texas yall and its not normally cold enough for a fire, but anyways.  I thought of a way to "cover" them up.
I added a plastic plate charger that I got from Walmart a few years ago.  You can usually get these for $1 in most places.  Shop your stash yall!  Also, if we want to use the fireplace, I will just remove the chargers and we'll be good to go.
I snapped several pictures for this post and when I looked back at them all I could see is the little vent peeking through and looking at me!
And now you're just glowing in the back ground little vents! Um, no!  Let's fix that right now!
BAM!  No more vents peeking through!  Thanks for your service $1 chargers!  Of course all of this is temporary and when the holidays are over you can just take it all down and save it for another look some other year.

Want to see more Christmas Ideas?  Click on the links below.

Vintage Tablecloth Curtain - The Christmas Version

How to Make Stove Top Potpourri

Countdown to Christmas with Free Printables

Peppermint Pretzel Bark - A Sweet Little Gift 

Clothespin Snowflake Ornament

DIY Vintage Christmas Decor

Christmas Shutter Decor

Clothespin Christmas Tree

Our Front Porch Tree

How to Wrap a Gift

Our Burlap Forest

Twig Snowflake Ornament

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
The Dedicated House  - (I was featured)

Pin It!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How to Clean Your Fridge Coils

When was the last time you cleaned your refrigerator coils? Yeah, it's been a while huh?  Did you know that you can save yourself money by keeping the coils clean? Yes! When everything is clean in there your fridge doesn't have to work as hard, this results in the fridge using less electricity. Yay!
Refrigerators are expensive and if you can help it last as long as possible by keeping it dust bunny free, by all means, let's do it!  Let me show you how I clean my fridge coils.
We have fur people who live in our house so I pull my fridge out about once per month and clean behind it, but I don't open the back and clean inside more than about twice per year, so about every six months is good if you have pets and once per year if you do not.
I walked out the shop and got into the honey bun's tool box to find 1/4" nut driver, that's the size our fridge takes.  The old fridge we had just had phillips head screws on it.
Step 1.
Make sure the electricity is OFF to your fridge.  Unplug it or flip the breaker switch.  I unplug mine, because that way I'm sure its off!

Step 2.
Remove the back cover.
Oh boy! It's gross in there isn't it?  Well, now you know that mess is costing you some extra dollars on your power bill, so its best to keep it clean!

Oh yeah, let's get up close and personal with all those dust bunnies living in there!  Eeeewww!
Step 3.
Grab your shop vac and while using a slim lined tip, vacuum all those dust bunnies out of there!  Be careful of your coils, you do not want to damage them and ruin your fridge. That would be bad!
After I have everything vacuumed out of there, I take a damp paper towel and wipe the remaining dust off of where I can reach.  Again, be very careful when wiping down each part because all these little bits and pieces are what make the fridge work properly.  You want to keep them all in tact.

Don't worry if you can't get all of the dust off of everything, your fridge is already breathing better by now anyway.
Tah Dah! Looks so much better now!  I'm pretty sure I can hear her breathing better too!
While I was at it, I went ahead and cleaned up all the other fridge neighborhoods that were housing the little dust bunnies.  This is the side that's up against the cabinet.
This is all the front bottom vented area of the fridge.  The vent itself just snaps right off.  First I vacuumed all the fuzz off of it then took it into the bathtub for a wash down.  Next I grabbed my shop vac again and removed all the fuzz hiding in under there. Yuck!
 Next, I used my handy Clorox wipes to wipe all the spills and splashes down.
Before and After!  So much nicer now.  Looks new again! I sure do love a clean kitchen yall and when its deep cleaned, its even better!
Alrighty then!  I bet you'll want to go check your fridge now to see if you have giant fuzz balls living in there like mine did!  It just takes a quick thirty minutes to save yourself lots of money on your energy bill and who doesn't like to save money? I know I do!

While doing research I discovered THIS COIL BRUSH (click here) and I'm ordering one now! It will make cleaning the coils so much easier!

Would you like to see where else I had dust bunnies living in my house? Click on link below.

How to Clean Your Return Air Vent

And below are even more of my cleaning tips:

Cleaning an HE Washer with Household Products

Remove Hard Water Buildup Naturally 

DIY Carpet Cleaning 

Cleaning Your Hairbrush the Easy Way 

Cleaning Your Oven

Cleaning Your Sink's Spray Nozzle

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
The Dedicated House  - (I was featured)

Pin It!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Holiday Ombre Pinecone Wreath

Gather up some pinecones, I've got a pretty holiday idea for you!  I'm going to be honest, this is not one of my quick and simple crafts that I normally like to do.  It's a bit of a chore, but its so worth it!
I came across this wreath idea via BH&G (Better Homes and Garden) and I "needed" one too!  It was not only beautiful, but it was a perfect color scheme for my freshly painted front door.
My Mama has two giant pine trees in her front yard and at almost any given time you can gather up quite a few pinecones for crafting.  We happen to have several bags full because I'm always "going to make something" with them and then I don't.  Sound familiar?

If you have just picked up your pinecones, you may want to de-bug and fully open them, see how by clicking here.  I've had mine for over a year so they are all open and buggie free!
You will need the following items to make your own wreath:

18" Grapevine Wreath (I usually get mine at Goodwill or thrift stores)
Lots of pinecones (I used 42), the smaller the better.  The larger ones are harder to work with.
Spray Paint - Colors of your choice.  I used three colors, Aqua, Destiny and Silver Fox but more is fine too.
Hot glue gun
Glue sticks
I picked out all the small pinecones I had, but I did end up using some of the larger ones because I needed more in the end.  I ended up having three different paint sessions because I kept needing more pinecones.
Here are my paint colors.  The Aqua I already had left over from my thrifty lamp makeover.  You can see that post by clicking here.  The other two, Destiny and Silver Fox, I picked up at Lowes for about $4 each.  To be honest the Valspar paints are really pretty and all but the sprayer button itself needs some revision.  It's extremely hard to press down and get to start spraying!  Not even joking when I tell you my forearm muscle is sore after using them.
Here is my set up for painting.  I set up on our work bench and I laid down a big piece of cardboard so I didn't get paint all over everything.  You could also use a drop cloth or plastic.

NOTE: Please wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself.  The mask is a definite necessity because you DO NOT want to breath those paint fumes into your lungs.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you how hard it is to use a hot glue gun and snap pictures all by yourself, but to assemble your wreath, start out with one color of pinecones adding them to your grapevine wreath here and there and then go on to the next color and so forth and so on until you have your wreath looking the way you want it.....three paint sessions later even! lol!

Please click here for the BH&G video tutorial, its awesome!

It looks like Piper is standing on her head here, but she's actually playing with a piece of pinecone that fell to the floor as I was hanging the wreath.  Anytime I start taking pictures, all the kitties show up, especially Piper!
I really love how the wreath looks on our freshly painted blue door!  If you haven't read my post on Painting a Paneled Door you can click right here.  Its easier than you think!

The best thing about this wreath is that we can leave it up all Winter long! Yay!

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
The Dedicated House  - (I was featured)

Pin It!