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December 22, 2011


Remember this post?

Two down.

Three to go.

I don't think I can make it...why does Christmas always come so fast?

December 20, 2011

Homemade Gifts-- Cowboy Christmas Cookies in a Jar

We started a tradition of passing out cookies in a jar to our neighbors and my husbands co-workers each Christmas.

Usually I make Julia's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies-- but after 4 years I got tired of making them.

So I searched around for a more fun recipe.

Enter Bakerella.

She has a fantastic site full of beautiful, yummy looking treats.

I was eager to try her recipe for Cowboy (or cowgirl) Cookies this Christmas.

 They turned out awesome!

Here's what I had left after husband took 7 to work this morning. 

December 16, 2011

Homemade Gifts-- Scripture Case with Handle

Last week husband and I had a rare date night where we could drop the kids off at church and go Christmas shopping without them.  2 whole hours just us (and the baby-- we're not quite ready to let her go yet) to be without the boys.  We debated on just having a date or going out to see a movie.  But finally decided maybe we really ought to go out and get some Christmas shopping done.

We thought together and planned a fun list of items we wanted to get the boys.  Then my husband decided it would be a Great idea to get the boys their own scriptures with their names monogrammed on the front.

Among the toys we purchased we picked up two brand-new, monogrammed scriptures for each boy.

As we were walking out the store my husband suggested, "And why don't you make them their own scripture cases, too.  They'd love that."

I reminded him of the other 15  projects I wanted to get done before Christmas, but this one quickly jumped to the very top of my list.  I made them each in about 2 hours.

I will tell you, though I did not start this project completely from scratch.  I checked the good ol' internet for some inspiration and decided I liked this tutorial by I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar best. 
 But I altered it, of course, because I wanted to add a handle.

All set for Christmas.  I can't wait to see what the boys think of them!

Click HERE for your own Scripture bag pattern-- only $2.

December 13, 2011

Homemade Gifts- Mod Podge Ornament

I'm sharing today another gift I made in 2009.  For all the Grandparents and Parents they got a--

1. Paintable Wooden ornament (Dollar section)
2. Paint
3. Scrapbook paper
4. Photo (with a sepia filter)
5. Mod Podge

I bought five of these wooden ornaments with the purpose of painting them into something cute for the parents and Grandparents-- but at the time of purchase I didn't know what I was going to do with it.

I started where I usually like to start projects-- Paint. 

The last step to this project was cutting out the paper and photos and mod podging everything together.  I would mod podge a layer, let it dry-- repeat.

After Several (SEVERAL) layers of mod podge and hours of drying it was all done.

December 12, 2011

Homemade Gifts- 3 - in- 1 Game.

A couple years ago I undertook a Massive Christmas present idea to give to everyone in the family.  This was back when we gave gifts to each of my siblings. (Last year we decided it was time to draw names and just give to one family.  There are six siblings in my family so it started to get expensive to give to everyone + all their kids.)

However, in 2009 I decided to make each family a 3-in-1 card game using everyone's photos.  Have you ever noticed that Old Maid, Go Fish, and Memory are all basically the same game concept with slightly different directions?

1. Storage tins
2. Two photos of each person
3. Scrapbook paper for the back of each photo
4. Lamination
5.Printed off of directions

Back when I was just beginning to think about this project I found these tins from the dollar section at Target.  Score.

One of the biggest parts of this project was gathering everyone's photo.  But through blogs and visiting houses, I got everyone.  I did parents together and all the kids on their own.  I also decided to take the extra step to label the names, "Mom and Dad" for each family and "Uncle XX and Aunt XX" for all the other families.  So that was a little extra work, but I'm really glad I did it. 

I printed two photos per 4 x 6 page.

I had all my photos printed through Shutterfly, using a 50 prints free coupon (which helped a ton).

Once I got the photos back I used a paper cutter and cut out each photo and mod podged some scrap-booking paper on the back.  I gave each family a different color so I could easily keep track of which pictures belonged to which family.

After all the photos had paper on the back I took them to Office Max and had all them laminated.

Isn't this card funny?  My husband took several pictures of me attempting to be the Old Maid-- but it just wasn't working and I couldn't get a grumpy old lady face on.  He sat in the rocking chair and told me, "Here, do something like this."-- SNAP-- got his photo and we ended up using his photo instead of mine.

After the cards were laminated I made a sheet of directions to add to each tin.
(Right click on the image to save, and print on an 8x11 page to get the proper size)

This was a great gift and everyone really loved it, it did, however, get a little taxing when I multiplied the project by 6.  But I'm really glad I went to all the effort, because it has been a fun game to play with everyone.  And for the little kids it's a great game to play to learn everyone's names.

Linked in!

December 8, 2011

Christmas Tree-- Pt. 2

I shared Christmas Tree-- Pt. 1 with you yesterday.

Here we are today taking another look at our tree.

First, we have to start with our Angel.  Isn't She lovely-ish?

 I made her our first Christmas together as a married couple.  We needed something for the top of our tree and I quickly sewed up this lovely lady with scraps of fabric I had laying around.  

Each year we put her on top laughing at what a strange-looking Angel she is.  We've actually been on a 6 year hunt for a Star to grace the top of our tree.  A very specific star, mind you.  One that only my husband can identify as being the right star.  We look every year for a star that fits just the right description-- but so far have not found anything that meets his requirements.  So each year, our Angel takes her place.

Anyone know a good place to find a Star?

Moving on.

One of the traditions I REALLY love from my husband's family is the idea that each child gets an ornament that signifies something important from the last year.  I love that idea, it makes each ornament so meaningful.

Here's some of my favorites:

Some of my Favorite of my husbands:

Some of the kid's Favorites:

Isn't that a fun tradition?

The ornaments are passed out two days before Christmas.

December 7, 2011

Christmas Tree-- Pt 1

We got our Christmas tree up on Monday night.

It made for such a wonderful evening to watch Mr. Krueger's Christmas and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir DVD while putting up all our Christmas decorations and getting the tree all ready.  We talked together about the birth of Christ and sang songs.

Everyone was in a very happy, jovial mood as we got the home ready.

We turned off all the lights, sat down as a family and admired the view.

Every thing looked beautiful and peaceful...except for one thing...


Hmm, after further debate we decided the lemon tree was just too much being decorated-- not to mention it probably could not withstand the weight of all those heavy lights.  It's slightly a wimpy tree.  
Though I love it Very much!

So the next day we were back to just the Christmas tree with lights-- just a little more peaceful.

December 5, 2011

The Flipping, Christmas Advent Calendar

First off, Welcome Family Ever After readers!

I was very happy to be a guest blogger (my first) there this morning, where I shared a sneak peak at my latest creation:

AND, I would like to clarify my title it is a "Flipping" Christmas Advent Calendar-- because it literally flips back and forth.  I did not mean it to sound like some crazy thing Napoleon Dynamite would say, "Flippin' calendar-- gosh."

Okay, glad we cleared that up!  

I spoke a bit about what (or who) inspired me to make this calendar on the Family Ever After blog.  So, now I'll get right into HOW to make this Advent Calendar.

1. Green fabric
2. Green Felt (I used a darker green and a lighter green)
3. Red embroidery thread
4. Felt in every color
5. Black fabric marker
6. Other items you'd like to add to your calendar squares (ribbons, buttons, pipe cleaners)
7. Craft Glue
8.  Two packages of Stick-RZ Felt
9. Stampin' Pastels (if wanted, or chalk)
10. Printed off of pattern pages 1 & 2

FIRST, Print off page 1 and page 2.

 (Right click on the images to save, and print on an 8x11 page to get the proper size)

Tape them together so they look like this.

Now we're going to get the tree ready. 

I cut out 14 dark green and 11 light green squares.

Next we place all the felt on the backside of the tree fabric so we can trace out (with fabric chalk) exactly where they're going to be (for when we cut out the square shapes). 

I was going to sew my tree with right sides together, then slip them inside out for a more finished look.  But since the squares are so close to the edge I knew I couldn't do that.  So I sewed the top fabric onto the felt with unfinished edges.  Still wishing I had a serger.... 

This looked a bit messy, until I stitched a blanket stitch around the edges with the embroidery thread.  Then it looked much better.

Here's how to do a blanket stitch: 

 Here's a look at each of my Calendar Squares:
I made each piece by cutting out felt and gluing it on with craft glue.  Sometimes I added pipe cleaners, buttons, or ribbons to complete the look.

I used a black fabric marker (fine tip) to draw on the eyes and others details to the felt.  

When I was a teacher we were often given surplus supplies from the generous company Stampin' UP!  I picked up this Stampin' Pastels kit back then and have used it a few times over the years.  I was excited to pull it out again for my squares.

Ooh, almost done....
 I bought two packages of these peel and stick stickers, but I knew I still wouldn't have enough 2s and 1s. I had to make five extra 1s, but only one extra 2.
 Really, really almost done.  Last step, sew the trunk together and sew it onto the Christmas tree.

 And will you indulge me for a minute as I point out THREE things I really like about this Calendar?
1. No extra candy for the kids to eat each day.
2. Self Contained-- No losing extra pieces.
3. We are literally counting down to the birth of Christ. With baby Jesus being Number 1.
I had actually planned for the order to be different, with the Star being number one and baby Jesus resting under the star, but my husband pointed out that the true purpose of this calendar was to countdown to Christ's birth, so He should be first and Mary should be second.  After some consideration-- I agreed. 

This Calendar has been So much fun.  We all look forward to it each morning.

Linked in!