DIY Christmas Gifts – Idea #2

Reindeer Wine Bottle
My next DIY Christmas Gifts inspiration came from these Reindeer Rootbeers I found on Pinterest.

Paint a nice bottle of wine or sparkling cider for a non-alcoholic version and decorate it to look like a reindeer. Then attach one of these free printable tags to the bottle and you have a cute Christmas gift to give. There are two tag designs to choose from. The tag reads: “I don’t know if there’ll be snow, but have a cup of cheer…from this bottle of “wine-deer” or “ci-deer” depending on which version you choose.

Printable Wine/Cider Gift TagsClick Here to Print Gift Tags


Reindeer Bottle – Idea #2

What you’ll need:
Favorite bottle of wine or sparkling cider
Rubbing Alcohol (to clean the outside of the bottle)
Paint (craft or spray paint)
Pipe Cleaners (I used the pipe cleaners that have the “bumps”)
Pom Poms
Googly Eyes
Ribbon
Glue or Tape
Step 1- Clean the outside of the bottle with some rubbing alcohol and allow to dry.
Step 2- Paint the bottle using craft or spray paint. I used Anita’s Glossy Craft Paint in Chocolate and it worked well and dried pretty quick. I did 2 coats.
Step 3- Twist a pipe cleaner around the top of the bottle for each side of the antlers.
Step 4- Cut pipe cleaners in half to make the shorter antler pieces and attach.
Step 5- Glue or tape on the googly eyes.
Step 6- Glue or tape on the pom pom nose.
Step 7- Tie a ribbon around the neck of the bottle and attach the printable gift tag.

See Also:
DIY Christmas Gifts – Idea #1 DIY Christmas Ornament

DIY Christmas Gifts - DIY Christmas Ornaments

DIY Christmas Gifts – Idea #1

Is it just me or does it seem like everyone is feeling extra Christmasy earlier than usual this year? Even a plaza around where I live had their Christmas decorations up before Halloween. Now that is early!
Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving falls at the very latest it can this year. It’s 6 days later than last year and that much closer to December.
I try and wait until after Thanksgiving to start decorating and listening to Christmas music and I plan to do so this year -BUT – I’m starting some crafting and baking a little early. I have some great ideas for fun and inexpensive DIY Christmas gifts that I will be posting in the next few weeks. I will also be sharing some of my favorite recipes for Christmas cookies and other goodies.
To kick things off here is a DIY Christmas ornament that would make a great gift.

DIY Christmas Ornament – Idea #1

DIY Christmas Gifts - DIY Christmas Ornaments

What you’ll need:
Wooden Letter
Paint (Any spray paint, craft or acrylic paint would work)
Foam Brush
Mod Podge
Sandpaper or File
Sharp blade knife
Scissors
Ribbon or Embellishments
Scrapbook Paper or Wrapping Paper
Pen/Pencil
Step 1- Paint the wooden letter and allow it to dry. I spray painted mine but any craft or acrylic paint would also work.
Step 2- Lay the letter on top of the wrapping paper or scrapbook paper and trace the outline of the letter with a pen or pencil.
Step 3- Using scissors, cut out the outline of the letter, leaving a little bit extra around the edges.
Step 4- Using the foam brush, apply Mod Podge on the front of the letter.
Step 5- Line up the paper you cut and place it down on top of the letter. Try to get it as straight and even as possible, as you won’t be able to move it once you set it down.
Step 6- Gently smooth out any bubbles or ridges and coat with another layer of Mod Podge. Allow to dry.
Step 7- Trim the excess off the edges using a sharp blade.
Step 8- Carefully file down the edges with a piece of sandpaper or a strong file for a clean look.
Step 9- Coat the entire letter again with Mod Podge and allow to dry.
Step 10- Glue some ribbon or add embellishments to your letter.
Step 11- Tie or glue a ribbon on for hanging.

DIY Christmas Gifts - DIY Christmas Ornaments

Finished Ornament

Salt Dough Ornament Recipe

salt dough
I’ve been seeing salt dough ornament recipes all over Pinterest but most of them are for Christmas ornaments to hang on the tree. Halloween is just around the corner and I was feeling crafty and decided to make some Halloween decorations using salt dough.
I used a few Halloween themed cookie cutters to cut out my shapes and then painted them. If you didn’t want to make them into ornaments to hang you could just skip the step where you make a hole for hanging and use them in another way.
My Halloween salt dough ornaments are still a work in progress. I only had oil paints on hand (all my acrylic paint had dried up!) so I’m waiting for them to dry before I finish decorating them. Hopefully they will be dry by Halloween! I plan to use markers or paint pens to draw faces, add embellishments and do any detail work.

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The salt dough comes together quickly and with ingredients you probably already have on hand: salt, water and flour.
I used this recipe from Spoonful to make my salt dough ornaments and it worked well.
Since making these I have found another recipe using cornstarch that says they are even better than salt dough but I have yet to try it out. Maybe for Christmas I will try them out and compare.

Salt Dough Ornament Recipe

Recipe from: Spoonful.com1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Salt
1/2 Cup Water
Yield: I was able to make 11 ornaments but the yield will depend on the size of your cookie cutters.
1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2) Mix together all ingredients.
3) Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough comes together and starts to feel smooth and elastic. (I don’t think I kneaded my dough enough and some of my ornaments came out uneven so I would suggest kneading for about 8-10 minutes)
4) Roll out the dough to a uniform thickness, about 1/4 inch and cut out shapes.
5) Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment (I used parchment for easy cleanup).
6) Use a toothpick to make holes for hanging or skip this step if you don’t want to make ornaments. Move the toothpick in a circular motion to create the size hole you want.
7) Bake for 2 hours.
8) Allow to cool completely before using.
9) Paint, decorate and embellish your Halloween salt dough ornaments and hang them up for everyone to enjoy!

DIY Decorating Projects

dandelion_decals

Making Things Pretty

Sometimes you just need some decoration to liven up a space.
We’ve been in our apartment for almost two years now. (Wow time flies, I can’t believe it)
After cleaning up my desk and clearing out the paper clutter I got the itch to do some decorating. I needed some excitement in my office so I had something to look at instead of the drab tan walls. When I’m surrounded by color and artwork I feel more inspired and enjoy being in my space.
These DIY decorating projects can be used in any space but are perfect for decorating your apartment or rented space since they won’t cause any damage. They are also easy, super cheap and can be changed out anytime you’d like!

Wall Decals:

I found these cute wall stickers for $1.00 at the dollar store, of all places. I first tried them on the walls but since my walls are a textured tanish color it didn’t look that good. We have smooth white doors so I decide to put them on the door. It just adds that sparkle and whimsical touch. These decals are removable so it won’t cause any damage and I can move them around whenever I want.

dandeliondandelionsdandelion_decals2

It’s hard to tell but these decals are actually a metallic silver which you can see a little better in this picture below.

dandelion_decals3


Make and use your own artwork:

Above my desk I hung a puzzle that I put together years ago featuring a sunset over the water. In the corner of that I hung a painting I did one day when I was feeling creative. It has one of my favorite mantras on it. I took a plain canvas and stuck on vinyl letters and then painted over with different colors. Then I used a hot glue gun to create the raised dots and little flourish designs and painted over that. Once the paint was dry I peeled away the vinyl. I then filled in the letters with a coat of hot glue so it has a sheen.

office_artwork2office_artwork


Wrap your desk:

My extra work space is an old table that was really ugly and had paint and stains all over the top. I covered it with a bright and shiny wrapping paper to add some color and fun. The best thing about using wrapping paper is I can easily change it out to another design anytime!

covered_table

So now that you have some inspiration, go have some fun and create something, it’s good for your soul!

DIY Sweet Potato Dog Treats

My dog Finley loves his treats and he loves to chew on things. I always keep Nylabones on hand and occasionally he gets rawhide bones. The Nylabone Dura Chews are the only toy I have found that can stand up to his chewing.

Finley with his Nylabone

I came across this DIY dog toy that uses dehydrated sweet potatoes strung on a rope. Instead of stringing the sweet potatoes on a rope that he would just try to eat, I cut the sweet potatoes into coins and use them as homemade dog treats.

Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Sweet Potato Treats

Dehydrated Sweet Potato Dog Treats
1- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2- Thoroughly wash and dry the sweet potato.
3- Slice into thick coins. (They will shrink up so thicker is better)
4- Place coins on a baking sheet. (I lined mine with foil for easy cleanup)
5- Bake for 5-6 hours or until dried and hard. Flip over halfway through baking time.
6- Allow to cool.

Sliced Sweet PotatoesSweet Potato Dog Treats

Dehydrated Sweet Potato Dog TreatsDehydrated Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information see my Affiliate Disclosure.

How To Make a Wreath – Fourth Of July Craft

With July 4th coming up I wanted to make something fun and festive. I have quite a bit of tulle and ribbon laying around so I decided to make a wreath for our door. The same wreath making technique could be applied to any occasion by using different colors of tulle and ribbon.
fourth of july wreath
Step 1: Make a frame: I took a cardboard cake circle and cut out the middle for my wreath frame. A foam circle would work for this as well.
Step 2: Cut strips of tulle and tie them around the wreath frame with a simple knot.

july 4th wreath

Step 3: Cut a piece of coordinating ribbon and loosely wrap it around the wreath frame. Use a dab of glue on the backside to secure the ribbons’ ends.

july fourth wreath

Here is what the wreath looks like after tying the tulle strips and wrapping the coordinating ribbon around the frame.

red, white and blue wreath

Step 4: Loosely wrap another decorative ribbon around the red ribbon and secure the ends with a dab of glue. (I found the blue star garland at Hobby Lobby or you can get it here.)


fourth of july wreath

Step 5: Create a bow and glue it to the bottom of the wreath. (I used a little device called a Bowdabra Bow Maker and Craft Tool to make this bow though you could easily make it without). I also added a pearl gem to the middle of my bow for a little something extra.

fourth wreath

Step 6: Tie a coordinating piece of ribbon around the top of the wreath so you have something to hang your wreath from. Here is the finished wreath:

patriotic wreath

Homemade Baby Wipes

wipe solution

Finley wanted to be in the pictures today.

homemade baby wipes

Happy Friday Everyone!
Most of the recipes I have come across for homemade baby wipes require soaking a roll of paper towels in the wipe solution. While this is a good alternative to store bought wipes, I prefer to mix up the wipe solution and store it in a spray bottle. Anytime I need to use it, I spray however much I need onto a paper towel and use it just like a regular baby wipe.
I like to keep a spray bottle of the wipe solution on hand to use on my dog when he has dirty paws or I need to clean something out of his fur. It works great and I wind up using less this way.
Homemade Baby Wipes
1 Spray Bottle
2 Cups Water
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baby Wash
1 Tablespoon Baby Oil
Add ingredients to a spray bottle and shake.
Spray and wipe!

How To Skin and Toast Hazelnuts

Toasted Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts or Filberts are so yummy! I just bought a bag from our local health food store and toasted them up to help bring out their oils and enhance their flavor.

Skinning and toasting hazelnuts can be done on top of the stove or in the oven.

toasted_hazelnuts

Stove Top Method
Place the hazelnuts in a skillet over medium heat. Constantly shake or stir the nuts around to prevent burning. Once they start giving off an aroma and are slightly browned remove them from the skillet and place them inside a dish towel. Allow them to steam inside the dish towel for a few minutes and then rub them together vigorously. The skins should start to come off of the hazelnuts. It may take a good amount of rubbing for the skins to come off and it’s normal to have some skin remaining.

Oven Method
Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in a 325 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Try not to over-roast them as they will give off a bitter flavor. Remove them from the oven when they are slightly browned and place them inside a dish towel. Allow them to steam inside the towel for a few minutes and then rub them together vigorously to remove the skins.

Clean Makeup Brushes – DIY Cleaner

diy makeup brush cleaner

Before my wedding I went to the MAC store so they could help me choose a foundation that matched my skin tone. While I was at the MAC store they of course tried to sell me brushes and brush cleaner and all of their other products. I wish I had the money to buy all of that but it adds up quickly! I had some old makeup brushes from a Bare Minerals kit I bought years ago and also a cheap set I bought from Walmart. I had enough different kinds of brushes to do the job so I figured I would save the money there and I was sure I could clean them with some household ingredients.

Here’s a simple DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner Recipe:

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Tablespoon of Baby Shampoo
  • 2 Tablespoons Rubbing Alcohol

I cleaned out an old contact solution container I had and added this homemade cleaner to it. Now after using my brushes I just squirt this on and run them against a paper towel and voila they are clean. They dry fairly quickly too which makes this great to use after every application. I love things that are quick and easy!

Once a month, it’s a good idea to soak the brushes in vinegar and water and then deep clean them with baby shampoo. This will help prevent bacteria and build-up and will keep your brushes in good shape.