Living Laughing And Creating

Loving Life On A Budget

Weekly Favorites 12/27/2013

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas! I’ve posted a lot of favorites over the past few weeks, but this week you will find out what I made for my family, friends, and neighbors for Christmas. I find things to make for Christmas and birthdays throughout the year. If I see something I know someone will love, I pin it on Pinterest and make a mental note to get started on that project. I love making homemade gifts, especially when I know the recipients really love them.

As I stated in a previous post, I wasn’t in a baking mood this year. So instead of cookies, the neighbors and some friends received a snowman with hot chocolate and chalkboard coasters. Some close friends received ruffle scarves. I didn’t take pictures of those, but they turned out cute.

Chalkboard Coasters                                 Hot Chocolate Snowman

Coaster Directions:
Hot Chocolate Snowman Directions:

I have a friend that loves anything Mickey Mouse. When I saw these ornaments, I had to make them for her!

Mickey Mouse OrnamentsI made this tote for my sister-in-law. This was the first one I tried that turned out really well. I tried to make myself one, but it’s waiting on a visit from my seam ripper. Now that I know how to make one successfully, let’s hope I can fix mine to be this pretty!

Tote BagI made this beautiful shell wreath for my mom, since she loves beach items. I picked up these shells last summer while I was there and bought the starfish at the little gift shop. I used a straw wreath form and covered it with burlap, then I added a pretty burlap bow.

Shell Wreath

I made my husband a holder for his thumb drives, because they are everywhere! He actually asked for one that would hold 12, so I came up with this design. Since I wasn’t able to find how to make these online, I plan to put together a post on how I made this one soon.

Thumb Drive HolderI also made him a blanket from all his old polo shirts. I found this tutorial to be helpful in understanding and planning this project. My sweet friend embroidered his initials on one of the blocks for me. I think that really added a nice touch to this blanket.

Polo Shirt BlanketFinally, I made my dad a pallet wood coat hook. My husband was putting the hangers on the back on Christmas Eve morning right before my dad arrived. Needless to say, I had no time for pictures before wrapping it! I distressed it with yellow and green paint, because my dad’s a John Deere kind of guy. It looked really nice when we finished it.

My plan is to take a break from making gifts and get my craft room painted and organized. However, I already have birthday gifts to make! 🙂

Leave a comment »

Christmas Cards 2013

A few months ago, I decided not to do picture Christmas cards this year. I have sent picture cards the past two years with cute pictures of my dogs. This year I wanted something different. I began searching Pinterest, and this card caught my eye.

Christmas Card

This card spoke to me, and I knew this was going to be my card this year. During one of my many trips to Hobby Lobby, I found the brown cards, a stamp with a nice saying for the inside, some twine, and three festive pieces of scrapbook paper. I decided I didn’t want all my cards to look exactly the same, so I picked four different shaped ornaments and used three different patterns of paper. Here is my end result.

Christmas Cards 2013They definitely took longer than designing a card online, but they were worth the time. Merry Christmas! 🙂

Leave a comment »

Weekly Favorites 12/20/2013

Having great neighbors is truly a blessing. I may not get to spend a whole lot of time with the people who live around me, but we all have an understanding that we can call anytime if we need anything at all. That is a special relationship that I am very grateful to have. I’ve had to call a neighbor to make sure I had put my garage door down since we were going to be gone for a week. I’ve been called to help care for a small child who had been stung by a wasp. I’ve even been called to go feed a fish that a child forgot to feed before they left for a vacation. There may be weeks that go by without a word from a neighbor, but we can always pick up conversations like we just chatted the day before. I can honestly say I love my neighbors. At Christmas, I like to give my neighbors a little gift to show how thankful I am for them. Here are a few items I found that I think would be great gifts for special neighbors.

Baked goods are always a nice choice around the holidays. I opened my front door earlier this week to two cute kids holding cookies. If that doesn’t make your day better, nothing will! I like to make snicker-doodles, chocolate chip, and decorate sugar cookie cut outs. Rolo turtles are also very good, and one of my favorites.

This year I’m also planning to try this recipe for Eggnog cookies. It’s not Christmas until I’ve had eggnog, and the thought of using it in cookies just makes me happy.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Eggnog Cookies | Cooking Classy

Some years, like this one, I decide to forgo all the cookie baking for neighbors and make something else. If you are not in a cookie baking mood, here are some other options.

I made these for my husband last year, and they were a big hit! They are cute and easy to make. This is something I plan to put together again in the future. They are just too cute not to make!

Ornaments make nice gifts for neighbors. They are simple, but can be personalized based on interests. I found this link for 39 ways to decorate glass ornaments a couple weeks ago. It’s a great place to start!

I think this is a unique gift that offers variety throughout the year. I like to change things up in my house based on the seasons, but I sometimes don’t have time to do a whole lot. This can be changed quickly and bring a seasonal touch to any room. I just might have to print these for myself!

Oven Mitt and Hot Pad DIYThis is a great tutorial on how to make the oven mitt and hot pad. It’s a simple yet practical gift.  When you cook every day like I do, it’s nice to have several of these floating around so they can be rotated and washed. This is another one of those sewing projects I’m going to make for myself this year. While I’m at it, I can make extras for gifts!

Hopefully you have already finished shopping and crafting for this year. If not, I hope you found something here you like. Most of these ideas can be made quickly, which is great for those last minute folks! 🙂

Leave a comment »

Gingerbread Man Pillow

Not only have I been crafting like crazy to get all my Christmas gifts finished, I’ve also been working on a fun project with the kids in the after-school program. Yes, this will be our third week working on this project, but the kids have really enjoyed it. I found this gingerbread man pillow on Pinterest a couple months ago.

One of my goals with our arts and crafts time at school is to teach the kids some basic sewing skills. So they learned how to sew on buttons and how to blanket stitch over the past couple weeks. The kids have done very well, but they are having the most trouble keeping their needle on the thread. They are getting better though! I’ve learned it takes about three class periods of an hour to get this project finished. One of the girls came in twice last week, so I have one of 11 gingerbread men finished! Here is how her’s turned out.

Gingerbread Man Pillow

Isn’t he cute? All we had were the big buttons, so we opted to draw on faces. I think they still turned out great! I have two days left to get the rest finished, so I’m hoping that happens! This was a great project to do with the third through fifth graders, and I would definitely recommend it for that age group. They are at the age where you can show them what to do and they can do it on their own. I spent more time helping get needles threaded than anything else. This is a great project that the kids really enjoyed and they are turning out really cute!

Leave a comment »

Weekly Favorites 12/6/2013

I can’t believe we have less than three weeks until Christmas! I’ve been in full gift making mode for the past couple weeks. I’ve seen a lot of great ideas this year and wanted to devote this week’s favorites to a few of those great ideas. Since I know a good friend reads this, let me assure you that no one will be receiving these items from me this year. I plan to do a post on the items I made for this year’s gifts, but this isn’t it! Now, if you haven’t decided what to make for certain friends or family yet, here are some items to consider.

DIY Wood Slice Ornaments


I fell in love with these wood ornaments this week! I will be making some of these this year. I love that they are so simple yet they can be completely customized. Pictures, names, dates, or anything else you can think of can be painted onto the wood. Or you can also use vinyl like they did in the pictures.

I saw this several months ago and thought it was too cute! This is a perfect gift if you have lots of lady friends to buy for and just want something small and cute. It’s also great if you don’t have a lot of time to do a ton of crafting. The Mistle Toes card for the top is a free printable on the website! This is a very cute and convenient gift if you are short on time.


I would have never thought to monogram a candle, but it looks very nice! Everyone likes candles, so this is one of those safe gifts that are great to give. This would also be a nice hostess gift if you are heading out to a Christmas party.


These are natural room scent jars. They are a little different than any gift I’ve ever given, but I liked this unique idea. I plan to try it out, but as always I have more craft projects going than I have time to complete!

Next week I plan to share some of my favorite homemade gifts for kids! 🙂

Leave a comment »

Christmas Decorating 2013

I’m a big fan of traditions. I think that has a lot to do with my personality, but I especially love holiday traditions. I can tell you that on Thanksgiving, we will enjoy a delicious meal then decorate for Christmas. When the tree is up, we enjoy dessert and watch Christmas Vacation. That’s just the way it goes, and I love it! I refuse to let myself watch Christmas movies until Thanksgiving, because I believe that we should enjoy Thanksgiving before preparing for Christmas. This year, due to unusual circumstances, I put up our tree the Saturday before (gasp!). I can honestly say I wasn’t in the mood to decorate so decorations this year are not what they usually are. I did discover I had bought blue and silver ornaments, garland and ribbon on clearance last year, so I left the red and gold stuff packed up and opted for something different. Christmas Tree 2013

I just realized this picture makes my tree look like it’s leaning. It’s really not leaning. As it turns out, I just can’t take a picture. I learned how to make the bow by following this tutorial. The blue and silver will do for this year, but I plan to make some ornaments throughout the coming year in order for my tree to have a more homemade look next year. I know my tree looks pitiful without a skirt, but that is not an option at my house until Christmas Eve. My dogs think the skirt is one of their blankets since it’s on the floor. This can mean bad things for my tree, so having no skirt is for the tree’s protection.

I also have this subway art framed on our end table. I put mine in a black frame and it looks really nice. I love that she also offers this in several color choices. If you want to add something different to your decoration routine and don’t have a lot of time, this would be perfect. All you have to do is print it and frame it!

If you have been procrastinating, start decorating! There is only three weeks until Christmas! Or if you are in the same boat with me, finish making those gifts! 🙂

Leave a comment »