Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas and I hope you did too!! Here are some pics from our day and from the little self-photo session we had for Christmas cards :)

Natalie following along with the Christmas story in her new Bible. 
 Kelby listening patiently ;)

 This is what I do on Christmas:
My Aunt and Uncle got us a puzzle. I had just been wishing I'd gotten one to put together and there it was! The kids were so occupied with their Legos, I was able to do the whole thing while watching a couple of Christmas movie (Christmas with the Kranks is my favorite).

It was such a relaxing day. I can't remember another Christmas that was quite this low-key. I still made monkey bread (but a grain-free version for Natalie's sake) and we had a good dinner, but other than that, we ignored the mess and just relaxed.

A few weeks before Christmas, we decided we wanted to make Christmas cards this year, since we'd moved away and had several family and friends back home we'd like to send one to. I had a great idea for an outdoor photo shoot, but it was raining! Bummer. So we adapted and did it inside and they still turned out pretty cute :)

This was our card pic:

 The next is one of my fave pics EVER! Love it. And that was own idea too, no Pinterest needed, haha!

And now on to New Year's!! I'd like to make the New Year special for the kids somehow ... not by letting them stay up late, ha! But, in some other way and I'm not really sure how to do that. Any thoughts or ideas??

Monday, December 16, 2013

little mouse ornaments

Every year, I make little fabric ornaments for my friends and family, to attach to gifts, give as hostess gifts, or to neighbors who drop by. The first year I only made six, so only six people have the full collection. Now, I cap it at twenty. This little tradition has become such a favorite of mine! I can't wait to choose my ornaments each Fall and get started early.

This year I settled on little mice. I originally saw a similar design on Pinterest, but that link goes nowhere, so I drew my own pattern and changed the shape of mine.
They turned out pretty adorable! 
I took these pics after already putting half of them in gifts and in the mail! Glad I remembered before it was too late to photograph them with their buddies. 

Here's a glimpse of my ornaments from year past!

Last year:






Can you tell which year I acquired a better camera?? Haha.

Aw, I love looking at these! It's hard for me to pick a favorite, I have such memories attached to them all.

Since this is the only time I've drafted the pattern myself, I get to share it with you! I'll have a basic tutorial with the printable pattern pieces up for you in the next couple days!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Etsy love and what to buy for dudes.

First off, if your name is Casey and you are my husband, please read no further! xoxo ;)

Second, Etsy is the place to shop for husbands. Men in general, really. I'm tellin' ya. Type in whatever your man is in to and you will have options galore. Etsy is not the girlie/crafty site you may be envisioning. For Casey's birthday last month, I bought him the most awesome mug ever. He makes a White Russian every Friday night and so I searched for beer mugs on Etsy and found this:

I got his name etched onto it and being the huge Harry Potter fan that he is, he LOVED it. The shop is called Geeky Glassed and he makes other designs too, more H.P. ones, Star Wars ones, Game of Thrones, you name it. And, the quality is unbeatable, it is very sturdy!

I always shop for Casey's Christmas gifts on Etsy too. We normally only do stocking stuffers for each other for Christmas so it's the perfect place to find cool small things. Like these cool composer magnets, for example, from the shop SugarPlumRobots.

She makes tons of buttons/magnets, but being a musician, Casey will think these are super cool. Last year I got him a few composer action figures that he didn't have (yes, they're a real thing). Except for Bach! Bach is darn expensive! I'll get my hands on him one day, though.

Next up, I looked for more Harry Potter stuff and found these cool Hogwarts letter seals.
They're peel and stick and I can see him using these on his letters to his buddy Curtis, a die-hard Harry Potter fan. This shop is called Retromancer.

The next two things will not fit in his stocking, but that's ok, cause they're sooooo cool.

I typed in Star Wars and could not believe that I found the original Star Wars soundtrack ON VINYL!! and for a normal price too (some people get ahold of collector's items and try to pretend they're worth $100). This one was $25. It's a two-record set, from 1977. He is going to absolutely flip out. I found it in the JustCoolRecords shop and I favorited his shop because he has some other really awesome hard-to-find-at-Goodwill records. AND, he made it really easy for me to pay little extra for Priority shipping to make sure it gets here by Christmas.

Lastly, I got him this amazing piece of art from the shop Harshness. It's by far the coolest Millennium Falcon artwork I've ever seen.

If you have a Star Wars lover in your family, you should absolutely check out this shop!!! Great stuff.

That's all for now! What do you all buy for your husbands? Are they are hard to shop for as mine is? I'm so thankful for Etsy, that's for sure. It has made Christmas shopping for Casey sooooo much easier these last couple years. I get so excited for him to open his presents! He never asks for anything and can never think of anything he wants so I'm pretty much on my own. And he's extremely picky about his clothes, even though he has the most simplistic wardrobe of any guy I know--except maybe his Dad, so I guess they are two peas, haha! His t-shirts have to have that "certain feel". LOL! Feel free to add your shopping-for-men ideas in the comments!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Another gift idea for you! Homemade lotion bars

I have made no less than 20 of these lotion bars over the past few weeks. I have one sitting on my kitchen counter and we all use it and absolutely love it! I really love how it feels and smells and how it protects my skin.

Here is the recipe I used.

I already had the coconut oil and I've been building my collection of essential oils. (The oils are optional, they smell great without them too!) I bought the heart molds at Michael's in the soap isle--the three pack was $2.99. The shea butter and beeswax pestules, I had to order on Amazon. You may be able to find them where you live, but I couldn't.  So, I think in total, these gifts were somewhere between $30 and $40 to make, if I count the little plates I got at Goodwill to store them on. But that's for 20 gifts!! That's a lot. And I have enough ingredients to make more. They are fast to make and very easy. The even dry quickly.

Like I said, I searched Goodwill for little plates/glass coasters to present them on.

 I thought it necessary to explain, haha.

For the scent, I've tried lavender/lemon and orange/almond. I like the orange and almond the best! I added about 20 drops of each essential oil per batch. A batch made four of the molds I used. Also, you'd be best not bothering to wash your utensils between batches--that beeswax does come off, but it takes some time, so I just set my measuring cup and wooden spoon aside and used it for the next batch the next day.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Clothespin Magnets

I have a super easy and inexpensive gift idea for you today! You may have seen these around, but in case you haven't and are struggling for simple gift ideas this year, I thought I'd help you out ;)

They really don't even require instructions, all you need is clothes pins, Mod Podge and a stick-on magnet roll. I got a big roll at Michael's for $2.99 and the Mod Podge is about $6. I used a coupon for both and so this project cost me about $6 total. I already had the clothes pins, but those are super cheap too, and if you don't have scrapbook paper around, you'll need some of that too--although fabric scraps will work fine also!

I made three sets of four today, but I plan on making quite a few more! 
I will say that card stock weight paper works better with Mod Podge than the thin papers--I learned this when making the Barbie house last year! Fabric also Mod Podges really well, but will be messier--I would probably glue a larger than necessary piece on and then trim or file down with a nail file, rather than cutting the fabric to size first.
 I put a layer of Mod Podge on the clothespin, stuck the paper on (I cut the paper to size beforehand), then after that dried, topped with two more coats of Mod Podge. Typical decoupage method :)
 The magnet roll comes twice the width you'll need. I just cut it lengthwise down the middle and then stuck it on. They work great! Not wimpy, which I was worried about. Don't you just hate it when a magnet can't even handle a single piece of paper without sliding down?? Me too ;)

I plan on clipping these to a few iTunes cards for a few gifts and giving some as stand alone gifts too, maybe attached to a small card with a Christmas sentiment. I'd love to see yours if you make some!

How is your Christmas prep coming along? I seem to have more time to work on little projects this year and I'm feeling relaxed and ready (definitely not the case in years past), but I hope that if you're feeling the Christmas stress, you will start asking yourself which things on your to-do list are just not necessary. I know it feels like there are soooo many people you need to do for, but ya know what? People are more understanding than we give them credit for. Especially the people who love us ;)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Let's catch up, shall we?

Sheesh, I haven't blogged much lately. I'd apologize, but I blog without obligation, so...

Thanksgiving was so late this year, right? It makes Christmas seem like it's coming faster. I feel as prepared as I always do (ha). I have most of my gifts bought and most of my sewing done. Our house is decorated and White Christmas has been watched. Christmas with the Kranks is up next. Love that movie so much!!

This last week was so busy, in the greatest kind of way.

Casey's birthday was last Sunday.

The kids decorated. Parties are their love language ;)

We have some close friends from Colorado who also live in Virginia, a few hours away and they came down for Thanksgiving. We have always spent Thanksgiving with Casey's family so I was really missing them! Having friends here really helped the homesickness a lot. I'm thankful to have some loved ones on this coast.

We also celebrated their oldest, Andrew's birthday while they were here! These boys can really get into the Legos.

 Look at these cuties! Aw. Andrew got the Legos and then Ethan and Kelby built them, it was kinda funny.
Then! While they were here, we went down the street and took some pictures at this pretty little spot here on Fort Lee. It was the coldest photo shoot I have ever done, but it was totally worth it. Here are a few of my favorites.

 I think these two shots are soooo beautiful. The light was workin' for me!

I think that pretty much catches us up! We decorated for Christmas yesterday, and I did take a few pics but those are on Instagram. I'm on Instagram as nikkischreiner if you're interested in following me there. If you're on Instagram, do you have the A Beautiful Mess app?? Cause it was awesome before, but they just updated it and now it is SUPER awesome!

Right now my laundry room is piled high with Amazon boxes. I ordered gifts early this year and they are ready to be wrapped! And the gifts from both sets of grandparents have also arrived and waiting to be wrapped. So, if you need me, I'll be in a flurry of cute wrapping paper and vintage ribbons someone passed along to me for added cuteness!

Cheers :)