Wrap It Up! Easy Candy Cane Gift Bag Closure

So, are you in the midst of wrapping up your holiday prep or just getting started? Either way, here's a simple and inexpensive gift wrapping trick that I use every year. You don't even need to know how to tie a bow;)

Use lunch bag style gift bags (or even plain or white lunch bags) and candy canes to wrap small gifts or treats. Average or thin candy canes work the best. I don't think the thick ones would work very well. You will also need a hole-punch and scissors.

Make It: Snowy Christmas Wreath Shadowbox

Follow this easy how-to that I shared last month on Landeelu.com, to bring a snowy Christmas wreath inside for the holidays.

Free printable and faux snow make an adorable Christmas shadowbox.

Around our house, we often start decorating for Christmas over Thanksgiving (or at least that's when I think about it). More often than not, the first things to go up are the wreaths on the front of the house. I've always loved the look of the traditional green and red wreaths against the grey and white of our house. And, once snow starts to accumulate on them, it's almost picture-perfect:) I snapped some photos during a pretty snowfall a few years ago, and I used one of my favorites to put together this Shadowbox to add to my holiday decorations this year.

Make It: Easy Rudolph Garland

Crafting and decorating are fun and popular activities this time of year, but it's often hard to fit it all in! Here's a festive garland craft to add to your Christmas craft repertoire that takes less than 30 minutes and is so easy, the kids can put it together for you!

Supplies Needed for Paper Rudolph Garland Craft

  • Brown Card Stock Triangles
  • Pinch Clothespins
  • Google Eyes
  • Red Pom-poms
  • Jute Twine (length of garland)

Easy Pumpkin-Shaped S'Mores

If you're looking for a quick and and easy treat for Halloween or perhaps your Thanksgiving Kids' Table, these Pumpkin-Shaped S'mores I shared over on Landeelu might be just what you need.

S’mores are a favorite of mine, and this cute sweet and salty version goes together easily with a few ingredients and a microwave. Wrap them up in little cellophane bags for a quick and easy party favor for any fall event.

Free Fall Photo Download

Autumn is such a beautiful season, but it passes far too quickly. In fact, we woke up this past week to our first taste of winter, and it's not going to warm up any time soon! It's even colder today with temperatures in the single digits. Brrr.

Even though winter white has replaced the array of fall colors out my window, I can't say I'm ready to say goodbye to fall just yet. So, here on the blog, I hope you'll indulge me if we let autumn stay around just a little longer.

Exciting News to Share!

Hi Friends!

I have some exciting news to share! One of my most favorite creative DIY bloggers, Landeelu has a new Team of Contributors, and I get to be a part of it! Some of you might already know that Landee announced her team earlier this month, but if you haven't heard, you can meet the whole team here.

My first Contributor post went up this week. Come visit me over there and learn how to make Pumpkin-Shaped S'mores. They couldn't be any easier! And while you're there, explore all of the creative goodness that is Landeelu.

Thanks for stopping by today! Happy Halloween!


Back to School Apple S'mores

Hello! Can you believe it's Back to School time already? Our oldest headed back to college today and the other two start school tomorrow.

I came up with this quick sweet and salty treat in honor of the season. They'd be fun at any fall event, maybe even after a day of apple-picking:)


Join Me over at the {Hello Summer} Event


I am super excited to be participating in the {Hello Summer} event over at i heart naptime today. A HUGE Thank You to Jamielyn and crew for letting me join in the fun!

Come on over and check out my Color-wrapped Mystery Braid Bracelets. While you're there, check out all of the other fun posts in the series! There are soooo many fun ones, you might have to "pin" some of them for later:)

Thanks for stopping by today! See you over there!

P.S. In even BIGGER news, my oldest is no longer a teenager! WHEN did that happen? Happy Birthday DJ!


Sunny Summer Slush

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that this Sunny Summer Slush is one of my favorites. When we were growing up, my mom would make this yummy frozen treat for us on some of the hottest summer days. I made up a batch for my family just this week. Gather up your ingredients and pop a batch in the freezer so you're ready for the next heat wave!


Just Bloom: A Daisy of a Post & Free Photo Download

Recently I visited my sister's wildflower garden, camera in hand. It was a great place to practice with camera settings and composition. Read on for some tips and a link to summery printable wall art.

Free printable wall art. Great summer decor update!

The daisies have taken over a bit, as you can see, but I think they made for some striking shots. I thought I'd share some of our favorites here.

Experiment with camera settings and composition.

Flowers in the garden provide countless opportunities for exploring composition. And, since flowers don't look away, frown, or need snack breaks, there's time to try out new or varied camera settings too!

A shallow depth of field in photos can create that blurry background everyone seems to love.

Did you see how this shot changed? Similar composition and perspective, but the depth of field is much shallower. I like the painterly quality that the background took on.

Last-Minute July 4th Flag Jars

Combine cute mason jars and small American flags to add an easy patriotic touch to summer entertaining. Group several for an easy centerpiece or line several up on your summer mantel.

 Mason Jars and U.S. Flags make simple July 4th decorations

I don't know about you, but it's like summer has been on fast-forward. The 4th of July is only two days away. How can that be?

Easy DIY: Surprise in a Can Grad Gift

June isn't very far off, and around here that means Graduation Time. Cash and gift cards are popular gifts for grads, but sometimes I like to wrap them uniquely rather than using a traditional envelope.  If you're looking for something a little bit different for your graduation gifts this year, give this a try. It's sure to get a smile out of the recipient:)

UPDATED FOR 2015 (includes an option with NO YEAR)---Print It: Surprise Can Gift Wrap 2015

What You Need:
Fruit can with pop-top lid (unopened)
Can opener
Double-stick tape
Paper shreds or other filler
Cash gift or gift card
Congratulations Graduate Can Label (Get yours here)

Start by removing the bottom of your can (I used a 20 oz Dole fruit can). Use an opener that breaks the seal and doesn't leave a sharp edge. (Save the fruit for lunch!) Wash and dry both the can and the lid. Remove the fruit label.

Print and cut graduation label. Wrap around the can and secure with double-stick tape.

Make It: Hand-Stamped Pendant for Mom

What mom wouldn't enjoy receiving an adorable hand-stamped washer pendant made just for her this Mother's Day?

Easy jewelry DIY! Make a stamped pendant for Mother's Day.

With Mother's Day coming up, I thought it would be fun to design a new washer pendant for the occasion. I'm sharing the how-to here today.

Make It: Egg-cellent Crayon Cookies

Crayon cookies are a fun and easy way to make dull or broken crayons new again. You've probably seen them before. We made our first batch of crayon cookies well over a decade ago (not to date myself or anything) after getting a copy of "Don't Move the Muffin Tins" by Bev Bos. Since then we've made them several times, including in heart shapes to give out as Valentines. We might've even done some Halloween shapes one year for a non-candy classroom treat.

So, call me crazy, but when I spotted this Easter Egg shaped cookie pan, I immediately thought crayons not cookies!

What You Need:

Egg-shaped baking pan
Crayon pieces


Make It: Beach Vacation Memory Jar

It's Spring Break time and I thought it would be a great time to share my Beach Vacation Memory Jars. This is a fun project whether you're documenting a recent trip or have a little vacation sand stashed away from a past trip. If you're at the beach right now, even better! Looking out our windows here, a beach getaway sounds fabulous!

Sand and shells in small photo-topped jars.

We're at home this break, but we've been fortunate to take beach vacations in past years. With more snow in the forecast for the end of the week, I thought it would be fun to share a few favorite spring break photos from past trips and a fun keepsake project.

Here's how to put together your own beach memory jar.

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Supplies Needed for Beach Vacation Memory Jars

  • Jar with Cork Stopper (I found mine in the Target Dollar Spot, but here's a link to a similar vintage-style glass jar with a cork stopper.)
  • Large Paperclip
  • Printed Vacation Photo (Mine's about 3"x4")
  • Sand, Shells, or other small vacation mementos
  • Embellishments (optional)


Make It: Burlap & Grommet Spring Bunting

Happy Spring!

We still have a decent amount of snow and ice around, and I am getting anxious for some spring color! It's going to be a while before we get spring colors outside, but here's a project to brighten things up inside. I found some fun spring twine and some burlap ribbon at Michael's the other day. The colors were just too fun to pass up, and it was the inspiration for this easy Spring Bunting.


Super Simple ShamRock'n S'mores

Looking for a festive green treat for Monday? Try this super simple microwave s'more! They go together quickly and easily with just a few ingredients.

What You Need:
Graham cracker squares
Large Marshmallows
Wilton Candy Melts (green)
Pretzel Sticks (stem)

Make It: Hammered Metal Shamrock Pendant

Recently I came across One Artsy Mama's Hammered Wire Coffee Mug Necklace. Check it out, if you haven't seen it. It's darling! Since I've been wanting to make a pendant for St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd give a Shamrock a whirl using the same process she did. I'm pretty happy with how it came out!

Green Wire Hammered and Shaped into a Shamrock.


Print It: You're the "Kool"-est Valentine

With Valentine's Day just a week away, I'm remembering the scramble to decorate boxes and bags and make sure that each kid had Valentines for all of their classmates. For a few years there, it was quite the undertaking!

Kool-aid drink pouches plus simple printable card make easy diy Classroom Valentines.

Printable Kool-Aid Pouch Valentines

I thought I'd share an easy diy Valentine idea with you today, just in time for the weekend. Add Kool-Aid Jammer's drink pouches to your shopping list, print out my "You're the Kool-est" Valentines, and gather the kids for an assembly-line! (Prefer Capri-Sun drink pouches? Check out You Are My SunShine printable Valentines.

Friday Art Fun! da Vinci-Inspired Sketchbooks

Introduce your child to a famous artist of the Renaissance, while making a fun personalized journal. For the cover, we created crayon resist paintings using a technique that made them look a little like worn parchment. On the inside, we added a bookplate with "mirror-writing".

What You Need

Composition Notebook or (other blank journal)
White paper
Black crayon
Watercolor paints & brush
Mirror-Writing Bookplates (download here)
Books or Websites about Leonardo da Vinci


Make It: Hand-Stamped LOVE Pendant

I enjoyed making and wearing the Hand-Stamped JOY Pendant that I made for the holidays so much, that I thought I'd try to come up with a similar design for Valentine's Day. If you're new to metal-stamping this little washer pendant is a fun beginner's project.

Stamped Valentine's Day Washer Pendant displayed on white lace doily.

Stamped Valentine's Pendant Tutorial

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

This little pendant goes together very quickly. Once it's stamped, there's very little to it!

Make It! Kid's Art Portfolio

Hello. Today I am sharing an easy art portfolio made from your child's art, some poster board, and tape or clear contact paper. You might even like to make one for each year. Good times are at the start of a new school year or around your child's birthday. Pick a time that works for you.

Supplies Needed for Kid's Art Portfolio

  • Artwork (for front of portfolio)
  • Solid-color Poster Board (cut to match front)
  • Colored Tape or Clear Contact Paper
  • More Tape or Cloth Bias Tape (for handles)

This project works best with larger flat art pieces. (I recommend 12x18 or larger.) If you don't have one large piece, have your child create a painting or drawing directly on poster board already cut to size or collage several smaller pieces onto some poster board.

Friday Art Fun! Painting with Primary Colors

Hello! Hello! Welcome to Friday Art Fun! I am so glad you're joining me for this new series. For this week, we'll be talking about COLOR.

The primary colors are red, blue and yellow. Those colors can be combined to make the secondary colors. I often like to start an art lesson with a children's book or two on the topic. Two of my favorites about COLOR are White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker and Mousepaint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Both have delightful illustrations that engage children while teaching them about mixing colors. A sure hit with younger children.

After reading together, provide white paper and red, blue and yellow paint. (For very young children, you don't even need brushes. Choose child-safe finger-paint and finger-painting paper.)

Make It: 3-D Valentine with Heart Bokeh Background

So, if you're like me and still have a tree and holiday lights up, why not get a head start on a fun valentine?! (Disclaimer: I'm not usually very quick to "undeck the halls," but this year I had a reason to keep them up.  We had one last holiday gathering left to host on Saturday...)

Every year I see many versions of a 3-D Photo Valentine, and this year is no exception. I thought I'd share our version with you today.

What You Need
  • Camera & Wide Aperture Lens
  • Heart-shaped Bokeh Filter/Hood (Buy one from PhotoJojo here or make one here)
  • Background Draped with Mini-Lights (a lighted Christmas tree works well)
  • And, if your subject is a child, grab some flowers, a teddy bear, a doll, or anything to stand in while you check settings and take some practice shots. Save your child's patience for the real thing, trust me:)
  • 4x6 print of Your Favorite shot
  • Small scissors or craft knife
  • Valentine Pencil (or other treat for the finished Valentine)
  • Cutting mat or something to protect your work surface

Happy New Year! & Top Posts of 2013

Hello Friends! Happy New Year!!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday week. I took a short break from computer work and blogging for family time. After a nice Christmas Day, we rushed our oldest out the door to return to school for a warm weather basketball trip. We were fortunate enough to schedule vacation to meet at his destination  and see his team in action.

The trip to sunny CA meant a little extra family time between games and a nice break from the MN deep freeze! But despite the cold, I'm happy to be home.

Blogging and social media were new for me last year. I really enjoyed sharing and connecting with such a creative online community! Here are my most viewed posts of 2013:

Rudolph S'mores / Santa Ornament Yarn Craft / Gobble 'em S'mores / Wrap It Up! Printable Rudolph Gift Tags / Make It: Had-Stamped Joy Pendant

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