Make and Give // DIY You + Me Pennant Pillows

Felt is my new favorite sewing material. Geez this stuff is easy! I’m a total trial-and-error seamstress, so I wasn’t sure how this was gonna go. But I’m now forever…

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Felt is my new favorite sewing material. Geez this stuff is easy! I’m a total trial-and-error seamstress, so I wasn’t sure how this was gonna go. But I’m now forever a fan of sewing felt and I want to make these little You + Me Pennant Pillows for everyone I know. Let’s give it a go!

Materials

  • felt in two colors
  • pencil
  • sewing machine and materials
  • scissors
  • iron
  • batting

Make Time: 1 Hour

From your felt, cut two pennant flags of the same size, in different colors (one for the front and one for the back of the pillow). Choose the color you’d like the writing to be, and cut out your words in that color. I freehanded them, because I wanted them to look kind of natural. Place them on the flag that will be the front of the pillow to decide how you’d like them to be arranged. Also cut out a long rectangle, about an inch wide, and as long as the side edge of your pennant flags. Iron all pieces.

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Using a straight stitch, sew the rectangle onto the side edge of the front flag, leaving about a 1/2-inch hem. Pin the words to the flag and sew these down as well. I sewed a straight stitch down the center of each letter, as though I was writing them in cursive with the sewing machine. It was slow going but definitely doable. You’ll need to pick up your presser foot and readjust your fabric often — just be sure that when you pick up the foot, the needle is inserted in the felt so that you don’t lose your place. (Unless you’re fancy and have a sewing machine that does embroidery. Then go to town!)

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Once the letters are sewn on, place the two flags together with right sides facing. Sew a straight stitch around the border, leaving a 1/4-inch hem. Leave about 2 inches open on the side edge of the pennant.

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Flip the pillow right side out by bringing all of the material through the hole you left. It helps to push the corners through with a pencil or similar long, thin object. Once it’s flipped right side out, stuff with batting. (The pencil is helpful here, too, to get the batting all the way down to the point of the pillow.

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Once it’s stuffed, sew up the hole with a hidden stitch, tie off, and trim your threads.

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Team You + Me! I love it! And obviously this one is so simple to customize — you can make it say any ol’ thing. (How cute would it be with holiday words like Jolly or Merry?) Make it and give it. xoxo

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pennant-pillow11P.S. Head to This Little Street to enter today’s 24 Merry Days giveaway!

24-17

 

Make & Give // DIY Cement Gem Ornaments

It’s back! I’m so pumped to start up the Make and Give series again for the 2013 holidays. I loved giving so many handmade gifts last year, and I hope…

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It’s back! I’m so pumped to start up the Make and Give series again for the 2013 holidays. I loved giving so many handmade gifts last year, and I hope some of them came in handy for you, too. This year I’ve brainstormed up another batch of affordable, easy, super-cool DIY gifts for everyone on your list, from dudes to kids to your best friend. Up first? DIY cement gem ornaments.

Materials

  • silicone gem ice trays (I found mine at Muji but there are similar ones here)
  • Cement All
  • disposable cups
  • popsicle sticks or another disposable stirring tool
  • measuring spoons
  • water
  • eye pins
  • needle nose pliers
  • baker’s twine
  • plastic wrap

Make Time: 15 Minutes plus one hour drying time

Start by prepping your materials. It’s important to have everything ready to go once you start mixing the cement, because this stuff dries fast. The gems can be made with either an eye pin in the center to make it into an ornament, or no pin to make it a decorative item. If you’d like ornaments, bend 1/8″ of the end of your eye pin at a 90 degree angle, using the pliers. Set these aside. Rip off a small section of plastic wrap and set aside as well.

In your disposable cup, measure 12 tablespoons of Cement All (water to cement ratio is really crucial, so I recommend leveling off the tablespoons). Then measure in 3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon of water. Stir immediately and vigorously, being sure to get rid of all dry chunks of cement.

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The mixture should be a bit runny (kind of like the consistency of a Jamba Juice!). Start pouring into the molds immediately. Using the stick as a spatula to get the cement neatly into each mold helps quite a bit. As you pour, put the popsicle stick down into each mold and ensure that the cement gets all the way to the bottom with no bubbles. Take the stick out and pour one last bit on the top of each mold to create a smooth surface.

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If the tops of your molds are not as smooth as you like, you can set the plastic wrap down over the top of them, smooth, and remove. This should be done within about 2 minutes of pouring. Again, as soon as you pour this stuff, it starts to harden.

Finally, insert the eye pins if you are making ornaments. Insert the bent end first, rotating as you insert so that the hole it makes is as small as possible. Sink the pin up to just below the eye.

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Set the molds aside to dry for one hour. At the end of an hour, remove the gems and break off any extra jagged bits around the top. (FYI, I left one batch in overnight and had a heck of a time getting them out the next morning. I recommend a prompt removal unless you want to go to battle with your mold tray.) If you’re making ornaments, tie a loop of baker’s twine through the eye.

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That’s it! I promise it’s not difficult — I just tried to give as much detail as I could, as I learned a couple of tricks along the way. The cement is surprisingly easy to clean up and really fun to work with once you get the hang of it. I included these little ornaments in the gift bag for the West Elm event I did recently and people loved ’em! And I love that they can be ornaments, gift toppers, decor, or just about any old thing. They’re great to make in big batches, so give them to everyone you love. xoxo

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cement-gem12P.S. Head to You Are My Fave to enter today’s 24 Merry Days giveaway!

24-16

 

12 Days of Kindness Printable Calendar

I know everyone’s a fan of advent calendars during the holiday season, but I’ve been working on a different kind of calendar that I think you’ll love. I’m calling it…

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I know everyone’s a fan of advent calendars during the holiday season, but I’ve been working on a different kind of calendar that I think you’ll love. I’m calling it 12 Days of Kindness, and it starts today, the first of the 12 days of Christmas! For each day, there’s a little card that you can choose. Each card has an act of kindness on it — some are big, some are small. Now, I know that for some of us the holidays are just too jam packed to fit in one more thing. And maybe you won’t be able to get to every card on the calendar. But my hope is that it encourages us all to spread just a bit more kindness during the holidays, in a generous and loving way.

You can get the free download right here, along with directions on how to put it together (it’s pretty simple and took me only about 30 minutes to assemble). We’ve got ours taped up on the wall and we’re pretty excited to spread some joy. Happy holidays! xoxo

DOWNLOAD 12 DAYS OF KINDNESS

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DIY Giant Pinecone Garland

Are your halls decked? If you need a little extra something to holiday-ify your house, here’s a little project with a big wow factor. My dad recently went on a…

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Are your halls decked? If you need a little extra something to holiday-ify your house, here’s a little project with a big wow factor. My dad recently went on a pinecone hunting expedition for me, up near our family’s cabin. I was expecting him to come back with your average, run-of-the-mill pinecones. But he came back with the biggest pinecones I’ve ever seen. Like, ever. So I strung them together into a giant pinecone garland. You don’t necessarily need the big ones, but if you have ’em, you might as well use ’em.

Materials

  • oversized pinecones
  • drill with small bit
  • eye screws
  • strong, clear, non-stretch bead thread (I like Fire Line)

Make Time: 1 Hour

Start by drilling a starter hole into the top of a pinecone. Insert the eye screw into the drilled hole.

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Cut about 2 feet of bead thread and wrap it around the bottom few scales of another pinecone. Wrap tightly and secure with a double knot, leaving a tail of a few inches on one end and the rest of the thread on the other.

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Thread the long end through the eye of the screw in the first pinecone. Then pull it taut and wrap back around the second pinecone, over the place you previously wrapped it. Ensuring that the thread stays taut, tie off with another double knot and snip the ends.

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Now that you have two pinecones strung together, repeat the process and make your garland as long as you like!

I can’t get enough of this thing, and I’m already planning how to store it so I can bring it out again next year. If you’re planning on hanging it, just be sure that you hang from something that can support its weight, as it can get a little heavy. Also, my dad gave me the expert advice that if you need to get pitch from the pineconese off of your hands, a little WD-40 does the trick. Who knew? Have fun! xoxo

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pinecone-garland6P.S. Head to Seventy Nine Ideas to enter today’s 24 Merry Days giveaway!

24-13

 

Family Recipes // Merry Christmas Cookies

When my sister, my cousins, and I were little these cookies were all we wanted during Christmas at Grammie’s house. She would bake a whole bunch and let us frost…

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When my sister, my cousins, and I were little these cookies were all we wanted during Christmas at Grammie’s house. She would bake a whole bunch and let us frost and decorate them (I would always load mine up with sugar crystals like it was my last day on Earth). They’re not like a traditional sugar cookie — they’re a little less sweet because of the honey in the recipe. But they taste to me like being a kid at Christmas, and they’re a perfect project if you have little ones around who’d like to help out. So if you wanna try Grammie’s Merry Christmas Cookies, follow along!

COOKIE INGREDIENTS

1/3 c soft Crisco
1/3 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 c honey
1/4 c butter (room temp)
1 t vanilla flavor
2 ¾ c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt

Mix shortening, sugar, egg, honey, butter, and vanilla thoroughly. Blend flour, soda, and salt, and stir into shortening mixture. Once well mixed, refrigerate until cool. Remove from refrigerator and knead with your hands until the dough is soft enough to roll out smoothly and without cracking. Roll to about 1/4″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes.

Put shapes on a piece of parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Bake approximately 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep a close eye on them, though, as oven temperatures vary and these bake very quickly. I like to take mine out just before they begin to brown. Makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters.

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ICING INGREDIENTS

1/4 c milk
2 1/4 c powdered sugar

Mix milk and sugar and whisk gently until the mixture becomes thick. Separate into a few containers and use food coloring if desired. Gently smooth icing onto cookies using a knife, spoon, or spatula. (Add decorations if you’re feeling festive!)

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Mr. Lovely made the comment that these are cookies that get better with age, and I agree! I love them the day after they’re made, when the icing and the cookie have a little chance to rest and get more delicious. Oh, and if you’re wondering, the forest animal cookie cutters came from IKEA. (There’s a moose, fox, bear, snail, porcupine, and squirrel. So cute.) Have fun! xoxo

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P.S. Head to Mer Mag to enter today’s 24 Merry Days giveaway!

24-11

DIY Geometric Holiday Garland

I’ve got one more holiday DIY for you over at iVillage today! We’re doing a new take on the geometric paperfold garland, this time with cubes that look like teeny…

garlandI’ve got one more holiday DIY for you over at iVillage today! We’re doing a new take on the geometric paperfold garland, this time with cubes that look like teeny tiny presents. There’s a free downloadable template, and you can customize this fancy little thing with your own colors and sizes. It would look perfect on a mantle, or strung around a tree if you really want to go to town. Head over and find out how to make it! xoxo

 

DIY Monogrammed Stockings with West Elm

Yay! I finally get to share our DIY monogrammed stockings from the West Elm workshop! I made these for Mr. Lovely and myself, and I just love looking at them…

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Yay! I finally get to share our DIY monogrammed stockings from the West Elm workshop! I made these for Mr. Lovely and myself, and I just love looking at them and knowing that they’ll be part of our holiday traditions for years to come. If you’re looking for a new stocking for a friend or family member, I have just fallen in love with the choices from West Elm. Add a little DIY monogram, and it’s just perfect.

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Materials

Make Time: 1 Hour

Print out the alphabet templates on cardstock. Decide on the letters and fonts you’d like to use on your stocking. I really love the look of combining the two fonts! Cut out the letters you will use from the cardstock.

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Place the letters ink side down on the felt and trace carefully around them with the ball point pen.

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Cut out the letters from the felt. Be careful to cut slowly and precisely — the more precise the cut, the more clean and awesome your stocking will look!

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Once the letters are cut out, arrange them on the stocking until you’re happy with the configuration. (This is the fun part!)

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Spread a thin layer of E-6000 on the back of the felt letters using the cotton swab. Be careful not to use so much that it squeezes out when you lay the letter down on the stocking. Adhere the letter to the stocking. If more glue is needed, gently pull up a piece of the letter and apply more until you feel that there is a sufficient amount.

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Let the letters dry thoroughly, then hang on your mantle and wait for Santa to come! Be sure to check out the workshop wrap-up post for more ideas. xoxo

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westelm5Event photos by Mary Costa Photography.

P.S. Head over to Studio DIY to enter today’s 24 Merry Days giveaway!

24-9

 

DIY Animal Place Card Holders

My sister and her husband have started a new tradition of hosting a big dinner at their place on Christmas day. This year, I’m going to convince them that they…

placecardsMy sister and her husband have started a new tradition of hosting a big dinner at their place on Christmas day. This year, I’m going to convince them that they desperately need these little animal place card holders for the big event. I mean, if a little golden woodland creature was at my place on the dinner table I’d be pretty happy about it. This simple DIY is over on iVillage today for their 30 Days of HoliDIY, so check it out for the full tutorial! xoxo