Sunday, December 15, 2013

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

I have been married for over two years and we have never had a Christmas tree, yikes! Now before you go judging us, our first two Christmas's we were students and spent most of our school breaks either in Oregon with my family or Colorado with my husbands. Having a Christmas tree didn't seem like a realistic option for us, especially a real one. This year I really wanted a Christmas tree, even though I will be gone for half of December, and finally gave in and bought a fake one on Black Friday. In preparation for getting our tree I decided I wanted to make a Christmas tree skirt. I had seen a bunch of different ones on Pinterest, but fell in love with a burlap and taffeta one. It took me a really long time to find the original blog that featured the skirt, but I found it and quickly went to work! I love, love, love how it turned out! Unfortunately my Christmas tree is a tad too big for it (it is also too big for my apartment, oh well). For the meantime it will work just fine, but someday when we move I will add a few more layers to it.

Hot glue gun
sewing machine (optional)
old tree skirt or material for base
3 yards of burlap
4 yards of red taffeta


1. Cut your burlap and tafetta into two or two and half inch strips. The tafetta is easy because you can make a small cut and then tear the rest of the strip (tafetta and most materials will tear in a straight line). The burlap is a little bit tricker, but not too bad. To cut burlap you pull a thread out of the burlap which will give you a guide for where to cut. Then take your scissors and cut away. Be sure and cut your material the long way.

See how that makes nice straight lines for you?

2. Ruffling your fabric strips. I didn't ruffle my fabric strips before hand, but if I were to do it again I would. To do this take your material and sew two basting stiches along one egde. Then take the two ends of the threads and pull on them until your material is ruffled to your satisfaction. OR you can sew a top stich along one edge of your material gathering it as you go. Either should work. If you don't have a sewing machine or don't feel comfortable ruffling your material, have no fear you can still make this tree skirt!

3. Glueing your fabric onto your base or original tree skirt is by far the most time consuming part of this project. Start at the bottom of your base and glue down your first strip of material, gathering as you go if you need to. If the bottom of your base is really wide you may need to use more than one strip. I used about 8 strips of both the burlap and the tafetta. In total it took me about 3 hours to do the whole skirt, including
cutting the fabric.
I did not pre ruffle my fabric. It was a little difficult with the burlap, but still possible to do!

The top ruffles get a little tricky, but they are hidden by your tree :) 

4. Place under your Christmas tree and enjoy!

Friday, November 29, 2013

DIY Stencils

I have gotten a lot of questions about how I do the lettering on my banners. I could just go to Hobby Lobby or any craft store and buy a stencil set which would make banners so much easier, but I love being able to do different fonts and customize my banners, so I make my own stencils. When I first started making banners this meant printing each letter and using an exacto knife to cut them out. This is what I did forever and it works great, it is just time consuming and unless you are really good with an exacto knife it is hard to do fonts that curve a lot. After talking with my sister I got the idea of using a Silhouette to make stencils. I found a plastic that was thin enough that the silhouette would cut it, but not so flimsy that it would be hard to use. I used this until I discovered stencil blanks by "Show Offs".  Stencil blanks are fabulous! They are traditional stencil material, but still thin enough to be cut with the Silhouette. I cut mine on the magnet paper setting and I haven't had any problems. I love them because they don't break and the paint washes off of them easily. If you have a Silhouette or even a Cricut I would definitely using stencil blanks if you want to make customized reusable stencils. So far the only place I have been able to find stencil blanks are at Hobby Lobby, they are a little pricey, but worth it for me!

Hard to see, but maybe if you squint you can see the grid. The grid is the same as your cutting mat so it is really handy in sizing your stencils, or anything else you want to make. 

Now imagine this with a grid and that is the above photo. 

This is the stencil for my gratitude sign. I didn't put in the middle of the a's, e's and g's for this photo, but you do need them. 

To get this you take your stencil and lay it down on top of whatver you want to paint. It will work best if you secure it down some way. I use double sided sticky tape to keep it in place while I am painting. 

One of my favorite things about the silhouette is that you can open any image from google and then trace it and adjust it to create your own image. Sometimes it takes a little bit of work to get it just right, but it is so worth it! I pulled this reindeer from an image off google, live traced it in Adobe Illustrator and then traced that in Silhouette. I had to adjust a bunch of the anchor points, but in the end I have a fanstastic reindeer and it was completely free! I am so excited for this stencil! Look for it in my Christmas decorations. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Making our House a Home Part III: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but it often gets put to the side as it is wegded between Halloween and Christmas. We have so much to be grateful for and with the hustle and bustle of life we can get caught up in what we don't have rather than what we do have. I am so blessed and grateful for the opportunity I have to make crafts and express my creative side! So while I am off counting my blessings and stuffing my face with delicious food here are my new editions to be Thanksgiving collection.

I saw this pumpkin at Tai Pai Trading the middle of October and was so excited when it was on sale a couple weeks ago. I love the rustic feel of the chicken wire and its unique look. 

I saw this saying at the Wood Connection back in September and decided it would go great on this sign. The original sign was a black and white photo of pumpkins with the word harvest. We weren't big fans of it, so I scraped off the paper and recycled it. 

I reused our pumpkins from Halloween.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Wood Connection

A few weeks back when J and I went to the Pinners Conference and Expo in Sandy we found this fantastic shop called The Wood Connection. They had so many cute wood crafts that we left the conference and drove to their store to stock up! They carry craft kits for all sorts of adorable wood crafts. They also carry wood boards you can use for signs and other wood items that you can create your own crafts out of. On top of that they have ribbon, paint,scrapbook paper and vinyl sayings. What I love about their store is all of the examples they have of crafts you can do with their kits. I picked up a few items that I wanted to add to my Thanksgiving collection. Thanks to some modge podge, hot glue, paint, and craft paper I have three new Thanksgiving decorations this year.

I fell in love with this wood turkey. I decided to paint it with chalkboard paint and had planned on using it to write thing we were thankful for on it, but as you can see I didn't get that far! 

Aren't these little pilgrams great? They also had a larger version, but these were the perfect size for my shelf. 

These pallet boards are probably my favorite item at the Wood Connection. They have horizontal and vertical boards and they are the perfect size! 

How cute is this turkey?! 

If you are in Utah be sure and stop by the Wood Connection and pick yourself up some cute Christmas decorations!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Give Thanks

It is November already and Thanksgiving is just around the corner which means lots of yummy food, football, black Friday sales, and of course Thanksgiving crafts! I saw this banner on Pinterest and knew I wanted to recreate it for myself.

I don't have a set up like this in my home, so I had to find a way to make it my own and make it work for my home. I loved the clothes pin look, so I kept that (I was going to keep that, but ended up doing a top stitch and stringing it ) but did one banner instead of two small banners. I also used a tissue paper pom pom on each end of the banner instead of the brown ribbon.

We put up a black background so you could really see the banner. 

Up close: Flag and Letter with pompom 

Up Close: Pompom 

What it really looks like 


I love my banner and it is a wonderful reminder each day to give thanks and be grateful for all of the wonderful things that I have!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

(Courtesy of Pinterest)

Pumpkin pie is one of my all time favorite desserts. Really I love anything pumpkin; pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheescake, etc. We had an extra pumpkin that we didn't carve these year so I decided it would be fun to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. My husband was a little skeptical at first, but was quickly won over after he tasted the filling. Because I had never done pumpkin pie from scratch I browsed Google to find a recipe that looked appealing. Once I found one I tweaked it a little to fits our taste buds. My original recipe came from here and a fabulous Paula Dean recipe here.


Crust: I cheated and used a pre-made Pillsbury crust. They are currently on sale at Walmart for $2.50 a box and definitely worth in my opinion. Unless you have an awesome crust recipe.

1 medium pie pumpkin. ( I had no idea there was such a thing as "pie pumpkins" and just used a regular pumpkin. I had to add extra sugar to help the taste along). You need 15 oz of puree from it. If you have more than 15 oz, freeze the extra.
1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten and 2 egg yolks
1 c. packed brown sugar
* If you are using a regular pumpkin add another 1 c. white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8th  tsp ground ginger (Ginger has a really strong taste, so less is usually more. Taste test as you add the ginger until you like the taste)
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt (I'm not a huge fan of using salt in my recipes)
1 c. evaporated milk or ( The Paula Dean recipe calls for half and half, but I didn't have any on hand.)


Roast & Puree the Pumpkin 
Wash the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half and use a metal spoon to clean out all of the seeds and strings from the inside ( I saved my seeds to cook and eat later). Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the pumpkin halves flesh side down on baking sheet. Bake the pumpkin at 400 for 90 mins. or until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork.

When the pumpkin is done, remove the skin with your fingers or with a spoon (be careful as it is HOT!). Then in a blender or food processor blend the pumpkin until completely smooth.

If making one pie, use about half of your pumpkin puree ( 15 oz).  Cream the cream cheese. Mix the pumpkin puree with the cream cheese until blended (I have found that the whisk attachment is best for this. It will keep your cream cheese from being lumpy). Add the eggs, brown sugar, white sugar and half and half, and mix until blended. Then add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla and salt. Mix thoroughly then beat in the milk. After the cream cheese and pumpkin are blended, I use my Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment on speed 2. Pour into the pie crust. It will be runny, but that is okay!

Preheat your over to 350* F.
To get a nice flaky put a piece of tin foil over your pie crust and fill it with about 2 lbs of beans. Cook for 10 minutes then remove the tin foil and cook for another 10-12 minutes. Pour your filling in and cook for about 50 minutes or until set.

Chill before serving. (This will store well in the fridge for about 2 days).

 This comes out tasting like a pumpkin pie, but has the texture of a cheesecake if you want a more traditional pumpkin pie texture I would recommend the following:
2 cups of pumpkin puree
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups of evaporated milk
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt 
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
Mix the ingredients according to the recipe above. 

This is the pumpkin pie without cream cheese. It is much darker and is the traditional pumpkin pie

I had some leftover filling so I took some pie crust and lined a cupcake tin and poured in the filling to make mini pumpkin pies! I cooked them for about 30-40 minutes.

Whipping Cream

If you are like me and love whipping cream with your pumpkin pie here is my own favorite homemade whipping cream recipe.

1 pint of heavy whipping cream or 1/2 pint if you don't want a lot of leftover. (I usually put my leftover in a mason jar and save for later in the fridge)
1-2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tbsp of eggnog or 1 tsp of eggnog extract ( Optional)

Pour your whipping cream into your Kitchen Aid or mixing bowl. If you are using your kitchen aid use the whisk attachment and put on speed 2 or 3. If using a bowl you can use a hand mixer on medium. Slowly add in the powder sugar tasting as you go. Keep adding powdered sugar until it reaches your desired sweetness. If you add too much you can always add more whipping cream. Add in your cinnamon and eggnog or other flavoring before it is completely whipped. Whip until a stiff peak occurs.


What is your favorite pumpkin treat? 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


It is finally November and I am really excited to start decorating for Thanksgiving. Life is a little crazy and hectic right now, so the Halloween decorations are still making their way down and back into their box. Hopefully by this weekend I can have all of the Halloween stuff put away and my Thanksgiving decor up! I was looking for some cute thanksgiving printables to hang up and just was not feeling any of the ones I saw. I have fallen in love with the saying "gobble 'til you wobble" but could not find any cute printables with that. I really wanted that saying so I decided to make my own. I found a turkey silhouette on Google, traced it in Illustrator and then got rid of the background and dyed it white in Photoshop. Then I used one of my chalkboard backgrounds and some cute fonts to pull it all together. It is a really simple printable, but I love it.

What is one of your favorite Thanksgiving sayings?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pinners Conference and Expo

I just found out that there is going to be Pinners conference at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy next weekend! It looks absolutely wonderful and I am really hoping I will be able to go! There is a fantastic website that has all the information on the classes and booths that will be there.

Who's with me?!