Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year, New Goals

I took my tree down yesterday. Still have to actually put everything away... But that means Christmas is really over. I find myself thinking, wait, what year is it going to be?

As I reflect on the past year and all that was accomplished, I can't help but set a few new goals. Of course, there are the standard ones -- exercise more, eat healthy, etc.
  1. Changes in the blog. DoingMoreThanLaundry will feature new things like projects, makeovers and tips for moms. I'm also working on a new look. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way.
  2. New etsy page. My business, The Little House, will be opening an etsy page in February.
  3. Focus on Respect. One of my personal goals this year is to treat others with respect. I feel like this is an area I could definitely improve on. From my children to the clerk at Walmart, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. I hope the Lord will help me accomplish this.
In addition to my two-page-long project list for the year... not exaggerating... these are my goals. How about you? What do you hope to accomplish in 2012?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm Still Spinning

Our Christmas was amazing. My boys are finally "getting it" when it comes to presents. They still get bored after two or three gifts, but it was so much more fun than last year. My 4-year-old appreciated Santa, Rudolph and the traditions of the holiday. They also know the story of Jesus' birth, thanks to our Little People nativity set.

But now it's over... and my house is a state of chaos.

We were very blessed this year to receive so many gifts. But now I have this overwhelming urge to organize and clean everything. I'm serious... the kitchen got a serious scrub yesterday. I swept and mopped the downstairs, caught up on laundry and cleaned bathrooms. Later in the day, I did a quick purge in my closet. I even managed to get a first coat on a piece of furniture I'm painting and design a custom sign. I was a woman on a mission, I tell ya'.

With all the activity, I did take time to get my bearings straight. When I skimp on quiet time with God, my entire day seems out of sync. But when I have a good time in the word, I feel energized and purposeful.

For a long time, I struggled with my "God time." I was inconsistent, and when I tried, I didn't get a lot out of it. I have by no means arrived, but I'd like to share a little about how I approach it.

First, I open my heart to the Lord in prayer. I always ask God to search my heart and point out anything that offends him (Psalm 139:23). I also ask God to open my eyes to see and my ears to hear, so that I can know the truth. I pray that his word would be written on my heart.

Then, I read a short devotional and some scripture. I pray afterward when I have time. Most days I just pray throughout my day. I wish I could do more, but the kids wake up. And I have to deal with this:

Not a bad job, really... I'm truly blessed beyond my wildest dreams. 

I hope you find some God-time today! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Savior Is Born

"The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. For those who live in a a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel and its people will rejoice... For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heave burden from their shoulders... 

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven's Armies will make this happen!" 
Isaiah 9:2-7

The birth of Christ sets God's divine plan in motion. It is evidence of His grace and kindness toward us. Jesus came to this world with one purpose: to save us. Christ's incarnation is the culmination of our heavenly Father's love for us.

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

May you experience the Father's love this Christmas as you reflect upon the birth of the Savior.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 12: Popcorn Garland

It's the last day of Christmas Crafts! The final project is a sweet little popcorn garland. I had a lot of fun making this with my kiddos. Well, they had fun eating the popcorn while I made it. :)

2 bags of plain popcorn (no butter)
Needle & Thread

STEP 1. Make the popcorn and set it outside to get stale (it also keeps your family from eating it).

STEP 2. Once the popcorn is a little stale and not so crumbly, it's ready. Thread your needle, but leave one end attached to the spool. Push the popcorn on the needle and down the thread. It's pretty easy. 

You don't want to let the garland get too long, because it will start getting tangled. If you were putting this on a tree, I would make two or three separate ones. 

I love the idea of doing this every year. It feels so traditional and nostalgic. Another plus -- it costs almost nothing to make! 

Well, that's it for the 12 Days of Christmas Crafts. If you've enjoyed this series, please let me know by leaving a comment. I'm going to make some changes to the blog next year, and I'd love any suggestions you might have on how to make the blog better. 

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 11: Glittered Photo Ornaments

Today's project is similar to the Pinecone Photo Ornaments. The first two steps are the same.... copy your photos and cut them out. Next, use Mod Podge to stick the photo to cardstock and, paint Mod Podge on top of the photo. Cut it out. 

Now, you're ready to make the glittered ornaments. I used two kinds of glitter: a gold powder glitter and regular silver glitter. You'll also need glue and a paintbrush.

Use the paintbrush to paint glue on the edge of the frame. Set out a cookie sheet or cake pan with a rim, and sprinkle glitter onto the glue. Let it dry.  For the picture below, I only used the gold powder. I think the one with two types of glitter turned out so much prettier, but oh well! :) 

I know this is cheating a little bit because it's so much like the pinecone ornament... You'll have to forgive me. It was a crazy day. I locked my boys in the car at Old Navy today and had to call the fire department to get them out. We also went to the pediatrician, got flu shots and ran errands. Crazy day!

And I still have a couple of Christmas gifts to get. I've been done a couple of times, but I keep forgetting people! The big day is almost here though, and I can't wait.

Tomorrow is the last project. I'm going to share how to make a popcorn garland. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 10: Christmas Card Holder

Ok, this isn't really a craft... today's project is a ribbon Christmas card holder. I put mine in my eating area in my kitchen. This is also a great last-minute project. You probably have everything you'll need at home. 

Two long pieces of wire-edge ribbon (mine were about 6')
Hot glue
2 Command hooks
Thin ribbon to hang cards

STEP 1. Determine where you want your bows to go. Place the command hooks.

STEP 2. Drape your ribbon over the hooks until your happy with how it looks. Tie knots and bows at the hooks. Trim your ribbon and fluff the bows.

STEP 3. Take a 7" piece of thin ribbon, and fold it in half. Hot glue the folded part to the center of each card. Tie it on your ribbon holder.

This was how it looked a couple of days ago... kinda wimpy. 

Now there are a few more cards. I finally got most of mine in the mail today. Just a few more to go...

Gosh I love this season! Hope you're enjoying it. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 9: Sheet Music Wreath

It's day 9 of the 12 Days of Crafting. Today's project is a Sheet Music Wreath. I realize there are 100 tutorials for this on the web, but oh well. This was the first time I'd made one, and I will definitely be making more! These can also be made with books. The size of your finish wreath depends on the size of your paper. This one is big... probably 30 inches in diameter. 

Sheet music or other paper (I used an old organ book my Mamaw gave me.)
Glue gun and glue
Forms to trace your circle (I used a bowl and jar lid)
Exacto knife (not shown)
Foam board or other cardboard

STEP 1. Trace your outer circle onto the foam and cut it out. I ended up using a knife because it was so hard to cut through with scissors. Then, trace and cut your inner circle. You should have a doughnut shape. My large circle was about 10" in diameter. 

STEP 2. Make your cones. This takes some practice before you get the hang of it. I found it easiest to hold opposite corners, and cross one over the other. Take your left hand and smooth out the cone while you glue with your right. I glued in a couple of spots. I didn't worry about making these perfect. I just wanted them to be similar in size.

STEP 3. Attach your ribbon and start gluing. I used a stapler to attach my ribbon, but you could also use hot glue. Do this before you start gluing the cones though. To attach the cones, put a few lines of glue on your cardboard and stick your cone, overlapping the end by about 1/2". 

Here's what it looked like after one layer. For the second layer, I cut the paper in half. Put the glue directly onto the cone and set in place in the grooves of the first layer. (Hope that makes sense!) You could add a third layer, but I was happy with it at this point.

I hung mine over an antique mirror in my living room. It's not holiday decor, per se, but I think it's festive, and, most of all, understated. Here's another shot with the Christmas tree in the background.

Tomorrow's project is a holiday card holder, so be sure to check back! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 8: Paper Garland

It's day 8 of our series, and I hope you're done with all of the bustle and can just enjoy the next week. I'm done shopping (mostly), wrapping and pretty much done decorating. Today's Paper Garlan project is really simple. I've seen them on Pinterest, but this is my version. :) 

12" Scrapbooking paper (about 3 sheets)

STEP 1. Lay out your grid of triangles. This looks tricky, but I promise, it's not bad. I made my triangles 3 1/2" wide by 3 1/2" tall. To start mark three horizontal lines on your paper 3 1/2" apart, starting at the edge. Now, along the first horizontal lines, start at 1 3/4". Mark 3 1/2" inches from that spot. Along the next horizontal line, mark 3 1/2" spaces, starting from the edge. Use your ruler to connect your lines. You should be able to figure it out from there! I'm not a math whiz. Cut out your triangles.

STEP 2. Take your hole punch and punch a hole in each side. Use that piece as a guide, and punch holes in the rest of the triangles. 

STEP 3. Thread your twine through so it shows in the front. Leave about 2 inches between each triangle. You may find that strings of 7-8 are easier to hang than longer ones. Also, leave about a foot of excess on the ends before you cut it. Once you have your garland on the tree, you can position the flags and move them around so it looks good.

Here's a couple of pics of the garland on my tree. I thought about adding words like "Merry Christmas" on it, but I decided to keep it simple. I think that would be cute though. I could also see this on a mantel. 

I hope you give it a try! Stop back tomorrow for another creative idea for your home. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 7: Poinsettia Pillow

Today, I'm going to share how I made this cute Poinsettia Pillow. At first I wasn't going to do this project, because I didn't want to go to the store. But I actually had everything on hand. I was inspired Miss Mustard Seed's version, however mine is definitely different. 

About 3 pieces of ivory (or red) felt
1 piece of mossy green felt
1 piece of gold felt
Sharp scissors
Fabric glue
Linen or other fabric for pillow
Polyester fill 
Sewing machine (you could do it by hand though)

STEP 1. Cut out your pieces and your pillow. I did three leaves in green, three large white petals, three medium petals, four smaller petals and five gold circles. My large leaves are about 4" tall by 2 1/2" wide. I looked at my real poinsettia for inspiration. Don't worry about making it perfect. Real ones have many different types of leaves. 

For the pillow, I knew I wanted it long and narrow. Mine is 24" x 11". If possible, I suggest attaching the flower before you sew the pillow. 

STEP 2. Lay it out. You definitely want to get a feel for how the pieces look together. Start with the leaves, then the large petals in between, then medium and finally small. For the gold circles, think of a dice. 

STEP 3. Attach your pieces to one side of your pillow. I used Liquid Stitch fabric glue. I really expected to have to sew this on. I didn't think it would really hold. I had to go back after the first coat and reapply in places, but so far it's doing fine. I just applied the glue all over the felt pieces and pressed it onto the fabric. It took about 45 minutes to dry completely. 

STEP 4. Finish your pillow. I'm not going to go into detail about how to make a pillow. Basically, you put two wrong sides together and pin in place. Sew around the edges and backstitch over the ends, leaving about a 5" gap to stuff the pillow. Clip the excess fabric on the corners and turn it right-side-out. Once it's stuffed, had stitch the pillow closed. I actually used a combo of polyester fiber-fill and the stuffing from an old king-sized bed pillow... because I really didn't want to go to the store with all three of my monkeys. :)

And here it is on my couch. It really was a fun little project. I hope you give it a shot. Stay tuned for tomorrow's craft: Scrapbook Paper Garland.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 6: Pipecleaner Ornament

Today's craft is pretty much copied from Martha Stewart's website. But they are so easy to do! I didn't have very high expectations for this project, and I was really surprised at how good they look on my tree. 

Long cardboard tube (I used an empty wrapping paper roll)
Silver pipecleaners
Hole punch

STEP 1. Flatten the tube and cut five one-inch pieces. Just estimate. In each piece, punch a hole about 1/4 inch from the edge.

STEP 2. Thread the pipecleaner through one side. Twist closed and cut off the excess.

STEP 3. Use another pipecleaner to thread through the outside holes. Twist closed. You'll probably need to bend it into shape a little so it looks pretty. Thread a ribbon through one side to hang. Done!

These are so charming. I made five of them for my gargantuan tree. Tomorrow I'll show you how to make a Poinsettia Pillow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Home Tour

I'm finally happy with my Christmas decorations, so I snapped a few pics to share with you. I ordered some ivory burlap from Hobby Lobby online, and it came in today. So, after a quick styling, I'm ready to share the results. :) Welcome to my house!

I went for a natural look this year. Because my twins are 2, I also had to make everything very kid-friendly. There are no glass ornaments on my tree, and nothing breakable was set out where little fingers could reach. I also hung ornaments that didn't "match" but were meaningful to our family.

Most of the ornaments on the tree were made by me or my kids. The tree "skirt" is just ivory burlap. I fell in love with the pretty gold star at Target. 

The tree is enormous -- 11 1/2 feet! My papaw works for a landscape company. The day we were going to get a tree, he called and offered us one. What a blessing! I can promise you, the tree we would have bought would not have been this nice. 

Last year, my mom bought me the stockings from Pottery Barn. I took a chance and hung them (with command hooks) by our never-used fireplace, and so far, the boys haven't pulled them down.

I kept the mantel pretty simple with a white poinsettia, ornaments in a glass dish, silver frame and black candlesticks. I added a pretty metal nativity set in one of the cubbies by my fireplace. Everything else stayed the same. 

And a beauty shot...

Here's a view of the living room. I'm going to share a tutorial for the poinsettia pillow soon. 

This is one of my favorite decorations... it's a Little People nativity. We've had fun acting out the Christmas story with the characters. It's also from Target. :)

Finally, here's the foyer. I hung the acorn wreath over the mirror for a natural holiday look. I also added an ivory burlap table runner, ornaments, metal trees and framed our Santa picture from this year.

So there you have it. Thanks for stopping by!

I'm also linking up to The Inspired Room's Christmas Home Tour here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 5: Paper Doily Ornaments

Today's craft is super easy and inexpensive. You need very few materials and can make it in minutes.

Small doilies
Cardstock (I used ivory, but would be pretty with a contrasting color)
Thin Ribbon
Glue gun or craft glue
Brown paint pen
Template for your circle (I used a jar lid)

STEP 1. Find a circle that is just a little larger than your doily and trace circles on your cardstock. Carefully cut it out. 

STEP 2. Glue your ribbon hanger about 1/2" down on your cardstock. Write a Christmas world with your paint pen. I used joy, peace and love. Don't stress over making it perfect!

STEP 3. Lightly glue your doily to the center of the cardstock, and you're done!

The pictures don't really do this craft justice, but here's a few shots of them on my tree and as gift tags on presents.

I hope you'll stop by tomorrow for another creative project!

Day 4: Acorn Wreath

I saw something like this project on Pinterest and wanted to recreate it, but I didn't know where I'd find enough acorns. Then at the park a couple weeks later with my kids, I found a gold mine. There were acorns everywhere!

So I quickly recruited my 4-year-old and twin 2-year-olds to gather as many acorns as possible. And do NOT eat them. The last part was for the twins, not the 4-year-old.

I love the subtle look of this wreath. It's more winter decor than holiday, which I like. It's pretty simple, but I'm not gonna lie to you -- it's time-consuming. I'm going to save mine, though, and use it again next year... that is if I'm still into the natural look next year...

I didn't photograph the materials, but here's the list:

Styrofoam wreath form
A whole lotta acorns
Brown paint (spray paint or craft paint is ok)
Glue gun and lots of glue sticks
Ribbon for hanging

STEP 1. Paint your wreath brown on all sides. I used craft paint, but if I would have used spray paint if I had it. Let dry completely.

STEP 2. Start gluing acorns. I thought the acorn tops were super cute, so I used only those. They were also pretty easy to work with. You could also use the acorn balls, or make a pattern out of them. I put a few squiggles of glue on a section and added acorns as I went, getting them as close together as possible. Repeat... a lot.

To hang the wreath, I used a shiny silver ribbon and tied it to a mirror in my foyer. I wanted a cranberry color, but couldn't find it. I added two silver wire trees that I've had forever and a tall vase of silver and pearl ornaments. The burlap lamp shade is a project I did last month. I'm planning to share a how-to after the holidays.

For the record, I'm not in love with the yellow on my foyer walls, I'm planning on adding a table runner, and the mirror is hung too high.... A little bit of a perfectionist, maybe?

Check back for another crafty project tomorrow!

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I also write a blog about design and my furniture business:
The Little House. Check it out!