Recycled Carton and Straw Treat Box

by Dinah Wulf

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Being a craft hoarder at heart, I went to throw away this juice carton and in mid throw I stopped myself. I decided to myself up to the challenge and upcycle it. I stared at it for a bit and stared some more. After a few minutes knowing that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner I willed myself into a trash to treasure making a Recycled Carton and Straw Treat Box.

Materials:

  • Clean milk or juice carton
  • Sharp craft knife
  • Straight edge
  • Pencil
  • Straws (the pretty paper kind!)
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Large plastic treat bag
  • Ribbon
  • Washi tape

Here’s the juice container that taunted me.

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I cut it in half by measuring and marking with a pencil and ruler and cutting with a craft knife.  I measured about three inches from the bottom. I washed and dried my new box… oh and the craft knife and ruler too because they got sticky (apparently I didn’t rinse out the carton well enough).

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The straws are a little over seven inches, so I ended up cutting them into three and a half inch pieces. To make it easy, I used the ruler each time and cut.

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One by one I hot glued each straw to the carton. You can kind-of-sort-of create a pattern by arranging the stripes as you go. Make sure you know which side you want to show before you add the hot glue since it dries so quickly.

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A large treat bag fits perfectly over the treat box. I filled it with Valentine’s day heart shaped cookies from my bakery (no I didn’t make them!). I closed the top with a little bit of fun patterned washi tape and tied a pink ribbon around the outside of the plastic bag.

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There you have it! Instant treat box! You can use these for any holiday or occasion and switch up the straw colors. I thought that this one would be cute for Christmas as well. 

Unique Twists on Traditional Valentine Gifts

by Dinah Wulf

Be an Original Valentine: 4 Unique Twists on Traditional Gifts, By Guest Author Deb Russel

When the Huffington Post asked readers to share the worst Valentine’s Day gifts they’d ever received, there was almost no end to the list of atrocities, including a book bearing the title “Love Isn’t Easy” and a garden gnome clutching a soccer ball. Avoid your gift from ending up on a similar list this year by taking special care to come up with a creative twist on the traditional gifts.

It doesn’t have to involve a dance troupe or a fireworks display—although if you have access to either or both, don’t count them out! Simply think of the things that your partner enjoys and use those as inspiration to find the perfect gift to make her feel special.

Exotic Chocolates

Photo by HC’s Foodventure via Flickr

Unless your Valentine has some aversion to the delightful confection that’s known to have aphrodisiac effects, a box of chocolates is a safe bet for a Valentine’s Day gift. Remember, though, that you’re not aiming for safe, you want original and unusual. The great news is that there are more varieties of chocolate to choose from than ever before. Give your Valentine hand-dipped chocolate-covered potato chips, caramelized cocoa hazelnuts, Himalayan sea salt truffles or a chocolate-dipped persimmon. When you go the extra mile to find a special version of the mouth-watering traditional holiday treat, your effort will be appreciated.

Valentine’s Day Treasure Hunt

Photo by the_exploratorium via Flickr

Tap into your creativity by using an activity to stretch out the anticipation for Valentine’s Day this year. Choose a Valentine’s Day gift from FTD and have it delivered to her office, containing the first hint to your treasure hunt. From there, leave additional hints in places that are special to your relationship, such as the place where you had your first date, your favorite restaurant, or in your very own home. Each hint should be a tip to lead her to the next hint, so spend time coming up with creative riddles to really get her thinking. At restaurants or small stores, you might even be able to enlist an employee to assist in your exciting activity.

Take Your Sentiments to the Social Networks

Photo by mkhmarketing via Flickr

You might not be one for store-bought gifts, and that’s perfectly fine. But even though you compose clever, even poetic romantic prose for the object of your affection each year, take special care with your presentation this year. Take your poetry and heartfelt sentiments to the social scene to let everyone know how much you care. And if you haven’t made it Facebook-official yet, now’s the perfect time! Make a statement by letting your Facebook friends know that you are officially in a relationship. It’s a bold move, and one that will send the message that you are committed to someone special.

About Deb Russel

Deb has a culinary degree and loves to host gourmet dinners for her closest friends.

15 Minute Craft: Paper Towel Roll Valentine Scroll

by Dinah Wulf

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Woo hoo! Another series of Craft Lightening is here and I am sharing a fun recycled Valentine that my daughter and I made for my husband (hopefully he doesn’t see this post before Valentine’s Day)! This craft only takes fifteen minutes (or less) to make.  Here is how we made our Paper Towel Roll Valentine Scroll.

Materials:

  • Two paper towel rolls
  • Three sheets of scrap book paper
  • Paper cutter
  • Double sided tape (or glue)
  • Computer (optional)
  • Ribbon

Instructions:

First cut two pieces of paper (in the same color) with a paper cutter in 8X11 pieces. These will cover the paper towel rolls at each end of the scroll. Cut a third piece of scrapbook paper in a size 11X12. This will be the center piece that the letter is on.

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On both of your 8X11 pieces, place double sided tape (or glue) down the center to secure each paper towel roll.

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Next tape one of the paper towel roll ends to the center piece as shown.

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Fold it over and secure it with tape or glue.

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Repeat on the other side.

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Write your message on the blank side of your scroll.  We typed it, printed it, and taped it inside with a boarder (optional).  Our message said:

Daddy,

On this special Valentine’s Day,

There are a few things I want to say.

Even though I’m only three years old,

I know you love me more than gold.

And when push comes to shove,

You’ll always be my first love.

Because when I’m older and give life a whirl,

I’ll remember that I’ll always be your little girl.

Will you be my Valentine, Daddy?

Love, Mia

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You can roll it right up with the message inside…

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…and the patterned part on the outside.

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Lastly, add a pretty bow!

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Thank you to Country Chic Cottage and 30 Minute Crafts for allowing me to participate in another fun Craft Lightening!  If you want to see some of my other 15 minute crafts you might like:

Easy Homemade Love You Valentine

by Dinah Wulf

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I love making my own cards. It only takes a few minutes and is such a great personalized touch…oh yeah, and it’s cheaper than buying one! I made this easy homemade Love You Valentine in a few easy steps. I love that you can pull the little felt flower out as an added bonus! Here is how I made it.

Materials:

  • Cardstock (I used a pretty lavender color)
  • Paper cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Straight Edge
  • Felt
  • Toothpick
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Circle punch

I started off by cutting my card. If you have envelopes handy use those dimensions. For some reason I always have extra envelopes lying around. How does that happen???

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I used a cutting mat and craft knife to cut slits in the front of the card for my heart toothpick to go through. This slit was approximately one inch from the bottom of the card.

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Next, I cut out a heart out of some scrap pink felt I had left over…

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…and glued it to a toothpick. Hot glue works best because it’s quick and easy and you don’t have to wait for it to dry especially if you are making several of these cards at once.

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I also used a craft punch to cut out a circle and drew a “u” in the center of it.

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Finally I glued the circle to the front of my card.

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That’s it! A sweet, simple, and thoughtful “love you” card with a bonus gift! I thought this would be cute for Mia to send to her grandparents, cousins, and uncles and aunts.

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Metallic Mason Jar Centerpiece

by Dinah Wulf

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You KNOW I love a good Mason jar craft.  I’ve even done a round-up of Mason Jar Crafts in the past. Most recently, I glittered some for to look like candy corn for Halloween and Fall. This time, I wanted to come up with something quick and easy.  Specifically, I wanted to make this Metallic Mason Jar Centerpiece because it was a great décor piece to transition from Christmas to New Years. As an added bonus, it only take about 15 minutes to make!

Here’s what I used, but you can make any variation to fit your décor.

Materials:

  • Mason jars or Recycled sauce jars
  • Metallic spray paint
  • Raffia and twine
  • Tea lights
  • Silver serving platter
  • Gold and silver ornaments
  • Tea light holders

My favorite jars to save are the Classico sauce jars (notice I don’t have any recipes on this blog… yes, I use sauce in a jar a lot of the time!) They come in a couple sizes and they are pretty without the label. Also, the label comes off SUPER easily. All you need is a little hot soapy water and the abrasive side of a sponge and you are good to go!

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I sprayed the jars upside down in a well-ventilated area. I only needed one coat for these.

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The jars look plain but I wanted to add a little raffia and twine to the top.

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I found the platter and ornaments at the 99 cent store… SCORE! I thought it turned out quite nice for a 15 minute craft project!

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Check out more of my Mason Jar Crafts!

 

Merry Christmas 2013 from DIY Inspired

by Dinah Wulf

Merry Christmas 2013

Three Holiday Party Tips with The Bouqs

by Dinah Wulf

Thank you to The Bouqs for sponsoring this holiday party tips post. All opinions are 100% my own.

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When hosting a dinner party, there are several tips that I personally like to keep in mind.  Today, I wanted to share some Holiday Party Tips with Bouqs. Why Bouqs? Here are three reasons:

  1. The Bouqs cut only what they sell. Other providers source from a supply chain that sees 1 in 3 stems wasted. Across hundreds of thousands of bouquets a year, that’s a lot of wasted land, resources, labor and fuel. They cut only when you order and avoid the waste.
  2. The Bouqs also save energy through their direct-from-the-farm supply chain. The standard supply chain must keep stems cold for up to 2 weeks, meaning hundreds of hours of refrigeration and the associated energy use. They use cold storage for only 4 days from the Volcano, and not at all from California, resulting in a lot of energy savings.
  3. Finally, The Bouqs farms provide living wages, childcare, healthcare and adult education. And their growing business supports farm communities, so you can feel good about shopping The Bouqs Company’s flowers.

Not only does Bouqs source only from eco-friendly, sustainable farms that respect the environment and their workers, the process of ordering and delivery experiences are great too.  I have never received flower delivery quite like this.  The flowers were packed in a way that they cannot get damaged.   

Holiday Party Tip #1

Make serving convenient.  I created a mini self-serve salad bar as the first course.  Not everyone likes all the toppings, dressings, and vegetables you like. Let your guest make their own combinations. You can also do this with dessert bars as well. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. I just used a small long and narrow tray.

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Holiday Party Tip #2

Fresh flowers are THE BEST centerpiece, in my opinion when you host parties. I have had two parties so far and my bouquet is still lasting and pretty! You can use them not only on the dinner table, but everywhere in your home. I chose the yellow-green, Hydrangea Antique with Green Solidago for my centerpiece.

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Holiday Party Tip #3

Think simple when it comes to small details to make your party stand out, intimate, yet won’t kill you! I simply placed colorful festive scrapbook paper under the plates as a charger.

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I also used small photo frames as name cards.  Just print the name on your computer and add a glittery backing.

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Love what you see about The Bouqs and want to brighten your or a loved ones holiday table? Create an account to receive a 20% off promo code, then order your favorite Bouq for your holiday table or to give to a loved one. Also, The Bouqs wants you to spread the love! Refer friends to Bouqs and they get $10 off their order and you receive a free Bouqs for every two friends that make a purchase.

Enter The Bouqs Giveaway! Win 12 Months of Bouqs!

Register to The Bouqs to receive their 20% off discount code and browse the site to see all of the great Bouqs you can give as a gift to a gracious host or to use to decorate their table for a party.

To Enter:

Answer below in the comments: WHO would you gift a Bouqs to, WHY, AND which Bouqs would you choose? Leave a link or the name of the Bouq. Make it a great comment because that’s how the winner is chosen!

The contest ends on Monday, December 23rd at 10am PST. The winner will be announce the winner at 3pm PST Monday, December 23rd.

Good Luck!!

Thank you to Bouqs for sponsoring this post!

Preparing Your Home for Holiday Entertaining

by Dinah Wulf

I LOVE entertaining, especially for the holidays. Every year my best girlfriends and our families get together for an annual Christmas party. In fact, I plan weeks in advance for every detail to make my home warm and inviting for them every Christmas. There are always a few things I keep in mind while preparing my home for holiday entertaining.

Deck the Halls

Oh boy!  One of the reasons I love entertaining is because it’s a great excuse for decorating… I literally DECK the halls, the staircase, the mantel… EVERY room! Showing off my crafty touches excites me (I’m such a Geek).  I of course have to start with the front door. The hanging pinecone wreath was one of my favorite tutorials last Christmas.

This year I’m adding a small tree in addition to the big tree filled with homemade vintage inspired ornaments like these.

Last year I made this Holiday Joy Wreath that I put up to decorate the coat closet door.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I think soft music playing in the background is a must to help get your guests in a festive mood while you are entertaining and holiday music is my fave!  This past Friday at 3pm, a local radio station started playing non-stop Christmas music. Oh how I counted down the minutes! They will play it all day every day until Christmas. Guess which station all the radios in my house are tuned to?

Sweet Holiday Treat™

Every season Glade® comes out with fantastic seasonal scents.  This year, they have a special scent, Sweet Holiday Treat™. Talk about Indulging in the irresistible scent of rich cocoa, toasted nuts and creamy caramel! I love scented candles like this burning throughout the season.  I like to light them in the evening during my parties to not only make my home smell great, but to create a comfy ambiance through the candle light.

Additionally, Glade® has a product for every moment. Every Glade® product brings true-to-life fragrance into your home, while the wide variety of devices assures there’s one for all your life’s needs. Some additional scents are:

  • Glade® Apple Cinnamon CheerTM
  • Glade® Sparkling SpruceTM
  • Glade® Pure Vanilla Joy
  • Glade® Frosted Berry Kiss

Sweepstakes Alert!

Real Simple is running a Glade® sweepstakes from November 14th to December 16th {here}. One hundred winners will receive a $10 Target GiftCard to purchase a Glade® Winter Collection product, plus a copy of Real Simple Celebrations!

Christmas is right around the corner!  I hope these tips help with your next holiday party!

Get festive this holiday season with the Glade® Limited Edition Winter Collection available exclusively at Target. Inspired by the best feelings of the season, the Glade® Sweet Holiday Treat™ scent lets you indulge in the irresistible scent of rich cocoa, toasted nuts, and creamy caramel. The 2013 Glade® Limited Edition Winter Collection was inspired by the nostalgic, spontaneous, snowy, moments that build up to the holidays. Creating memories with loved ones defines the season and the holiday lineup from Glade® is just as memorable. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Glade®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Mason Jar Teacher’s Survival Gift Kits

by Dinah Wulf

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My daughter is only three years old but she is in her first year of pre-school. So, this is the first time she’s really had teachers AND the first time I’ve gotten to make a teacher’s gift for the end of winter break. I decided to break out the good old recycled Mason jars and make Mason Jar Teacher’s Survival Gift Kits for her teachers, Mrs. Shelly and her assistant Mrs. G.

Materials:

  • Mason jar per gift
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Paper cutter
  • Double sided tape
  • Paint
  • Brush
  • Circle craft punch
  • Computer and printer (optional)
  • Felt ribbon
  • Gifts (see below)

I started off by using two spaghetti sauce jars.  I had to REALLY wash them because they smelled like sauce!

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I decided to buy some fun small things to fit inside like, candy, mints, gum, note pad, pen, lip balm, mini lint roller, hand sanitizer, lotion, and band aides. The possibilities are endless for this gift.  Gift cards and movie tickets are great too.

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Next I designed, printed, and cut out my scrapbook paper to cover the jars. Since they are pre-school teachers I picked little blue mittens and red stockings for my decorative paper.

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I stuffed the jars and everything fit nicely.

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I added them to the jar and painted the lid blue and used a circle craft punch to cover the top with corresponding paper. I love the combo of blue and red.

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Finally, I used felt ribbon to mimic a scarf for the ribbon around the lid. That’s it! I thought they turned out so cute.  I really hope Mrs. Shelly and Mrs. G love them!

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Best Elf on the Shelf Ideas

by Dinah Wulf

OK, so I warned you on my first Elf on the Shelf post that I may be posting 2-3 Elf on the Shelf posts! I SWEAR this one is my last one (for the year…hee hee).  If you missed my first two here they are:

Both of these posts I wrote as inspiration to myself as to ideas I could do for my first year of this awesome tradition with my three-year-old. This post is what I’ve actually done this year (some of the ones in the previous posts I ended up doing too). If you follow me on Instagram you already saw these. So here we go!

The first night Josie showed up, she came in on a sleigh and reindeer.

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That day, for some reason, my daughter was having the WORST day of crying, whining, and tantrums.  SO, the next day Josie showed up with this letter from Santa:

                Dear Mia,

                Josie was watching and said you were bad. She told Santa and it made him sad. You better shape up and all will be fine, if you want toys at Christmas time.

              -Santa

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She saw this and shaped up! She has been pretty good so far!

Here, Josie roasted mini marshmallows with a couple of Mia’s stuffed toys.

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The next day she took a “bubble” bath in mini marshmallows on our stove in a pot.

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She got creative this day and ate some candy and a made little mini toy car out of a mini candy bar, marshmallows, toothpicks, and a Starburst.

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Josie was kind enough to sweep up the pine needles from the Christmas tree. Too bad she couldn’t get the dog hair!

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Josie enjoyed the SoCal sun this day.  She laid on a kitchen towel and borrowed some toys (water bottle, blanket, Frisbee, and basket.)

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Josie played dress p and raided the jewelry, mirror, and comb in Mia’s purse (Yes, my daughter is SUPER girly).

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Josie played a trick in our guest bathroom and had some fun with the toilet paper.

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Lastly, Josie (the Elf UNDER the shelf) made a swing out of some left over ribbon and a toilet paper roll.

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More Elf on the Shelf:

Ten Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas – From being chased by reindeer to building a fort with Christmas cards, these ten ideas are clever, but simple.

No Sew Elf on the Shelf Skirt – The Elf on the Shelf clothing you can buy at the store is so expensive. This is a quick and easy no sew tutorial for how to make an apron skirt for pennies.

The Elf on the Shelf Tradition – I wrote this after my daughter’s first year of Elf on the Shelf. This post includes a cute goodbye letter for the final night, including a special “baked” tray of mini gingerbread cookies.

Two Dozen Easy Elf on a Shelf Ideas – Two dozen ideas that are helpful, especially when you forget and need a quick move!

Elf on a Shelf Ideas – This is the first Elf on the Shelf post I ever wrote and includes 7 ideas incorporating my daughter’s toys and games.

Quick and Easy Holiday Gift Bag Party Favors

by Dinah Wulf

This post, Quick and Easy Holiday Gift Bag Party Favors, is sponsored by Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts and DCWV for the PaperCrafted Christmas Campaign. All opinions are 100% my own.

easy-DIY-Christmas-favors

I am so excited for this year’s annual Christmas party at my house this year.  It’s not an extravagant party, by any means.  Rather, it’s quite intimate for my closest and dearest friends and their kids. As part of the Paper Crafted Christmas campaign with Jo-Ann Fabrics and DCWV, I couldn’t resist making these Quick and Easy Holiday Gift Bag Party Favors.

I bought these mini-recycled gift bags at Jo-Ann’s.  I found them in the dollar bins for two for $1.00. What a deal!

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I thought the paper in the DCWV Christmas Basics and Winter Basics stacks were perfect for these cute little bags.

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Using iPiccy.com, I made these tags that say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year love The Wulf Pack”… get it? My last name is Wulf? Ha!  Anyway, I picked some fun colors and fonts and printed and cut these tags using a paper cutter.

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I also cut out pieces of the DCWV cardstock to create a border and attached the tag with double-sided tape.

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I used a small hole punch and attached them to each bag with ribbon.  I filled each bag with lollipops, chocolate, and candy! That’s it!  Super easy! I can’t wait to give them away.  I may give a couple to some of Mia’s friends from school and her teachers and teacher gifts.

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Thank you so much to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts and DCWV for sponsoring this post!

Gift Card Pairing Ideas for the Holidays

by Dinah Wulf

Gift Card Pairing Ideas is sponsored by Ralph’s.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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I’ve often heard people say “gift cards are so impersonal”.  On the contrary, gift cards allow the recipient to buy what their hearts desire without the hassles and hurts of playing the return and exchange game. I’ve put together a fun list of creative gift card pairing ideas to make the “impersonal” a thoughtful and stand out holiday gift. Oh! And of course I had to throw in my own upcycled DIY tutorial!

My husband and I went to Ralph’s and were inspired by so many ideas.  We searched the aisles to look for creative gift card pairing ideas… and I must say we were EASILY inspired! We came up with several ideas to fit many different types of people like, co-workers, picky family members, and fellow Moms. More on this later… I want to share with you what I ended up buying my in-laws along with a gift card from Ralph’s.

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My in-laws are coffee drinkers like me, so we bought two recycled eco-friendly Aladdin coffee travel mugs, a bag of their favorite Starbucks coffee, and some Private Selection Carmel Sea Salt hot cocoa.

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I decided to make my own gift box out of a recycled food box. I cut it to size leaving the top open.

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To cover it, I used:

  • Recycled burlap coffee bean sack
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Paper (optional)

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The burlap I used was a little see-through, so I covered the box with paper to hide the writing.  I had this burlap coffee sack left over from when I made my recycled coffee bean sack pillows. I used a glue gun to secure the burlap in place.

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I stuffed the inside with some extra burlap scraps and placed my items gift card inside.  It turned out quite sturdy and cute!

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Here are some other gift card pairing ideas we came up with while inspired by walking up and down the aisles of Ralph’s:

  1. Dessert theme:  ice cream cones, sprinkles, chocolate and caramel sauce, and cherries
  2. Baby theme: any baby products along with your gift card
  3. Nail theme: nail clippers, nail file, nail polish, cotton balls
  4. Spa theme: face mask, wash glove, loofa, sponge, lotion
  5. Mixed drink theme: any of the Bonny shakers, corckscrew, jigger, or cocktail strainers, and a bottle of liquor
  6. Wine theme: bottle of wine, wine charms, wine bag, and corkscrew

The list goes on and on but those are our favorites.  We wanted to give a big THANK YOU to Ralph’s for sponsoring this post and inspiring us!

Christmas Tree Centerpiece #FabulouslyFestive

by Dinah Wulf

Christmas Tree Centerpiece in sponsored by Jo-Ann Fabrics and Craft Stores for the Celebrate the Seasons Campaign.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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I’m having three parties in the next few weeks and I wanted to make a pretty centerpiece for our eight foot dining table.  I went to Jo-Ann’s and found some great things.  For this Christmas Tree Centerpiece I bought these items at Jo-Ann’s:

  • Three mini Holiday Inspiration trees
  • Three strands of Holiday Inspiration silver garland
  • Three wooden craft star ornaments
  • Silver and Gold Glitter
  • Gold craft paint
  • A paintbrush
  • Glue

I absolutely fell in love with threes trees when I saw them.  I love the burlap wrapped around the base.

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I knew I wanted to make the centerpiece silver and gold so I bought these pretty strands of ribbon and bead garland.

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I wrapped it around each tree and they fit perfectly.

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My daughter picked out these three wooden stars.  She wanted to help me glitter them.

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We painted the edges gold and them glittered the back gold.

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I used a paintbrush to paint the edge of the front with glue and glittered it gold as well.

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We glittered the center silver.

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My daughter helped and placed the stars on top.  I put the trees on silver and gold serving platters and scattered silver and gold ornaments around each tray.  I didn’t have a table runner so I folded a table cloth that I had handy.

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This project was fun to do with my daughter.  It’s simple and easy yet fabulously festive!!  Thank you to Jo-Ann’s for sponsoring this post!

Kids Christmas Table Setting #PaperCraftedChristmas

by Dinah Wulf

This post, Kids Christmas Table Setting, is sponsored by Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts and DCWV for the PaperCrafted Christmas Campaign. All opinions are 100% my own.

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Every year, my four best friends and I get together for a Christmas party. We have great memories each year of the kids making ornaments and decorating cookies.  This year, I wanted to make a special table for the kids.  With the help of Die Cuts With a View (DCWV), I was able to make a colorful and whimsical Kids Christmas Table Setting out of mostly paper!

Using sturdy decorative cardstock is perfect for a kids table setting because it’s thick enough to avoid rips, unbreakable, and easily disposable. DCWV has so many fun and festive winter and holiday supplies.

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Here is a shopping list of supplies you may need for this table setting:

  • DCWV The Holiday Cheer Stack
  • DCWV Christmas & Winter Embellishments pack
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • Paper Cutter
  • Circle Edge Punch
  • Ruler

I started off by simply covering recycled Mason jars with coordinating paper. 

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For the napkin rings I picked two different colors and patterns and topped it off with a charm from the DCWV Christmas & Winter embellishment pack.

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I also covered some red and green favor bags filled with candy for each guest.

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For the placemats, I layered one 12X12 sheet of DCWV underneath a paper doily I made using a circle edge punch at 11” in diameter.  Here is a tutorial for how to make a paper doily.  I also made a paper doily for the center of the table.

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I purchased the adorable gingerbread boy and girl plates and napkins from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft stores. 

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There you have it! I hope you enjoyed my version of a Paper Crafted Christmas! Here is a 50% coupon good until December 31st, 2013 for your next purchase at Jo-Ann’s!  Enjoy!

DIY Inspired Christmas Decorations 2013

by Dinah Wulf

Yay! We finally reached the politically correct time of decorating our home for Christmas… Thanksgiving weekend.  I was lucky enough to have my Dad, step mother, and brother in town from the east coast.  It was a really special time for me. This was also the first year in a very long time that I had family in town to help decorate (my parents are on the East coast and my husband’s parents live in the Midwest). So, I just wanted to share the Christmas decorations we put up together this year.

Starting with the outside, I hung these wreaths with the bathroom Command Brand hooks. They work really well!

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Since we remodeled our balcony, of course I had to spruce it up with some garland and a wreath.

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I kept our entryway simple with a hanging pinecone decoration I made last year, and the door anchored by two decorated mini trees.

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When you walk into our front room, there is a mini tree decorated with the vintage handkerchief ornaments I made and the vintage style ornaments I made a few weeks ago. I used some extra vintage handkerchiefs as a tree skirt.

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On the coat closet I hung the green holiday JOY wreath I made.

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On top of our bar is the collection of Santas I started and stopped shortly after (I don’t know what happened!).

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Pass the front room and into the family room we put up our tree.  Here is my husband and brother putting it up.

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We let it settle overnight and decorated it the next morning.  My daughter has the bottom covered ;)

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In past years BHBD (before husband and before daughter), I would decorate my tree with two-three types of ribbon, flowers, and color coordinating ornaments.  But now, the tree is more meaningful with collections of ornaments accumulated over the years since we were kids.  It’s much better I must say!

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Lastly, here is our mantel.  I placed my winter forest in apothecary jars on top.

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That’s it so far!  I’m bound to add more before Christmas!

Two Dozen Easy Elf on a Shelf Ideas

by Dinah Wulf

So I realized that when I wrote the post Elf on a Shelf Ideas last week, I was making this whole thing WAY harder than it had to be.  I guess because of Pinterest, and other fabulous and creative Bloggers, AND it was my daughter’s first year doing it, I felt pressure to find unique and different elf on a shelf ideas that no one has ever seen before.  Fah-get about it! SOOOO, here are a few more EASY elf on a shelf ideas I came up with.  I decided to make two dozen (this includes the seven elf on a shelf ideas I posted last week) more. Here we go!

I started in the kitchen.  There were so many simple things you can do in there, from placing the elf in your refrigerator to hiding him or her in a pantry.  Make sure it’s a place at eye level or close to it if you have a really little one like I do.

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Next I looked at our Christmas decorations since we just put them up.  I hid her in between the Santa collection and among candy jars. I even put her in our small tree and hiding in the “o” in our JOY wreath I made.

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Then I walked around the rest of the house. All of which were very simple and easy and didn’t require much thought. I love the one with the elf hiding in a plant with a straw hat on her head… again…SUPER  easy but still cute and creative.

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So, my advice for those of you that love this tradition or hate this tradition and do it for the kids, don’t let it stress you out.  Keep it simple, and make it fun for your whole family including YOU!

More Elf on the Shelf:

Ten Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas – From being chased by reindeer to building a fort with Christmas cards, these ten ideas are clever, but simple.

No Sew Elf on the Shelf Skirt – The Elf on the Shelf clothing you can buy at the store is so expensive. This is a quick and easy no sew tutorial for how to make an apron skirt for pennies.

The Elf on the Shelf Tradition – I wrote this after my daughter’s first year of Elf on the Shelf. This post includes a cute goodbye letter for the final night, including a special “baked” tray of mini gingerbread cookies.

Best Elf on the Shelf Ideas – This post shows the first night our elf showed up and nine other adorable ideas including a letter our elf wrote after a day of my daughter misbehaving.

Elf on a Shelf Ideas – This is the first Elf on the Shelf post I ever wrote and includes 7 ideas incorporating my daughter’s toys and games.

Holiday Shopping with Home Depot

by Dinah Wulf

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I am honored to be sponsored by Home Depot for this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.

My family and I shop at Home Depot often.  By “often” I mean the other day I asked my three year old daughter what she would like for lunch and she replied, “A hot dog from Home Depot.” We went this past weekend and had a shopping list in mind. In particular, we were looking for these items for my brother. If you don’t know my brother, I can best describe him as a cross between Martha Stewart and MacGyver.  He can construct, bake, sew, cook, you name it.  He’s a creative genius and Home Depot is the perfect place to find him a gift or three.

Our Shopping List:

Home Depot was extremely busy two days after Thanksgiving but we DID get some special help from Richard and Ray.

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Richard personally took us around the store and guided us in the right direction and quickly among the hustle and bustle. Many of the gifts on our list could be found in the gift center.

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This is my daughter who was VERY happy riding in the car shopping cart collecting all our items.

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My husband and I looked over the five items on our shopping list and decided on three of them. Here is another photo of my daughter once again overjoyed to find the right gift items for her Tito (uncle).

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We decided on the Ryobi One Plus Cordless Brad Nailer, the Husky Rolling Tool Tote, and the Husky Mechanics Tool Set . My brother is most deserving of all these things and I can’t wait to give it to him.

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I had difficulty deciding how to wrap such large items, so I wrapped the Brad Nailer and the Tool Set in wrapping paper and they both happen to fit PERFECTLY inside the Rolling Tool Tote. I then thought that I should make my own bow for the top in a few easy steps.

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Here are the full step by step instructions on how to make a large bow out of ribbon. It turned out quite nice!

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I wrapped some ribbon around the rolling tool tote and placed my homemade ribbon on top.

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I absolutely CANNOT wait to give this to my brother!! Santa may come a little early this year because I’m so excited!

Thank you to Home Depot for sponsoring this post! I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in this holiday gift giving project. As part of the project, I am receiving compensation in the form of cash and gift cards, for the purpose of promoting the holiday gift giving project and The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

by Dinah Wulf

Happy Thanksgiving 2013