Author Archive

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Wall Card Display

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Wall Card Display from MomAdvice.com

Living in a small home means that decking the halls must be minimal and make sense with the flow of our space. I love making a festive home, but lack the space to execute anything too elaborate. We can just say that helps keep us on budget. Squeezing in a tree is always the December challenge and I always have wanted to display our Christmas cards, but didn’t want to interrupt the flow of our narrow hallways and spaces.

Walmart challenged me to create a Christmas craft and today I wanted to show you how to make a Washi Tape Christmas Tree Card Wall Display that won’t damage your walls, will be something fun for your kids to do when they get the mail each day, and doesn’t cost a lot to create.

Supplies Needed (all available at your local Walmart store)

2 containers of washi tape (found in the scrapbooking aisle)

1 roll of baker’s twine (small rolls also found in the scrapbooking aisle)

2 containers Damage-Free Hanging Hooks (you will need 13 hooks in total)- I used something like this, but they were clear

2 packages (or more- remember you need to hang your cards) mini-clothespins

1-2 strands of bead garland

1 ornament as a tree topper

scissors

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Wall Card Display from MomAdvice.com

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Wall Card Display from MomAdvice.com

Directions

1. Begin by outlining your tree, starting with a short piece on the top and working your way down. A leveler is a great tool that you can use to insure that the tree is straight. I also used one of our holiday cards to help us establish spacing between the rows.  This display has seven rows, but you can make yours with more or less depending on how tall you would like your tree to be. Make sure that you are smoothing and securing that washi tape as you go. The best part about the washi tape is that you can readjust as you need, perfect for someone who is as OCD as I am.

2. On the end of each row except for your top row, add a 3M hook on each end, overlapping just a bit to help anchor that washi tape in place.

3. Loop your bakers twine through each hook and knot it on each end, allowing it to drape just a bit for your cards. Leave some length on each end because we will use this to secure our garland.

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Wall Card Display from MomAdvice.com

4. Cut garland allowing just a bit to hang over each edge. Take the end of the bakers twine and loop it and then wrap it around each one of the hooks until you near the end of your twine. Secure tightly with a mini-clothespin. Repeat on each level except the very top.

5. Create your trunk by creating a square at the base of your tree.

6. Hang an ornament topper with a final 3M hook. Done.

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Wall Card Display from MomAdvice.com

I love that this display is behind our front door so when the kids bring in the mail, they can hang the cards right there. I have a little box of mini clothespins in our command center for quick grabbing and hanging of the cards.

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Wall Card Display

Washi Tape Christmas Tree Wall Card Display

I hope you love this idea as much as I do for the holidays and for small spaces!  Be sure to check out my diy yarn pom-pom & ornament garland, my Anthro-inspired Pom-Pom Wreath, how I painted an adorable laminate fireplace for the holidays, and our list of fun ideas for holiday giving this year. Wishing you and your family the happiest of holiday seasons!

xo

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How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com

I know everyone is very different about their decorating. In my house, I try to only decorate with items that I have handmade for the holidays and that really mean something to our family.  Our home doesn’t have a lot of storage so I have to be selective about what we carry over from year to year. In a nod to my yarn and knitting habit, this year the house is decorated in pom-poms for the season. I created this easy yarn pom-pom & ornament garland and I got out my yarn pom-pom trees that I created last year to decorate a shelf in our kitchen. Other than that, we keep it fairly simple with fresh greenery that doesn’t take up valuable storage.

Each year I dedicate my Black Friday to one craft that I have always wanted to try. When I first started knitting it was all about finding projects out of my comfort zone. This year though,  I decided to tackle a crafting to-do that I have wanted to do for many, many years…it is a pom-pom wreath for our front door. Just as my autumn burlap wreath carried me through from Halloween to Thanksgiving, this pom-pom wreath in cream has all of the magic of the holiday season, but can be carried over into the spring months due to its neutral tones.

This craft can’t be whipped up quick, but the reward is great. In fact, I smiled today as I pulled up to my front door. Just seeing it and knowing the labor of love that went into creating it makes my heart truly happy. If you are a maker, you know the joy that comes with the completion of a craft project you have always wanted to do and then have done it well. It’s unlike any other feeling.

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1- 18″ straw wreath (leave it wrapped in the plastic)

5-6 skeins of Lion Brand Hometown USA Los Angeles Tan Yarn (use this for reference, but I found the cheapest pricing at Walmart, but can also be found on sale at JoAnn Fabrics)

Pins

Large Clover Pom-Pom Maker (we are using the blue one)

Scissors

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com
How to Make a Pom-Pom Wreath

1. Following the pictures above, create your pom-poms using your Clover Pom-Pom Maker.  You can create these and pin as you go to see how many you end up needing for your wreath.

2. After you make your pom-poms (which will take one million years- don’t say I did not warn you), you can begin pinning them on your wreath form. Make sure that you leave your straw wreath in the plastic. Using pins, pin your pom-poms with two to three pins each and then fluff them. You will want to start adding a pom-pom in the center, then on one side, then on the other side. Continue stacking them this way, next to each other, making sure that the form is covered. No need to make these extremely tight so you can make sure that your pom-poms really fluff up and stand to attention.

3. Continue adding pom-poms, pinning, and fluffing until your entire wreath is covered. Once you hang your wreath, pull on pom-poms to see if everything is secure and add any pins as needed.

 

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com

 

How to Make a Yarn Pom-Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com

I hope this wreath makes you as happy as it has made me.  I couldn’t be happier to have tackled this project over my Black Friday weekend and I hope it can brighten a corner in your home too!

 

Happy Holidays,

xo

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Amy’s Notebook 12.03.14

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Modern Nutcrackers via Up To Date Interiors

Source: Up To Date Interiors

 

Modern nutcrackers made from dollar store supplies.

50 great dark books for the dark days of winter.

I am floored by this oversized holly garland to dress up a staircase.

Can’t wait to try this perfect grilled cheese with an unexpected ingredient.

Five steps toward a more meaningful holiday season.

Slow cooker apple cider via Gimme Some Oven

Source: Gimme Some Oven

 

Slow cooker apple cider – easy & from scratch.

Holiday decorating inspiration is here.

Great tips on what to buy when rebuilding your wardrobe on a budget.

How to get those glowing, lighted christmas tree pictures.

Two simple winter fashion projects, DIY polka dot tights & easy DIY boot socks- so cute!

And…raise your hand if you relate:

Listening to Mindcraft via Buzzfeed

Source: BuzzFeed

 

What it’s like listening to your kid talk about Minecraft:

Of course, I’m listening. Go on.

 

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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Exclusive ePantry Offer: Free Method Dish Soap + $10 Shopping Credit + $15 to Charity

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

ePantry

I am so excited that ePantry reached out to me to see if I wanted to be a part of their, “Thanks for Giving,” campaign. As I have shared with you before, I am a HUGE fan of ePantry for our family.  In honor of Giving Tuesday, I am partnering with them to offer to you a great deal for signing up with their services and in exchange for your sign-up I get to give $15 to my favorite local charity, Clay Food Pantry, which provides 400 families every week with food in our community. They are an amazing charity and I would love to make a donation to them with your help! 

Currently, ePantry is offering a MomAdvice exclusive “Thanks for Giving,” offer which I am so excited to share with you. You can  get a free $10 credit to use on their site when you sign up to try their service + a FREE Method Dish Soap (retail value $5.40) + FREE shipping on your purchase. 

Once you use my referral link you will see in the upper right-hand corner a welcome message that reads, “HELLO MOM ADVICE READERS!  FREE DISH SOAP, $10 CREDIT & $15 TO CLAY FOOD PANTRY.” The minimum order amount is $20, just on this first order, if you would like to take advantage of the offer!   

You do not need to add the Method Dish Soap to your cart, as my link will automatically do that for you!

ePantry

Why I Love ePantry (And Why You Will Too)

According to their website, ePantry customers save 26% vs. their local grocery store. There are no service or maintenance fees and you’ll be charged only for the products you buy. Based on the information you provide, ePantry is able to predict how much and when you need each product. They do understand though that there are countless variables in life (vacation, house guests, an addition to the family, etc.), so they have made it incredibly easy to make changes on your personal dashboard, or via their mobile app. A week before any shipment is scheduled to go out, they send you a reminder email and a text message for you to make any changes.

What I love the most about ePantry is there are no commitments or fees to use their services. The products are all focused on green living so I can be proud to use them in my home. They also will only charge you once items are shipped. You can cancel at any time, and if you don’t like a product, they will refund you.

Just as I stated above,  shipping is always free and for all future orders, there’s no  minimum amount to purchase.

I hope you enjoy the savings and convenience as much as I have and I am so excited to get to share this exclusive offer with you! This offer WILL EXPIRE on Friday (December 5th) at 6PM PST! I hope you will take advantage of the savings as well as the chance to give back to those in need! 

Clay Church Food Pantry

Why I Love Clay Church Food Pantry (And Why You Will Too)

Each year I try to do lots of different partnerships and use many of the proceeds from our sponsored posts for those in need. This year, I was able to supply 187 people with a Thanksgiving dinnergave 4,000 people the gift of clean water, and I adopted a little girl through World Vision with the funds, among many smaller donations to those in need and for charity runs. Today I want to focus my efforts on feeding the hungry especially around the holidays. Clay Church helps over 400 families in need every week and caring for those in our community and they were also the inspiration for my passion for Burkina Faso. I would love to share a gift with them this Giving Tuesday with your help! This money, I promise you, will be put to good use in my community!

Happy Holidays, friends!

xo

Apron Full of Giveaways 12.02.14

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Reindeer Apron via Etsy

Source: Boojiboo,  $28.75

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship

Monday, December 1st, 2014

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

*This post is sponsored by Walmart

I have had my calendar booked forever for Peter Pan Live! ever since I heard it was the next live theater production to hit television. Did you hear that it is coming to NBC on Thursday, December 4 at 8/7c? The cast includes several of my favorites like Allison Williams, Christopher Walken, Christian Borle and Minnie Driver. In honor of the film, I have crafted up a watermelon boat that you can share with your kids for your family night together. This fun food craft can be created together, adding your own personal pirate touches, or you can create it to surprise the kids for your family night.

Not many people know this, but I did theatre for many years and my favorite type of shows to do were musicals. My love for this started in high school and I took a year off in between high school and college to do more shows. In fact, I even did a show when I was pregnant with my son.  Thankfully, it was of an era with empire waists and flowing Victorian clothing. I miss it a lot and that is, perhaps, why I appreciate the opportunity to catch any production that I can. I also appreciate any opportunity I can get to expose my children to the arts and it is why I put a big significance on this in our home. Not everyone can afford a ticket to see a show and I love that this is an affordable way to enjoy the arts as a family.

Without further adieu, let’s create a fun pirate ship for your family night!

Supplies Needed

1 watermelon

1 pint blueberries

1 pint strawberries

1 pound grapes

1 sharp knife

cutting board

1 piece of cardstock

5 paper straws (I found these in the party supplies aisle)

1 hole punch

1 pair of scissors

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

 

Directions for Watermelon Pirate Ship

1. To help your boat sit upright, slice very thinly the end off of the bottom of the watermelon, making sure not to puncture your watermelon so it can act as a boat for your fruit.

2.  Slice the top half of your watermelon off. Set aside.

3. Using a melon baller, remove the meat of your watermelon. If you do not have a melon baller, you can score the watermelon into chunks and glide your knife all around watermelon to help create the shape of your chunks. Use a spoon to then scoop out the squares of melon. Ideally though, a melon baller makes quick work for your fruit salad.

4. Once the melon is completely hollowed out, slice your fruit and place it inside of your bowl, weaving in your watermelon, to create your fruit salad.

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

5. Now we can make our sails for our ship. Cut out five squares from a single piece of cardstock, any size you wish. I just cut out one square and used it as a template to create the rest of my sails. These do not have to be perfect, in fact, if they are imperfect they look like they are waving a bit in the breeze.

6. Using a hole punch, punch out a punch near the top of the square and then near the bottom to create a place for our straws to slide through. I stacked them all together and then punched them all at once so they would look more uniform.

7.  You will then need to cut your straws are varying sizes. I did one long straw, two medium, and then two short.  Slide the straw through making sure that the straw is peeking out of the back and not the front of that pretty white sail.

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

We hope you love this craft we created in honor of  Peter Pan Live! and we hope you can catch the show with us!  You can learn more about this amazing production here! We can’t wait and hope this idea inspires you for your family night together!

xo

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Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

If there is one thing this girl loves it is a good yarn pom-pom project. I have created everything from pom-pom Christmas trees to bouquets of flowers for gift-giving. Today I’m partnering with Walmart to show you a fun winter craft you (or your little ones) can create for the holidays to decorate a window, mantel, or pretty up a ledge in your home. The best part is that it doesn’t cost a lot to create and can be used year after year!

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1 skein (or possibly two depending on your ledge size) Hometown USA Super Bulky Yarn in Los Angeles Tan ($2.97)

Package of 20 Mini Shatterproof Ornaments (in seasonal decor with the mini artificial trees) ($3.48)

Large Clover Pom-Pom Maker (use the blue one) ($6.61)

Scissors

Embroidery Needle

Scissors

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com how-to-use-a-pom-pom-maker-4 Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Yarn Pom Pom & Mini-Ornament Garland Directions

1. Prepare yarn pom-poms as I have shown you in the step-by-step photo tutorial or follow directions on packaging to create your pom poms. Keep making pom-poms making sure to leave enough yarn to string your pom-pom garland.

2. Once all of your pom poms are made, thread them with the embroidery needle onto your yarn. Take the embroidery needle off (the needle head is too large to feed through the mini-ornaments) and then alternate it with a mini-ornament. Keep doing this until you have filled the entire garland leaving a little on each end to hang down. I ended mine with an ornament since it ends the garland securely without knotting.

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

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Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com
Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com
Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com
Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Did you see that I got my first little fireplace? I decided to decorate it with this adorable garland. To tie it all together, I filled glass bowls ($1.97 each) with a package of mini ornaments ($3.48 each) and then stacked them on my little fake logs that I had bought for my fall decorating from the craft store. I found these adorable owls  for $4.98 in the seasonal decor and I love that I can leave these out even when it isn’t Christmas. This mini lighted tree was $9.98 and I finished her with a little pom-pom topper too. Since we took our painting down to decorate, I used the nails I had for hanging another shorter garland above the top to add a little interest to the wall.

This project took me about one hour and I look forward to enjoying it all Winter long and in the years to come.

I hope this frugal idea inspires you in your holiday decorating! Happy Holidays!

xo

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The MomAdvice Unique Holiday Gift Guide

Friday, November 28th, 2014

The MomAdvice Unique Holiday Gift Guide

 

I have been jotting down ideas for this holiday gift guide over the year since each year I aim to create a really useful gift guide that you really will use and love when selecting your gifts. This list is a compilation of my favorite things that have made me very happy and I believe they are the perfect gifts to share with someone you love.

I did not set a dollar limit this year on the gifts because I don’t get the opportunity to share some of the pricier things that I really have used and loved, but the list will offer a range of ideas for your own Christmas budget. I also try to share if I have found them somewhere cheaper or where to snag a coupon to make these gifts more affordable.

Magicbox Speaker

Magicbox Speaker ($29.99)

I absolutely love my Magicbox Speaker for listening to podcasts and music through my iPhone or iPad. This little guy is Bluetooth-enabled so it can connect with your device and charges with a little USB cable that it comes with. The sound is really good- not Sonos quality, but really perfect for my laundry/making dinner/cleaning house needs. I am one happy girl now that I don’t have to hold my phone to my ear to keep up with all my stories and to hear my music.  I really think this is a sweet little gift and I love the price tag.

Blanket Scarves

Blanket Scarves ($15 or less)

Blanket scarves are very trendy this year and are the perfect gift to give for the holiday season. These are also an ideal gift for someone who travels a lot since they fit perfectly in your carry-on luggage and can be wrapped around you when you get cold on the plane or at the airport.  I have an easy tutorial to create a blanket scarf  for gift-giving this year for the crafty and the not-so-crafty.  Head over here and check to see if flannel fabrics are on sale. If not, that same link will provide you a 40% off coupon. You will DEFINITELY want to use this because it makes these scarves budget-friendly for the holidays.

UGG Slippers

UGG Slippers ($55 on eBay)

I wish I could give everyone in the world a pair of UGG slippers because these make me that happy. Every year I buy a cheap pair of slippers from Target that I trash and then have to buy another pair, usually mid-season. I discovered that UGG makes slippers (I know, I am so behind on the times!) and I decided to hunt on eBay to see if I could find a pair of slippers for myself.  I wanted something that looked like a shoe and not yo grandma’s slippers. I found these Gray Suede Driving Moccasins that were brand-new (just missing their box) and bought them for $55. Considering I am probably spending that much on two cheap pairs every year, this is a worthy investment. The best part is that they have leather inserts for warm days and then they have that delightful furry insert for freezing days. UGG Slippers bought from UGG might be out of the budget, but checking eBay might be a great option for brand new slippers at a fraction of the price for someone you love!

Fitbit Flex

Fitbit Flex ($74.89)

I am one of those people that is slow to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to technology and gadgets. Before the Fitbit Flex even launched, my husband knew about it and wanted to buy it for me. Now that it has been enough time for the trend to pass, I figured I would look into getting one and I absolutely love it for motivating me to stay fit and hit the gym.

Several of my girlfriends have these and I tend to have an annoyingly competitive streak so being in a competition for the most steps has been pushing me to hit the gym and go on an evening walk so I can compete against my athletic friends.

The other thing that I love, not fitness related, is the silent alarm feature on the Fitbit Flex. I have to be the first one up in our house and when my alarm goes off, it triggers my husband to wake up and our cat to start the annoying meowing baby cry reserved for the morning alarm. You can set a silent alarm on the app and the bracelet vibrates to wake you in the morning.  I wake up happier,  my husband continues to sleep, and the cat doesn’t start her annoying meowing baby cry until she realizes I am up. Winning all around!

If you are gifting this, consider making a little DIY Fitbit Flex Leather Cuff to go with it- this has been one of my favorite things this year!

Logitech Keyboard

Logitech iPad Keyboard ($49.46)

I used to carry around my laptop when I traveled, but when I got my iPad, I knew that I wouldn’t need to carry that around with me anymore because HELLO…BROKEN BACK. How many pounds is a laptop? Ouch!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand trying to type on the touch screen, particularly when sending lengthy emails or trying to conduct anything for my business. I found this Logitech iPad Keyboard and it has been one of the best tech investments I have ever made. It instantly turns your iPad into a mini-laptop that you can carry in your purse. The battery life lasts forever before it requires a charge with a small cord, making it perfect for me to take to my conferences. The outside of it is metal and durable, helping protect your iPad screen and it latches together magnetically, as though they weren’t meant to be together from the start.

The best part is that it holds my iPad up for me while I am laying in my hotel bed watching Parenthood episodes so that I can hold my Kleenex and cry without having to hold the screen at the same time. Can you just imagine how hard that would be?

But it is also very important for business. Yes, for business.

This American Life

This American Life App ($2.99)

An iTunes gift card makes the perfect little stocking stuffer for the holidays and may I offer a suggestion on how to spend it?  I am an NPR junkie and if  you haven’t discovered it yet  This American Life is mostly true stories of everyday people, and the best way I can describe it is that the show is like listening to a movie about these people.  It is typically told in three acts that all interact around the same theme. It is the best kind of storytelling and usually leads to a beautiful discussion about your own viewpoints after the show. The app is wonderful for listening to all of the Staff Picks and the best of the best in This American Life offerings.

My husband and I sit in our respective chairs and hang on every word. Every. Word. It’s become one of our favorite things to do in the evenings, further solidifying the exciting type of senior life you might expect from us in the future.  If you aren’t listening to NPR, you are missing the boat. And I can say this because I missed the boat for years and now I can’t imagine my life without it.

Faux Fur Throws

Faux Fur Blankets ($15.88)

I was hoping these blankets would be back from Better Homes & Gardens and spotted these faux fur throws back on the shelves this week at Walmart. This is MY FAVORITE blanket and a great gift to give for the holidays.  It is cozy fleece on one side and then the other side is a glorious faux fur.  They even had a free Better Homes & Gardens Magazine subscription attached to it which made the deal even sweeter.  Who wouldn’t love a cozy throw with a gift card to select a few favorite books to read.

Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition Books

Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions ($18 or less)

Every year I ask for one Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition to read.  These books are so beautifully bound and I try to read one classic each year so these beautiful books add a lot of motivation to read them since they are such a treat to page through. This year I have my eye on this Ernest Hemingway collection or to dig into this Laura Ingalls Wilder collection to read with my favorite little girl in the evenings. You will never regret these purchases for our bookshelf. I love all of the Barnes & Noble Collectible editions and even treated myself to The Giver collection this year (which I can’t wait to read!) that I found in my local store. (PS- Check here for coupons!)

Sorel Boots

Sorel Boots ($110 or more)

Five years ago I got my first (and only) pair of Sorel Boots and they still look just like the day that I got them. They have a cozy layer of Thinsulate inside of them that keep my feet toasty and each year a little polishing and waterproof spraying helps them to go strong from year to year. I have never spent a lot on shoes, but after the fifth year of these going strong, I can honestly say that they are a worthwhile investment especially if you live in the Midwest. I am planning to ask for Sorel gift cards to put towards my next pair of boots from my family members so I can pool them together to get another pair.

Royal Fox Print

Royal Fox Print

Royal Fox Print ($45)

My brother is an artist in NOLA and when I came to visit we had the best time checking out all of the art that the street vendors offered as well as the galleries full of unique art. I only brought home one souvenir from my trip and it was this sweet little Royal Fox print that I found  at the Gallery Burguieres in NOLA. The artist was as sweet as could be and has recently had a little drama going on with this fox that has made him rather famous in the Taylor Swift world. This shop is a little NOLA treasure and was one of my favorite galleries we visited and this print makes me smile every time I see it.

Janet Hill Studios

Janet Hill Studios

Janet Hill Prints ($26 or more)

My home is filling quickly with Janet Hill prints and every single piece just speaks to my soul in a way no other artist has ever spoken to me. Each print tells such a beautiful and unique story that I think would resonate with just about anyone. These beautiful prints would be lovely to share with someone you love particularly if you frame them with an inexpensive frame. I took mine to Hobby Lobby to get a matte that would make each one stand out. Of course, Janet Hill is just one of many talented artists that share their wares on Etsy so you if you are unsure of your recipient’s taste, consider a gift card to Etsy to make gift-giving easy and unique.

Knitted Boot Cuffs

Knitted Boot Cuffs ($5)

Our most popular project on the site right now are these knitted boot cuffs that you can whip it up in a mere two hours. I gave these to my best friend Christmas last year and you can make them for about $5 in materials. These are such fun toppers to your boots and would also make a sweet little stocking stuffer. If you are new to cabling, this is an easy project to tackle to master cabling and you can’t beat that these can be created in such a short amount of time.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things for more happiness givers.

 

I hope this little list helps as you plan your holiday shopping. You can also find a great list of 54 handmade gifts you can make for those special people in your life!  What are your favorite gifts you have given or received?

 

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How to Paint a Laminate Fireplace

Friday, November 28th, 2014

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

It has been a dream of mine to have a fireplace in our home.  It started with a faux mantel obsession and endless nights on Craigslist. Then every home improvement show we watched had beautiful restored mantels that made me pine more for a cozy place in our home to sit. When we rented a lake cottage last winter, we all took turns sitting by it in the evenings to warm up. I just can’t seem to get over it.

Walmart wanted to partner with me on a fun winter project and I just knew it was time to pull the trigger.  You know, let the obsessing begin again. This time, I decided to explore the electric fireplace option for our home due to its affordability and ease it would be to add it to a room in our home.

I haven’t seen an electric fireplace in action in many years, but I can honestly say that they have come a long way. The flames are much more realistic than they used to be and you can select if you just want to sit by your little faux fire or if you want actual warmth which warms a room as a space heater would.  It’s definitely not the real deal, but a beautiful substitute especially for small spaces that need a little cozying.

Electric Fireplaces Ideas Under $200

Pictured Above: 1. Electric Fireplace with a 44″ mantel ($199)/ 2. Wall Mounted Fireplace ($124.95)/ 3. Electric Fireplace with 26″ Mantel ($129.99) 4. Electric Fireplace With 38″ Mantel (159.97)/ 5. 26″ Polyfiber Electric Fireplace ($199)

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

This back corner in my craft room/office was intended to be a place to unwind. Unfortunately, unwinding seemed impossible when facing my desk and the corner ended up being a pretty space that was rarely used. I decided that wall would be the perfect spot for our little fireplace and settled upon this Electric Fireplace with a 44″ mantel ($199) for the space. I paid the $5 for swift shipping and the item came overnight- I am not kidding.

This is a build-it-yourself piece of furniture that took a couple of hours to put together. I must admit, my husband was not on board at this point with my decision to bring this into our space, but I knew it could anchor this corner better and would be a lovely treat in the winter.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

That same evening (a late night Instagram capture), I rearranged the furniture and the kids raided their library books and spent the evening cozy by it.

I loved the cozy space, but felt that the fireplace could look a little better with a little paint and creating a brighter focal point. I decided that I would paint it white to brighten it up and also to camouflage that this is a laminate wood piece. Have you ever painted laminate wood before?  It really couldn’t be easier with these three simple ingredients.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Laminate Furniture in 3 Easy Steps

1. Paint on a Coat of Zinsser Primer- I became a fan of Zinsser Primer when I painted our kitchen table (she still looks great!) and could not seem to remove the layers of poly that had been applied to the table. In the same way, Zinsser makes a laminate surface accept your paint. If you don’t use this as a sealant before painting, it is likely that your project will begin to bubble and it will not accept the application of paint. Zinsser dries very quickly and is easy to apply to the surface. Once it is dry (usually within an hour or two), you can begin painting your furniture

2. Next, you can apply your paint. I have been painting like crazy over here and so I had a gallon of paint on hand that I could dig into for this project. Since the laminate wood was so dark, I used my Benjamin Moore Paint (the paint color is White Dove) that included a primer already in it.  With the addition of that, plus the Zinsser, I only needed one coat and a little more for touching up.

3. Finish with two coats of Polycrylic in a Clear Satin. I have a very sad, sad tale to share soon about two pieces of furniture that were ruined by an oil-based poly. In fact, they yellowed within a single week. Please if you do one thing, take my advice and use Polycrylic to finish your project. It is clear, it doesn’t smell as awful as the oil-based, and this product WON’T YELLOW YOUR FURNITURE.  Allow each coat of poly to dry for two hours before reapplying. Allow the piece to dry overnight.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

The white paint definitely makes this fireplace the focal point of the room. I have already decorated her for the holidays and will be sharing my mantel decorating ideas on the blog next week that I created in less than an hour. This space is truly the happiest corner in our home and has been a wonderful place to unwind in the evening hours or for a break in the office during the day. I can’t believe how affordable this solution was and I love that I added my own touches to it to truly make it mine.

As you can see it, it is a hit with the whole family even our cat loves it and cozies up with us here. I highly recommend a little Bing on the record player to really bring this corner to life!

Happy holidays, friends!

xo

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Amy’s Notebook 11.26.14

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

DIY-Felt-Christmas-Wreath-Pillow via An Oregon Cottage

Source: An Oregon Cottage

 

This adorable pillow knockoff had me at glue gun.

Free printable Elf on the Shelf calendar and checklist- do you do an Elf on the Shelf?

Compound butter party favors- genius.

Our ‘Mommy’ problem.

Would you ever think about a side-dish-only Thanksgiving?

When kids have too much stuff.

Wowed by this dresser makeover.

DIY Cardboard Pie Box via A Joyful Riot

Source: A Joyful Riot

 

DIY cardboard pie box- how cute is this?

Awed by this knitted gradient cowl.

Love a little faux fur detail.

13 genius tips for decorating a small space.

We’ve seen almost every single one of these- have you?

Getting back to holiday simplicity.

Sparkle confetti garland- simple and sweet.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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