Happy Valentines Day everyone! The kids were both so excited for their Classroom Valentines Parties today. We did homemade Valentines as usual, but this year the kids really wanted to do Rainbow Loom Valentines. Of course, that means Mommy was making a LOT of bracelets. I designed the cards in Photoshop and printed them at Kinkos. Not counting the cost of bands, I think I spent $10 on both kids cards? I used lingerie tape on the back (because we are mid-move and you work with what you’ve got) to attach little plastic bags I had on hand, to hold the bracelets.
(Don’t mind the bad finish on the table… That’s the dining set we just picked up to refinish for in the dining room.)
We also had to make boxes for their valentines, which is a new practice for me! I’m used to them coming home with a little gift bag full of their goodies! So we took to Pinterest and got some ideas. B fell in love with the idea of a Minecraft box, so I did my best (but it’s still laughable), and L wanted “Anything with Elsa”.
Brendan’s is a character named Hero Brine? I guess
All I know is he wears a purple shirt and his white eyes glow (which makes for a really hard time photographing it)
Had I been in super-mom Mode, I would have grabbed a strand of battery operated Christmas lights and made his eyes really glow 😉 But this mama was running ragged, the night before these were due. I’m not thrilled with how it came out (because I’m a perfectionist) but he was stoked and said it was “AWESOME!” so game on.
Lily’s was a little easier. We found some holographic looking paper that reminded me of ice/snowflakes, and tacked that on… then I printed out a pic of Elsa that my friend Stacie sent me. I had it laminated at Kinko’s for a whopping $2 so that I could glue it without the color running, or the paper wrinkling. Worked like a charm. I printed Olaf onto card stock too, but didn’t bother laminating him because I knew it wouldn’t take much glue to tack him down. The hills are frosted scrapping paper, cut into 3 different hill-like shapes and overlapped. On the sides, we wrote the lyrics of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” which you can’t see here.
I can’t wait to see what the kids bring home from their friends today! Hope everyone’s Valentines Day is wonderful!
My Mom has a pair of wreaths that she’s had for years and years and years. They’ve been used outdoors for as long as I can remember, so I’m sure you can imagine how weather-worn they are. Their berries are less “glossy red” and more “exposed foam” than they once were.
This year she proclaimed that it would be their last Christmas, and they were headed for the trash can in January. I can’t stand to see things be thrown away that are still totally usable, so I told her “give me a chance to fix them up”. Afterall, the most expensive part of wreathes are the wreath themselves, and those don’t get too torn up in the weather, just the adornments do. She agreed, and we headed to Hobby Lobby to pick up some goodies.
Our original plan was some sprigs of berries and other Christmas-y Goodness, and a bag of pinecones, but given how close we were to Christmas the pinecones were gone and the sprigs were well picked over. So we settled on two boxes of potpourri mix, and 2 remaining sprigs of berries and golden foliage.
The potpourri was $13.99 a box, but was on sale for 50% off, so for two boxes we still spent $13.99.
The large flowers were $6.99 each, but were 50% off, so we spent $6.99 total.
The berries were $1.99 each, and at 50% off, we spent $1.99 total.
And the golden foliage was $2.99 each, and at 50% off, we spent $2.99 total.
Our total spent was around $26 + tax.
At home, I took her wreaths down and brought them inside. They were missing some pinecones and had several areas with glue that was left behind, unable to be removed.
I removed the bow and all of the other pinecones, berries, etc.
Then set to work fluffing all the branches.
I used the large flower to cover the most obvious glue-spot. This wasn’t glued in place, but was wrapped to the “frame” using wire.
The rest of the adornments were attached using a hot glue gun and copious amounts of glue.
The result was a vast improvement from what they looked like previously, and for $26 + tax, we fixed up both wreaths, and had plenty of potpourri left over.
After / Before
This year I knew we needed to either buy, find, or make some stocking holders for the new stockings we’ve been making to use this Christmas, but I hadn’t been able to find anything I loved, and with $20 as the average price tag of *each* stocking holder, I had to really love it to spend $120.00 + tax on a set of 6 (5 for us, and 1 extra for a future addition).
With the new stockings being white and gold, I wanted something that would tie in well with that color scheme, and I wanted to stick to our semi-rustic decor theme we’ve been keeping with. So I settled on something kind of winter/woodlands styled, and decided to go with woodland animals. I was thinking animals like a fox, moose, deer, etc, but the only thing I found for sale was at Anthropologie, which they call their “Woodland Stocking Holder”.
While beautiful, their color options are limited to brown and bronze, which looked suspiciously similar to one another, and their animals are limited to this which looks like the cross between a deer and a ram (someone correct me and tell me the real name of this animal, please!), a pug and a Scottie dog… neither of which were appealing to my woodlands theme. And at $38 a pop, I knew I couldn’t talk myself into a $228+Tax splurge that I didn’t even love in the first place. . I also knew I wanted all 6 to be different, so I decided at that point that it was time to formulate plan be: Making our own.
In passing conversation, I told Lily what I intended to make and she loudly declared that her animal would be a unicorn. Also not keeping with my woodland theme, but I’ll work with it because at least it’s something she’ll love.
I recalled seeing little plastic animals at Michael’s before, so Patrick and I ran out to price them. They ranged from $3.00 to $11.00 depending on the size of animal you purchased. We chose 6 that we felt matched our theme well (one of which was a horse, since they didn’t have a unicorn). Our total spent was around $32.00 including tax. (We also used a 50% off one item coupon on two of the animals, so be sure to check your Michael’s coupons online if you try this tutorial).
After that, we headed out to Target. I’d heard they carry plain stocking holder plates which you can dress up however you want. They are sold in sets 2 of for $10.00, and come in 3 colors (A silver, an ORB color, and a coppery/gold color). They were on sale for $9.00 per set of 2, but even so, buying 3 sets was going to add another $30.00 or more to our over-all price, which I wasn’t thrilled about, so I scouted the Cartwheel app, and sure enough they had 10% off all stocking holders! I also checked out our Shopkick app and discovered we had a collective 5,000+ kicks sitting there waiting to be cashed in. We had to get a little creative with how we cashed them in, but in the end we wound up with $24.00 worth of Target Gift cards for free. In the end, our total for the 6 stocking holder bases was $0.30 + tax. Can’t beat that!
We headed home to start on our project, and grabbed a can of Rustoleum Champagne Mist on the way past the home supply store.
When we got home, this is what our haul looked like
Since the animals are a matte finish paint, and the Rustoleum paint is supposed to be prime+paint in one, I didn’t bother using a different primer on them at all, and just took straight to spraying them down. 2 extra-light coats was all it took, and some time in the sun. Maybe it was just me, but this paint stayed tacky for a VERY long time. I finally gave up and did a clear coat over them using Clear Acrylic Spray, and that finally took care of the tackiness issue.
Before I could get too far on the painting, I did have one issue to tackle: The horse that wanted to be a unicorn.
I considered using some wood putty to form the horn, letting it cure, then using e6000 to glue it on, but i ended up taking a thin dowel and shaped it into a horn using a combination of sand paper and a pencil sharpener, then glued it on using e6000.
Once the glue was completely cured, the unicorn took a turn in our spray-tanning booth and came out a lovely shade of gold.
I did the same process, spraying the bases gold. Once everything was completely painted, clear coated, and cured, I used a small dab of e6000 glue on the bottom of each foot… err, paw? hoof? whatever the case may be… and then pressed them into the base and let them cure overnight.
The next morning, we were excited to see our new additions on our mantle!
The photos of them on the mantle show the color more true-to-life (the ones below are reflecting the red in our wood floors), but here are closeups of each animal.
Patrick is the Elk.
I’m the moose (one of my favorite animals)
Brendan is the wolf.
Lily is the unicorm.
Hayden is the bear.
And any future addition will be the raccoon. 🙂
All in all, this project cost us around $40.
Clear Coat: $0 (already had)
For a total of $6.88 each!! Not too bad!
Now the prices we paid, we wouldn’t expect most families to be able to get that same deal because of the gift cards, etc, we had through shopkick… but if anything, it’s a great reminder to sign up for those programs! Get you shopkick app and get your 45 points everytime you walk into Target! Someday you’ll use it for something cool!
What I’ve learned since becoming a Parent is that shopping for multiple children is HARD. You have to be sure everyone has at least close to the same amount of gifts to open. You can’t spend obviously more on one child’s gift, lest their feelings get hurt. And lord knows if one kid gets the awesome gift, bickering will ensue.
This is the first year we will have all three kids with us on Christmas Morning, which makes equality in gift giving that much more important.
Keeping three lists of wants and needs separate, remembering what we are asking Santa for, and what we are asking Mom and Dad for… well, it’s a challenge.
So this year I’ve given into my Type A tendencies and I’ve created a spreadsheet to keep it all straight. Organized by child and approximate price-point (Small, Medium or Large gifts), I can now be sure that I’m buying one gift for each kid that is approximately equal before moving onto the next set of gifts. There’s also a stealthy “S” column for the gift designated for the big guy 😉
Ours below is an example. It’s basically their wish-list typed out. While we likely won’t buy all of these items, it’s nice to have a list put together so I’m able to quickly reference what they’ve asked for.
If you like the look of our Christmas Shopping List, you can download a Photoshop-Ready Version here, which can be edited to include your kids names. Or a PDF file here, which can be printed and filled out by hand.
Now, to figure out what Hayden wants from Santa…
Last year it was time for new Christmas stockings for the kids. H was staying with her Mom on Christmas, so I knew I needed – at a bare minimum – two stockings done by Christmas Morning.
I went out hunting for fabric and wanted something different, that I knew I would like for several years. I spied some cute gold fabric with sequins on it, and pictured it with a white fur cuff at the top. I loved the look, but the fabric was a jersey knit which means that as it was loaded up with presents, it would stretch out.
I quickly found some quilted batting type material, and thought that would make a cute lining for the knit fabric, and would protect it from stretching. I bought enough of all 3 fabrics to make 6 stockings: One for each kid, one for each parent, and a spare for any future Spivey Baby we might have.
Prior to Christmas, I was able to knock out two stockings, but couldn’t find the type of monograms I wanted for the cuffs. I didn’t want to do full names, but just a first initial for each. I decided to forego an initial for that year and just put small tags on each stocking with names.
This year it’s time to crank out the rest, and I want them initialed before Christmas. Of course, I pitched the home-made pattern I had made for last year. I can’t fathom why I would have done that and I’ve been kicking myself all week for it… but I was able to quickly make another using measurements from last years stockings.
This week I set to cutting out the pieces for each stocking, which is probably one of the most time consuming parts, so I thought I would share the pattern and how to assemble them for anyone interested. It’s very simple, quick, and you can fancy them up however you please! Not including fabric cutting time, I timed how long it too me to make one stocking, start to finish. Without distractions, it took me 27 minutes and 10 seconds to do one full stockings. Granted, I’ve made a few at this point and know how to do it, but that does give you an idea as to how simple this project is.
Before we get started, I’m just going to keep it real and say “don’t judge my table”. This is my $5 craigslist find that is used and abused for all of our messiest crafts, to save our prettier surfaces from the wear and tear. I promise you this isn’t what my real furniture looks like! 😉
First things first. Print out the Pattern located HERE.
Cut it out and assemble as directed.
(Note: Since I had to use a lining b/c my outer stocking fabric was stretchy, there were a few extra steps. Those steps will be noted in Blue with a ** around them. If you don’t use a lining and instead just do one layer, please disregard those steps)
Lay out your fabric and cut out 2 pieces of your cuff fabric, and 2 pieces of your stocking material.
**If you have to (or just choose to) use a lining like I used, cut out 2 of those too.**
Lay stocking pieces with right sides together.
**If using lining, pin lining to “wrong” sides of fabric, then take each set of fabric pieces and place them “right sides” together.**
Using your sewing machine, run a straight stitch around the sides and bottom of the stocking, leaving the top open. Your stitch should be about 1/4-1/2″ away from the edge.
Take Cuff pieces and place right-sides together.
Sew along both “long” edges, making a tube.
Turn stocking right side out.
Determine where on your stocking you want the cuff to start. Mark that line using pins. Leaving cuff wrong-side out, slide down over the stocking, lining up one end of the “tube” slightly higher than your marked line on the stocking. Pin in place.
Using your sewing machine, sew a straight stitch along your marked line.
Now, when you turn your cuff right side out and fold it into itself, it might be a bit bulky… This next step is optional, but i had better luck when I did go ahead and do this (and it only took a few extra seconds.). Inside of the line you already stitched along the long edges of the cuff, sew a second line. It will be at an angle, making the open side of the cuff slightly more narrow than the part that is sewn onto the stocking. You can see better below, what I mean.
Flip cuff up, revealing right-side.
Fold excess down into the stocking until you have a 5″ tall cuff (or larger if you prefer). Once measured, pin, turn cuff down over stocking, and sew a running stitch along the bottom edge of the cuff to the hidden seam allowance inside of the stocking. This will keep it from unfolding when gifts are removed.
Flip cuff back up, revealing your finished stocking!
You can also use a small piece of fabric to add a loop to hang your stocking on.
From here you can embelish how you want. I have a friend who is embroidering some initials for ours, and those will be added soon. In the meantime, I’m just glad the stockings themselves are done!
I hope you enjoy the tutorial and pattern. If you make a stocking, please share a link to your blog post about it in the comments here. I always love finding new blogs to read. Or if you Instagram it, please tag @Jackie_reivey so I can see it there! Happy Holidays!