Category Archives: Christmas

A Very Cube-y Christmas

Hello internets! It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve posted – because it kinda has been.  Let me first assure anyone who’s following along (thanks!) that I’m not going anywhere!  In my real life, I work in the online retail industry, and fourth quarter is absolute madness for me.  I just don’t have the time for a good ol’ hands on DIY project this time of year.  ‘Tis the season for online shopping, #amirite?!

Moving on… I have some projects on the to-do list that I’m very excited about tackling and later posting here.  In the interim, I thought I’d do a quickie post about how my cubicle at work is decorated for Christmas!

Some people don’t care to decorate their cubicle at all, but my stance is that if I am going to spend most of my waking hours in here, I want to enjoy what I’m looking at!  It normally looks like this… 

photo-21
Here’s how I added a little holiday happiness to it!

4″ pre lit tree  

cubicle decirated for christmas  

Bow tree topper made of streamers ($1 at Target)

 cubicle decorated for christmas 

Pastel orb ornaments hung in a gradient pattern ($3 for 25 at Target)

   

Battery operated lights (I think these were $3 at the Target dollar spot, I’ve had them a few years now) + a Noble Fir branch (free! my mom cut it from her tree for me) for my console

 cubicle decorated for christmas

Merry message on my mini chalkboard

 cubicle decorated for christmas 

This only took me about 30 min total to put together, and added up to a whole $4 when you consider that I already had much of this stuff lying around!

 cubicle decorated for christmas 

Now my cubicle has me feeling the holiday spirit every time I walk into it!

Anyone else out there decorating their workspaces?  Link to yours in the comments if you please! 

Happy Holidays homies! 

xo

Super Simple Sugar Scrub

Please prepare yourself for the easiest DIY sugar scrub recipe you’ve ever laid eyes on…

Super Simple Sugar Scrub Recipe

I’ve mentioned before that I love to give homemade gifts, and this Christmas was no exception. Among my homemade presents was a sugar scrub that I made special for all of the adult ladies in my family.

I browsed a ton of sugar scrub recipes before I made this, each just a bit different from the last. Ultimately, I decided to wing it. I’m so glad I did, because this is seriously the easiest gift I’ve ever made! And my hands were so soft for hours after I tested it! So without further ado…

You’ll need:
– Table Sugar
– Olive Oil
– Hand or Bath Soap
– 4oz Airtight Container(s)
– Fabric / Paper Scraps or String for Embellishment (optional)

Sugar Scrub Recipe Supplies

I scored four 4oz smooth Ball jars on clearance at Target, which worked perfectly for this recipe.

First, put two Tbsp of olive oil in your jars / containers. As you can see in the above photo, I went with the generic brand. It worked great!

DIY Sugar Scrub

Then add one Tbsp of bath soap. I used Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Stress Relief body wash / foam bath in Eucalyptus Tea, which I bought for five measly bones during a pre-Christmas sale.

Give the olive oil and soap a quick stir with a fork – nothing crazy, you’re about to do some more mixing in a second.  Each jar should get just over one-half cup of sugar. I went generic with this ingredient as well. I mean sugar is sugar, right? I don’t really think brand matters here.

DIY Sugar Scrub

The key is to put about a quarter cup of sugar in, mix it well, then add another quarter cup and mix again.

DIY Sugar Scrub

Tip: I use a fork as opposed to a spoon to mix the scrub because it seems to agitate it better without a bunch of the sugar sticking to the utensil.

Tip #2: Make sure to stir over your sink! No matter how carefully you work, you still risk spilling. I ended up having to pick up some scrub crumbles before my pup got to them!

If you don’t feel the need to decorate your jars, you’re done!  Scoop out about a quarter sized amount and rub it with mild pressure all over your hands.  Continue to rub the mixture on your hands under running water.  There is just enough soap in the mixture to rinse the scrub off, and the olive oil is a natural moisturizer.  Pat yourself on the back with your super-soft hands, because you just made yourself (or someone else) a lovely beauty treat!

Here’s where the optional part comes in. I traced my lids onto some scrap burlap and cut the little circles out for a decorative top.

DIY Sugar Scrub

DIY Sugar Scrub Jar Embellishment

DIY Sugar Scrub Jar Embellishment

I just hot glued the burlap to the lid and then hot glued it again to the band (the ring that screws the lid on).

DIY Sugar Scrub Jar Embellishment

Of course you don’t have to do that but making things look pretty is about 53.7% of the fun, right?

That’s it! In a few super easy steps using very little ingredients I made gifts for four of my loved ones! I tested these before screwing on the lids and I’m telling you, this stuff made my hands SO SOFT. The oil is very moisturizing but the small amount of soap ensures that your hands won’t be greasy. This recipe is flexible and almost foolproof.  There are so many different soaps, essential oils and even extracts out there that you can use to customize it.  This stuff is great for hands and feet and even dry elbows and knees!

DIY Sugar Scrub

I hope you’ll try this recipe, and if you do, feel free to tell me how it went in the comments!  I’d love to hear which scents you chose or what variations you made.  Do tell…

Perfect Present-ation

‘Tis better to give than receive.  And Christmas is the season for giving.  The holiday itself is definitely not about gifts, and I’ll be the first to say that I really dislike how commercialized Christmas has become.  It’s not about who has the most or who spent the most or what you received.  For some, there is a deeply religious meaning to December 25.  For me, Christmas is about sharing joy with my loved ones and appreciating my blessings.

That being said – I LOVE giving gifts.  Big or small, useful or silly, or even something tasty, seeing someone laugh or smile when I give them something I spent time on or put a lot of thought into is totally my jam.  Call me a people-pleaser, if it pleases you to do so!

The presentation of my gifts is about 75% of the fun to me – no lie.  This gal LOVES to wrap presents.  I like to do a theme with my holiday gifts.  Last year I did silver paper with blue bows and hand stamped tags.  Sadly, I don’t have a picture.  It was before I started this little website.  Now I take pictures of EVERYTHING.  #bloggerlife

I DO, however have pictures of this years wrapping.  Everyone loves brown paper packages tied up with string painted with bling, right?!

I wrapped almost everything in kraft paper this year.  I ran out and had to improvise with some brown lunch sacks and grocery bags but hey, they matched!

I painted the paper with the same paint that I used on my ornaments.  An acrylic paint aptly titled Champagne.  All the gals got polka dots and the fellas got stripes.

Gifts wrapped in kraft paper and painted

I even home-made my bows with gold ribbon.  They’re perfectly imperfect if you ask me.

Homemade Bows for Presents

I thought about hand-stamping my gift tags again but man – that took FOR.EV.ER. last year.  Then I read this post from Elsie + Emma at A Beautiful Mess.  I’ve been using their ABM app for quite some time (which my instagram followers are well aware of I’m sure).

Photo Gift Tags

Instead of making white spaces to write on like Elsie + Emma, I decided to pick some of my favorite funny pictures of my gift recipients and just put the word “To:” somewhere on the photo using their app.  Once the images were transferred to my computer I put them all in a word doc and printed them out on label paper so I could stick ’em right to the kraft paper.  I can’t wait to watch everyone look through the gifts to find their picture!

DIY Gift Wrap and Tags

I think my crunchy, imperfect little homemade gift wrap theme for this Christmas turned out great!  

DIY Gift Wrap and Gift Tags

Anyone else out there making fancy gift tags or painting on their gift wrap?  What other projects have you been working on for the holiday season?  Do tell…

Icemageddon 2013 and Christmas Spirit

Icemageddon.  That is what the news and social media have taken to calling what the Dallas / Fort Worth area experienced on the 5th of December.  Here in North Texas the temps rarely get cold enough for us to get any kind of decent snow, but every now and again a weather anomaly occurs.  In the case of Icemageddon 2013, we were at 79 degrees on Wednesday the 4th, and by Friday, it looked like this:

Icemageddon 2013

Unfortunately, that is ice, not snow.  Look what it did to our poor pomegranate bush!  Trust me y’all… it’s never looks saggy like this.

Pomegranate Bush Covered In Ice

Folks cleared the shelves at the grocery store in anticipation of the bad weather, which was pretty smart because the roads were incredibly dangerous all weekend.  I was ok with that though, because being “iced in” gave me plenty of time to do Christmas-y stuff!

One of my favorite Christmas activities is baking and decorating sugar cookies!

Five Pounds of Sugar Cookie Dough

Homemade Sugar Cookies

I really need to work on my icing skills, but the cookies taste great, and that’s what matters most, right?

Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Of course the fella requested that I make him a couple of Christmas Ninjas.  The fella has very simple wants.

Ninja Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

I use this recipe from Bee in our Bonnet.  The recipe makes about 140 cookies when I use my Wilton Christmas cutters, so I have plenty for our families and friends!  And seriously, the royal icing is the best thing EVER.  Any recipe that calls for 2 lbs of powdered sugar is A-OK with me (that would be the royal icing folks).  Tip: I opted to roll my dough out between two pieces of saran wrap, and dipped my cookie cutters in powdered sugar instead of flour.  The flour can dry out the dough and I’ve found that powdered sugar doesn’t have the same drying effect.  If you ever feel like looking at something pretty, check out Bee in our Bonnet‘s website.  Their cookies are so beautiful; they’re little works of art!

I also worked on some Christmas decorating to combat feelings of cabin fever.  We already put up and decorated our tree right after Thanksgiving, details here.

But Icemageddon weekend, I worked on the mantel.  First, I made this little garland with toilet paper and paper towel rolls.  ‘Cause I’m classy like that, feel me?

I painted the rolls gold with my Martha Metallic Glaze in Medallion.

DIY Christmas Garland

Then I cut the rolls into little rings and used some decorative baker’s twine to string the rings together.  I love how simple and cute it is!

DIY Christmas Garland

I used the same glaze on this frame that I scored for $4 at a thrift store ages ago.  I put four coats on top of the white paint that was on the frame and it gives it a brushed brass look.  I love it!

Frame Painted with Gold Glaze

I primed the glass (Zinsser B-I-N of course) and then painted it with Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint in Moonstone.  I used this same chalkboard paint on another project that I’ll be sharing here soon, so stay tuned for that!  Meanwhile, here’s a progress pic of the chalkboard paint on the glass.

Mini Chalkboard DIY

You have to wait three days to condition the chalkboard paint (basically, conditioning is giving it a light all-over coat of chalk by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk across the entire board and then wiping it off so you have a soft, chalky surface to write on). So once I was able to do that, I wrote this festive little message!

DIY Mini Chalkboard

I have it sitting next to the portrait of Turkish that my dad drew and gave to me last Christmas. That picture has lived on the mantel all year and as of now I have no plans to change that. Not to brag but isn’t my Dad so talented?!

Christmas Mantel

I also made what I’m calling a mantel cloth.  It’s like a table cloth for your mantel.  There is probably a really fancy name for it, but that word is not in my vernacular.  And I’m busy writing this post, so I’m not gonna google it, k?

I’ll be honest, our mantel (and really our whole fireplace in general) is not my taste.  At all…  I dream of a day when I can have a natural stone or white brick fireplace…  But since we rent, demo-ing ours and building a new one just isn’t in the cards.  Enter the mantel cloth.  Mantel out of sight, mantel out of mind, that’s what I always say.  I said that once, just now, but anyway…  I just cut up some burlap that I’ve had sitting around forever a while and lightly tacked it to the mantel.  

Burlap Cloth on Fireplace Mantel

IMG_1908

I also painted a little gold line along the points, as you can see two photos up.  It looked much prettier in my head.  But you can hardly see it now so it was really an unnecessary step.

All of these little projects combined with my faux greenery and some battery operated lights made for a pretty cute little mantel, I think!

Christmas Fireplace Mantel

I also whipped up a quick wreath for our door.  I just hung some tiny ornaments on it, tied a bow of red tulle to the bottom and called it a day.  We have a storm door, and our door doesn’t face the street, so I opted to hang it inside instead of outside.  We get more face time with it that way anyway.  If its been made, someone should see it, right?!

Christmas Wreath

Christmas Wreath

I know that countless folks out there were affected by that nasty ol’ Icemageddon… How did you guys spend it? Or were you lucky enough to avoid it? Do tell…

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

That may not be the most original blog post title in the world but I’m ok with that.

All of my blogger friends are showing off their Christmas trees and that’s a bandwagon I’ll happily jump on!  Although I’m pretty late with it… I’ve had my tree up since the 1st!  This blogger has been busy this Christmas season!

This is the first year that the fella and I have had a full size tree.  We  opted for a faux, pre-lit tree because, well, it was free.  It was a hand-me-down from his cousin and we were happy to take it off of his hands.  But we had an issue with the lights.  See I just prefer white lights on my Christmas tree.  And this year, I’m feeling the whole gold, silver, white combo.  This pre-lit tree had bright candy-colored lights zip tied all over it.  The fella, though, he’s such a trooper.  He spent about four hours cutting each and every last zip tie off of those branches for me.

clipping lights from a pre-lit tree

Sorry ladies, he’s taken.  🙂

Turns out, the colored lights didn’t work anymore anyway so it had to be done.  And I’m really glad my fella spent all that time doing it!  I owe him big time.

Now, since we haven’t had a large tree before, we were lacking in the ornament department.  I was going to make a fancy salt or cornstarch dough a la Pinterest, until I found a big ol’ brick of clay in my craft stash.  Good enough for me!

Sculpey Clay

I just rolled it out and used my Wilton Christmas cookie cutter set to make some fun, festive shapes.

Ornaments Made From Clay

I used a drinking straw to poke holes in them for string (plus some extra holes for fun), and then baked them according to the instructions on the package of clay.  Notice the fella threw in a ninja or two that he made with our Ninja Bread Men cookie cutters….

Baking Clay Ornaments

When they cooled they were ready for a coat of a pretty pearlescent acrylic paint.  The color I used is called champagne and I love it for that.

Ornaments Painted Champagne

Some of them got a little “bling” in the form of my Martha Stewart glaze in Medallion.  Then I tied on some twine and these babies were ready to go!

DIY Painted Ornaments

I also hung some charcoal and silver orbs and of course our special ornaments.  The special ones are those with sentimental value, like the ones the fella and I picked up on our last two trips to New Mexico.  This is the one we snagged this year!

Ornament from New Mexico

I think that state is quite possibly my second favorite in the US, behind the great Lone Star State, which I call home.

My homemade ornaments are a bit more kitschy than I prefer, but I like them all the same.  And I love our first full size faux tree.  I illustrated our tree adventure in this Flipagram which is soundtracked by the always fabulous She & Him.  I seriously LOVE that app.  This is the best picture I could get of the tree, since its in a corner of our living room that gets zero natural light.  I like how it turned out though.  Needs ribbon and a topper, but I seriously haven’t even had time for it!

jhb Christmas Tree

I’ve been working on all kinds of Holiday projects around here, and I hope to post about them this week!  I’ve been crazy busy preparing gifts around here!

Anyone else get stuck de-lighting a pre-lit tree this year?  The fella would love to know that he’s not the only one who had to suffer.  Do tell…