12.15.2014 / Holiday Baubles and a Speedy DIY

The stockings are hung by the mantle with care….. I lie, we don’t have stockings OR a mantle, but the holiday decorations are officially up!  Before I give you the full festive tour, I wanted to show you a quick and easy DIY that keeps putting a smile on my face.

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This adorable little “Merry and Bright” canvas was seriously simple guys- the most time-consuming part of this process was scouring pinterest for inspiration.

The lengthy list of supplies includes:

  • a sketch pad to practice lettering and plan out the design
  • a pencil
  • a 6×6″ canvas
  • a black sharpie and (optional) a gold sharpie
  • an eraser

Since I already had all these supplies chillin’ around my house, this project was essentially free.

First, I took to my sketch pad.  I traced the outline of the canvas and started playing around a bit.  I’m not a calligrapher or hand-letterer, so I needed a little practice and prep before hitting my canvas.

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Once I was set on the design and style of lettering, I took my pencil lightly to the canvas (so that erasing the pencil marks would be no problem later).  After a little trial and error, I was able to get the spacing just right and move on to my sharpie.

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The key here is to try and do everything in smooth strokes and not to think too much.  Who cares if that one line isn’t bone straight, that’s the beauty of hand lettering.  Once you’ve sharpie’d the whole design, go back and gently erase all of your pencil.

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Aside from my one wavy letter (I’m looking at you, Mr. T) I’m over the moon with how simple and chic it came out.  Just as I had pictured it- festive, graphic, and not too kitschy.

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It compliments the rest of my holiday decor nicely.

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Looked a little different last year without the bookshelf, no?

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And one more reminder of the cute and festive DIY.

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I hope your holiday season is “Merry and Bright”!!!

This project is linked up over at Newly Woodwards Dare to DIY link-up.  Go check it out!

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12.8.2014 / Handmade Holiday 2014

Last week I touched upon buying handmade and unique holiday gifts.  I couldn’t very well ignore the option of DIY gifts as well, now could I?

Admittedly, this year I haven’t made the time to make personalized items for the special people on my list, but I certainly have an arsenal of DIY ideas in my archives that could be pretty awesome to unwrap.

My personal favorite for ease of creation, coziness, wearability, and all around utility is the infinity scarf.

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Once you get the hang of making one, you can bang each one out in 10min or less with my infinity scarf tutorial from last Christmas.  All you need is a yard of fun jersey fabric and a sewing machine!  (side note- Girl Charlie has some stellar jersey fabrics available)

For the lover of tech and all things beautiful, how about an iphone dock made from an old book?

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or maybe a custom ipad case?

DIY vinyl ipad case

For the Christmas decor addict, you really can’t go wrong with a chic ornament like these rustic wooden bead ornaments or clay patterned ornaments.

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diy clay ornaments via yearofserendipity

Invited to an endless number of holiday parties and don’t want to show up empty-handed?  How about a cute leather tassel keychain as a hostess gift?  Or take this to the next level and attach a tassel to napkin rings… or remove the ring and add a hook for a Christmas ornament.  Oh the possibilities!

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That’s the fun part about handmade gifts, isn’t it- the possibilities?  You can really customize something that your loved one will truly appreciate.

 

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12.3.2014 / Uncommercial Gifting

The week after Thanksgiving always feels like a game-changer to me.  Suddenly it’s Christmas season filled with cheesy holiday songs (my absolute fave), holiday parties, gift shopping, and decorating.  The cheesy songs I have down pat, but the rest are still a work in progress.  I’ve been having a bit more fun with holiday shopping this year as I’m trying to go less commercial and more personal.

Holiday shopping back story: A few years ago, my family had a holiday discussion and came to agreement that none of us need tons of gifts or lots of money spent on us.  With Hubby and me and my sister and brother in law now all in our 30s (!) we generally will purchase something when we need it and don’t want to accumulate additional useless clutter.  In a mutual family agreement, we all decided to stop going overboard and pare down the Christmas gifting.  One or two well thought out gifts seem to mean more than lots of money spent on things we’d buy ourselves anyway.  With that in mind I’ve also been trying to buy one of a kind, hand-made, vintage, and generally unique holiday gifts that won’t be tossed aside and forgotten when the season is over.

*This is NOT a sponsored post, these brands don’t know me from a hole in the wall.  I just wanted to share some of my favorite unique holiday sources with you!*

Local gift shops, thrift shops, & antique shops are always a great place to start, but if you’re a bit short on time, an epidemic that seems to be more prevalent in December, there are some amazing online resources to score that perfectly special gift.

One of my absolute personal favorites that seems to be a well-kept secret is Shoppe by Scoutmob

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necklace/mugs/print/embroidered art/canvas bin/t shirt/planter

Scoutmob sells small batch items by independent makers, guaranteeing that your loved one won’t be receiving 3 of the same sweater.  They have everything from hand made furniture, to quirky T’s, to amazing art for your wall.  They even have useful items that everyone needs like organic mustache wax and gourmet spicy ketchup… which just gave me another holiday gift idea….  I’ve honestly loved every single item that I’ve ever purchased from them (which includes clothes, jewelry, art, gifts….) and their customer service is beyond stellar.  “Oh, that personalized wedding gift came in damaged and the wedding is next week?  Sure, we’ll get you a new one in time!” *actual experience*

 

This goes without saying but Etsy.  If you can’t find it for sale hand-made on Etsy, maybe it doesn’t exist.

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necklace/garland/bunny/jars/paper dolls/print

From knitted amazingness to adorable stuffed animals to custom whatever-your-heart-desires, Etsy is a gift-buying wonderland.  Unlike Scoutmob where you purchase from them and then receive the goods from each maker, on Etsy, you’re dealing directly with the creator.  This puts more power in your hands if you want to take your gifting to the next level.  Do you think your niece/daughter/friend would just LOVE that doll, but would be even more special if it had BLUE eyes? Message the maker and a special gift gets even better.

 

Or, for the crafty one in your life, what about a DIY kit or monthly subscription?

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For the Makers: planters/necklace/embroidery/hoops/bowl/kit

I can’t say I have any personal experience with For the Makers yet, it just seems like such a great gift idea!  At For the Makers, you buy the kit to create some wonderfully unique items.  Mostly centered around home decor and jewelry (with a few random things in the mix) this is pretty awesome for the person on your list that loves to make but may not have the time to come up with the ideas or shop for all the pieces.  The gift of fun stylish projects to DIY?  I loves me a good DIY!

 

So there you have it, a few great new sources to jump start your holiday shopping and ensure that you give the best gifts on the block!

Do you love these sources as much as I do?  What other unique shops would you add to this list?

 

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