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The Giving Season – Part 1

‘Tis the season for decorating, and lights, and family, and eating too much. It’s also a time to remember not everyone is enjoying these things.

As I was stumbling around outside, in my thick snowpants, putting up some Christmas decorations, and feeling the cold as I kept taking my plush gloves on and off — I found myself grumbling under my breath that things were tangled, not perfect, burnt out, or not long enough.

But those feelings were quickly replaced with I HAVE gloves and snowpants to keep the cold out, some do not. I HAVE a home to decorate, some do not. My daughter has gifts under the tree this year, plenty of kids do not.

So, in the true spirit of the season, the Kiddo and I are sending out a good-natured Instagram challenge to help remind us all of the good we can do, in gestures big and small, in whatever way we can, to hopefully impact someone a little less fortunate this season, in a positive way.

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First up. Santa’s Anonymous. The message is simple — to make sure that every child has a new toy for Christmas. This is right up the Kiddo’s alley.

The Kid isn’t even four yet, and she already has big support (besides her Mom)… the kind folks at Hape Toys gave my sweet girl her first Santa’s Anonymous Toy to donate, “My First Loom“. And, if we’re being totally honest? She kinda wanted to keep it. But, who wouldn’t? All that creative play, and sustainable goodness! What’s not to love?

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But see that smile? She’s a quick learner, and was feeling the Christmas spirit, full force. On the way back out to the car, she was skipping, and talking about how happy the little kid who gets it, will be… I think she’s right.

We would be so honoured if you have some great giving ideas, or you’ve captured your giving in action, if you would share it with us on Instagram, by using the hashtag #fcgiving.

For my local peeps, here is the link for Santa’s Anonymous, they have a lot of drop off locations. And, there is still lots of time to donate before the pick-up dates!

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays everyone!

 

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Holiday Garland

DIY holiday garlandHoliday Garland! This. was. so. fun! And… easy! All you need for this one, is time. Oh, and of course a little water, corn starch and baking soda. That’s it guys. This is the perfect “get the kids involved” project.

First up, get messy. Get some cornstarch on the counter, and mix your ingredients…

1/2 c corn starch
1 c baking soda, and
3/4 c water

(I actually halved this recipe, and it was PLENTY).

Pop it into a pot, and cook over medium heat, until it thickens up (after a couple minutes and looking like whipped potatoes). Remove the pot from the heat, and transfer the mixture into a bowl covered with a damp cloth until it cools down. Then knead, knead, knead and roll it out to 1/4″ thick. You can add more cornstarch if it’s still sticky.

Preheat your oven to 175F. Use cookie cutters, cut out your shapes and place onto a lined cookie sheet. (I used tin foil). Bake for 1 hour, turning over at the half-way point.

I am a little crazy, and wanted small stars… like, mini small. And, I got it in my head that this seems like something I could DIY. And, that story looks a little like this…

DIY holiday garland

I actually started with a pop can, but it fell apart. Boo. So, I thought a tetra pack seemed like a good second choice for a custom cookie cutter.

DIY holiday garland

I cut a strip out of it. Simple.

DIY holiday garland

And, shaped it into a mini star cookie cutter, then I secured the ends with tape. Voilá. A mini star cookie cutter.

Now the fun part! Cut those garland cookies!

DIY holiday garland

We were having a little too much fun, and didn’t think to take a picture until we were all done our cookie-cutting. Oops! But, you can see my homemade cookie cutter hung in there for the whole job! (A layer of corn starch on your counter will stop things from sticking to your counter and rolling pin).

Now, bake the shapes! Patiently. Any one else have trouble waiting for things to bake in the oven? Ya, me too. Especially an hour! But — it’s totally worth it — because you get these…

DIY holiday garland

Riiiiiiiight?! Aren’t they the sweetest?!

Ok. But right now they are just shapes in a bowl. Which is rad, but we’re making garland, here. So next up? The glue gun! Hands down my favourite crafting tool. Makes life so easy.

DIY holiday garland

I lined up my pieces, spaced out how I wanted them when strung up. That way all I had to do was dab, dab, dab, hot glue, all the way down the line, and then push my line of ‘invisible’ thread into each bead of glue. Make sure you leave a slack of thread on either end so you have some freedom when hanging up your holiday garland!

DIY holiday garland

I used a dab of hot glue on my window moulding to hang each string of stars. They are SUPER light, so no worries there… HOWEVER, be confident of the surface you are gluing them to. A glossy moulding in most cases will be fine, but you wouldn’t want this ripping the paint off of your walls… so, be careful! (You can always use tacks or those mini 3M strips too).

DIY holiday garland

So twinkly and pretty! We are actually in the process of building our fireplace mantel, so I may string a few up on our brick after we’re done… but, we’ll see…

DIY holiday garland

We are loving our little strings of stars and hearts. They are so festive and have a completely different feel during the day and night. Love that!

 

 

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Kids Reindeer Paper Craft

Here’s a quick little ditty to do with the kiddies. All you need is your kid, their feet, and some construction paper.

My Kiddo and I did this on a breezy snow day. It was cold. (I stop keeping track at -30C). This was a great way to kill off 30 minutes of cabin fever — stuck inside.

Kids Reindeer Paper Craft

Step one. Get your kids feet on some paper and trace them out.

Kids Reindeer Paper Craft

Piece of cake, right? Step two. Double-up, and cut two feet out of your construction paper, and glue them together at the heel, but backwards. (You want your big toes on the outside edges).

Kids Reindeer Paper Craft

Voilá! Instant “reindeer” head. Now, it’s all up to the kids to decorate to their little hearts content. This time we went for Rudolph.

Kids Reindeer Paper Craft

Here he is, hanging out in our washroom… adding a little festive cheer. Not bad for her first reindeer, right? And, it makes for a great memory to add to the ol’ art folder. A Christmas craft AND a foot size keepsake, all-in-one.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

 

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Christmas Marquee Sign

I usually knock out one big Christmas project every year. Last year it was my oversized burlap wreath. And, this year — it is my lighted Christmas Marquee Sign!

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

This is it, but before we take a closer look, let’s back, back, back it up, and look at how we got here.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

It all started with this big guy. The painting, not the kid. The Kiddo is helping out with scale. I found the painting at the HFH Restore for 20 beans. And it was big. I’ve got my hands full this time.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

First, I planned my marquee letters. If you’re attempting this at home, you could save a bit of time with pre-made cardboard letters, but the nice thing about making custom letters, is you can have custom sizing.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

I started by printing out my letters on regular paper, cutting them out, and then tracing them onto foam core board.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Cut them out of the foam core, and you have these beauties.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Then, I cut strips of hobby foam paper, to make my “metal” edges.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

The great thing about the foam paper, is it doesn’t rip, it shapes well, and glues wonderfully to the edges of the foam core.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Rustoleum hammered effect spray paint, helped finish the look.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

And, soon, I had a stack of “metal” marquee sign letters. Yay me!

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Next, I planned the placement of the letters, on my old mountain scene painting.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Here is a good tip! I attached the letters with craft glue, but I supported each letter with a few large dabs of hot glue. That allowed the letters to be held tight against the painting, while the craft glue sets up. It worked great!

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Make sure you check your spelling!!

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Here’s another tip… I marked my lightbulb holes with beads first. That way, I could step back, and readjust the positions… because once you’ve got your holes drilled… there’s no going back!

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Ok. Holes drilled. Worked pretty well, no letters popped off, so I know the glue was still working. Ready to flip it over and attach lights.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

I used these great LED cube lights (in a string of 100, from Canadian Tire). They gave that perfect marquee look. I moved hole to hole dabbing hot glue and then pushing each light through the hole. Worked like a charm!

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Once I had the lights in, I traced out my “&” and the Christmas balls on paper, and used the shapes to plan where to place my glitter objects.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

When I was happy, everything got a healthy dose of craft glue.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

And, then you guessed it… GLITTER! I was up to my eyeballs in glitter. I think my kitchen floor still has a little extra sparkle. Oh well, makes it look more clean, and that’s a win for me!

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

I wanted to add “dreaming of a White Christmas”, in a freehand painted font, so I printed text out in actual size, just as a guide for placement. This helped me with size and position… I have a tendency for my letters to get larger as I go along, when free handing… so this was a big help.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

The only step left? Plug it in! And, that was pretty rewarding…

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

The hammered spray paint really adds that metal feel, without any weight.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

The glitter, is glittering perfectly…

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Oh, and I used ribbon for my ornaments, the bows give them a nice 3D effect!

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

It has a really nice relaxing night time glow.

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

Hmm. Now I just need that mantel I’ve been talking about. Fingers crossed we’ll get that up for Christmas!!

DIY Christmas Marquee Sign

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Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway

This post contains affiliate links. For more info you can read my disclosure policy under FAQ.

This is by far, the largest event Fresh Crush has been involved in — and I couldn’t be more excited to be sharing this with you today! There are 25, count ‘em, TWENTY-FIVE bloggers, that have joined forces to give our readers a massive Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway! That means you have 25 chances to get your hands on some pretty impressive prizes…

** Don’t miss my GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post!!**

So, let’s get started! Here is my list of favourite things for all the lovely friends and family on your list this year. Happy Holiday Shopping!

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1 > Ferm Living Lovebirds Tea Towel is 100% cotton, and 100% adorable!

2 > This gorgeous Limited Edition Photography, Nature Print, by Teresa Bolinski Photography is the perfect addition to add a little warmth to any room. So beautiful!

3 > Love these Olli & Lime Triangle Decals, they are so whimsical and not a lot of commitment.

4 > The Revolution Design House Boxcar Single is handcrafted in Portland, and adds a little artsy flare to your potted plants.

the-fashionista

5 > A Cashmere Feel Infinity Scarf, in Bold Orange/Red, by Sweet Jolie Yep, it’s as soft as it looks, and even more gorgeous in person.

6 > I have super dry skin in the winter, and for me, mineral makeup is the way to go. You can build your coverage without all the weight, and the blush colours are always so pretty. purminerals Starter Kit

7 > By far, Clinique Lash Power Mascara is my go-to, most favourite mascara. It is waterproof, but incredibly easy to remove. Just a little warm water is all you need. No more tugging or extra makeup remover!

8 > I NEED this Clinique Superprimer, especially through the winter. It takes the work out of applying your makeup when the weather isn’t cooperating.

9 > Oh my goodness, you guys! When I put these, Grace & Lace, Alpine Thigh High, Legwarmer by Sweet Jolie on for the first time, there was no getting me out of them. Cozy, does not begin to describe how I feel about these beauties. And, they look great under tall boots too! Bonus!

10 > These Leather and Copper Loop Earrings, by Brick Bubble are amazing. Leather and Copper, people! What more do we need?

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11 > Delonghi Espresso Machine. Because I want coffee, nay, espresso in my life. Every morning. Without getting out of my Candy Cane PJ’s.

12 > I think the Joseph Joseph Washing Bowl is the answer to my, single-basin style, kitchen sink needs. For those times when you don’t need a full sink of water or need an extra place to dry? Amazing.

13 > KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Um, because it’s a KitchenAid Stand Mixer! They come in so many colours, the yellow is my fav. They are awesome… and, it will help make awesome baked things.

14 > And, how about give the house chef a license to treat themselves to coffee they did not buy, or have to make themselves? The Starbucks eGift Card, is an easy-peasy way to treat all your loved ones.

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15 > This Black & Decker Mouse Sander is my little buddy. Trustworthy, works hard, and he’s affordable. The must have for any hobbyist.

16 > OK, so the Vera Bradley Phone Case, isn’t exactly a “tool”, but it protects the number one tool, that most of us carry around with us, 24/7. Why not personalize your phone a little with something that suits your personality?

17 > I’m still learning of all the possibilities that my Dremel Rotary Tool, is capable of. My last project involved removing wax and old stain off curvy, delicate and intricate furniture moulding. This handled the job like a pro.

18 > And, if you’re getting the Dremel Rotary Tool, you might as well grab a Dremel Accessory Kit, while you’re at it!

the-giver19 > If you’re a bit of a paper nerd, like me, you’ll appreciate a pretty gift wrap when you see one. This Birch Perch Gift Wrap, fits the bill, and we can enjoy creating those, crisp folded corners, just that much more.

20 > Washi Tape meet Kraft paper. Kraft paper, Washi tape. A perfect pairing for unique wrapping creations.

21 > These Wooden Christmas Gift Tags, by Brick Bubble are designed in-house, and will be the cherry-on-top, all of those gorgeous gifts under the tree this year!

22 > Kraft Paper Takeaway Gift Boxes are so cute, and make amazing Christmas Cookie Sharing boxes! They also go well with washi tape. What more do you need?

NOW FOR THE REALLY FUN PART…

Some of these favourite things are part of a giveaway, for you! Ya, you! The cashmere feel, infinity scarf and the Grace & Lace leg warmers are up for grabs courtesy of Sweet {Jolie}. Brick Bubble has offered up those amazing leather and copper earrings along with 3 wooden gift tags. And, T.Bolinski Photography has created a custom matted, art print, of that gorgeous, forest scene.

WIN ME - Fresh Crush [dot] com - Holiday Giveaway

^Enter to win THIS incredible prize pack^, by filling out the entry form at the bottom of this post — there are lots of chances for extra entries! (Contest open to the Continental United States, and Canada).

But that’s not all… I’m not the only one passing along some Holiday Gifty Goodness… 24 more amazing ladies are in on the act, so make sure you give their blogs a visit, and don’t miss entering ALL of these incredible giveaways! Each giveaway is open for a week, so you’ve still got a shot at being a “winner winner, chicken dinner!” *Psst – Fridays giveaways get started on (you guessed it), Friday. But, don’t forget to go all the way back to Monday’s Giveaways and get entered!! That’s 25 chances to win!!

Holiday-header

Monday
making it in the mountains
Delineate Your Dwelling
Little Red Brick House
Elizabeth Joan Designs

Tuesday
DIY Passion
Canary Street Crafts
Average But Inspired
New House, New Home, New Life
Child at Heart

Wednesday
Dwell Beautiful
Little House of Four
Meet the B’s
Anything & Everything
Table + Hearth
Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body

Thursday
Shambray
Joy in Our Home
Occasionally Crafty
Paper and Fox
Fresh Crush

Friday
Houseologie
Brepurposed
Dandelion Patina
Dwelling in Happiness
BD Design

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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