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brown paper packages: December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

{top 11 in 2011}

Thursday, December 29, 2011

{giveaway + promo} SILHOUETTE CAMEO!!!


Yes, it's true!  I have dying to announce this giveaway for weeks, and it's finally here! I love doing giveaways for you, because you are AWESOME, and this is just about as big as you can get.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{new year's ideas}

 I love a reason for a good party, and New Year's Eve is one of the best! It's the best night to stay up late with friends and family, eat yummy food, and ring in the new year!

Here are a few celebration ideas that I found and love...
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

{merry christmas}

Merry Christmas...may you and your families be blessed with health and happiness!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

{a place for everything} christmas edition

Christmas morning can produce quite the mess. Wrapping paper, boxes, and gifts litter the room, and it can seem quite overwhelming to get everything cleaned up, organized, and put away.  

Today I'm going to share with you my tips for keeping the mess under control, giving you a little extra time (and sanity) on Christmas Day. They are simple ideas that can be done ahead of time, with minimal prep, but will make a huge difference!
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

{paper sack gift bags}

Looking for a fun way to package treats or small gifts?  I've got the perfect thing! I took paper lunch sacks and sent them through my printer, making an all-in-one bag and tag.  It's simple, inexpensive, and SO fun! You could actually do this for any holiday, birthday, or as an invitation, too!

I just love paper sacks.  Not only are they super cute, but they're inexpensive, which means making just a few or in bulk is very reasonable. I'm going to give you directions based on my printer, but you will probably have to make a few changes depending on the kind of printer you have.  Just take a few minutes to experiment with which way the paper goes in, which side it prints on, and how it comes out.  Once you know that, you'll know how to insert your paper and/or lunch sack.  

Here's how I did it...

paper lunch sacks
ribbon or fabric strips
hole punch


1. I created my text and image in Photoshop, then inserted it into a Word document.  Don't worry--if you don't have Photoshop, you can just use your fonts and create the text right in Word. A lunch sack is about as tall as an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, so you can place your text on the document where you would want them on the sack, and it works out just about right. (Fonts = Typewriter and MS Try a Bon)

2.  My printer won't let me put a paper sack through by itself--it has to be exactly the same dimensions as an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.  I really miss my old printer, because I could put through even the smallest scrap all by itself, and it would print on it.  You might have a printer like that (LUCKY), and you could just go ahead and print right on the paper sack.  If yours is like mine, then keep reading...

In order to trick my printer into printing on the sack, I had to send it through attached to a regular-sized piece of paper. I printed out the text on an 8.5 x 11 piece of white paper, then I was able to use it as guide, placing the lunch sack directly over the text.  This way, I would know where the printer was going to to print, and it would be right where I wanted it.  I taped it lightly in place on the sides, and at the top--just so it would stay in place while it went through the printer. I printed the sacks one-by-one, then carefully removed the tape. It worked like a charm!

3.  I tore strips of fabric into pieces about 1.5 inches wide and 15 inches long. I folded the bag over twice, punched two holes in the top, then used the fabric to tie it closed.  SO cute!!!

Here is the Merry Christmas image, in case you'd like to use it.  Just right click on the image, select "save as", and save to your computer.  Open up a new Word document, select "Insert", then " Picture".  You'll be able to browse for your picture, then click to insert it into your document.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

{family lacing cards}

One of the things I made my kids for Christmas was a set of lacing cards, featuring our family...grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Since we live far away from them, it will be a fun way for my kids to see and be reminded of their extended family.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

{giveaway} shabby apple


You guys!  It's less than a week until Christmas, can you believe it?  It hasn't really felt like Christmas around here because there is NO SNOW.  Normally I wouldn't complain about this at all, in fact, our "warm" weather would usually result in me jumping for joy and singing Hallelujah. However, with a week until Christmas, and my kids out of school the week after that, we need snow!  We need sledding, and tubing, and tobogganing, and snowmen in our front yard.  Since we live through seven months of winter, I'm thinking a white Christmas should be the one perk we get.  It can melt in January. 
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Friday, December 16, 2011

{kierste's hot chocolate with peppermint cream}

I ♥ hot chocolate.   

  My kids love it too, and since we live in the frozen winter tundra, we have it quite often. (It's also a definite Christmas Eve and Christmas morning tradition...) I almost always make it homemade, and after experimenting with different ingredients and combinations, I've found a version that we have labeled as our favorite! It's simple to make, and is ready in less than 10 minutes.  Delicious!

  I really like using chocolate chips, because it makes it so smooth and creamy. The peppermint cream is the perfect complement, and honestly, if you don't like mint & chocolate together, you are crazy.  :)  I prefer milk chocolate, so I use milk chocolate chips, but if you like a stronger chocolate flavor, you can always use semi-sweet chips instead, and less milk.
{Kierste's Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Cream}

1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
1 can evaporated milk
3-4 c. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips with the can of evaporated milk.  Once they're melted, stir in the four cups of milk and heat through.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Serve with Peppermint Cream!

Peppermint Cream

1 pint heavy cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 candy canes, crushed

In a mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until it's just beginning to form soft peaks.  Add the powdered sugar (you can do more or less to taste), and beat until incorporated.  Add the peppermint extract and crushed candy canes, then beat again until the right consistency.  I like to spoon the cream into a sandwich bag, push it down into one corner, snip the corner off of the bag, then pipe it onto the top of the hot chocolate.  Sprinkle a few more bits of candy cane on top, and enjoy!

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{christmas glitter dishtowels}

Every girl needs a little glitter, right? I had the opportunity to try Tulip Fashion Glitter Shimmer Transfer Sheets. by I Love to Create and used them to glam up a few flour sack dishtowels.  

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Monday, December 12, 2011

{chicken wire framed christmas card holder}

I just love receiving Christmas cards. Looking at pictures of family & friends and reading little snippets of their lives really brings the spirit of Christmas to me each year.  I'm so excited about this project, because it's the perfect way for us to enjoy them the entire holiday season!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

{steelers girl tee} Plaid Simply Screen Kit

We are a football family.  We love watching football, and we definitely have {our} teams (the best ones, of course ☺).  My husband has long been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and when we got married, I inherited them as my own.

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{easy christmas frame decor}

If you're looking for an easy way to add some Christmas decor to your home, then this project's for you!  Isn't it darling!  I love it on my front porch, but it could really look cute anywhere.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

{merriment & peace...planked sign}

Every time my husband and I start talking about another piece of furniture we are going to make, he says..."let me guess, you want it planked." To which I respond in the affirmative.  :) I just love planking, and I think every piece we've done in the past six or seven years has included it in some form or another.  With that, it's no surprise that I adore planked signs too, and they have been on my list for a long time.  I finally bought all the wood, and completed the first of several I'm planning to make.  

With Christmas on the horizon, I knew I wanted to make one for my mantel, and I also knew exactly what I wanted it to say.  A few months ago my mom sent me the most darling Christmas quote, and I thought it would be perfect for this project.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

{how to tie a fancy bow}

Sometimes you just need a cute bow to give something that extra something special.  I have always loved the big fancy bows, but have never been able to master the art of lots of loops and floral wire.I just had to come up with another way to do it.

Today I'm going to show you how to tie a fancy bow...the easy way.  No floral wire, just some ribbon and a pair of scissors. You can make them as small or as large as you like, and it takes just a few minutes to make one. It takes a little bit of practice, but you'll be tying them in no time, and impressing everyone with your bow-making skills.  ☺

And the result?

  • Use wired ribbon--it will hold its shape and is easy to manipulate
  • You will need at least 4 feet of ribbon for a medium sized bow
I tried to take pictures of the process, but it was really hard to tie a bow at the same time.  ☺ I made a movie it is for your viewing pleasure.  And yes, I'm still in my pajamas at noon.  

I love using fresh-cut wreaths on my front door for the holiday, and the bow was the perfect touch!

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Friday, December 2, 2011

{snowman soup}

So...what do you get when you combine hot cocoa, candy canes, marshmallows, and a couple Hershey kisses? I'm excited to share with you one of my favorite gift ideas-- for neighbors, friends, teachers--it's always a huge hit.

{snowman soup}

I love how easy these darling gifts are to make--aren't they so fun?

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

{photography with lei} christmas bokeh

Good morning photog lovers!  How was your Thanksgiving?  I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. It's no surprise that this is a picture heavy time of year.  I hope all the ideas that have been shared have been useful.  Today I'd like to share some ideas for getting that great Christmas bokeh.

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