It's a song we sing with our kids and it goes a little something like this...

"I love you (insert your name here),
Oh yes I do,
I love you (insert your name here),
this much is true,
when you're not with me, I'm blue
Oh, (insert your name here) I love you
Oh, (insert your name here) I love you!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

{how pinterest saved Christmas}

i have always tried to make at least some of the Christmas gifts we give each year.  creating and working with my hands is something i really enjoy doing, but don't find time for nearly often enough.  (unless you count laundry and dishes as working with my hands.)  the holidays always seem like the perfect opportunity.

here's the thing though.  i am really not creative in my own right.  i copy others ideas really well and often tweak them to make them my own.  i just don't always come up with alot of *new* ideas.  we'll call this my disclaimer.

enter pinterest...

i have shared my loved of pinterest here, but let me just say, seriously, it made coming up with gift ideas SO MUCH easier.  here is the board i made with ideas of advent conspiracy gift ideas.

here are a few of my favorites: (links are to original posts & instructions)

these wooden spoons  were so much fun to make for the grandparents.  (i should have had the kids make some for me too!)  aiden and miles drew the designs and mike burned them in with a woodburner.  this would be great for mother's day as well.

these hex nut bracelets for my niece turned out better than i expected...really cute!  kind of a more grown-up take on a friendship bracelet.  if you have a hard time finding "ball chain", check the electrical aisle.  it's what pull chains for lights are made from.  ;) 

image via design dazzle

owen and i had a great time making these bird feeders for grandparents, teachers, etc.  they were super fast and he could do alot of this alongside me (measuring, stirring, picking the shape of the cookie cutter, cutting the twine, pressing the seed in, etc.)

image via apartment therapy
i didin't get a picture of this, but i made something similiar with six hearts for my mom and jer.  i cut up an old atlas and used the locations of their homes, cabin, cities where the kids and their parents live for my hearts.  (note: buy your frame first and plan your hearts accordingly.  i didn't do this and was then stuck a bit on frame size.  no good.)

image via bluemoss girls
and since i had already cut up the atlas...ha!  i made something similiar to this for my in-laws.  i just backstitched the route between boston and madison and added hearts around the city names.  (if you end up doing something similiar, i would recommed pre-poking the stitch holes since you only get one shot at getting your needle/thread in the right place.)

i typically make an ornament each year as well.  this year we made a few.

the kids had fun making these handprint snowmen that i saw on meg's blog last year.  we used washi japanese masking tape from etsy for the scarves and hats.  the boys used blue and green ornaments for theirs.

these trees are from here via pinterest.  the kids and i took a walk at the forest preserve to collect the sticks.  they easily cut to size with tree loppers.  the kids then painted the sticks and mike drilled all the holes.  these were a bit labor intensive, but fun.  aiden's teacher got one with her birdfeeders!

and favorite.  i was inspired by this image.

Palomas nest

i loved the simplicity of the design and love how great white ornaments look on a dark green tree. 

this is what i came up with.

they also worked as gift tags on our presents

i used sculpey polymer clay from michaels and rolled it out on parchment paper.  the clay is really hard so this was a bit of a workout.  i used snowflake cookie cutters to cut out shapes and then used a toothpick to punch a hole at the top for a hanger.  i got alphabet rubber stamps from the $1 bin at michaels and added the kids names or words like "noel".  then just follow the instructions on the package to bake them.  on some i used the wire ornament hangers and on some i used bakers twine

variations of these might also be cute for valentine's day.  i could see using clay in other colors and making knock off conversation hearts.  you could also easily glue a magnet on back.  i just may have to add that to the to-do list.  ;)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

{what would have been Christmas pics}

i haven't seen Christmas cards in years.  i absolutely love to get them from friends and family and see pics and read what eveyone is up to.  a few years ago, i just couldn't pull them off.  three little ones and the time and money investement seemed overwhelming.  i instead justified not sending them so that we could give the money we would have spent on cards and postage to advent conspiracy.  and you know what...i never regretted it!

i do, however, love the opportunity the holidays brings to take a new family picture.  most days time feels so fleeting and the kids are growing so very fast.  i don't ever want to forget what our family was like at this stage. 

here are some our sweet friend kate took for us this fall.  i held off sharing because i wanted them to be a surprise for family who got prints with their Christmas gifts.

i know they appear to be hugging but i am pretty sure they were about to engage in a wrestling match.

this one makes me laugh out loud everytime i see it.  seriously...what is happening here?
 (if i had a nickel for everytime i asked myself that question!)

playing his guitar sweater.  not sure this kid could love music more if he tried.
thanks kate for capturing my family so well.  the kids were crazies and i wasn't an easy job, that's for sure!

(btw...i tried Mpix for my photo printing this year and was really impressed.  didn't love the shipping costs, but the print prices were very reasonable and the quality and color were fantastic.  i would totally recommed them!)