Kinda Like Paint by Numbers: Subway Art

The other thought we had for the title of this blog post was “How to home-make a few presents this year and stay up until obscene hours of the night to do it.” But then I’d be admitting that procrastination played a larger part of Christmas than I’d care to admit.
The Rooster and The Hen
Last year we used a Cricut to create subway art for Dustin’s family. Maybe we’ll show you what they looked like one day when we we’re desperate for some content to post. Despite the colossal mess it created and the length of time it took to complete, it was a big hit at the annual gift exchange. I think everyone liked how personal of a gift it was since we had carefully selected words that described each family.  This year, it was my sibling’s turn and we figured that perhaps the process would go faster if we painted them instead of cutting out each word.
Um, wrongo.

While it wasn’t a quick project, I think that the finished product turned out exactly as I had imagined. Here’s how I did it:
paint canvas
I started off by painting the base color on my canvas. In this case, a bluish grey color. Then I typed up my selected words in various fonts and sizes, and printed them out. I then cut them down to size and arranged the words on my canvas.
subway art
Once arranged, I used tracing paper to transfer the words onto the canvas. Surprisingly, this took a chunk of time as I wanted to try and make the words as straight as possible.
transfer paper
Once traced, I started painting using a small brush and some white paint. This type of painting is therapeutic for me and I often do it at night when the kids are in bed and I can listen to a movie or a show.
paint canvas
It took a few coats of white to get the coverage I wanted, but I’m pleased to report that the project that I started just 4 days before Christmas finally was finished at about 1:00 am Christmas day – mere minutes before Santa unloaded his haul.
Whew, that was close!  (oh, and never mind the spaces, we had to edit out some personal info stuff before posting this).

Wrapping Around The Christmas Tree: Day Six

I’ve not yet had the time to make a tree skirt that I absolutely love, so getting presents under the tree is more than a sign that Christmas is coming, it’s a necessity.
twelve days of decor
While Dustin would much rather shop at a store that includes gift wrap with a purchase, I love wrapping gifts while sipping hot cocoa and watching a good movie after the kids are in bed. Pure bliss (except for that occasionally odd sized item that’s a pain to wrap.
Day six

On the sixth day of Christmas, may you inspired be, six elves a wrapping
Five feathered wreaths
Four well-read trees
Three artsy “tutes”
Two tree toppers
And a pillow bow (the final cost is free).

There are so many cute gift wrapping ideas out there, and if you’re like me, there’s still plenty that I haven’t gotten around to doing yet. Here are a few that are jumping out at me.

Linda with It All Started With Paint has an awesome tutorial on making fabric presents – the perfect solution for a certain tree skirt that isn’t quite ready for prime time.
fabric gift idea

Joy Cho used kraft paper and masking tape to make this gift look so cute for Country Living.
wrapping presents

This origami gift packaging by Lorajean’s Magazine would be the perfect way to wrap up neighbor gifts or a small something for a teacher or friend.
Origami gifts
My Home Ideas showed a variety of ways to wrap gifts using tinsel, flower petals, and candy.
gift wrapping ideas

Embellishing gifts is a fantastic way to take the hum drum out of white tissue paper – just check out these by Grey Likes Weddings via Style Me pretty.
Wedding Wrapping

And last but not least are the awesome yarn-tied gifts from Pocket Full of Lovelies. The possibilities are endless using colored yarn bits to spice up a gift.
wrapping with yarn

If you’ve just joined us, we’re working our way up to 12 unique Christmas decorating ideas featuring items from our friends, our home and some awesome DIYers on the web. We’re already on day seven tomorrow and I’m starting to worry that Christmas will be here before I’m ready. Eek!

Un-wrapped and un-ready, your festive friends-

Favorite Neighbor Christmas Gifts

This time of year the Internet peaks for searched ideas on Christmas gifts for those folks with whom you work, play or gossip. There are also parties to attend and people that you want to shower with love and thanks. Unfortunately, Christmas gifts can add up quickly for those of us on a budget, so making a homemade gift can be the perfect answer to that timeless Christmas question – “What do I get the Smiths for the holidays?” The solution needs to be easy to execute (odds are you’re making more than one), and cute enough to get a few ooh and ahhs.

Here are a few of the ideas that I’m loving right now:

Reindeer oats by No Fuss Fabulous. How could you not get a kick out of receiving these? She has a whole section on doing a breakfast with this, complete with Blitzen Berry Yogurt, I love it!
reindeer oats
Decorated Pringles tubes for cookies by Jen Morris. I love the simplicity. As a bonus, you have to eat through the Pringles to get the tubes. Double awesome.
pringle cookies
Tissue pack holder by Martha Stewart. Family craft the kids would love to help with.
tissue holder martha stewart
S’more Love by One Simple Addition. I smile just looking at this, so cute.
Hand soap gift by Crafts Redesigned. Nice and simple!
hand soap gift
Handmade Christmas ornament by Better Homes and Gardens. Stuff it with whatever you want – except leftover Halloween candy – have to admit, that’d be a little chintzy.
handmade christmas ornament
Homemade vanilla extract by Whipperberry. I’ve seen this everywhere and I love the idea, brilliant!
homemade vanilla
Heating pads by Martha Stewart. Cold winter nights + warm heating pad = time to snuggle.
Martha Stewart Heating Pad

With these ideas in mind, we got a chance to try our own version of a homemade gift. We were recently invited to a dinner party and decided to whip up something to let the host and hostess know how much we appreciated their holiday invite.
burlap poinsettia
I picked up a poinsettia and decided to dress up the pot with some burlap and fabric. I cut a round piece of burlap (2 ft diameter) and hemmed the edges to keep it from fraying.
burlap poinsettia
Then, taking a 4 foot length of fabric, I hemmed the sides and sewed a ½ inch strip down the center, allowing enough room for twine to be threaded through it.
dress up a poinsettia
Then I simply wrapped up the whole thing, using the twine threaded through the ruffle to hold it together.
burlap poinsettia
And, since we procrastinated this project and were running late for the dinner, we really didn’t get a decent picture of it- oops.
burplap poinsettia
But you get the idea right? So the big question now is, what will you be doing for your friends and neighbors this year?

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