Wordless Wednesday- Christmas

December is always a pretty slim blogging month for me. Other bloggers are sharing all of these awesome Christmas craft tutorials and I am usually just stuck at the idea stage of any Christmas craft projects. I get all of these fabulous ideas, perhaps even purchase the supplies, and then we just get busy. That is life. I have been trying to simplify Christmas as much as possible. I don't want it to be a stressful time of year. I want it to be a joyful time of year.

Everything went pretty smoothly and we had one of the nicest Christmases that I can remember.

But Christmas break is kicking my butt. It is hard to enjoy the time with your children when they steal coffee, fight, act out, trash the house, etc. I took all electronics on Day 2. We have no TV. It is too cold to play outside. They are definitely getting bored. Yet, I feel like if I take them anywhere fun it will be a reward for their awful behavior.

Yesterday I ate a half of a bag of m&m's.

So, I am trying to blog, but the words are stuck. So, although I just typed out a bunch of stuff, I am now giving you a "wordless Wednesday" post, inspired by the good old days when people read blogs daily. It is a conglomeration of fun pics snapped around the house and assorted crafts. Enjoy.

 

 

DIY Handwriting Copy Sign Tutorial

A new trend I have noticed is displaying portions of handwritten notes enlarged as a sign. I think it is a lovely way to remember special words. I was recently asked to create a sign with a portion of Clarence's note from It's a Wonderful Life so I thought I would snap a few pictures of the process to share a tutorial on the blog.

 DIY Handwriting Copy Sign Tutorial

I happened to have the perfect size board already on hand. It is a rough cut board sanded slightly, so it has the rough edges and saw blade marks still visible. It really gives the piece some rustic character. I just lightly brushed some cream paint onto the board to get a weathered effect. You can also sand the edges to remove paint and make it more rustic.

Next, I resized the portion of the original note I was using and printed it out. (I just use Microsoft Word because I can use the page size to estimate dimensions.) I used carbon paper to transfer the image to the painted wood.

 It's a Wonderful Life Quote
 Use carbon paper to transfer handwriting to wood
 How to transfer handwriting to signs

I used a fine tip black paint marker to paint the words onto the wood. It is more natural to make handwriting with a paint marker vs. a paintbrush. I also let the roughness of the wood texture the lettering by not filling in chips and grain.

 How to easily make a sign from handwriting

Finally, I applied an antiquing wax to further age and seal the piece.

 It's a Wonderful Life sign- Clarence's note

I think this technique would be really sweet for old love notes from your spouse, cards from special occasions, or even treasured family recipes!

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DIY Rustic Twine Balls

I really didn't think these were going to work! On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day the girls and I had a "craft day" on their day off of school. We occasionally have themed days like this with special projects. (They have requested a baking day next time!) We had a craft day over Christmas break and made mason jar snow scenes, baked pine cones, and painted ornaments. This time, we worked on winter decor for our home.

I had seen twine balls on Pinterest, looked at several different tutorials, and then did my own thing anyway. I am kind of stubborn like that. I wasn't sure that it would work and after I shared it on facebook, several friends told me that theirs failed, so I was not very optimistic.

However, they turned out great!

 DIY twine balls made with jute, balloons, and glue!

DIY twine balls made with jute, balloons, and glue!

 Easy to make twine ornament balls

Easy to make twine ornament balls

 how to make twine ornament balls- so simple and perfect rustic Christmas decor!

how to make twine ornament balls- so simple and perfect rustic Christmas decor!

I just blew up some balloons to a small size and wrapped twine around them. We painted watered down glue all over the twine and let them dry for a day. So that they would get air flow all the way around, I covered a box with wax paper and pushed pins partway into the cardboard to set them on.  The next day, we used the pins to pop the balloons (holding onto the balloon end) and just pulled the deflated balloon out. Some tutorials called for cooking spray on the balloons, but I didn't like the thought of greasy twine decorations.

 DIY Twine Balls

DIY Twine Balls

 how to make twine balls

how to make twine balls

These were really simple and inexpensive to make. They definitely fit with the rustic, natural winter look I was going for. I can't wait to show you the rest of the decorations!

 rustic twine balls for winter decor

rustic twine balls for winter decor

You can see the pine cone centerpiece I shared yesterday HERE.

 rustic pine cone centerpiece

rustic pine cone centerpiece

Rustic Winter Pine Cone Centerpiece

After all of the Christmas decorations are put away the house can seem a little cold and empty. I wanted to create some neutral, rustic, winter decor to fill the gap a bit. I have a few Valentine's Day decorations, but if I put pink all over the place I would start a pretty big fight in this house since we have strong opinions on both sides about that color. Instead, I went with more natural elements (free stuff I gathered outside) for sort of a rustic, winter look.

 pine cone box centerpiece

pine cone box centerpiece

The first thing I made was this pine cone centerpiece. My husband had built me a box that will hold mason jars for a centerpiece. I had yet to fill it with anything and I was inspired by a centerpiece on Pinterest that has a bad link. I stained my box with a weathered gray stain and topped it with dark walnut antiquing wax.

 winter pine cone centerpiece

winter pine cone centerpiece

 rustic pine cone centerpiece

rustic pine cone centerpiece

I found two pillar candles in a cupboard. They aren't even the same color, but I don't care.

 natural winter centerpiece

natural winter centerpiece

Next, my daughter and I went for a walk and collected pine cones. They were wet from being outside, so we baked them in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or two on a foil lined cookie sheet. This makes them open up and draws out the sap and bugs. I spray painted them with a little ivory just to dust them and give them a frosty coating.

 how to bake pine cones

how to bake pine cones

 How to open pine cones

How to open pine cones

Finally, we arranged everything in the box with some white berry picks. Those were on clearance after Christmas and the only thing I had to actually buy for this project.  I really think arranging everything in the box was the hardest part. I also dabbed a bit more white paint on the edges of the pine cones for more contrast.  Some of the pine cones went missing before I took these pictures, too. ;)

 DIY frosted pine cones

DIY frosted pine cones

 rustic winter centerpiece box

rustic winter centerpiece box

I like my little box and it will be fun to change it out with the seasons. It isn't perfect, but the girls got to help and we made do with what we could find.

I have a few more rustic, winter decorating projects that I will blog about later this week!