Friday, December 19, 2014

Tips for Choosing the Right Artificial Tree

Tips for Choosing the Right Artificial Tree

There is no time like now to start shopping for your new artificial Christmas tree. But before you rush out and buy the first on you find on the floor of the department store, there are a few things you must consider. Not all fake Christmas trees are created equally. In fact, every type and brand of tree has its own unique properties. Thankfully, the following tips will help you choose the perfect tree for your home.

Size and Shape

The size – specifically height – is the first thing that you should consider while deciding which tree to purchase. Do you want a small tree that sits on the table or a larger on that can reach your cathedral ceiling? A good general rule of thumb is to purchase a tree that is 6-inch lowers than the ceiling. This will allow you to fill the room while still leaving enough room for your tree topper. The height listed for the tree is generally the height measured from the very top of the tree to the floor. This measurement usually includes the stand. 

You should consider the girth and width of the tree as well. Standard trees are usually on the fuller end of the spectrum but they are also available in slim and pencil shapes, which make the ideal fit for compact areas like alcoves or entryways. The profile and density of the tree should also be taken into consideration. For example, if you fill the boughs with ornaments and ribbon, you will want to get a tree that features deeper branch pockets. 

Tips and Treatments

You may not have considered this before, but the types of tips and branch treatments should also be thought about before making your decision. The truth is, there are various different types of branch tips and needles available on fake trees. Most are molded from real trees to look as realistic as possible. Royal Spruce, Douglas Firs and Western Hemlocks are just a few of the real trees used to recreate an authentic-looking Christmas tree.

Company

Something that most consumers often over look is the company who is making and/or selling the tree. This is an extremely important and you should do your research on the company before purchasing. For example, you can read reviews of Balsam Hill trees to get an idea of how long the last, how the look and how satisfied the costumer is.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Remembering Loved Ones at Christmas

Christmas time is about families, but sometimes we cannot be with all of our family members during this time of year.  I just got done reading a story about a little boy who wanted to give a very special gift . . . the gift of time with loved ones . . . to his Mother.  His Grandmother had passed away earlier that year, and his Mother was missing her and he wanted to give them one day together.


I don't want to give the rest away, but you can go to Laura's blog by clicking HERE to read her summary of the background behind the idea for a story that she is writing and illustrating.  It is a beautiful story of family, remembering those that are not here with us any more, and the magic of Christmas!

Thank you Laura for sharing this story.  I may make this a tradition at our house also.  I look forward to seeing the completed book!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Cards

Even though I make cards, I don't make my Holiday Cards.  I never have the time to make the 30+ cards that I send out by hand.  But this year I found time to make a couple of cards for our new neighbors and I decided I would do a "two for one" kind of project . . . two cards, one project . . . EASY and FAST.  Here is what I mean.

To start, I used one piece of teal blue cardstock that I cut in half.  I folded each half in half to create the base for 2 small cards.  Perfect!  No waste and both were cut at the same time!


I found an accent piece of paper that I cut a large strip from, trimmed it down to fit the card and attached it.  Since it was one long strip, I had enough to put some on both cards.  Again, easy and done quickly with no waste.


Now for the snowmen cuts.  One piece of paper, and cut the snowman twice out of white and and the backing piece in brown using my Winter Frolic Cricut cartridge.  

If you don't own this cartridge but want to make a similar card you could use any snowman.  
{but Shawn, how will I know which Cricut cartridges have a snowman on them?}
That's easy!  Just go to MyCutSearch.com and type in the word snowman . . . the website will do the rest!  You will see handbook previews of each and every Cricut handbook that has a snowman on it!


I don't know if you notice, but one of my snowmen is wearing a green scarf and blue mittens, and the other one is wearing a blue scarf with green mittens.  This is because the scarf and mittens are all cut with the same layer function button on this cartridge.  If I would have just been making one card, I would have cut this layer twice, from two different colors, and then just had extra pieces that I would not have used.  But since I knew I was making two cards, I cut the layer twice from two different colors and just did a mix and match kind of thing between the two cards.  If you ever run into a Cricut cartridge where you want to break up the colors on one layer, making two cards at once is a good way to do that.


See those little tiny buttons on the snowman?  They look like I just took an individual rhinestone and set it on there, don't they?  Well, that is NOT what I did!  

I had made some tags using the Sizzix Scallop Tags die and the rhinestone sticker sheets from The Buckle Boutique.  The piece that I used for the buttons on the snowman are the little tiny circles that came out of the tags!  (see image below)


This just shows that you can cut really small stuff with the rhinestone sticker sheets, and that I save EVERYTHING!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Your so Cool!

Not only do I have a fun project today, this project also gave me an idea for a little video I want to do that will show you how I searched and found this tag image on MyCutSearch.com


I had made a little tag for a co-worker of mine last spring and she asked me to make her some more.  I was busy moving and kind of missed all of the fall holidays, so I am staring in with the winter ones for her.


I used a stamp set by Lawn Fawn called Critters in the Snow.  I thought the penguins on this stamp set were really cute.  I stamped the first one on the tag, and then stamped it again on a post it note and cut around it with my Westcott scissors.


I placed the post it note penguin over the top of the penguin I stamped on the tag, and then I stamped the larger penguin to the left of the first penguin, overlapping it just a little bit.


Once I peeled the post it note penguin off, you can see that it now looks like the larger penguin is standing behind the smaller one a little bit.  I put the post it note penguin back in the Lawn Fawn stamp set package just in case I ever want to layer these penguins like this again.


Now it is time to add color!  I used some sponges that I dabbed into different shades of blue and teal and rubbed them around the area above the penguins.  This gave a fun cloud/sky look to the tag.  Then I drew some lines with a colored pencil to make it look like they were standing on a pile of snow.


I colored in the bodies of the penguins, and stamped a few snowflakes in shades of blue.  I used a really deep blue for the sentiment "You're so cool!"


I dabbed a little silver glitter glue in the center of the two largest snowflakes just to add a little sparkle to the tag.


The final touch was to add a piece of ribbon in shades of blue from the top.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Personalized Holiday Decor

Since we are at a new house this year, I wanted a new Holiday decoration to kind of celebrate the fact that our family has moved.

We have a little family joke where my husband, daughter and I refer to each other as "The Three Amigos" . . . and I wanted a one item that celebrated that.  (Our oldest child moved out a few years ago)


I found the perfect item at GiftsForYouNow.com . . . they have SO MANY different items for the home that you can personalized any way you want!  I found this snowman family plaque that I really liked.


Then I personalized it by adding our family name, choosing that I wanted three snow people on the plaque, and added the first names of family members below.


I think it looks really cute sitting with our Christmas stockings that I made a few years ago.  There are other items, like a doormat, that match this same snowman family . . . so if I wanted to continue with the theme and add other items I could do that too!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chair Cover

Here is another project I did for the new house. My daughter had a chair in her room that she got several years ago, when she was into the whole pink camouflage trend.  Now that she is a teenager, she is over that look, but she still loves the chair.  Out comes my Brother sewing machine and it is time for Mom to the Rescue!


My daughter picked out the fabric for the new slipcover on her own.  I love the color and the pattern.  I started out by measuring from the top of the chair and running the tape measure down into the scoop of the chair, and then down to the bottom edge.

Then my daughter and I worked together to draw a perfect circle for the slipcover.  It really was not all that hard!  We folded the fabric in half, tied a pencil to a string and while my daughter held the string tight on the folded edge of the fabric, I moved the pencil along in a perfect arch to create a half circle.  Since it was drawn on the fold of the fabric, once I cut on the pencil line it was a perfect circle of fabric!


I know I did not really NEED to finish the edges, but I did do an overcasting stitch all the way around the circle.  I think it gave it a cleaner look.  Then I folded over the fabric and did a blanket stitch to create a casing all the way around the circle.


I love the variety of stitches there are to choose from on my Brother sewing and embroidery machine.  Then I fed elastic through the casing.  Here is a little trick . . . put a safety pin on both ends of the piece of elastic before you start to feed it through the casing.  On the front end, this helps you to continue to push the elastic through, but on the back end it helps in case you pull too hard and the back end of the elastic slips inside of the casing.  Since it has a safety pin on it, you can easy find that end that got away from you and push it back out.


Then we just put the whole thing over the chair.  Yes, it is not as tailored at the original chair, but my daughter loves it.  And if she spills anything on it I can just pull it off and toss it in the wash!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving . . . Pass the DEALS!

After you have had your fill of turkey and pie, you know what that means . . . time to start to think about your holiday shopping!  Why not make it a lot easier this year and avoid the lines and crazy people at the mall . . . stay home and click on these links for deals!

If you complete the survey you could get a Kohl's gift card . . . THAT could buy some gifts this holiday season!



I found some offers that will save you on food gifts . . .
 A Popcorn Tin is a great gift idea for so many people on your list!

 Or how about some chocolate covered berries? They are great for ANY holiday!

 For the coffee lover on your list . . . or for yourself!
















And you KNOW we will all be doing some holiday baking and cooking. Want to try some new recipes? Then check out these links.

































I also found this deal for your shopping needs . . . Zulily has a little bit of everything, so you can find items for most of the people on your holiday list in one stop.