How to make Christmas cards, scrapbook pages and other goodies without special photo editing software

I know it’s not even November yet, but before you know it, it will be time to send out Christmas cards. If I don’t start on things now, they will probably go out late! Besides, you don’t have to make just Christmas cards with this tutorial, you can make any card or invite or layered graphic.

My computer has Photoshop on it, but it’s on the fritz, so I have been using my husband’s computer – he doesn’t have Photoshop on his computer and I have been procrastinating on installing it. I’ve been doing all my icons and graphic layering using POWERPOINT! Microsoft does make a flyer making software, but I don’t have that on my computer, either.

Some things are actually easier to use PowerPoint than Publisher or Photoshop or any other fancy photo editing software. I’ve including the following step-by-step tutorial on how to do your own Christmas cards (or birthday, or Easter, or scrap booking or electronic invitations) using PowerPoint. I made my wedding monograms some years back with this technique.

Printing pictures as Holiday cards can be more economical and can offer you more creativity and variety. You don’t have to follow a template! You can even make your own postcards this way by gluing cardstock to the back of one of your pictures.

Continue reading

Fun (and cheap) Halloween decorations

Over here in the corner of California where I live, it is finally getting cool! We have been enjoying mild days and cooler mornings and nights. With this weather the trees are finally starting to turn colors and I can soon bring out my sweater collection. And of course, then follows the holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!

I have been stock piling holiday ideas on Pinterest and I have some decoration ideas I can’t wait to try for Halloween. These ideas seem relatively easy and affordable and can have a big impact:

1.Boarded up windows from Darious Obell 2. Bagged body from Instructables 3. Spider sack from Martha Stewart 4. Creepy window silhouettes from Smoking Lily

You can also try Eyes in the bushes from Frugal Family Fun:

Yesterday I was at my local 99 Cent Store and Dollar Tree and found nearly all the supplies:

  • Trash bags for the body
  • Foam board and adhesive (going to try foam squares) for the boarded up windows
  • Black poster board for the silhouettes
  • Spiders and spider web (instead of batting) for the spider sacs
  • Glow sticks for toilet roll eyes in the bushes

What Halloween decorations are you crafting?

Favorite Halloween Fonts!

I love Halloween! There is so much stuff to make, bake, and create, to celebrate the holiday. Whether it be food, decorations, or costumes, there are a million different ways you can let your creativity shine through.

Anyone having a Halloween party? Here are a few of my favorite spooky and wacky Halloween fonts!

1. Black Widow 2. Freehand Written 3. Goodnight Freak 4. In the Know 5. Organic Fear 6. Tuna and Hotdogs 7. Dark wood 8. Ready Black 9. Sewn Tight 10. Sticky Mad 11. Thirty Months of Victory

You can also find more FREE Halloween Fonts HERE.

Adventures in Breastfeeding + Altered Shirt Tutorial

Little man is 7 weeks old now; where has the time gone!? Actually, much of it has been spent sitting on the couch watching Netflix and breastfeeding. Not many complaints here, though. My wonderful husband has done a great job with most of the cooking and house upkeep so that I can feed Gabe and keep him happy.  Plus, I get to stare at his sweet face on cuddle him. And steal lots of baby kisses, don’t forget about those.

It has been nice, though, that he has started going longer between feeds. It’s nice to have a little break!

Breastfeeding for a new mom can be a bit of a surprise (at least for me and those that I have talked to). Much of the time you expect it to be such a natural thing, but it can be hard work! Between getting that baby to latch correctly, worrying about supply, and having sore and sensitive nipples, it’s no wonder our breastfeeding rate is one of the lowest in the world. Having said that, nowadays there is so many resources available to new moms that can help. Le Leche League and hospital run courses are just the tip of the iceberg – just do a Google search!

Get through some of the tough patches and the benefits of breastfeeding make themselves more clear. Besides the health benefit of the milk itself, the amount of money we save, and the bonding experience, I really think little Gabe would cry much more if it wasn’t for breastfeeding. We are lucky that so far, he has never been inconsolable. If he starts to cry, it is usually because he is hungry. If he is crying for another reason, then breastfeeding automatically fixes the problem. Nothing the boob won’t fix and it’s always a pleasure having a happy baby.

My biggest breastfeeding problem currently? Trying to find clothes I actually want to nurse in (and can afford)! I think I have finally found the solution: altered camis/spaghetti-strap tanks with a nursing bra under a loose or stretchy shirt. This makes nursing easy and discreet and way cheaper than buying specialty nursing clothes. Sometimes nursing tanks don’t offer much support; by altering these tanks it is easy to choose the support you want by wearing it with a nursing bra.

All you need is:

Easy!

All the tanks I used were fitted, so there was no droop in the back. It is so easy to nurse in any top!

Decorative Throw Pillows

My husband finally relented and let me add some yellow into our already gray and black bedroom. It may be overdone, but I think a yellow, gray, and black bedroom looks great. To celebrate, and to actually add some of the color, I started off by making some throw pillows for our bed.

I had 2 square pillows and 1 rectangular pillow already, I just needed to make covers for them. Instead of cutting out several pieces and adding a zipper or button, I went with the envelope style pillow cover. An envelope style pillow cover is probably the easiest pillow cover and you only need to cut one piece of fabric!

I could attempt to draw you out a tutorial, but so many already exist. You can find some HERE or HERE or search for yourself. All you need is a piece of fabric a little longer than 2x your pillow and slightly wider. You could use your sewing machine, but if don’t have one, you could try the iron on hemming tape or maybe attempt the hemming glue as well.

I made two yellow pillow covers and one black one, and then decorated them with flower accents

It's a good idea to iron the fabric before you sew...

Continue reading

Burp Cloths DIY Instructions and Variations

Last night I got the sewing bug and decided to make some more burp cloths for our little guy that should be here in just a few weeks. There are lots of different ways to make burp cloths, but it mostly boils down to two different variations:

Enhanced cloth diaper (to be used as burp cloth), where fabric is sewn onto the middle of the diaper, like HERE and HERE.

and for lack of a better description, a more “from scratch” or layered burp cloth. These burp cloths are usually shaped to fit around your shoulder, or in a rectangle, and utilizes different fabrics on one side and more absorbent fabric on the other side (or double sided flannel).

I made some of the second variety.

I love using Homemade by Jill’s basic template to get started. I like the curve because it allows the cloth to be up against your neck and over your should comfortably. I too, like to use flannel as my go-to pretty burp cloth fabric; I like how soft it is.

Decorative fabric to use for burp cloths:

  • Flannel (my favorite)
  • Fleece
  • Quilting or non-stretch cotton

Absorbent layer/side:

  • Another layer of flannel
  • Cloth diapers (prefolds or the 1-ply, thin layer kind, using 2 layers)
  • Terry cloth/recycled towel

Different variations:

  • Flannel on both sides
  • Flannel on both sides with a thin layer of cloth diaper or batting in the center
  • Flannel on one side, cloth diaper on the other
  • Flannel on one side, terry/towel on the other
  • Fleece on one side, terry/towel, or cloth diaper on the other side
  • Cotton fabric on one side, terry/towel, or cloth diaper on the other side

Directions:

Prewash all fabric and print out template

Cut out a layer of decorative fabric using template

Cut out the absorbent layer or side, or cheat like I do, and lay the decorative fabric wrong side up against it, and sew around the edges, leaving a spot open to turn right-side out.

Trim the edges and turn right-side out.

Tuck open edge inside and stitch around the whole burp cloth

And you are done!

Fleece and flannel burp rags

Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas for Children

Pin It

Every year we would get Easter Baskets from the Easter Bunny (just like stockings from Santa). My mom would fill our baskets with special treats and toys along with hiding Easter Eggs. It was almost like waking up on Christmas morning!

This year I only have my toddler-age Godchild to make a basket for, but I have been thinking about lots of other ideas! The following is a list of Easter Basket Filler Ideas that don’t involve candy – some to make and some to buy. Just follow the links for the craft tutorials or instructions!

What to use for baskets:

  • The cheap wicker Easter baskets they sell at the store
  • Other stores have more fun “baskets” like fabric animals and colorful pails
  • Colorful organizational totes at the dollar store (we get these the most – fun and functional for after Easter!)
  • Decorative bowls
  • Toy containers: baby doll bath tubs, strollers or cradles, Lego containers, etc. (holds the goodies and doubles as a toy)
  • Real baskets from a home or craft store
  • Instead of using Easter grass, use fabric, a new piece of clothing, a baby blanket, etc.

Easter Basket Ideas (other than candy):

  • Sidewalk Chalk (make your own without any toxic ingredients if you have the time)
  • Playdough
  • Gak  (another homemade ooze recipe)
  • Bubbles
  • Crayons (melt old or new crayons down and more into molds for personalized crayons)
  • Color books (or print coloring pages from online)
  • Babydoll or stuffed animal sleeping bags (See how HERE – Sleeping bags are good for boys or girls, just alter the color combinations!)
  • Spongeballs (great water toy or baby toy. Cheap and easy!)
  • Chipmunk or other animals from a glove
  • Teddy bears or a socktopuss  from colorful socks
  • Letters, shapes, or number sponges for bath time
  • Felt Food for play kitchens (Lots of stuff out there!)
  • Dinosaur tails for imagination play
  • Superhero capes (I can personally attest that super hero capes are for boys AND girls!)
  • Eggs full or small toys (think plastic dinosaurs, army men, Legos, etc)
  • Eggs full of colorful goldfish or cheerios (love this idea for my Godchild)
  • Stickers or stamps (My basket always had a ton of Lisa Frank stickers! Here’s a link on how to make your own stickers)
  • Pencils and stationary (there is so many free printables out there, you could probably print your own out as well)
  • Art supplies (one of my favorites as a kid)
  • Kites (we always got one of these in our basket!)
  • Balls or other sports equipment
  • Make your own airplane kits (you can buy these for a dollar or two at craft stores usually)
  • Sippy cups or drink cups (I bought a bunny cup with a straw for my Godchild)
  • Puzzles and other games
  • Flash cards or playing cards
  • Hair or jewelry accessories
  • Dress-up items
  • New clothes or shoes
  • Movies or music (Veggie Tales Jonah DVD is $5 at Target, along with some other kids movies)
  • Books and comics
  • Sand toys
  • Bath toys
  • Kids gardening supplies
  • Bug catching supplies
  • Craft kits

Theme Baskets:

  • Art supplies – paints, crayons, color books, notebooks, etc.
  • Sports/outdoor equipment – Frisbee, balls, 2 person paddle games, etc.
  • Baking or food – Aprons, play food, plates and other containers
  • Bathtime – foam and sponge shapes, containers, other bath toys
  • Beach or toy box– Sand pails, shovels, measuring cups, sifters, funnels, etc, This book would be cool too.
  • Gardening/bug catching/exploring – bug containers, nets, child-size shovels, boots, pots, explorer hats and vests
  • Superhero: Capes, KIDS comics and movies, action figures
  • Dress up – Jewelry, shoes, clothing, etc.
  • Game Time: Games and puzzles, snacks for family game night

What are you putting in your Easter Baskets?

creativegiftsforchildren

You may also like:

Free Printables for the Home!

Since I have a baby on the way and going through the process of buying a house, I have been wasting spending time on the internet looking at home decor and decorating ideas on a budget. I love all the free printables available online! So many cute things that just  need to be printed and framed.

Here’s a list I have compiled (and still compiling) on Pinterest. I have a few invites left if you need one, just send me a message or email.

If you already have an account, Follow Me on Pinterest

Here are some of the free printables you can find on my Pinterest (click the image to view the different printables and links)

Washable Fleece Dusting Mitt

Today I was in productive clean mode (yes, the Christmas tree and the decorations came down!). While I hate cleaning them, I noticed our blinds were a little too dusty to leave alone and they can be such a pain to clean too! I then remembered something I had seen online; fleece dusters. I was thinking of this:

From Dollar Store Crafts

However, in the midst of my cleaning storm, I did not consult the interwebs and developed my own dusting friend with the inspiration of the above photo; a washable fleece dusting mitt!

Two scraps of fleece, sewn on 3 sides, then cut in strips - super easy!

If the picture isn’t explanation enough, here are the instructions:

  1. Take two pieces of fleece, bigger than your hand
  2. Sew on 3 sides (leaving the bottom open) enough room to fit your hand inside
  3. Cut the sides (do not cut into the seams) into strips, rounding the corners if you would like
  4. Get to dusting!

This mitt worked fabulous for picking up dust off those pesky blinds! You can wear it on any side – the smooth or the strip side. Plus, with the fleece on your hand instead of another tool, you have much more control around those small corners and edges. Then when you are done, throw it in the wash! I won’t post the after pictures because the amount of dust I picked up was a bit scary!

*UPDATE:

I found an even better use than using your mitt for cleaning blinds: Cleaning a ceiling fan!

I coaxed my husband the other day to finally dust the darn thing and since my mitt was dirty, I whipped up another one in about 2 minutes. He sprayed one side with cleaner, and kept the other side dry (double duty) and it worked great! The dust clumps didn’t fall off and fly everywhere which is what happened the last time we cleaned our fan.

Best 2 minute, minimal sewing, super cheap, craft cleaning product I have made so far!

10 Days Until Christmas: Festive Centerpieces

TEN DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS. Holy Moly. My list of things to do seems longer now than it did a week ago!

Our Christmas decorations have been up for a couple of weeks now, but I’m still missing a centerpiece for the table (I’m also hosting Christmas Breakfast at my house). Here are some easy centerpieces that still look elegant and festive.

Supplies you may need:

  • Jars
  • Vases of varying sizes
  • Candles
  • Ornaments
  • Cranberries
  • Flowers
  • Pine cones
  • Pine branches/sprigs
  • Ribbon (anyone else LOVE ribbon?)

Continue reading