Anyone else feeling drained this week? I wasn’t all that busy, but I guess it was just tough getting back into the swing of things post-Thanksgiving. I’m also just counting down the days until my big Christmas/New Years vacation, so I think I’m not fully “out” of holiday mode, which is making motivation hard to come by.
Thank goodness for the Michalaks’ YouTube channel, which has helped get me through the more mundane tasks on my to-do list. In other news, here are seven fun Christmas crafts that caught my eye this past week!
7 DIY Links To Boost Your Maker Motivation
- Gold Splatter Succulent Planters 2 Ways, via A Kailo Chic Life
- Printable Christmas Cards, via Lovely Indeed
- Printable Christmas Wrapping Paper, via Homey Oh My!
- DIY Photo Wall Tree, via The Crafted Life
- DIY Glitter “Joy” Decor, via Damask Love
- Diamond Terracotta Clay Christmas Ornaments, via Make And Tell
- Customizable Christmas Advent Calendar, via Sarah Hearts
And in case you missed some of the fun content that went live right here on DGD, click back to see a list of 10 Personalized Gifts They’ll Love This Christmas (including a $250 giveaway!), my tutorial for A DIY Painted Wall Block, a list of 20 J.Crew Factory Gifts For Girls This Christmas, and 14 Bloggers Share Their Christmas Traditions. Got a fun link of your own to share? Drop it in the comments!
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In order to properly kick off the new month of December, I wanted to talk traditions—holiday traditions, to be exact! My little sister and I are absolute sticklers for our Christmas routines, and it’s practically like breaking the law to digress from our years-and-years-long holiday habits.
For example, as you may know, the day after Thanksgiving is considered our first all-out Christmas celebration, where we are finally allowed to listen to holiday music and watch Christmas music. Next, we always enjoy a weekend getaway to Colonial Williamsburg for their annual Grand Illumination event. By the time Christmas Eve rolls around, each of my family members gets to open one gift, and Mom reads Twas The Night Before Christmas to us—picture my sister and I sitting cross-legged at her feet, rapt with attention like a bunch of preschoolers! Finally, Christmas morning always kicks off with a stampede down the stairs (kid style yet again) and we unwrap gifts, then finish up with a big holiday breakfast.
Since I know we aren’t the only ones who are positively smitten with our Christmas time traditions, I invited 14 fellow bloggers to share their own holiday to-dos. From recipes and favorite Christmas albums, to caroling and giving to the needy, these traditions are the perfect mental kick-off to December. So, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and enjoy these stories from your favorite DIY and design bloggers—oh, and don’t forget to leave your own holiday traditions and stories in the comments below!
My family and I do an egg nog toast every Christmas morning after opening gifts (we’ve been doing it since I was a kid). It’s such a nice way to take a moment to pause, reflect, and appreciate one another during the chaos of the season.
My mom makes hundreds and hundreds of her famous chocolate peanut butter crispy candies every Christmas to give out to everyone—from her mailman and the receptionists at her gym, to friends and family. People (*raises hand*) live for them. When I was little, I used to help lay out the candy wrappers before I graduated to helping make the candies themselves! Now, I’m following in her footsteps and doing the same for everyone I know here in LA. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until there are trays of candies filling up the fridge!
Our favorite holiday tradition is a game night Christmas party that we host at our house every year. We usually tie it in with a cheesy white elephant gift exchange, and lots of spiked cider!
For as long as we’ve been married (eight years this past November!), we’ve taken a yearly anniversary trip to explore, find inspiration, and—perhaps most importantly—take a break from DIY. We’ve driven across the country on Route 66, road-tripped down Highway 1, and spent a week eating our weight in barbecue in Nashville! As we made these memories, one thing remained the same—we make it a point to choose a holiday ornament in every one of these stops. Decorating our tree always takes a little longer than usual because as we hang these ornaments we’ll say, “Remember when we…?”
The holiday season is my favorite time of year because of family traditions! Now that I’m a mom and my daughter is able to walk and understand so much more this year, I can’t wait to create our own family traditions together. My first favorite tradition is getting our Christmas tree at the same little farm stand every year, and then going to an Irish restaurant down the street to eat—it’s so cozy and Christmasy! My second favorite tradition happens on Christmas Eve. My dad and sister make dozens of homemade raviolis and we have a big feast with our family friends, which has grown over the years to include spouses, significant others, and babies. It’s one of the most special nights of the year.
Last year my husband and I found very little time to be together with just us (and the cats!) during the holidays. So, we tried something new and set aside on afternoon in December to bake a new cookie/dessert recipe together. It was so special! We played festive music, lit candles, and tried a delicious recipe for vegan chocolate crinkle cookies. My husband also is a total disaster in the kitchen, so it was a fun way to get him to feel a little more comfortable following recipes. And of course, cookies! We’re definitely doing it again this year, and it’s going to become my favorite tradition, for sure!
My very favorite holiday tradition is my family’s Christmas Eve party. No matter where we all are, we gather with all of our extended family to be together on Christmas Eve. It’s a tradition that was started long before I was born and continues today, stretching over about 40 years. My grandmother hosted first, and after she passed it moved to my mom’s house, and I’ve been honored to host it at my own home for the last few years.
House hopping! This was a regular tradition as a child that died out as we grew older, but now that we have our own families we’re reviving it again this year (though perhaps a scaled back version). After midnight mass, we spend the wee hours of the morning hopping from house to house where we celebrate with family by eating food, playing games, and general merriment. We eventually make our way home anywhere between 4-7am where we open a few presents, go to bed until the early afternoon, then wake up to stockings, presents, and more family celebrating fun!
I have two favorite traditions, both Christmas related. The moment we get our tree home, we break out the Christmas boxes and I put on the only CDs I still own—these Pottery Barn Christmas jazz compilations from the ’90s. They will forever get me so pumped. My next favorite is the morning of Christmas Eve when we stay in our pajamas and have nothing to worry about besides wrapping up gifts and watching Christmas movies. I love Christmas morning, but there’s something even more hopeful about the day before! Am I the worst Jew ever?
It doesn’t quite feel like the holidays without delicious food, so as soon as December nears there are a few go-to treats my family always has to make. My favorite being a recipe from my late Grandma. Her homemade Spritz cookies were perfection, in all different shapes and colors. There is something about making them now with my children that instantly takes me back to my Christmas childhood!
Christmas is one of our family’s favorite holidays and although somewhat simple there are a few traditions that we cherish. We attend Christmas Eve service at my parents’ church and afterwards the kids get to open one present each, usually from the grandparents. Then, we head home, read Twas the Night Before Christmas, and my son gets to sleep in my bed as a treat. After we wake up the next morning and open Santa’s loot, we eat a breakfast casserole that I prepare ahead of time and enjoy watching the little ones play with their toys.
My favorite holiday tradition growing up was going with my family the day after Thanksgiving to cut down our Christmas tree. We always had real trees and would rotate each year who got to pick it out. I’ll always remember the memories we made on these trips, and it’s a tradition that I’ve started with my family as well. There’s just something about the smell of a real tree that puts me in the holiday spirit!
Every year since I was a kid we have been doing the “12 days of Christmas” for someone who is struggling or just needs some Christmas cheer. We anonymously drop off gifts each night until Christmas. Keeping it all a secret, and ding-dong-ditching is my favorite part. It really keeps the meaning of Christmas alive and helps us think of others. We also always have a gingerbread house decorating party! It started when we were just married and now it’s even more fun with the kids. We have friends over, eat lots and lots of candy, and listen to Christmas music.
Every Christmas morning my entire extended family piles into my grandparents’ house to have coffee, sip mimosas, and spend an hour or two together before we all go our separate ways for other family celebrations. When I say “my entire extended family,” I mean all 14 of my aunts and uncles; all 20-something of us grandkids and our spouses; and all 30+ great-grandkids. My grandmother is no longer with us, but we promised her we’d still get together every Christmas morning and we’re all committed to keeping the tradition alive for generations to come.
(Photos via Instagram by Carrie Waller)
Did you guys go a little wild with your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping? I know I did! Truth be told, I’m not typically all that big on clothes shopping. I often forget to do it until I’m pretty much out of anything decent to wear right before a big event, so I try to save my pennies and do it all at once come Black Friday.
While picking up a few extra goodies for myself over the long weekend, I happened to stumble upon a pretty nutty sale over on J.Crew Factory, and couldn’t help but round up a few top picks for girls while I was at it since I think these would make excellent holiday gifts. The sale ends tonight (11/29) at midnight, but J.Crew Factory prices are still pretty ace, even after the sale wraps up. Here’s hoping that one or two of these 20 pieces helps cross someone off your list—even if it’s just yourself!
- Sequin T-Shirt ($35.50)
- City Coat ($91)
- Classic Chambray Shirt In Perfect Fit ($27)
- Classic Tote Bag ($39)
- Classic Wool Fedora ($19.50)
- Embroidered Otters Teddie Sweater ($31)
- Everyday Leggings ($13.50)
- Faux-Fur Earmuffs ($11.50)
- Flannel Shirt in Boy Fit ($27.50)
- Lace-Hem T-shirt ($15.50)
- Layered Circle Necklace ($19.50)
- Leather Passport Case ($11.50)
- Multi-Tassel Pendant Necklace ($15.50)
- Popover Tunic ($27.50)
- Printed Quilted Puffer Vest ($43)
- Quilted Jacket ($63)
- Ryann Crossbody Bag ($31)
- Small Jewelry Tray ($6.50)
- Sparkle Tassel Pendant Necklace ($15)
- Striped Turtleneck Sweater ($35)
Another thing I wanted to mention is that I’ve noticed that I’m more drawn to neutral colors as of late, both in my wardrobe and in our home décor, so you’ll notice that this collection is a little more earth-inspired. I’m excited to see how these new pieces work in my closet and have high hopes that they’ll prove to be extra versatile because of the interchangeable palette. What do you think? Got a favorite from my list? Shout it out in the comments below!
P.S. Don’t forget to enter to win $250 to Minted! Contest details can be found here.
As you found out earlier this month, one of my least favorite home projects is painting walls. I think it’s mostly because I tend to want things to go as quickly as possible with as few supplies as possible, but painting just generally requires a lot of time and a lot of stuff. The good news is that modern tools have come a long way, and cleanup is easier—even for those rushers who, like me, tend to grapple with splatters and drips following nearly every painted roll.
Today, I’m teaming up with the folks over at ScotchBlue™ Brand to share a ground-breaking product that’s perfect for fellow “paint flailers”! Scroll on for details on our new DIY Painted Wall Block and the couldn’t-be-easier cleanup that followed.
Note: Follow all ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Plastic package instructions for proper surface cleaning and prep, adhesion and removal.
Before pouring your paint into a tray, remember that proper prep-work makes for an amazing finish! If needed, start by cleaning the wall before applying your ScotchBlue™ Products. You’ll also need to remove all previous wall hangings, fill holes, and sand them smooth. Make sure the wall is completely dry and dust-free.
Once the surface is prepped, center your level on the wall you plan to add a DIY painted block to, and adjust until perfectly level. Use a pencil to make a light line on the wall, and repeat the steps on all four sides of your to-be-painted block. Use a square to make crisp right angles at all four corners.
Unroll a few feet of ScotchBlue™ Pre-Taped Painter’s Plastic and, without stretching the tape, lay it carefully along your bottom-most pencil line. Make sure to apply the tape just below the pencil mark so the line gets painted over later on.
With the top taped portion of the ScotchBlue™ Pre-Taped Painter’s Plastic in place, reach up behind the plastic to unfold it against the length of the wall below.
Because this product offers protection from paint drips, it was perfect for this project—I didn’t have to worry about paint splattering everywhere thanks to my traditionally rushed rolling. This pre-taped plastic comes equipped with ScotchBlue’s Edge-Lock™ Paint Line protector, so I knew I’d still get a super sharp paint line, too. You know me—I’ll take any shortcut I can get, and this 2-in-1 one painter’s tape with plastic is a new favorite!
For the top and sides of my painted block, I used a roll of ScotchBlue™ ORIGINAL Painter’s Tape, which helps deliver professional results on drywall surfaces. Like the pre-taped plastic, simply unroll a few feet at a time, and lay the tape along your pencil lines.
To secure and smooth out your taped lines, run a putty knife over the tape.
Pour paint into a metal or plastic paint tray. Add your roller to its handle, and coat it with paint in the tray, then roll it across your taped block. Make sure to avoid the outside edge of your taped lines or else you risk getting paint outside the block.
Allow the paint to dry for one hour before adding a second coat. If needed, apply a third coat after waiting another hour. Once you’re satisfied with the paint application, slowly (but surely) remove the tape at a 45° angle back onto itself as shown above.
To finish, hang your art from small finishing nails right over the painted block, then step back to admire your upgraded gallery wall! The GIF animation above shows the difference between hanging our art on a plain white wall versus over the new blue block. It’s a simple update that creates major impact!
*This post was sponsored by Minted
Welcome back! Did you guys enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday? I hope it was full of extra helpings, naps, and tons of quality time with friends and family. Now that the feast is over (womp,womp) it’s time to dive head first into all things Christmas—including shopping! Our family kept things simple this year by each pulling one name from a hat so that we just need to invest in a single extra special present. We decided to do things that way this year because of (A) budget constraints, and (B) the last thing any of us needs right now is more “stuff.” So, we’re choosing to simplify our gift purchasing once and for all.
In case you’re looking to practice similarly intentional gifting this year, I’ve partnered with Minted to share a roundup of 10 personalized gifts that your loved ones will love come Christmas morning. After perusing the list, don’t overlook the $250 giveaway at the end of the post! This one’s a doozie folks, and in all the best possible ways…
10 Personalized Gifts They’ll Love This Christmas
- Custom house letterpress portrait
- Gold foil state map
- Heart snapshot mix® photo art
- “Up And Away” new baby art print (customize with their name, birth date, and weight!)
- Illustrated big city map
- Custom foil-stamped stationery (see a roundup of my top 20 stationery designs here)
- Commissioned portrait (from kids to pets)
- Custom postage stamps
- Your wedding vows as a letterpress art print
- Artfully matched linen napkin set (customize to their favorite color scheme!)
Now for our giveaway. The Minted team and I are thrilled to partner up to give one Dream Green DIY reader a $250 gift certificate to enjoy at www.minted.com this season! To enter, click here, and follow the instructions. Contest is open to US residents only and ends Monday, December 5 at 11:59 pm PDT, so don’t delay. Good luck and in the meantime, visit Minted now to take advantage of their Cyber Monday deal—one of their best promotions of the year!
Well, we made it folks! We’re just one day away from Thanksgiving, and I am officially out of the office to enjoy the festivities starting TODAY. For our family, Friday marks the first day of the Christmas season, so pretty soon we’ll be indulging in Christmas movies, holiday tunes, and lots of sugary treats, too. Not wanting to be completely outdone by all of those pro bakers and cookie decorators out there, I came up with a fun and simple decorated sugar cookie shortcut that I wanted to share ahead of the extra long holiday weekend. Read on for the delicious details!
- Refrigerated pre-cut cookies (the ones with the printed design on them)
- Icing tubes in colors to match the printed cookie design
- Decorating tips (the ones I bought at the grocery store screw right on top of the icing tubes—easy as pie…errr cookies!)
Start by following the package instructions to bake your cookies. Then, allow your cookies to cool completely on a baking rack before moving on to the next step.
Next, screw the decorating tips onto your icing tubes, and use the pre-printed design on your cookies as a guide to add 3D character to your cookies. That’s it! I included a quick stop motion animation above to show you the difference this simple process makes, but I personally think it transforms a store-bought cookie into something that looks sooooo much more hand-made—don’t you agree?
It’s a festive, cost-effective way to wow your pals at this season’s cookie exchange, or you could try wrapping batches of decorated treats up to give as hostess gifts. Happy holidays and may this be the very best Thanksgiving YET!
P.S. Don’t forget to enter to a win a couch from DHP Furniture! Contest ends Monday.
As many of you know, it’s a Waller/Williams family tradition to kick Christmas off in a BIG, big way the day after Thanksgiving. Truth be told, my hubby, sister, and I tend to look more towards this day-after-Thanksgiving holiday than Christmas Day, itself. It’s when we put up our main Christmas tree in the family room, officially start listening to Christmas music, and it’s also the first day of our 24/7 Christmas movie-watching schedule. To say we’re excited about the fact that it’s just a few days away is an alarming understatement.
Elf is typically the very first holiday movie that we pop into the player (the DVD intro screen alone is enough to make us jump up and down with glee), and then we usually move on to The Family Stone and Love Actually. The Holiday is another one of those immediately-watched Christmas movies, as is White Christmas. It’s nonstop, I tell ya! Keep reading for a list of 20 Christmas movies (from classic to new) that we suggest you set aside or order now before Friday.
- The Family Stone
- Shop Around The Corner
- The Holiday
- A Christmas Carol
- Love Actually
- It’s A Wonderful Life
- Frosty The Snowman
- Holiday (admittedly more “New Years,” but still one of the best holiday films of all time)
- The Muppet Christmas Carol
- Home Alone
- Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- The Santa Clause
- Three Days (a super rare Fox Family original with Kristen Stewart!)
- White Christmas
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- Miracle On 34th Street
- Fireplace For Your Home: Christmas Edition (you NEED if you don’t have a working fireplace)
- Christmas In Connecticut
- It Happened On 5th Avenue
So, tell me—did I miss any of your favorites? Honestly, I could have gone on and on, and after reading this list to my sister over the weekend, she promptly noted all sorts of movie titles that I forgot (A Charlie Brown Christmas!) so this list is certainly not all-encompassing. Leave your own top festive film picks in the comments below!
P.S. Have you entered the big couch giveaway? Contest details here.
*This post was sponsored by DHP Furniture
With Thanksgiving just days away, it’s time to officially start planning your Christmas decor—if you haven’t already done so, of course! You’ve probably seen on Instagram that our tree has been up for about a month now, but that was all in the name of having this story ready to go ahead of Thanksgiving break. Happily, it’s finally time to share the goods, and to toss a few tips and tricks your way as you work to infuse the festivities into your own living room. Details (and a sofa giveaway!) are below.
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Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week?! I’m hustling like mad behind the scenes to wrap up all of my lingering to-dos for this week and next so I can take some proper time off. A quick housekeeping note that, in order to maximize my time with family over the holiday, next week will be a short one here on the blog. But rest assured that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will be packed with fun Christmas-themed ideas to get you inspired ahead of the official kick off to the month-long holiday season. We’re talking festive home décor, DIY decorated sugar cookies, and my mega list of the top Christmas movies OF ALL TIME. Get pumped.
In the meantime, here are seven other DIY projects that have my mind churning with creative possibilities. Which one would you try first?
7 DIY Links To Boost Your Maker Motivation
- Tips For Hosting Holiday Guests, via designlovefest (photo by Ivan Solis)
- DIY Photo Ornaments, via The Crafted Life
- DIY Santa Milk + Cookies Kit, via Kristi Murphy
- Thanksgiving Game Free Printable, via Alice & Lois
- DIY Calligraphy Ornaments, via yours truly
- DIY Tree Shaped Wreath, via Sarah Hearts
- Tips For Throwing A Friendsgiving Dinner In A Pinch, via PROPER
And in case you missed some of the fun content that went live right here on DGD, click back to see our DIY Zen-Inspired Rock Garden, a quick Book Review Of Masters Of Modern Architecture, a Thrifted Curvy Side Chair Makeover, and a list of 10 Things You Can Proudly Hide Under The Bed. Got a fun link of your own to share? Drop it in the comments!
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*This post was sponsored by Parachute
As a hoarder of things like extra framed art, sheets, shelves, season-specific clothing, and more gift wrapping accessories than you could imagine, I’ve taken advantage of the storage space under the bed for as long as I can remember. That said, I somehow often forget about that dead space! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve held up an item that needed to be tucked away, stressed to the bone about where the heck I was going to store it—and then I remember the space under our mattresses.
In case you, too, are struggling with an abundance of, well…STUFF this season, or if you just forget how much wasted square feet you actually have, I’m sharing 10 things that you can proudly hide under the bed over on Better Homes and Gardens.
Although there’s a bit of a stigma about hiding things away in this area of the home, there should be no shame in making the most of under-the-bed storage. As long as you hide things away nicely and items aren’t spilling out of the ends and sides of your mattress (a dust ruffle does camouflaging wonders, by the way!), you’re good to go and doing yourself—and your household—proud.
Hop through to Better Homes and Gardens for the full list of 10 things to proudly hide under the bed, and then come back here and tell me what you’re in the habit of hiding under your mattress. Let’s just agree to keep things clean here, folks! I kid, I kid…But, really, do tell!