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Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Gift Ideas 2016

Happy Cyber Monday! 
I put together a list of Christmas Gift Ideas based on trends I've noticed in 2016 or products I use. I hope you find it helpful!
For Ladies

1. Journaling Bible or Planner

2. Personalized Handwriting Jewlery

3. A colorful sign about her favorite hobby

4. Pioneer Woman...anything - cookbooks, dishes, napkins

5. A Plaid Blanket Scarf - I'm in love with mine!

For Men
1. Grill Smoker Box - turns a propane grill into a smoker

2. Customizable Leather Bracelet

3. Charging Station

4. Winter Work Gloves

5. Phone Cover and Wallet

For Either
1. Nintendo Classic Mini

2. Amazon Prime Membership

3. Movie Gift Certificates - If you live in Wichita, you'll want the Warren Theater

4. Phone Dash Mount Kit - I have one of these and I love it. You stick the magnetic ball to your car dash and the small disk to your phone and then anytime you're in your car, your phone is right where you want it. I use google maps gps all the time and I love having right there on the dash - instead of in the cup holder or sliding off the passenger seat.

5. Amazon Echo Dot

6. Photo Gifts - go to your favorite picture vendor (Walmart, Snapfish, Walgreens, Artscow) and upload family pictures and then put them on a gift to make it special and personalized

7. Letterfolk Board

8. Christmas Art created by me! Available for instant download on my Etsy shop - so this would be perfect for a last minute gift! Today only, use CYBERMONDAY as a coupon code for 10% off your order!

9. Hickory Farms Gift Box

10. Remote - I have this and I LOVE it - I use it all year to turn on lamps, but I especially love using it to turn on my Christmas tree!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pumpkin Shaped Dinner Rolls

Rhodes rolls shaped like pumpkins

In October, my office had a contest at work to bring a treat related to pumpkins - pumpkin shaped or pumpkin flavored - anything pumpkin goes.

Since I'm one of those weird people that doesn't like anything pumpkin-flavored (yes that means no pumpkin pie, no pumpkin spice latte, no pumpkin fluff, no pumpkin muffins, no pumpkin soup and definitely no pumpkin spice Hershey's Kisses), I decided to make something pumpkin shaped.

My first idea was rice krispie treats.  Second idea was popcorn balls.  Then I saw this idea on Pinterest and loved it!

So cute and so unique!!  I think these would be perfect on any Thanksgiving table!

They smell AMAZING when they're baking - they would be a perfect Thanksgiving appetizer!

And in case you were wondering, I won the category of Most Creative Use of Pumpkin and tied for Overall Favorite!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wood Frame DIY - Oh Holy Night Christmas Art

My theme for Christmas this year is evergreen/plaid/"Oh Holy Night" so I decided to make the lyrics of "Oh Holy Night" the central focus of my mantle.

Right below this ▼ is one of the signs I made and below that is a sign for sale by Hobby Lobby.  They are very similar, but this is $39.00 at Hobby Lobby (same approximate dimensions, same wood frame, same black and white text) - but I made these signs for about $14 each, which is a great deal compared to $39.99 AND it let me customize the sign to be exactly what I wanted.

Step 1:  I designed the prints.  I knew I wanted lyrics from "Oh Holy Night."  Below is a visual representation of my theme this year.

Step 2: I had the design printed at Office Depot/Office Max as an 18x24 engineering print and the total cost was $1.82 each.

Step 3: I went to Lowe's and found an inexpensive piece of mdf that I asked them to cut into two 18x24 pieces. I also picked out some unfinished flat trim board with the dimensions 3/8 x 2 x 36 (you'll need 3 per frame, if you're making the same size I did).

You'll also need for this project:
miter box and saw
Elmer's spray adhesive
Gorilla Wood glue
wood stain - I used Minwax classic gray and Rustoleum kona

Step 4:  Cut the trim pieces to make the frame.  This was my first time to use a miter box and it was really fun!  I have a history of cutting myself (knives, mandolin slicer) so I was extra cautious with the saw.  I cut two pieces down to 24 inches and then the third I was able to cut into two pieces approximately 15 in. long.

 Step 5:  Sand the rough edges.

Step 6:  Use a scrap piece of the wood you cut to test out your staining methods.  The process I decided on was to use a foam brush and brush on the brown Kona stain.  Then immediately wipe off all excess stain with a clean cloth.  Then with a different brush, I painted on the classic gray and let it sit for a while, then wiped off the excess after several minutes.

Step 7:  Time to assemble everything!  Use the spray adhesive to glue down your engineering print to your mdf board.  A word of caution - don't spray the glue too heavy and don't spray it on the paper.  I had a spot of bleed through and had to tear off the paper and get another print made.  (Which was a PAIN!)

Then make a thin line of wood glue (another lesson learned - too much and glue smushes out the edges) and place the trim on the glue.  Then clamp it down and give it time to dry - I used really big binder clips and they worked perfectly!

Then you take off the binder clips and you have a handmade piece of art that looks just as amazing as anything you could buy, is less expensive than what you can buy, is customized to say exactly what you want and you can take pride in the fact that you made it!

I'm very excited to decorate my Christmas mantle now!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Gratitude Pumpkins

My friend Amanda had a fun idea to get a group of our friends together and make Gratitude Pumpkins.  One of her friends blog, Ordinary Threads, was the inspiration.

For this project you'll need:

white spray paint
markers - these Sharpie brush markers that I bought from Amazon recently were perfect for this

stickers (optional) we used stickers from Hobby Lobby

Step 1:  Spray paint your pumpkin, with a light coat of white spray paint.  We weren't sure how long it would take to dry, but it was very quick - I'd estimate 5 minutes.

Step 2:  At the top write "I'm thankful for..." or alternatively you can use stickers, like we did.

Step 3:  Write things you're thankful for, spiraling around the pumpkin!  It's a great exercise to really think about what you're truly thankful for.

Reflecting on it, I find it interesting that my list was filled with intangibles.  Even though day to day life - especially in American culture - is filled with tangibles - (clothes, shoes, makeup, hair products, home decor, etc.) those aren't the things that come to mind first.  I thought of laughter, freedom, hope, peace, heaven, happy memories, traditions, joy, encouragement and love.  It really is a fun way to re-focus on what's really important.

Alternative Options:

-make a Gratitude Pumpkin as a family and take turns writing what you're thankful for

-let each person in your family make their own pumpkin - even little ones could draw pictures of things they're thankful for

-get the pumpkin started and then leave it on your porch or living area and let any visitors, guests or family members add things throughout the month of November

-Use a Gratitude Pumpkin as your Thanksgiving centerpiece - complete steps 1 and 2 above and then have markers on the table for people to write on

We really had fun with this and it was fun to see how each pumpkin turned out very differently!

If you make a Gratitude Pumpkin - I'd LOVE to see it - post a picture here on my blog or tag me on Instagram @LyndisProjects and use the hashtag #gratitudepumpkins



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