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Monday, November 24, 2014

{shopping for style} Stocking Stuffers for the DIYer + The Ultimate Gift Guide Round Up

Today I've teamed up with 8 other bloggers to bring you the Ultimate Gift Guide Round Up! Each blogger has curated a collection of fantastic gift ideas, beginning with my list of twelve great stocking stuffers for the DIY'er. Let the shopping begin!

{1} Stanley 3' Key Chain Measuring Tape - $4.47 from Amazon - I bought a small key chain measuring tape like this one from the dollar section of Target a couple of years ago, and it has changed my life! It makes project shopping so much easier when you can quickly check measurements. No more returning an item because its not the right size!

{2} Titan Mini Magnetic Parts Tray  $6.18 from Amazon - I get so tired of searching around for screws and small parts that roll of the table and end up on the floor. And this is especially dangerous with small kids in the house. But with this magnetic tray, all of your parts will stay put while you work on your project, or even for storage. The tray features a strong magnet that even works upside down, and a rubber base to prevent scratching your surfaces.

{3} Mug Boss -  $7.50 from Amazon - You may have seen the Bucket Boss that turns a plain bucket into a handy tool box, and now there's the Mug Boss that turns a standard coffee mug into a convenient spot to corral those smaller items that you need to take from place to place while working on projects - pencils, scissors, exacto knives, and more! The Mug Boss also makes a great desk organizers for the DIYer.

{4} Swiss+Tech Hand Mount Tool Light - $6.07 from Amazon - You know the need to shine some light on the subject while working in a tight space, but when you ask someone to hold a flashlight for you, you just end up with shadows that make it harder to see. Or worse, you wind up trying to hold a flashlight in your mouth. Sound familiar? I bought my husband this hand mount tool light for Christmas last year, and it has solved all those problems for us. By wearing this LED light right on your hand, the light is always shining right where you are working! The strap is adjustable to fit any hand and it only weighs half an ounce!

{5} Handyman In Your Pocket - $11.00 from Amazon - This is a great guide with over 760 pages of reference material covering maintenance, science, engineering, contracting, building, and more! A wealth of information in a book small enough to fit in a shirt pocket.

{6} 15 in 1 Ratcheting Screwdriver - $19.99 from The Container Store - This screwdriver houses thirteen bits and an extender in the base, allowing you to quickly change them out with just a simple twist. The head of the screwdriver can rotate to 45- and 90-degrees, making it easy to work even in awkward spaces.

{7} Mini Level with Angle Finder - $4.25 from Home Depot - At only 4 inches long, this level easily fits in tight spaces. This little tool also features a handy angle finder with a top scroll adjustment.

{8} German Goggle Styled Safety Glasses - $18.99 (on sale) from Restoration Hardware - These goggles were originally designed in Germany for welders, but the scratch-resistant safety-glass lenses also seal out dust, wind, snow or sparks. Safety is number one, but why not also work in style?

{9} Retro Safety Glasses - $22.99 (on sale) from Restoration Hardware - If German goggles aren't your style, then how about these geek-chic horn-rimmed safety goggles?! These glasses feature tough polycarbonate lenses, removable perforated side cups, and adjustable temples.

{10} Finger Wrench - $3.95 from Lee Valley - When I first saw this product I thought, "What the heck is that?" Then I saw how it worked and started thinking of all the times I could have used it! When you need to hold a small nut or bold in an awkward or tight spot, this wrench would save the day! Finger pressure holds the nut or bolt in the wrench, and the raised, tapered slot prevents it from turning. This works with all nuts up to 1/2".

{11} Fraction Calculator Wheel - $9.95 from Lee Valley - This little tool would have been so useful when I was hanging the gallery wall in our master bedroom! This compact wheel calculator lets you add and subtract any number of fractions (64ths, 32nds, 16ths, 8ths, quarter and half inches) and displays the results in the window.

{12} MagnoGrip -$12.94 from Amazon - Rather than holding those extra nails in your mouth, why not go the safer and easier route with this magnetic wristband that acts like a third hand?!

Now here are 8 more gift guides to help you find the perfect present for everyone on your Christmas list. Click on each image to be directed to the curating blogs for the all the details and links to purchase the products.

I hope all these gift guides have given you a good start on your holiday shopping! If handmade gifts are more your style, then be sure to come back on Friday when I'll be sharing a great round up of gifts that you can make in just 5 minutes!

Friday, November 21, 2014

{five minute friday} A Burlap and Chalkboard Fabric Christmas Card Display

It's a safe bet that Christmas cards will start showing up in your mailbox as soon as next week, so I wanted to share another fun and fast project to get you ready! Last week, I showed you how I dress up and fill up my Christmas card display with scrapbook paper while waiting for cards to arrive in the mail, and today I'm sharing the adorable display my mom created in just five minutes using burlap and chalkboard fabric! {To learn more about my mom and her style, you can read my introduction here.}

Supply List:

Roll of wired edge burlap ribbon with bells {from Hobby Lobby}
Red burlap fabric {from JoAnn Fabric}
Chalkboard fabric {from JoAnn Fabric}
Fabric-Fix Permanent Adhesive {from Hobby Lobby}
Clips {from Hobby Lobby}
Bistro Chalk Marker {from Hobby Lobby}
Flat top thumb tacks {any hardware store}

To begin, measure the height of the door that you want to hang your card display on, and cut a piece of the wired edge burlap ribbon the same length.

Next, cut an oval from your chalkboard fabric to create the label for the Christmas card display. An oval box of Kleenex makes a perfect template that is sized just right to fit between the bells on the burlap ribbon.  Trace the oval onto the back of the chalkboard fabric, and cut it out.

Because the chalkboard fabric is quite lightweight, my mom found it is best to use two layers of the fabric, glued back to back, in order to create a sturdy label for the Christmas card display. To make sure the ovals line up perfectly, the best method is cut a larger rectangle of chalkboard fabric and glue the first oval to the rectangle, using a fabric adhesive like Fabri-Fix {note that hot glue won't stick to the backing on the chalkboard fabric}. After the glue has dried {in just a minute or two}, cut the rectangle down to an oval using the first oval as your template.

With your two chalkboard ovals glued back-to-back for stability, glue the ovals to the burlap ribbon, between two bells, and located at approximately the location that will be at eye level when the burlap in hung on your door.

At this point, your Christmas card display could be complete, but to dress it up a bit more, my mom added two rectangles of chalkboard fabric and red burlap fabric behind the chalkboard oval. Cut a 6x8" rectangle of chalkboard fabric and a 5x7 rectangle of red burlap, and glue the two together using the same Fabri-Fix glue.

Finally, glue the rectangles to the chalkboard oval and the back side of the burlap ribbon.

The Christmas Card display is now complete. This really is a five minute project! All that's left to do is to write on your chalkboard label and hang the ribbon from the top of a door. My mom made two of these, one for cards from family and the other for cards from friends, so she labeled them accordingly using a red Bistro Chalk Marker.

The easiest way to hang your card display on your door {mom my hung hers on your coat closet door} is by hammering two flat-head thumb tacks into the top edge of the door. Fold over about an inch of burlap so that you are hammering through two layers - this will make it more durable once you add the weight of the Christmas cards to your display. The tiny holes created by the thumbtacks won't be a problem, because no one will ever see the top edge of your door. Just be sure that you use tacks with totally flat heads, otherwise they'll rub against the door frame when you close the door.

Now all that's left is the clip on your Christmas cards as they arrive! My mom picked up a package of Jim Holtz brand small clips from Hobby Lobby, but you could use any clips that fit your style. Just make sure the clips aren't too small to hold the weight of the cards.

There you have it! A very quick and stylish way to display all of your Christmas cards!

This project could easily be changed to fit your personal style using any variety of ribbon, fabric and clips. The possibilities are endless!

Christmas will be here before we know it, so if you are looking for even more holiday inspiration, look no further! Here are some of my favorite holiday projects:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

{seaonal style} Travel Map Christmas Ornaments + More Than 35 Other Ideas to Trim Your Tree

Have you started decorating for the holidays? Today I am joining more than 35 of your favorite bloggers to share our fun and festive ideas.  From ornaments to tree skirts, you are sure to be inspired by all of these amazing handmade ideas to Trim the Tree

Trim the Tree this Christmas with more than 35 ideas to inspire from your favorite bloggers! #trimthetree

When we lived in our condo downtown, the only place we had room for a Christmas tree was in our travel-themed den. To trim that tree, I bought a set of gold travel landmark ornaments from Pottery Barn. Years later, those ornaments are still some of my favorites, but since moving in to our current home, our tree has been located in our basement family room and the travel ornaments have remained packed away. However, I have grand plans to add a few more trees to our Christmas decor in the next couple of years, including reintroducing our travel themed tree. 

With that in mind, I wanted to make a set of ornaments to commemorate each of our travel destinations. I absolutely love maps {as evideced by this post}, so travel map ornaments seemed the obvious choice! 

I considered a lot of different way to create my travel map ornaments, but my number one priority was making them simple enough that it will be easy to add more over the years as we check more cities and countries off of our travel bucket list. 

Let's start with the supply list:

{1} Fiskars Round and Round Squeeze Punch - X-Large {available at Joann}
{2} Standard hole punch {available at any office supply store}
{3} Tres Port Postal Rubber Stamp, Inkadinkado {available at Hobby Lobby, $6.99}
{4} EK Success Squeeze and Roll Glue Pen {available at Michaels}
{5} Red Sharpie
{6} Recollections Brush Markers {full sets available from Michaels}
{7} Airplane Twill Ribbon, The Paper Studio {available at Hobby Lobby, $.99/2 yard roll}
{8} 2.25' Metal Rim Kraft Paper Tags, American Tag Company {available at Hobby Lobby, $4.99/ pack of 10}

In addition to these supplies, I obviously needed maps of each of our travel destinations. For this, I simply copied maps out of my National Geographic Family Reference Atlas, but if you don't own an atlas, you could just as easily print maps from the Internet. I copied the maps onto white cardstock weight paper.

I planned to affix one map to each round kraft paper tag, and originally assumed that I'd have to cut each circle with scissors, being very precise to get the size just right. But as I was printing the maps, it dawned on me that I owned several Fiskars squeeze punches in different sizes of circles. I was thrilled to find that my 2 inch squeeze punch cut a circle exactly the right size to fit just inside the metal rim of the round kraft paper tags.

In addition to being a major time saver, my favorite part about the squeeze punch is that it allowed me to see exactly what I was going to cut before cutting it. I was able to position the map within the center of the punch, ensuring that the city names I wanted were visible.

In the photo above, I was cutting a circle from the very bottom of the map to document our recent trip to Cape Town, but when I needed to cut a circle from a location not along the edge of the paper, I simply used scissors to cut the paper down until the section I wanted could fit within the frame of the squeeze punch.

As I cut my map circles, I also kept in mind that I would be punching a hole in the top center of each to add the ribbon for hanging. With that in mind, I was careful not to position the names of important cities near the top center of the circles.

Once I finished cutting all of my maps, I began gluing them to the craft paper tags using an acid free glue pen {which won't cause the paper to discolor over time}. Each tag has a metal rim around the edge, but the rim is wider on one side than the other {in the photo below, the side with the thinner rim is at the top, and the thicker rim below}. The maps fit perfectly inside the thicker rim, so I had to pay attention to glue them to the correct side of each tag.

After affixing the maps to the tags, I had to punch a hole through each in order to later add the ribbon for hanging. I used a standard hole punch and lined it up with the original, slightly smaller, hole on the blank side of each tag.

With the maps on one side of tags, I decided to use the reverse side to note the year that we traveled to each destination. But the year alone seemed a bit boring, so I picked up a rubber stamp at Hobby Lobby with three postmarks {which, because they are not quite legible, also remind me of passport stamps}. 

I recently experimented with hand-coloring rubber stamps {when I made stamped place cards}, and my Recollections brush markers worked so well that I decided to use them again for this project. I colored each post mark in a different color - red, brown and green {and I opted not to color the signature across the bottom of the stamp}.

Three important tips to keep in mind when hand coloring a rubber stamp: (1) After coloring, but before stamping, you have to "huff" on the stamp {blow hot air on it with an open mouth} to re-moisten the ink in order to get nice, vibrant colors; (2) Re-color after each stamp; and (3) When you are done stamping, baby wipes work well to remove all of the excess ink and ensure that the stamp does not get stained. 

I then used a red Sharpie to write in the travel year corresponding to each map next to the red postmark stamp.

Finally, I added a piece of ribbon to each ornament for easy hanging. I was thrilled to find some adorable airplane ribbon at Hobby Lobby for only $.99 per 2 yard roll. I stocked up on quite a few rolls, so I'll be able to use the same ribbon when I make more of these ornaments in the future. I tied a simple knot by wrapping the ribbon around my finger and then pulling the ends through the loop. I pulled each knot tight and then trimmed off the excess leaving just a bit of ribbon poking out of the top. As of now, the ribbon doesn't seem to be fraying, but if the ends of the ribbon do begin to fray, I'll add a bit of FrayCheck to keep them looking nice.

These ornaments were so simple to make, but I really love the way they turned out! They are prefect for commemorating each of our travel destinations and documenting the year of each trip. I bought extra of the tags and ribbon, so I'll be able to quickly and easily make a new ornament each time we travel.

As the years go by, it will be so fun to reminisce about our adventures as we hang each of these map ornaments on a travel themed tree!

These small ornaments will pair perfectly with my set of gold landmark ornaments!

Now that you've seen my travel map ornaments, I am excited to share more than 35 other handmade ideas for trimming your tree from some of your favorite bloggers! Below each set of images, you'll find links to the DIY details of each handmade project.
  Trim The Tree 1 1. Advent Calendar Pocket  2. Polymer Clay Poinsettia 3. Yarn Wrapped Ornament  4.  Vintage Green Paper Ornament 5. Trim the Tree Garland 6. Ribbon Stuffed Ornaments 7.  Wooden Star Ornament 8. Melted Snowman Ornament 9. Felt Christmas Tree 10.  Santa Star Ornament   Trim the Tree 2 1. Vintage Map Ornament 2. Yarn Joy Ornament 3.  Embossed Wood Bird Ornament 4. Snow Man Wood Slice Ornament 5. Christmas Garland 6. Tree Skirt for under $20 7.  Star Painted Ornament 8. Neon Christmas Tree Topper 9. Wooden Spool Christmas Tree   Trim The Tree 3 1. Gingerbread Cookie Ornament 2.  Wood Etched Cork Garland 3. Bow Christmas Tree Garland 4. Travel Map Ornaments {you are here} 5. Homemade Glitter Ornaments 6. Felt Candy Ornaments 7. Make Love Ornament 8. How to Decorate your Tree like a Pro 9.  Joy Ornament 10. Glitter Pinecone Ornament   Trim The Tree 4 1. Scented Gingerbread Ornament 2. Diy Tree Skirt 3. Pinecone Decorative Tree 4.  Wood Slice Ornament 5. Wood Slice Child Silhouette Ornament 6. Tips for Decorating the Christmas Tree 7. Mason Jar Lid Ornament 8. Gold Basket Weave Ornament 9. Rustic Christmas Tree Garland 10. Starfish Christmas Ornaments

Still looking for more holiday inspiration?! Here are some of my favorite Christmas projects:

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