31 December 2012


I do love a good package. One of my favorite parts of Christmas preparation is wrapping up the givings. I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. And may your New Year be happy and bright.

If you find you have nothing to do and would like to wrap up a little something for some close friends or family, here's a Cinnamon Honey Butter recipe and free printable label. It doesn't take long to make and could be done for the New Year.

Makes 3 half pint jars - Double the recipe for about 6-7 jars
1 cup Honey
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 half pint canning jars

1. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Using whisk attachment on mixer blend until smooth    
    and creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
2. Use rubber spatula to pour mixture in to a large pastry bag (or Ziploc bag), cut off tip and     squeeze into half pint jars. (tip: place bag in tall glass for support, or have someone hold     the bag while you pour).

Here's a FREE Printable Label for you.

After printing these labels on sticker sheet paper, use Fiskars Scalloped Squeeze Punch to cut them out. Next cut out circle shapes the size of the jar lid and insert into the jar and stick the sticker onto the craft paper. Add a ribbon and you're done.

Many thanks for a fantastic year of sharing. I've enjoyed blogging my findings and I hope to continue in 2013. Happy New Year!

29 December 2012


When our sweet niece was legally adopted we were fortunate enough to go to the courthouse, witness this and explain to our kids that their new cousin was now legally part of our family. On our way out to the car after, I noticed a ton of acorns had dropped from the trees. As my husband loaded our kids, I gathered as many as I could and shoved them in my pocket. I knew I needed to do something with them to remember her special day.

I love felt ball acorns, I made a bunch for our Thanksgiving table in 2011 and I figured I could do the same with these and turn them into a garland for her baby room. So I ordered several felt balls (my favorite sources are here and here).

Now, just a few words about felting balls... I have tried this... and now I have a ton of roving left over after my sad discovery that purchasing felt balls is much more desirable than making felt balls. If making them with soap and water, it's tough on the hands and worse on the patience level. But I've provided links (above) for those that are feeling the need to learn. There is another method, needle felting that maybe I'll try one day.

After the balls came in the mail, this project took all of 20 minutes.

Acorn Caps
Felt Balls
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
String or Twine - I chose twine which is why I used hot glue.
* If using string, get a Felts Needle to string these through the ball.
Explanation Tag - I created a tag in Illustrator and printed on sticker paper.

1. Line up all of the caps
2. Line up all of the balls in front of the caps to get your color pattern in order.
3. Hot glue the inside of the cap, place the string on top of the glue and then place the ball on top of the string and press into the cap.
4. Repeat this for all of the caps and balls, spacing them as desired. I spaced mine about 1.5" apart.
5. Snip off the stems of the acorn caps if there are any.
6. If you'd like a little tag included place that around the string at the first acorn.

26 December 2012


I love crafting with my kids but I end up with a ton of art pieces that I then need to decide: HANG UP or NO and then there's the KEEP or TOSS. I usually toss the wierd ones after they've lost interest, and I save the really sweet ones. These kids are crafting up a storm faster than I can make these decisions so you can imagine, it's amazing to find a craft that we can do together that I can hang up and they can proudly say "I helped make that."

Bakable Clay - White Sculpey Pluffy
Cookie Cutters - I used a variety of stars
Glitter - Color of choice. I used chunky white
Fishing Line - If you'd like to hang them
Magnets - If you'd like to use them on a magnet board
Elmer's Glue
Paint Brush
Small Mixing Bowl - For glue and water
Baking Sheet - To bake on and contain the glitter mess after cooled

1. Roll them out flat like and cut the stars out with the cookie cutters. Poke a hole in the top if you want to string them.
2. Bake them according to the instructions.
3. Let them cool
4. Mix up a bit of Elmer's Glue and some water and paint the glue on one side of the star.
5. Glitter that side and let dry a few minutes.
6. Flip them over, glue and glitter.
* If we're making magnets we only glitter/paint one side.

21 December 2012


Everybody is sick around these parts. So we're IN for the long haul. I'm fine with it, I've completed my shopping and Christmas to-do's for the most part, but we are running out of things to do.

There are only so many Tinker Bell movies and Peppa Pig episodes one can watch. You know it's bad when the kids are saying, "Turn off the TV". Crafts and TV, that's been about all we've done for four days.

I'm on the hunt for new craft ideas. Toilet paper rolls always have something to offer. We made some cute Thanksgiving People with them a few weeks back. So I figured we could do the same with Santa. This would work for Elves, Reindeer, Snowmen... Here's a quick tutorial for Santa.

Toilet Paper Rolls
Construction Paper - Red. Black. Peach
Cotton Balls - 2 per Santa
Small White PomPom Ball - 1 per Santa
Clamps - If you have them, I use them after gluing to make it dry faster.

1. Cut a 1" Strip of Black (for the shoes). Cut a 2"-3" Strip of Peach (for the face). Cut a 3" Strip of Red (for the body).
2. Glue the shoes to the bottom of the tube and secure. Glue the face to the tube about a 1/2" down from the top and secure. Try to keep all of the end seams in the back.
3. While those are drying a bit, make a cone hat with red. Glue and secure. Glue the small white pompom on top.
4. Glue the red suit to the tube overlapping the shoes and face and secure.
5. Glue the hat to the top of the tube. If some of the the tube shows between the face and hat, that's ok, it will be covered up by cotton.
6. Unravel one cotton ball and squeeze it into a long strip. Glue that around the bottom of the hat overlapping the skin.
7. Draw the eyes and a little smile. This part is what my kids like to do the most.
8. Unravel the second cotton ball and glue the hair around the back.
9. With the last bit of cotton, glue on a strip of mustache and beard.

15 December 2012


My lovely sister-in-law, in all her generosity and wisdom recently provided an affordable way to get The Brown Sisters on a much needed holiday from our daily craziness for just a few days. We four met up in New York, coming from Los Angeles, Dallas, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas.

We stayed at The Nomad, an amazing new hotel in the Flatiron area. I have a soft spot in my heart for Chelsea because I used to work for J. Crew back when it was on 6 Ave. and 18th Street. That was my lunch-time stopping ground. I'd commute via Union Square and grab breakfast at the farmers market. We'd shop at ABC Carpet, Fishs Eddy and Paragon after lunch and I'd often complain of frizzy hair due to the humidity. Probably one of the reasons I wasn't in New York for long. I am not one for the combined extreme temperatures and humidity. I do believe my heart was in San Francisco.

But I made some lifelong friends and wouldn't change that experience for anything. It was nice to go back and be reminded of the good memories. And quite comical to say, "I used to work around here" in just about every area of town that we went too. I had several jobs there, I think six within two years? That's embarrassing. My favorites were Badger Worldwide, now Badger and Winters (for the creative atmosphere and lovely people), J. Crew (for the friendships made), and Prescriptives (for the bus commute -- finally).

New York will always be a place that I think of fondly. To visit is always a pleasure. Even in the cold and rain. I don't care as much about my hair, I suppose.

On this trip we shopped and ate exceptionally well. First night at ABC Kitchen, next night at Locanda Verde and our last night at Cookshop We met the REAL Santa. (Seriously, look at him. He's at ABC) I was able to visit with my dear friend Carlyn (my guest blogger a couple of weeks ago), check out the MOMA and see Once. We walked the High Line at dusk in the rain and stopped in lots of cute shops. Including the Etsy Holiday Shop.

It was the perfect trip and oh, so needed. Thank you Holly! xoxo.

12 December 2012


I feel like I need to say something on 12.12.12. I know I just posted yesterday but I have plenty to talk about after a trip to New York and Christmas crafting a-go-go. I tried to explain to my daughter how the opportunity to see the same triple digits like 12.12.12 is over. We don't have 13 months in the year so this is it. Despite the fact that my other daughter has been sick all day, it's been a sweet day of hanging out with my girls. I missed them so much this last week and with one of them sick, I'm hugging them to bits. I just can't squeeze them enough.

I have a group of friends that get together for DIY night. We've made some pretty amazing things together. Last year's lou-lou was the quiet book. THE BOOK. We each took one page and repeated it 20 times and traded. Another big one was our Halloween glitter house. Many of us bought our houses as a set of three from Hobby Lobby and used the biggest one for Halloween and the other two for Christmas. We all bring our ideas and jiblets and swap and influence each other. It's great fun. I adore my DIY girlie friends.

So here are my houses. They were being referred to as a Winter Wonderland. I like how it turned out. I found most of my things at Jolly's and Beehive Bazaar. I made the scalloped base, the felt tree and I found the two deer in New York and sprayed/glittered them.

Houses (Hobby Lobby)
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Supper 77 Spray Mount
White Spray Paint
Glitter in Variety of colors, thicknesses
Embellishments for exterior (vintage ribbon, glitter ribbon, little animals spray painted and glittered, mini trees, wreaths, pipe cleaners, berries, old book paper, vellum, fake snow)
Battery Mini Christmas Lights (Target) * Make sure the package says "warm"
Xacto Knife
Felt and Fabric
Book Binding Glue
Paint Brush
Wired Fence (Joann's)

1. Spray the houses white. Dry.
2. Spray the houses with Supper 77 (spray mount). Glitter. I like to put a chunkier glitter on the roof, or something to the roof that is different than the house. With the Christmas houses, I painted the roof blue first, then glued, then glittered.
3. Hot glue various embellishments to the house and around it.

* I wanted a base for these two houses so I could put little trees and animals around so I made a scalloped base. I first cut (with a box cutter) the shape I wanted out of cardboard. Then I covered one side with fabric and the underside with felt. 

11 December 2012


I was out of town last week. It was the first time I've left my kids for more than a day. I went to New York with my sisters-in-law for four days. My husband took two days off of work, but we decided it would be nice for the kids to have some Karolina time too. Karolina is my sister-in-laws nanny. We know her, love her. Karolina is part of the family.

She pulls out amazing kid craft ideas like this Christmas tree made of cupcake liners. I love this idea. I mentioned it to a friend in need of a quick craft for her daughters preschool class. It's a good one and most of the stuff is probably in your house already.

Cupcake liners - 3 per Tree
Construction Paper - Green. Brown.
Embellishments - Anything sparkly used as ornaments
Felt Pens

I wasn't there, but this seems pretty straight forward.
1. Cut a cardstock background piece (half of an 8.5x11 piece of paper).
2. Cut a tree trunk rectangle out of the brown construction paper (or draw one).
3. Glue the trunk to the bottom of your background paper.
4. Fold the cupcake liners so that they are a pie wedge shape. One large, one mid-sized and one small. * If necessary staple the top of each wedge to keep it in place (except the smallest one).
5. Glue the largest wedge first on top of the brown trunk. Repeat the other wedge pieces each on top of the other.
6. Cut and glue a yellow star to the top of the tree (or a sparkly bead).
7. Glue various embellishments to the tree with beads, sparkle bits and ribbon.

04 December 2012


Although the time has passed, I'd love to share a few kids crafts for Thanksgiving. After cooking the big dinner two years in a row, I've decided it's important to entertain the littles and avoid cabin fever. This makes for a sane cooking experience.

The night before I prepped several crafts to do throughout the morning. Each was organized in a large zip-lock bag with instructions, supplies and needed pieces pre-cut. My husband also came home from work with a stack of coloring pages which were very helpful.

I've wanted to do Fingerprint Turkeys for a long time. Gather a few fall colored ink pads, blank cards or folded white card stock and some colored pens. Print out examples of each step or show them if you're able to spend the time.

You could make a colorful Fall Accordion Leaf. Download the leaf PDF here and pre-cut a few leaves for painting. Read through the folding instructions prior. Once the paint is dry, fold and tape together. Then glue on a stem.

Toilet paper rolls always come in handy. I tend to save them for times like this. You could make a Native American or Pilgrim Puppet with them. This activity worked out the best for my four year old. Our two year old needed more help but still loved the activity.

I have always wanted this Acorn Cap pattern by Cate Anevski. This year I finally purchased it and found many uses. I printed some for coloring and a smaller version to paste onto a paper bag for the fall walk. The kids colored those first and then went out for a nature walk to gather small leaves, twigs and other jiblets. I also had a variety of dried beans to contribute. I printed a large turkey image onto cardstock for them to paste all of their treasures onto. Tracing your kids hand onto a paper plate to make a Hand Turkey works great too.

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. Ours was surprisingly simple and low stress. Crafts for the kids on Thanksgiving is just going to have to be part of the plan now because it really worked.