Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Greenery and Red Ribbon Christmas Cards

I am at the airport waiting to fly out to North Carolina to visit my family. I am so ready to be home and just be together! Before I go, I wanted to share the Christmas card suite I designed this year for the company I work for. I didn't do a ton of Card designing this holiday season, but this might be my favorite Christmas card yet! I have shifted towards mostly watercolor as a medium, and I am loving it.









Thank you for all of your encouragement and support in 2014! Wes and I are so grateful for all our friends and family. We wish you a wonderful Christmas celebrating our Savior who came down to earth! I hope your day is filled with loved ones and lots of laughs and memories.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Tablescape with Kraft Paper Table Cloth

I love having our home decorated for Christmas. It is so cheerful, cozy, and puts me in a festive mood! However, knowing that these Christmas pieces are only out for a short time, sometimes makes it hard to justify spending a fortune on new decor. We are also limited on storage space in our apartment, so I decided to dream up a holiday table setting using pieces we already had, and inexpensive disposable items. 


I love how festive it turned out, and clean up will be easy! I started with a Kraft paper table cloth. Kraft paper is so versatile, you can adapt it to your style, color palette, and occasion. I used plenty painter's tape and glue dots to secure the paper down and protect the table. 

 


Next, I used a white paint pen to create Christmas doodle table runner. This is the fun part! You can do anything you want. It suits the style to be a collage of anything Christmasy that comes to mind. This would be a great activity to involve the kids! You can even have crayons out before supper and let the little guests decorate the table. :)




My friend and I wove placemats from scrapbook paper, another activity little ones can help with. I love the quilted look with all the sweet holiday patterns! Walmart is now carrying paper straws in the party section, and I picked up this little pointsettia at the grocery store for under $5!


Add simple name plates, and scatter some Christmas candy, and you have a child friendly, no fuss, welcoming Christmas table ready to party! You can find the tutorial for our marbled pine cone place card holders here, cranberry appetizer recipes here, and holiday punch here.















We are heading to visit my family for Christmas, so we'll save this look for our New Year's festivities! Are you hosting Christmas this year or travelling?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

How To: Marble Pinecone Placecard Holders

I'm sure you've seen the tutorials for marble manicures. I haven't tried one yet, but they 
look great in photos! We have fallen pine cones all over our apartment complex, and I've built up 
quite the collection on my walks in from the mailbox. I planned on using them as name card holders, and when I found a tutorial to marble coffee mugs with nail polish, I had to try the technique for Christmas decor!


You will need:
Pine cones...cleaned and dried out in the oven at 250°F for about 60 minutes
White Spray Paint
2 colors of Nail Polish
Disposal Shallow Baking Pan
Cake Pop Sticks, Tooth Picks or Bamboo Skewers
Wax Paper
Clear Glossy Sealer (Optional)

1. Set your pine cones out in well ventilated area and spray paint them white. Allow to dry and spray multiple coats making sure to cover all sides of the pine cones. This step is important because pine cones close up when wet. A coat of paint will keep them from closing during the marbling step. 


2. Bring in your dry pine cones, and choose 2 colors of nail polish to work with. Fill your shallow baking pan about 2/3 with room temperature water.


3. Drop in several drops of each nail polish color. Nail polish will dry quickly, so I did not swirl the colors around, I let them do that naturally. Dip one side of the pine cone in the solution, lift it straight out, and repeat on the other side. Note, your hands will get messy, so if you have a new manicure, I recommend using disposable tongs. :)




3. The nail polish will dry and create a sticky film in the water, so I removed it after each pine cone. Simply dip a skewer or tooth pick in, and swirl it around to gather all the dry polish. Dispose.


5. I dipped a few of my pine cones a second time to cover missed spots. If any of the nail polish dries with stringy drips, use a skewer or tooth pick to remove them.


6. Once the pine cones are dry, allow them to air out to minimize the nail polish smell. It was a bit wet outside, so mine closed up slightly, but opened back up when returned indoors. Finish with spray on glossy sealer if desired.


7. Insert name cards and set at your holiday table. I love the gold leaf look the nail polish created!


Important Tips:

  • Complete this DIY in a well ventilated area. 
  • Use a shallow dish for dipping
  • When dropping nail polish into the pan, drop close to the water, to keep the drops from simply sinking to the bottom. 
  • Plan to work quickly, the nail polish dries faster than usual in the water
  • Use disposable tools for this DIY, avoid dripping nail polish on counter tops and clothing
  • Remove nail polish from your hands with nail polish remover


We didn't have a 4th person at the table, so Rudolph made an appearance! ;) Stay tuned for more of our Christmas table. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Addressing Fancy Envelopes

I love receiving Christmas cards! I've been so excited to check the mail each day to see what beautiful card or great photo of loved ones we'll add to our little card wall next. This year is our first time sending out Christmas cards to more than just close family.

I love how our cards turned out from Costco. The process was so easy online, and the cards were ready to pick up the next day! I thought I'd have to spend a fortune to print enough cards, but Costco's deal for 50 photo cards with envelopes was killer!

I am always gawking at gorgeous handwriting and calligraphy on Pinterest and Instagram. I am by no means a calligrapher, just an aspiring wanna-be, but I have developed an easy technique for fancy handwriting. After teaching handwriting in elementary school, I know neat handwriting can be a feat {try achieving perfect cursive on a blackboard, left handed ;)} But, the good news is, with so many different styles out there now, perfection doesn't have to be the focus!



You will need:
Pencil
Good Eraser...I use Pink Pearl
Ultra fine point sharpie or acid free illustration pen...I use nib sizes 03 and 08 from Artist's Loft


1. Using a pencil, lightly write your recipient's name in cursive in the center of the envelope.

Tips:

  • Form loopy letters- I add swoops to the beginnings and ends of words
  • Your lettering does not have to be perfectly straight, but think balance. If you go higher with one swoop, come back down again to keep your entire address from going up or down hill. ;)
  •  Your letters may have slightly differing heights, but keep all lower case letters generally the same overall size and all upper case close in proportion as well. 
  • Be fluid, don't try to be perfectly precise. 

2. Once you've outlined your name, trace over the letters with pen. Again, be fluid for a natural look instead of trying to achieve perfection. Erase the pencil marks. 


3. To create the calligraphy look and add dimension, go back and make all of your down strokes slightly thicker. Just a small emphasis on these strokes will do the trick. Taper in for a natural transition to the up stroke. 



4. Fill your letters in, this is where I use my thicker 08 nib pen. 


5. If you are adding a mailing address, I like to add visual interest and variety with a line of print, or a smaller size font. 

That's how I do it! No secrets here. ;)




Snail mail brightens anyone's day. Pretty mail is just even better! Your card is sure to be memorable with a little glamour. Settle in by the Christmas tree with some hot cocoa, turn up the carols, and try it out!