DIY Twig and Branch Snowflakes for a Rustic Holiday

I love all different holiday ‘decor’ styles. Some days I wake up and want everything to be white. Other days, I want gold metallic to glisten the room and every so often, I want colors that are merry and bright. But, I always love a touch of country or mountain rustic.It’s warm and inviting…and reminds me of Christmas in Colorado, especially the mountains of Colorado.

I had a box of twigs and branches in the garage that were just waiting to be sculpted into something…and after a recent shopping trip to Pier 1, I was determined to create DIY snowflakes out of branches, just like their branch snowflake ornaments. It only took about 2 hours, and I saved $14 per snowflake.

You’ll Need:
Thin twigs or branches that can be easily broken with hands {about 20-30}.
Hot glue and glue gun
Red and white twine
Faux greenery and berries {I bought 3 small bunches of greenery for $1 each}

How To:
Find one straight and strong twig for your snowflake ‘base’ {I positioned it vertically on the table}.
Find another twig and ‘eye’ the length as you slant it sightly to the left from your ‘base’. Snap the twig in half, and glue each side to the sides of your ‘base stick’.
Continue to add more sticks around your ‘base’ to complete your snowflake – measure to make sure lengths are really close, snap and glue. You can design it as you like, even adding smaller twigs that branch out from the larger ones.
Once your snowflake is complete, use twine to wrap around each stick in the center, and tie a knot in the back. I did this so it looked more festive, and it covered the hot glue.
Pull apart your faux greenery and glue the pieces onto your snowflake.
You can either use the twine to create a ‘hanger’ to hang these as ornaments, or use Command velcro to adhere to the wall. I only use 4 small pieces of the Command adhesives, and cut them into small squares.


{images via Tutto Bella}

DIY Gratitude Journal

The list of things and people I am grateful for is quite lengthy. I have lived a very blessed life with ample opportunities and good, wonderful people by my side. Most days I remain very optimistic and grateful for all that I have been given, but I have bad days too, and forget to take the time to think about all that is good in my life. One way to really focus on the positive instead of the negative is to start a gratitude journal. It’s simple – find something you are appreciative or grateful for everyday – just one thing, and soon you will begin to feel a shift in your thinking. You will develop a new perspective on life, and begin to find more joy and the beauty in all things and people around you.

So, on this holiday of Thanksgiving, where we take the time {hopefully} to sit and reflect on what and who we are grateful for, spread the gift of gratitude to your friends and family.

A gratitude journal would make for a lovely hostess gift, and if you’re hosting, it is a great place card or favor. You can buy beautiful journals, or if you want to keep things simple and on budget, buy a small hardbound book or journal. Wrap it old-school style {the way you use to cover your school books} with Kraft paper, add a library card due date ‘gratitude’ label with the date of this year’s Thanksgiving and sign your name at the bottom. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. Even if you don’t have the means to buy a gratitude journal for others this year, make it a point to start one for yourself.

If you forgot how to cover a book, here’s a few tips that may ‘spark’ a memory from your school days…

Cut Kraft paper as large as the book, plus an additional 2 inches on the top, bottom and 3-4 inches on the side. Place book on the paper, and fold the top and bottom of the Kraft paper, so it is equally aligned with the top and bottom of the book.

Place the book on top of the folds, open the book and push the cover the book through the Kraft paper sleeve openings on the side. 
Repeat with the back of the book.

Using Word or Illustrator, create a gratitude journal label, print and tape to the cover of the book…or you can even use a sharpie to write ‘gratitude journal’ on the cover.
Tie a bow with twine and voila.

{images via Tutto Bella}

pumpkin seed treat

We carved pumpkins last night with the kids, and being the health nut that I am, I took the opportunity to make carving pumpkins not only fun, but also nutritional by saving and roasting the pumpkin seeds. Raw pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamins B, C, D and K, essential fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. They can help lower cholesterol with their high levels of fiber, help to prevent the enlargement of the prostrate and promote bone health. Plus, they are a yummy snack!

Why not share all the health benefits of pumpkin seeds with dear friends? After you carve pumpkins with your friends/family this year, save the seeds for a healthy snack and give as a small token of thoughtfulness to a friend. I made the tags, “you are pumpkin pie spice and everything nice, that’s what friends are made of,” using a pumpkin template online and Microsoft Word, and attached them to a mason jar {my fave…everything looks cuter in a mason jar} with black and white twine.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Thoroughly wash the seeds after they’ve been removed from your pumpkin.
Spread the seeds out to let them dry. You can pat with a paper towel.
Rub them sparingly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Roast at 350 degrees for 15-16 minutes {watch them carefully as they will go from being perfectly roasted to totally burned within a minute or less}.

Oh, and as for the fun part, Jameson wanted a dragon, Gabriella wanted a heart and Jackson, well, we opted to carve a cute smiley pumpkin face.

{images via Tutto Bella}

it’s a wrap

If you’re like me, you still have to organize and wrap all your gifts this year.  The clock is ticking…3 days to go until Santa arrives.

I know I’m opting for the brown paper packages tied up with string {aka, Kraft paper/red and white striped twine} for my wrapping this year… I love the way it looks together – so simple, yet festive and a bit rustic.

Use your creativity to wrap gifts this year. It’s all about the presentation people! I know it’s more work and it will be ripped off in a matter of minutes or even seconds, but a beautifully wrapped present under the tree, or even brought to a party is a statement piece and shows that you went above and beyond to make this holiday special.

Here are some wrapping tips to help you and/or your elves wrap this year!

1. Upcycle: Use objects sitting in your closet or garage that you’re not using anymore. Use an old sweater for a warm and cozy gift-wrapped bottle of wine. Step by step instructions for a DIY Wine Wrap found at Grey Likes Weddings. I love the idea of using maps, newspaper, doily’s and recyclable shopping bags. You won’t need to spend more money on wrapping paper, it gives your gift character and some shopping bags out there are cuter than wrapping paper. 🙂 For how-to instructions on how to wrap your gifts using Trader Joe’s shopping bags {photo on the bottom row, 2nd from the right}, visit A Creative Mint.
2. Embellish: Whether it’s a flower made from burlap, ribbon or paper, initials, buttons, bells, feathers, ornaments or candy, add something unique to seal your gift. Directions on how to make a fabric pom {seen on the photo on top row, 2nd from the left} can be found at Style Me Pretty.
3. Use your creativity: Everyone’s loves the original look of children’s artwork, so why not have your child draw holiday designs on Kraft paper or solid-colored wrapping paper. A book wrapped in Kraft paper, topped off with a library card and wrapped in twine is so adorable and thoughtful for the reader in your life.
4. Think outside the box: For the baker in your life, present your kitchen utensils in a hot mitten wrapped with a big bow. Or for the tool lover or first-time homeowner, make an arrangement of tools and house necessities in a galvanized bucket.
5. Personalize: Create a modern, handmade wrapped gift using stamps to spell out the recipient’s name, or add a new or old photo to the top of the present so he/she will know who the gift is for, and also have a snapshot to add to their memory books.

{images via Style Me Pretty, A Creative MintThe Haystack Needle, Allora Handmade, Martha Stewart, Pinterest and Design Sponge}