Last Minute Gift for Pre-schoolers

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It’s Christmas week!!! We’ve been having so much fun with Alex this year since he really understands that Christmas is something special, but he’s still asking a lot of questions and trying to make sense of what’s going on around him. “When can we open the presents?” “We get to put the tree in our house?!” “It’s Christmas season, but not Christmas day, right?”

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Cinnamon Ornament Surprise!

Hey! We’re popping in this weekend to share another super simple Christmas craft (this is for the folks that have finished their shopping – if you’re rushing around the mall today, don’t even bother to read this post). You’ve probably seen some version of cinnamon ornaments popping up on your Pinterest page? Or even made them as a kid? They are super easy, relatively fast, and a fairly kid-friendly project.

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So, why are we sharing yet another cinnamon ornament post? Because as I was prepping mine for the tree, I realized that they would also make a really cute garland! The key here is to make a batch with shapes that are close in size, then your garland will hang nicely and you won’t have really heavy and big ones weighing it down in different areas.

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Ingredients

You can use your favorite recipe, but I like the ones that have a little bit of kids’ glue in them.

  • 1 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp white glue

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 Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together, adding more or less applesauce depending upon how dry your mixture is. You want it to form a nice ball that sticks together, but still feels slightly dry.
  • Cover the mixture and let it sit for one hour.
  • Break your ball into three or four sections for rolling. Roll out one section at a time between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. If the dough seems too dry when rolling, you can always spray it with a bit of water.
  • Cut out your shapes and add a hole for hanging. I used a wooden skewer to make my holes, and I think they were *just* barely big enough. Since there will be some shrinkage as the ornaments dry, you want to err on the side of a larger rather than smaller hole.
  • Place your ornaments in a 200F oven for two hours to dry, turning them halfway through. If your dough was on the dryer side or you live in a dry climate, you may want to check on your ornaments after an hour and a half.
  • Once cool, using baker’s twine or another string for hanging.
  • To make the garland, I brought the twine up either side of the ornament and tied a knot at the top, this allowed the ornaments to hang parallel to the string rather than perpendicular.

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I ended up making two pieces of garland. The little three-piece one hangs just inside our door on a wall that was just an empty space, so you see it and the tree as you enter the house, creating a nice little Christmas scene when you enter! The longer one hangs on the empty wall going up our staircase, but because the staircase is open, we still get to see it from the living room, which I love.

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There you have it, a super simple twist on an old Christmas craft, and one that you can use to decorate a small space that could use a touch of cheer! xo

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Embroidered Christmas Cards

liveseasoned_winter14_stitchedxmascards-3-2I like to call them stitchmas cards.  I wanted to make cards this year, but I don’t have a printer so I had to think of an easy way to add a design.  I drew a few doodles, messed around with some graph paper and I came up with these simple card ideas.  Depending on how detailed you want to get, this is a great kids craft as well.  Add a few cute and easy stitches to your handmade Christmas cards this year.  I dare ya.

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Supplies:

  • Piece of cardboard or foam to work on
  • Card stock (I used scrapbooking paper and these in neutral)
  • Blank cards or folded card stock
  • Paper cutter (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Thumbtack
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Glue

The How:

  • Doodle a design on a piece of notebook paper.  It’s up to you how complex you want to make your cards.
  • Tape the design onto the card stock and the piece of cardboard you are working on. Use the thumbtack to poke holes at every angle in your design.  If you’re using graph paper, poke holes in each corner of the squares.
  • Carefully remove the tape and doodle.  At this point, I poked secondary holes onto my tree design adjacent to the original holes. I did this so I would not have to backstitch the entire design; instead it is similar to a running stitch.  The design and hole placement is really up to you.  There’s no strict rules for stitching cards, just a general practice.
  • Once you are finished stitching with a particular color, use a small piece of tape to secure the thread.  If you’re using paper with an adhesive backing leave the thread loose until the entire design is stitched.  Carefully remove the backing, pull the threads tight and stick them down.  Adhere the sticky sheet to the front of your card and place it under a stack of books.  If using regular card stock, use rubber cement to glue the design to the front of your card and place under a stack of books.

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Have you already mailed out your holiday cheer this year? I like to wait until the last moment so that my friends and family open their card closer to Christmas and New Years. That or I procrastinate until the week before where you’ll find me hustling to make them all in time 😉liveseasoned_winter14_stitchedxmascards-8

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Orange and Clove Pomanders

Oranges our our ingredient of the season. We have big plans for a winter of zesty recipes and sweet crafts.

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Today we’re sharing a super simple craft that you often see around the holidays : the orange and clove pomander.

Pomanders are balls made of some sort of scented or perfumed material. They are considered an original form of aromatherapy and have a long history dating back to the Middle Ages!

The orange and clove pomander is considered a modern version, and if properly dried, you can use these sweet and spicy smelling balls year after year as holiday decorations or in place of sachets in your dresser drawers.

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This is a very easy and kid-friendly craft! To make a bare-bones pomander all you need are oranges and cloves (buying your cloves in bulk is the way to go here). If you want to get fancy, you can add ribbon, either tied around your orange and incorporated into the design or looped through your orange for hanging.

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With your supplies ready, start making a design on your orange. I did all of these over the course of a couple of days ~ whenever A. Max was busy playing and I had a minute to myself. So rather than fuss over a specific design, I just played with the cloves and did a few free-form patterns.

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There were curved lines.

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That looked like swirls from the top.

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One had a vine with flowers.

And there were polka dots!

The one issue you’re likely to have, especially if you’re in a more humid climate, is some mold growth. I’m hoping that the dry CO climate is going to help us out here! But to be on the safe side, once I was done with the designs, I put these in a cool, dark closet for about a week to dry out more. As they dry, you’ll notice that the cloves are sticking out a touch, so you can go around a poke them back in.

A traditional way to avoid mold growth is to sprinkle your finished oranges in orris root powder. This will help to dry out the orange and will add a violet scent to your pomander. In an effort to keep this project simple and low cost, I’m taking my chances and skipping the orris root!

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Putting them all together, it’s a nice little display of pattern that smells unbelievable! Alex loves to walk over to them and take a big whiff, which is unbelievably cute!

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DIY Advent Calendar

 

 

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It’s time guys! You can finally start singing Christmas carols and hanging holiday wreaths!  I spent this past week with my dearest friend who is also on the ‘no Christmas cheer until Thanksgiving is here’ train so it wasn’t until Saturday night that I crafted this little advent calendar. It is the sweetest little addition to a bookshelf or mantle.  There is nothing more childlike than counting down the days until Christmas, but really, if we didn’t count them they would just fly right by.  Advent calendars remind me to crank up the Christmas tunes, send out those glittery cards and craft gifts for my friends and family.

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This sweet miniature advent calendar is easy to make and pretty perfect for the wee ones to create. No exacto knives or blowtorches involved here.  The fun doesn’t end with the making of this little advent chest either, then you must fill it with tiny treasures and on Christmas eve you have to unscramble the secret picture!  Put on a Christmas record pandora and pour yourself some eggnog mudslides.

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Supplies:

  • 24 mini match boxes
  • Tacky glue
  • Paint brushes
  • Paints
  • Ribbon
  • Card stock or construction paper

Steps:

  • Glue 8 matchboxes together vertically. Repeat two times so that you have 3 tall stacks each with 8 matchboxes each. Glue the three stacks together side-by-side like shown.
  • Once the chest is securely glued, about 15 minutes, remove all the matches from the boxes and set aside for another project or that horrid moment when your power goes out while you are cooking dinner or washing your hair.
  • Paint a holiday design on the chest.  I choose to paint a reindeer. Some other ideas are a tree, an ornament, a candy cane, a toy soldier, santa or maybe a kitty wearing a santa hat (I wish I had that kind of skill). Allow the design to dry completely.
  • Remove each drawer and randomly number them 1-24. You can use acrylic paint or a marker.
  • Attach a small ribbon loop to the bottom of each drawer on the numbered side.  Simply squeeze a dab of glue, press one end of the ribbon onto it and then squeeze another dab of glue and press the other end onto it forming a loop.  Allow each drawer to dry completely.
  • Place the drawers back into the chest. You can place them in order or randomly, either way the painted design on the back should be scrambled.
  • Finally, cut a piece of card stock or paper to cover the top and sides of the advent calendar.  I cut a strip of red card stock and dabbed a few dots of white paint to make some snowflake inspired swirls.
  • Fill the drawers with little candies, notes, event tickets or even jewelry.
  • As each day passes, open the drawers and put them in backwards so the painted design side is now facing forward.  On Christmas even you’ll be left with a mini puzzle picture to unscramble, good luck!

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Think you’ll give this quick Christmas craft a try? I had a bunch of fun creating this advent calendar because it is cheap and disposable. There wasn’t a ton of pressure to paint the perfect reindeer or perfectly align the $1 match boxes, it was merely a little project to jumpstart my holiday crafting sessions and an excuse to eat a few peanut butter M&Ms every day until Christmas. Cheers!

 

 

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Pressed Leaf Garland and Place Cards

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I love nothing more than bringing the outdoors in.  One day I hope I live in a mountain cottage full of fur, bones, feathers, antlers, crystals and insect specimens but until then I’ll build my collection and make leaf garland each autumn. If you follow us on Instagram you know that I tried to pick up a live praying mantis (I thought it was dead) the other day, what a shocking moment!  I actually found that big brown guy while I was collecting leaves for this project 🙂

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I love projects that encourage you to go outside and walk in the woods and making leaf garland is just that.  Wander around with a shallow cardboard box or bag and collect a big old pile of freshly fallen leafs.  You want some moisture in your leaves so that they haven’t started to brown or curl just yet.  You also want to preserve the leaves so that they continue to retain some color and lay flat on your string or table.

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There are several methods for preserving fall leaves.  I choose what I found to be the easiest and safest method, which is sealing them in wax paper.

  • Simply lay down a piece of material (I used an old pillow case) and tear off two pieces of wax paper.
  • Lay as many leaves as possible (without the leaves touching) between the sheets and then place the material on top as well.
  • Iron slowly and on the highest setting for a minute or two, flip the entire material, wax and leaf sandwich over and iron the other side for another minute.
  • Remove the wax paper and let it cool while you repeat the process on more leaves.  Once the wax cools, gently peel the pieces apart and release the leaves.

The leaves should be dry and coated in a very thin layer of wax.  They’re now ready to be used as escort cards or strung onto embroidery thread for garland or a table runner.

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To make the garland, simply cut a length of embroidery thread, tie a knot at one end and thread the needle at the other and start stringing them up.  This is a somewhat delicate process, but it’s easy enough that you can sit and watch a show while you’re working on it.  For the best results, pierce the leaf at least an eighth of an inch in the any edges and gently move it down the thread.  As you become familiar with the fragility level of the leaf, you can pierce several at a time making the process move right along.

Making the table running is similar to making the garland, but I found it helps to work directly on the space you’ll be decorating.  As you can see, my work in progress photos were taken outside, but that was solely to photograph them in good light.  It’s a little tough to pick up a finished table runner and carry it so I recommend choose the space that you’ll decorate and making it there.  Like most crafts that we make on Seasoned, we encourage you to inject your own creativity into it; the sky is the limit.  For the green table running, I cut a long length of green embroidery floss, tied a knot and threaded a needle. I then added the leaves in a spaced out, loose and layered way.  I wanted the leaves to look like they were simply placed on the table.  I also wanted them to kind of flow or drift through the center of the table, which is why I had them pointing in different directions.  I’m very pleased with the result, too bad I’m not entertaining this year!

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The escort cards and super simple to make as well.  Again, gather and preserve some colorful leaves.  Then use paint bottle with a tip or a paint marker to write each person’s name.  I propped mine up against crystals, but they look just as lovely laying flat on a cloth napkin or plate.

I had a great time making the leaf garland. I spent some time outside, had the opportunity to look closely at nature and then preserve it in my home.  It’s a free and simple craft that is great for kids too.  Iron up some leaves and let them do what they please.  How are you decorating your table for turkey day?

 

*Just so you know, I did press the green table runner leaves, but I didn’t press the orange and brown leaves that are hanging up and also arranged in a circle.  I kind of liked the transitional look for the hanging garland, but I didn’t want the table runner leaves to be dry and brittle.
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