November 2014Occasionally Crafty: November 2014

Friday, November 28

Clothespin Snowman!

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and are enjoying your weekend with family and friends. The holiday season is truly upon us and we have a lot of great crafts, gift ideas and recipes coming your way!
I love to peruse the thrift store for items that truly need a makeover. A few months ago I found this gigantic clothespin. I had no idea how I was going to use, but I had to buy it!

When I was looking for Handmade ornament ideas on Pinterest I saw a cute clothespin snowman. I knew right away that my gigantic clothespin finally had a purpose!

First I spray painted it white. Then I wanted him to look snowy, so I brushed on some Mod Podge and rolled it in Epsom Salt! It looks so awesome! Now he just needed the details. I used a pipe cleaner and some puff balls for the ear muffs, beads for his eyes and mouth, scrapbook paper for his nose, ribbon for his scarf, and some scrapbook stickers for his buttons! 

He's darling!

Apparently you can buy huge clothespins at the craft stores, so quick go make one for your decorations this year!!
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Wednesday, November 26

Free Christmas Printable

Laura and I wanted to take a minute to say "Happy Thanksgiving!" to all our American friends and readers.  We will be enjoying this special time with our families- even some who live far away!  We hope you enjoy time with your families too!

And if you're like me, and like to put up your Christmas decor the weekend after Thanksgiving, here's a free printable for you to print, frame and use for your decor!  

You can print it up to an 8x10.  Download your copy here.

Now go enjoy that turkey and trimmings, have fun shopping, but most of all- enjoy your time with each other!  We'll see you back here on BLACK FRIDAY (you know you're going to check FB while standing in line/shopping online, right? :)
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Monday, November 24

ULTIMATE Gift Guide for Elementary School Kids

Every year I try to pick out gifts that I am fairly confident my children will actually use and enjoy for more than a few days.
It's hard.  Several times I think I've made good choices, and then a week after Christmas, one or more of the gifts sits sadly on a shelf, rarely to be played with again.
So, this year I've spent a lot of time narrowing down my kids' lists and wading through toy ads and "top toy" lists to bring you my Ultimate Gift Guide for Elementary School Kids.  (Note- my kids are NOT getting all of these- I just think they are awesome enough to buy for my own kids!)
Now, a disclaimer- my kids are 9, 7, and 5.  We run the gamut from K-4th grade, but I'm sure many of these ideas will work with those in the upper elementary levels as well.
1.  Kindle Fire- I thought about getting a kids-themed tablet, but since it is for my almost-10-year-old, I wanted something that will grow with her.  Look for some great deals at Staples and Best Buy as well as Amazon this Black Friday!
2.  Frozen Ice Castle- this is a HOT toy indeed!  This one is a castle for the larger sized dolls, though they also have a smaller version for the "Magi-clip" size dolls as well.  If you have Frozen fans, you can't go wrong with a playset so they can re-enact the movie!

3.  New LEGO Jungle Rescue Sets- we love LEGOs in our house, and these new rescue sets send a great message to the girls: you don't just have to hang out with your friends and shop!  Putting the girls into action is a welcome step forward for LEGO.
4.  Harry Potter Paperback Set-  my kids LOVE Harry Potter.  My daughter has just about ruined my hardcover copies from the original release- so I thought I'd get the kids their own set to destroy read.
5.  Imaginext-  both my boys already have several Imaginext playsets, so it makes a great gift that keeps on giving!  Once you have a set or two, you can supplement with additional figures, vehicles or coordinating sets.
6.  Stomp Rocket-  you stomp, a rocket flies.  What's not to love?  This one is loved by all my kids!
7.  Boogie Board LCD Writing Tablet-  Do you have a doodler?  Kids that practice spelling words?  Math facts?  The Boogie Board is perfect for them!  They get to write or draw, and you get to stop wasting paper!  That's a win for everyone.
8.  Kinetic Sand- There are many varieties, but so far I like the feel and lack of mess in the original.  My youngest plays with this every time we pass a sample tray in the store, so I know he is interested in it .  He begs to pull out the Play-doh but most of the time I just don't want the mess.  This will be a great replacement!
9.  Pictopia-  of all the board games I've seen this one looks like the winner for our family.  We are all Disney freaks, and it has just the right amount of challenge for the whole family!  My kids will be able to play it without a grownups help as well (which is a huge plus, am I right?)
10.  LEGO Batman 3-  We have almost all of the LEGO games- we are missing only the Hobbit/LOTR games.  I love these games because no one dies- the bricks just fall apart and come back together.  Any "scariness" in the movies or stories is lightened up so they are perfect for kids.  The LEGO games entertain them for hours and hours, so it is well worth the cost of the games.  LEGO Batman 3 is the newest release and is sure to be a hit for any LEGO lovers.  (PS- my husband loves them too!)

 I've teamed up with 8 other bloggers to bring you the Ultimate Gift Guide Round Up! Click on each image to get more details. Let the shopping begin!

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Friday, November 21

Silhouette Portrait Giveaway!

It's no secret that Valerie and I are HUGE Silhouette fans. In fact, if you scroll down on the right side of our page, you'll see the category "Silhouette Projects" and SO many of our crafts are made using the Silhouette. One of the my favorite projects I've done with my Silhouette is the Vinyl Wall Mural of the USA! 

Valerie even made this Romantic Word Art using her Silhouette!
So when we heard that we could help one of our readers win a Silhouette for FREE, we had to hop on the chance! Our friend Cat has all the details below!

Hi all, Cat from The Rustic Willow here. I, along with 12 other bloggers, am giving away one Silhouette Portrait thanks to our friends at Silhouette America! We are all so excited for this opportunity. First, let me introduce you to the other awesome bloggers in the giveaway:
silhouette giveaway

Make sure to head on over to their blogs and hop around! They're some of my favorites.
Now for the Silhouette! If you haven't heard of one before, it's a really awesome cutting machine that has been the source of a lot of the beautiful signs and projects floating around Pinterest and other social media sites. It cuts a lot of materials including card stock, fabric, heat transfer material, transparencies, paper, vellum, adhesive vinyl and magnet paper. In other words, it's seriously awesome.
silhouette graphic
Portrait angleAnd now you have the chance to win one (actually you have 39 chances to win one!). The best part is, you get the chance to win one right before the huge Black Friday sale that Silhouette is having. Make sure you head to Silhouette America on Black Friday (especially if you already have a Silhouette) and check out their amazing deals.
I've been having a ton of fun with my new Portrait and will keep my fingers crossed that you win one! That way we can do projects together and it will be so fun.

Now how to enter: Below you will find the Rafflecopter where you can follow us all on three social media channels. For each channel you follow, you get one entry into the drawing. You get up to 39 entries in the Silhouette giveaway, which are pretty amazing chances if you ask me. The winner will be announced on Black Friday, November 28, at 8 am EST. I can't wait! Good luck, friends.

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Thursday, November 20

Ultimate Gift Guide for Women + $75 Gift Package Giveaway

Update-  Giveaway has ended!

Everyone has a woman or two in his or her life to shop for- moms, grandmas, wives, girlfriends, sisters, etc.  I put together a fun list of ideas for you to make those ladies smile!

Instead of picking specific gifts, I wanted to support some local and handmade shops and designers as part of my guide (affiliate links may be used).   Let's get shopping!

GIFT IDEA #1- Fashion, Jewelry, Accessories

I know it's sometimes hard to pick out clothes or jewelry for someone else- but I promise you'll find something for her at one of these lovely shops.

CLOTHES:  the Arizona local boutique Clothes Minded carries one-of-a-kind pieces that are consistently updated to reflect the latest trends.  With beautiful pieces and great prices, this boutique offers a great place to shop, both in person and online.    So hop over and check out pieces like this Marked Asymetrical Sweater  (I'm in love!)  

Marked Asymmentrical Sweater - main

JEWELRY/CLOTHING/ACCESSORIES: Next, the daily deal site Jane features deals on fashion, accessories and home decor.  I picked out a few pics so you can see the kind of deals they have.  Everything is fashionable and on-trend.  I promise you'll find something for any woman on your list here!  Everything is 30-75% off normal prices, so check back often!  Hint: sign up for daily emails so you never miss a deal- plus you usually get a welcome coupon code towards your purchase!  Leave time for shipping as items are often handmade and take extra time to get to you.

P.S.  Ladies love monograms!!!

GIFT IDEA #2-  Art Prints

Women love home decor.  And they love having something unique to display in their home.
Check out these two beautiful shops for handmade, affordable art prints.  Frame it up and you have a thoughtful, beautiful present.

First up is Oh Lovely Day Design.  Here you'll find fun geometric prints, adorably designed quotes, and even seasonal prints! 

Life Created has beautiful still-life photos that are perfect for her kitchen, office, or craft room.
I love how everyday objects can become art with the right eye and would love to have these hanging on my wall!  
GIFT IDEA #3-  Beauty Products

JAMBERRY NAILS:  Have you tried them yet?  I LOVE wearing them on my toes.  They have tons of designs, both that stand alone and that compliment a polish mani/pedi.  For half the cost of a manicure, you get at least three different applications for each set of jams!  

Here are some of my favorite designs: 

Click here to shop Jamberry's catalog.  

GIFT IDEA #4- Books or E-books

Have a reader on your list?  One of my favorite books I read this year is The Pearl That Broke Its Shell.  This book is written by Nadia Hashimi, who I know through a very close friend.  This novel chronicles the lives of two Afghan women, one in the present, one in the past, and how their difficult lives aren't all that different despite being separated by two generations.  It is nominated in two categories for the Best Books of 2014 Goodreads Awards.  

Travel Mamas has an awesome guide for women who travel with kids!  Quoting their website, The Travel Mamas' Guide  takes the worry out of family vacations so traveling parents and children can focus on fun. Author Colleen Lanin (a.k.a. The Travel Mama) gives practical advice and shares humorous tales from moms and dads, travel aficionados, and childcare experts in the award-winning guide.

This is an awesome resource for anyone visiting family or planning vacations this year.  It won the 2014 San Diego Book Award for Best Travel Book. It's available in paperback or as a Kindle e-book

GIFT IDEA #5- Candles

I don't know any woman who doesn't love a deliciously scented candle.  I'm sure they exist, but I don't know any!  

My friend Katie runs Oh Soy Memorable Candles in memory of the twins she lost during pregnancy several years ago.  Her hand-poured, 100% soy wax candles come in a variety of scents and melt beautifully!  Plus,  you are supporting a hardworking mom when you buy handmade over some of the "big" candle companies!  

GIFT IDEA #6- Notecards

You Are Postcard with envelope - Set of 5

I love receiving "snail mail".  And from time to time, I try to send some to my friends and family!  Notecards will never go amiss for the thoughtful woman.  Check out  Songs Kate Sang for some lovely offerings, including these notecards.

Now as promised: a giveaway for one lucky reader.  One of you will receive
  •  a copy of The Travel Mamas' guide from Travel Mamas
  •  a 6 or 8 oz candle (your choice of available in-stock candles) from Oh Soy Mom
  • a $25 gift certificate to Clothes Minded
  • and  an 8x10 print of your choice from Life Created. 
 Keep them for yourself or use them for your holiday gift-giving (no one will ever know you won them!)  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm not the only one doing a giveaway- all my friends are hosting AMAZING giveaways too- so hop around and enter- the more you visit, the more chances you have to win!  Check out the ones you missed (they are open for a week past their post date) and tune in for more tomorrow!

P.S.  I may be linking up at some of these awesome parties!
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