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Entries in christmas (28)

Monday
Nov262012

diy paper advent calendar

I hope you had an excellent holiday, the long weekend was incredible was it not?

So a very popular post from last year—this amazing paper Advent calendar—is now available to create your very own!

Because of popular demand, my friend Annie was willing to sell them in my Etsy shop. Now you can customize color paper to your liking, and even create multiples to give away!

Also, you can download one of the prints for FREE. But I'm sure you want the whole set... :)

Monday
Nov192012

being generous on a budget

Last weekend I had the privilege of teaching at a short class that covered a slew of information ranging from why we should be generous to a crash course in budgets & finances. Making wise financial choices are probably most difficult right around this time of year. Giving should not be out of guilt, obligation, or to impress other people—being generous should bring us JOY. Not to mention our culture is not the least bit shy about pressuring us to be constant consumers and to spend spend spend (Black Friday marketing anyone?). The Advent Conspiracy sums it all up pretty well.

My content for the class was about creative gift giving. Below are tips for gifting with thoughtful intentionality & saving time + money this holiday season.

TIME & MONEY SAVERS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Make a gift list & budget early // Know how many gifts and how much you want to spend. I've seen good reviews on using The Christmas List app for tracking your gifts.

Have a "B List" gift // Something small but thoughtful, for the people you want to give a little something (or perhaps you weren't originally planning to give them a gift…eep!). I love the idea of a cute coffee mug with a card saying "also included is a coffee date to be redeemed at a later time" etc. 

Make a large batch of cookie dough // Then freeze it in rolls to cut up and bake when needed. This will prevent extra trips to stores for prepared foods because you'll always have a go-to on hand.

Host baking/cooking party // Like a cookie exchange where every guest brings bulk of a dessert/appetizer and you swap. This gets you more variety at a lower cost, and they are pretty fun.

FREE GIFT IDEAS

Give something of yours you know they admire // Like a scarf or purse they complimented, something they have shown interest in. Use with caution—don't give away junk you don't want!

Give labor // Who wouldn't love a free handyman/cleaner/cook/babysitter for a few hours? Use your skills/availability to offer yours services as a gift, and maybe print off this adorable Gift of Time Certificate.

Give books you own/have read // Make a fun bookmark and even create a "reader basket" by adding some coffee/tea.

Repurpose what you have into something new // Example: turn old scrabble tiles into magnets or artwork.

CHEAP(ER) GIFTS

Tailor very specifically to the individual // Example: Buy lens cleaner, a lens scrunchie, or a pretty camera strap for someone who loves photography.

Buy bulk items // Like local wine/beer/etc, then dress it up with packaging.

Make gifts as a group // Where you provide part of the gift. Example: Make a "breakfast basket" that includes pancake mix, syrup, spoons, etc. But each person in the group only provides one ingredient.

TIPS FOR HANDMADE GIFTS

Utilize Pinterest // Use this as a search engine for ideas or packaging on every gift.

Start with supplies you own // If you have scrap wood/fabric/yarn, search for gifts using these supplies. You will keep costs down guaranteed.

Plan to spend around 3-5 hours per gift // Don't get carried away with crafts that take months to make, but also don't expect to have 20 gifts made in one evening.

Create gifts in bulk // If you make 15 of the same thing you will keep cost and time at a minimum.

Be wary of pretty photography // Make sure you don't end up with something that looks cheap/cheesy when you take away the skills of whoever photographed the tutorial.

Be wary of time intensive crafts/gifts // Think through every aspect of the supplies you need and how many steps are in the project. If possible, try to borrow tools (glue gun/hammer) so you don't have to purchase.

Craft party // Get a group together! This is more fun AND you will save when you share supplies with each other.

Now the fun part! I've spent time curating a board of OVER 60 "do-able" handmade gift ideas. There is a range of skill & style but most are projects I'd like to own myself, which I believe is key when you are giving gifts to people. 

I'd love to know tricks you've learned to help save time/money or your thoughts on making gifts rather than buying them! Any of my readers have helpful tips to share?

Image Sources: 1. Chalkboard Mug by Wit & Whistle // 2. Recipe Tea Towel by Hello Beautiful for Spoonflower // 3. Tiny Polaroid Magnets by Ambrosia Creative // 4. Mason Jar Oil Lamp (image by Napa Style, instructions by Heath Ashli) //

Thursday
Dec222011

a merry christmas to you

No matter how hard I just can not keep up with life (+ blog). Are the holidays always like this?! Homemade gifts this year felt so much more intensive than expected...cue internal voice that says it will not be this chaos next year.

And so I leave you with this lovely desktop wallpaper that makes me so happy. Time for more traveling, then celebration and relaxing. I promise I will recover and discontinue the neglect. Perhaps I shouldn't commit to posting next week? We will see (chances are slim).

And now I bid you all the love and happiness possible, as you celebrate this blessed season of Christmas. Enjoy all the food, frenzy, and festivties that you possibly can!

Free Desktop Wallpaper by Eva Juliet, available for download here.

Friday
Dec162011

lovely bundle {holiday tag freebies}

So many adorable Christmas tags to download from the interwebs—just wanted to share a few of my favorites. Also, check out this great collection by Ez and don't miss these photo tags by Mer Mag (so great!).

Have a great last-weekend-before-Christmas!

Download Sources: 1 Eat Drink Chic // 2 Eat Drink Chic // 3 Jones Design Company (via Pinterest) // 4 Domestifluff (via Creature Comforts) // 5 Martha Stewart // 6 Creature Comforts // 7 haciendo el indio (via Creature Comforts) // 8 Martha Stewart (via Pinterest) // 9 Eat Drink Chic //

Thursday
Dec152011

paper advent calendar

My favorite {and only} gift so far this year has been this incredible advent calendar...

My sweet and talented friend, Annie, designed and crafted this amazing paper + envelope advent calendar. Full of songs, quotes, verses, and even tiny candles for each week! I've never had a calendar to open and I LOVE it. I look forward to each day and the sweet note to open. Now I'm truly inspired to create one next year for gifts.

There are many amazing advent calendars around the web, have you found a favorite?

UPDATE: ///// You can download one of the prints for FREE  ////// or....

Monday
Nov282011

pillow cover diy by tie that binds

Happy Monday-that-follows-a-holiday! To kick off the festive season I wanted to feature this holiday DIY by Mekala of Tie That Binds. I'm such a sucker for anything burlap, especially these bold type pillows.

Another thing that makes these fabulous is that you can use any currently owned decorative pillows by making slip covers to dress them up for the season. Find the step-by-step instructions here.

Aren't they so great?! There are also great custom Christmas cards available in her Etsy shop so be sure to check them out if you're looking for a stylish card this year. So glad she let me share with you!

All photography by Tie That Binds, full diy instructions here.

Friday
Dec242010

merry christmas to all

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer! and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder! and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Poem by Clement C. Moore, 1823
Original Illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith, 1912

Dear friends and followers,
Wishing you a most wonderful holiday weekend—full of love, laughter, and lots of good cheer. May you feel blessed now and all throughout the New Year. 
Much love,

::: Amanda Joy ::: 

Wednesday
Dec222010

christmas card 2010

Time to spread Christmas cheer through snail mail.

Perhaps I got a little carried away, considering that I started working on them mid November. The wooden card is by Night Owl Paper Goods. I saw their calendar designs and fell head over heels. My favorite is that people have something to keep all year. I also wanted to write a short letter because growing up I loved reading all the letters that came during the Christmas season (and finding a fun way to send it was a must).

I hope this Wednesday finds you enjoying all the festivities. Christmas Eve is only two short days away!

Monday
Dec202010

giving meaningful gifts (that quack!)

Since my Christmas cards are unfortunately WAY behind schedule...

I am going to share a fun gift idea (the surprise is spoiled if any of my family read this blog). Through the organization World Vision, you can "purchase" animals and improve the livelihood of families in third world countries. A duck is only $6! And they include a card (pdf or mailed) to give the recipient. I included a little rubber ducky for fun. 

Would you love or hate receiving a gift like this? Appropriate or not? Should charitable donations remain separate from gifts? I'm SO curious to know your thoughts.

Friday
Dec172010

mmm, yummy caramel corn

So addictive I tell you. I made a TON and packaged it up for the neighbors (a small "Merry Christmas" tag would have been nice...my bad). Perfect holiday thoughtfulness, in case you needed something to give those B list people.

Here is the little recipe card for you — featuring the lovely Matilde:

Have a super great weekend! ::: Maybe you should make some popcorn! :::