Table Styling: A few tips and tricks

I was SO excited & beyond flattered when I was asked to collaborate with Laura from Pink Cake Plate on her Christmas Themed Downton Abbey Tea Party for World Market. We had so much fun! For this post, I thought that I’d just share a few tips and tricks that I used to style her table that will help to make your own table setting stand out this Christmas!



Trick No. 1

Think about new uses for traditional items.

Laura was asked to feature the Downton Abbey Tea Set from World Market:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 3.07.11 PM

 Photo from World Market

My first thought:  Laura and I are both LDS and we don’t drink tea.  So this “tea party” was really more of a schmorgesborg of yumminess – which meant that the tea cups were kind of the odd man out.

My second thought: Let’s turn the cup & saucer to make every place setting their own little personal cake pedestal!

Kate Eschbach Photography-13

Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

Make the most of what you have available & find a functional use for it. It would have looked silly to have the tea cups sitting there empty.  But with all of the desserts at this party – a cake pedestal was a great use of a great item.

Trick No. 2Layering.

It works with clothes – why not decor?

Since this was a Christmas themed party – we used a wreath as the centerpiece and made it functional by resting a 3 tiered platter in the center.

Kate Eschbach Photography-16

Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

Trick No.6  You could use a regular run of the mill wreath – OR – you could layer two to make a bigger impact.


Trick No.3Elevate.

Add height and dimension to the table using dishes that you have hanging around.  I like to work in 3’s…but this table was already pretty crowded, and we needed places to put the food!  I didn’t like how it looked to have 2 plates together, and knew that we needed the 3rd.  The solution?  I flipped a dessert plate upside down and placed the 3rd platter overlapping the 2 sitting side by side.  It gave it just enough height to clear the two plates and added some much needed height and dimension to that part of the table.  You may have to go through some trial and error to achieve the right height – it feels like Tetris sometimes, but the result is worth the effort!

Kate Eschbach Photography-29  Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

Trick No.6Add glue dots for stability.

We used this trick on the centerpiece as well.  Resting the 3 tiered platter directly on the wreath left if super wobbly and unstable.  The Solution: Placing a ramekin upside down in the center of the wreath, I added some glue dots to the bottom.  When I added the platter, not only was it the right height, but it wasn’t going to be knocked over by a hungry guest trying to get the last scone!

Trick No. 4

Make the most of your Space.

We had a ton of goodies to fit onto a pretty small table! The solution was to combine the place cards with the napkins to save on our valuable space!!

To make it pretty: I used thin ribbon that coordinated with the color scheme, and a vintage clip on earring to secure the place card to the ribbon.

Kate Eschbach Photography-10Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

As promised on Laura’s site – here is the Place Card Printable:

{I’d just love you forever if you’d pin this image for me!}


Glittered Download Button

***NOTE*** If you like the font I used – MAKE SURE TO DOWNLOAD & INSTALL THE  FONT BEFORE YOU DOWNLOAD THE PDF FILE!  Otherwise – you have to delete the PDF, download the font, and then re-download the PDF.

{Ugh – too much work.} Also – you will need to have Adobe Reader installed to download this file.  You can get it for free HERE if you need to.  :0)

You can download the font HERE.

Trick No.6
Personalize it!

Fillable means that you can add your own text to the PDF.  Alternatively, just print the PDF without typing anything to hand letter the names for a more personal touch!

Trick No. 5Enjoy Yourself!!!

There is a reason that I like to have everything crammed onto the table.  I don’t like getting up and down to refill platters.  I don’t want guests to have to get up and down either.  By having the full spread on the table, you can enjoy yourself and the conversation doesn’t get cut off every time the hostess needs to take care of another detail.  Your guests aren’t there to eat your food – they are there because they are your friends and they want to enjoy their time with you!  Work the details out in advance so that the party runs smoothly and it’s possible to just sit back and ENJOY YOURSELF!!

Those are a few of the tips and tricks that worked well for this party – What are some of your go-to Tips and Tricks?  I’d love to hear them!!


Merry Planning!



p.s. Don’t forget to enter our Pin It to Win It Giveaway going on through December 19th!

Pin It to Win It

I’m very excited to have some new Christmas items in my Etsy shop this year – and would love your feedback on which are your favorites as well as your help promoting them.  As always, I will reward your efforts ;0)  Last year this giveaway seemed to be a big hit – and I hope that it goes as well this year…

Pin It to Win It at Purdue Avenue


What you can WIN:

 Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 9.12.40 AM


Entering is Easy:

1. Visit my ETSY SHOP

2. Click the item{s} that you’d like to win and “Pin It”.



3. Complete the Rafflecopter form to be officially entered:

**NOTE** If you can’t see the Rafflecopter Form on your computer – please refresh the page.  For mobile devices CLICK HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4. 1 winner will be chosen for each prize listed.  Winners will be announced on December 20th.


Good Luck!!


p.s. If you haven’t ordered your Christmas cards or gifts yet, it’s not too late.

Check out the sitewide sale on Tiny Prints going on right now – 30% off everything. It’s the best remaining sitewide sale of the season, so don’t miss it.

When you go to Tiny Prints and place your order, just use the promo code SW30SALE and you’ll save 30% on your purchase.

I LOVE their designs – by far my favorite!!

{Of course – we all know that anything that glitters or is foil stamped is OK by me!!}


I think that I might be crazy!

Hello Friends!  It has been far too long!

To say that my life has been crazy might just be the understatement of the century.  It has been some bits good crazy & some bits bad crazy…but all in all – just lots of crazy!  I starting working full time out of the home for the first time in 15 years!!  It was a necessity with my husband out of work – and there just wasn’t enough time in the day to continue to post on my lil’ ol’ blog.  But, 10 months went by & HAPPY DAY!  He was hired last month & I have been able to cut down my hours to part time…so I think that we can get back to doing what we love to do!

Just to prove that I’m officially nutso – I have willed myself to host the Purdue Avenue Holiday Boutique again this year.  Yep!  Our second Fall Boutique! (I also held one last February that I’ll have to share with you another day…there really is so much catching up that we need to do!)

Here is the invite: {Click on the image to be taken to the Giveaway}





I’m so incredibly excited!  We are going to have many of the same vendors back – along with several new ones!!!  If you don’t live nearby enough to come – no worries!  I’ll be posting any leftover fun in my Etsy Shop and on the blog.

It’s not nearly the catch up that I’d love to have – but I just wanted you to know where I’ve been and what I’m doing!  I’m ALIVE!!!  And well….except for the crazy part.  {sigh}



Be Sassy! {it’s for a good cause…}

Meet Sheila.  A.K.A. Sassy.


 {okay – so she was a kid in this one – but it’s my favorite of her because she always made that face!}


I first met Sheila several years ago while serving as Relief Society President in my church.  It is what it sounds like, a society of women that provide relief to those in need.  While it was time consuming and difficult there were undeniable blessings…Sheila was one of them.  I first started visiting her because her cancer from years before I met her had relapsed & I wanted to see how we could help.  And then I fell in love.

Her grandkids call her Sassy.  And she was…and I loved her for it.  My husband calls me The Mouthy Broad – so we became fast friends!  The scariest thing about this position was that I’ve always been afraid of sick people, and suffering, because I’m a control freak – and these things are out of my control.  I never felt like I knew what to say, or do.  If it was too much – if it wasn’t enough…

I didn’t need to worry about that with Sheila.  She just bossed me around, and I was happy to do her bidding.  I didn’t have to fret about what she might need, because she’d just tell me!  It was refreshing.  She and my husband liked to joke around with each other – she would tell him to do something and he’d give her a hard time, and she’d tell him that he couldn’t say no – because she had cancer.  So he lovingly called her “the demanding cancer patient”.

She loved my kids and they loved her. We had so many good times.  We took painting classes together, went to lunch, had sleepovers in the hospital & I even got to give her a sponge bath that I teased her about endlessly afterward.  I would tell her I’d seen her naked, so she couldn’t boss me around anymore – but she still would.  She was so loving and accepting of everyone that met her – I know I’m not the only one that was adopted by her.

The thing that made Sassy special was that anyone near her felt special.  I didn’t know her when she was a school teacher – but I can only imagine the impact that she must have had.  She was truly a choice spirit and Daughter of God.

When Sassy passed away last year – I felt like I’d lost family.  I felt a little lost and a little numb, after helping care for her for so long,  I felt kind of useless and didn’t know what to do with myself…but I wasn’t quite ready to move on either.  I went to a Relief Society meeting where one of our leaders, Henry B. Eyring,  shared a message entitled “The Caregiver”.  His entire talk was specifically about people going through what I had just experience.  It was an answer to heartfelt prayer.  In the talk, he said something that hit me like a ton of bricks:

“What comes next for willing hands to do?”

It may not seem like an earth shattering question – but it spoke directly to my heart.  While I missed Sheila greatly – I felt like this was a reminder of why we are here on this earth.  To bear one another’s burdens, to comfort those who stand in need of comfort.  To love others, even as our Father in Heaven loves us.  To serve one another.  I can only imagine that I’m not alone in this experience of “caregiver”, and maybe you have willing hands, but don’t know what comes next…

Sheila’s daughters felt the need to put their willing hands to work, and have come up with a WONDERFUL tribute to their sweet & sassy mama.  They have started a non-profit organization called Sassy Caps.  Their goal is to have people with willing hands {like me & you!} create soft, comfortable caps to keep chemo patients cute little bald heads warm using yarns that aren’t itchy or irritating.

This is just a network of volunteers – they have free tags that you can download to make it an “official” Sassy Cap.  Again, they are NOT selling caps or asking for money.  They are just trying to do something that they know their mother would LOVE!  I’m doing it for all of those that I’ve known and loved who have fought this battle before and are fighting it now.  It’s a way to show them that they are not alone, and that they are loved.  It was how Sheila lived her life.  Helping others feel accepted and loved – so it’s the perfect way to honor her and the people that YOU know and love that are like her!

I’ve made this WORD ART FREE DOWNLOAD for those that LIKE THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE, as a Thank You for supporting this wonderful cause and helping to spread the word!

{click on the image to download}

Free Printable Word Art

You can find all of the details on their website:

 I hope that you’ll get involved – I’m sure that there is someone FABULOUS in your life that could use your support!


My Chalkboard Calendar {Tutorial}

As promised in my Top 5 DIY Projects post – here is the tutorial for the chalkboard calendar in my command center.

With 4 kids involved in more than I like them to be – we need to have our lives mapped out.  The iPhones help A LOT – but I’m that mom that hasn’t let her kids have a phone yet…so they need to be in the loop, too.  We always have a breakdown of the week at our Family Night on Monday nights, and we all say what we’ve got going on and then….it goes up on the Family Calendar.

Chalkboard Calendar Tutorial


Sorry about the terrible photos – that area of my house has TERRIBLE lighting!!! {and I have no tripod!}

Chalkboard Calendar Tutorial

It’s big and beautiful and you can’t miss it!  I have a little command center right as you walk into the house {well…where WE walk into the house}, and right where we walk out of the door.


Backpacks, Lunchboxes, even our SHOES are stored here so that we always know where things are, and getting out the door is MUCH easier!!  The kids each have a bin to keep homework folders, Cub Scout books, etc.  It’s ALL HERE!  But, the Calendar is still the main attraction.  And the best part about it…it’s SUPER EASY TO MAKE ONE!

**If you don’t have this kind of wall space – you can make this in a MUCH more scaled down version – and even put it INSIDE OF A PICTURE FRAME if you’re not handy with the power tools!

Since I made this before my blogger days – I have no pictures of the step by step {SORRY!!!}  So – I’ve created graphic visual aids that I HOPE make sense!  Just make sure to read ALL of the instructions.  I know – not as easy as picture tutorials…

*I’m going to give you instructions for how I made mine – so if you’re doing a different size – just make the changes accordingly.

What You’ll Need:

**Sheet Metal – you can find it with the duct work materials (heat & a/c) at a Hardware store.  I wanted mine to be magnetic – so that I could just stick up party invites or appointment cards easily where they are very visible.  If you don’t care about it being magnetic, you could just use backer board found by the wood trim.

**Chalkboard Spray Paint – you could use brush on paint – but I wanted my finish to be smooth like buttuh.  No brush marks or drips for me!

**Primer – Again, I like mine in a spray can. :0)

**1/4″ Square Wooden Dowels – how many you’ll need will depend on the size of calendar you are making.  I used 16 of them :0)  It’s a good idea to buy a few extra sticks in case you have cutting errors.

**MDF casing molding – it’s already primed and ready for your paint!

**Caulk in a Tube – I find that if you’re not used to using a caulking gun – the tubes make it pretty easy to use caulk!

**Glue – I used my Hot Glue Gun.  I know…I could use something stronger.  I didn’t want to stand there and hold each piece on until it was set enough to let go.  AND it’s been up for 5 years with no issues…so there you go!  Just make sure the glue is REALLY hot!  No cold temp guns allowed! **you could also use caulking – since it’ll be hanging around the ‘job site’ anyway!**

**Scotch Permanent Mounting Tape – this is going to need to stay up for awhile.  You could also use Liquid Nails if you’d like…but you’d need a caulk gun :0)

How To Make It:

**I had a big wall to work with – so I chose to make my board 60″w x 46″h.  You will have to figure out what size of board you want to make and buy materials accordingly.**

Step 1:

Decide what size you want your calendar to be.  To figure this out – I knew that the sheet metal I wanted to use was 24″ wide – and I wanted to cut as little as possible – so I decided to make my calendar according to those dimensions.  I also wanted the dowels hide the seams of the sheet metal – so I made each “weekday” box 8″ wide to get 3 “days” per sheet of sheet metal.  The length of the sheet metal is 36″ – so by making each “day” 8″ tall – I could get 4 “days” down – leaving 4″ to put the days of the week at the top.  Perfect! Since there were 3 “days” across & 4 “days” down  per sheet and I needed 7 days wide and 5 days long – I knew that I needed 3 pieces of sheet metal.

Layout the calendar

I used the full 2 sheets with no cuts & cut the remaining piece into {3} 8″ strips.

Cut the sheet metal into thirds

So – I placed the 2 full sheets side by side and then I added one strip to the width to make my “saturday”, and the other 2 strips to the bottom.  Cut off any excess using steel snips.

Sheet Metal Layout


WHEW!!!  That’s the hardest part – I PROMISE!!!

Step 2:

Once your sheet metal is cut to size layout all of the pieces…

Prime it – make sure that you have even coverage and don’t stay in one place too long to avoid drips!

Paint it – with the Chalkboard paint – I like to use 2 coats of chalkboard paint.

*make sure you’re in a well ventilated area.  I put a drop cloth on my patio table outside.  It’s nice and open and the fumes don’t get to me.

Step 3:

Paint your casing molding the color that you want.  I used ‘Aged Beige’ Behr Primer and Paint in One.  This seems to be my favorite color these days!!

Set aside to dry.

Step 4:

Attach the sheet metal to the wall using Scotch Permanent Mounting Tape. (or however you’ve chosen to hang the metal)

*use a bubble level & a yard stick to draw straight GUIDE LINES on the wall at the height you’d like the TOP of your calendar to be.  Then use the level to draw guide lines for the SIDES.

*attach strips of the mounting tape to the backs of the sheet metal & then remove the plastic strip exposing the glue

*using the guide lines you’ve drawn – attach the sheet metal to the wall in the same pattern you chose to lay it out.  The mounting tape directions say to hold them in place for a set amount of time – make sure to read the time frame!  If you’re using liquid nails or another form of adhesive – follow the directions for use.

Sheet Metal Layout


Step 5:  Cut & attach the casing. (if you’re using a picture frame – you can skip this step and go straight to step 6)

Using a miter saw or a miter box – cut the casing as shown below to the length of your sheet metal layout. Don’t assume it is a certain length.  MEASURE TWICE & CUT ONCE!

cut linesAttach using a brad nailer if you have one.  {you could nail in finish nails and an awl, or use liquid nails, too!}

Step 6:  Add the dowels to make the grid

Once everything else is in place – use a bubble level to attach the dowels in a grid pattern that will make up the “days” on the calendar.

*I like to start with covering up the seams first.

-Cut the stick to where it won’t end in the middle of a “day”. For example:  My dowels were 36″ long – but I made my days 8″ square.  So, I would need to cut the dowel to a number divisible by 8.  So – I cut my 36″ long dowel to 32″ so I don’t have any seams where I don’t want them.

*start glueing (again – I used my hot glue gun…) the 32″ long sticks following the grid that you created to figure out the layout – so for me I placed them every 8″ across and to cover up the seams on the bottoms strips.

***the black lines are where you should be placing your dowels***

lay out the long dowels

Once you have the long dowels in place, you can start making the cuts for the short dowels.

*I like to roughly measure between the long dowels to make sure that they are straight and you SHOULD (in theory) be able to mass cut the short cuts.

But – I would cut maybe 3 sticks into your width length (for me it’s 8″) and make sure they are fitting before you go and cut up all of your dowels.

cut the short dowels

Glue them onto the calendar in this pattern:

Full Grid Layout



I can’t emphasize enough how important this step is!

*You’ll want to turn a piece of chalk sideways and rub it in all over the chalkboard areas.

*Then use a dry cloth and erase it.

*If you don’t do this step – whatever you write on the board will never fully erase.  It needs that chalk as almost a sealer so that future chalk will wipe off.  That probably made no sense :0)

Ta- Dah!!!  You’re all done – now your kids can look and see what activities they have coming up & I have my life in front of me at a glance.  I love it!

Just as a side note:  I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again that I LOVE this chalk cartridge set from Allary.  I stick it on top of the frame so it’s always there handy if I need to add an appointment.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial!  I will take step by step pictures when I help my friend make hers ;0)




Cascading Glitter Bunting Banner Tutorial

First order of business: Congratulations to the WINNER of our Blogiversary Giveaway:

Blogiversary Winner

Yay Ashlee!!  As a special THANK YOU to everyone that entered & so kindly helped spread the word about the blog – I’ll be showing you how to make the Cascading Glitter Bunting Banner that was in the party in a box!

*If you’re not the DIY type – you can just buy it all finished and delivered to your door HERE – don’t forget to use the special follower coupon code PURDUEAVE15 to get 15% off!*

For those of you that love a good project…let’s get started!

Cascading Glitter Bunting Tutorial

Step 1: Cut out your bunting. {if you need help with this – see THIS TUTORIAL}

               * I used Canvas Fabric {also called duck cloth or drop cloth} from Hobby Lobby.  You want to use a heavy weight fabric so that it

                   hangs well and doesn’t roll.  Rolling is no bueno.

Step 2: Put a thick {& I mean THICK!!!} line of Mod Podge across the top {wide, flat end} of the first flag:

Run a thick line of glue across the top

Step 3:  With a dry bristle brush – “PULL” the Mod Podge from the top to around 1/2 – 3/4 of the way down the flag.

* Don’t go back over the area that you’ve pulled.  You DO NOT want uniform thickness with the glue.  It needs to be in varying thicknesses to give it the ‘Ombre’ Effect.


Step 4: Cover the ENTIRE flag with glitter.  You might think “but Erin, there’s no glue at the bottom!  Why glitter there?”  Some of the glitter will get trapped into the fibers of the fabric and we will seal it in the next step.  It makes the glitter “thinner” in some areas.   :0)


Step 5: Lay the flags out in a well ventilated area (I actually DID have a drop cloth underneath – but took this picture later just to show you)

and spray with an acrylic sealer.  I like the Mod Podge Sealer– it doesn’t dull the glitter.


Step 6:  Allow them to dry for the recommended time for your sealer

Step 7: Sew/hot glue your bunting to the ribbon of your choice.  {see my bunting tutorial if you need help with that}

Step 8: Step back and admire your handiwork then throw a party to show it off! :0)

Cascading Glitter Bunting Tutorial -

Yay for YOU!!

If you don’t feel like this is in your wheelhouse – you can always buy one all finished in my Etsy Shop!!

p.s. If you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and have friends that might, too – don’t forget to share.  Sharing is nice. ;0)

Happy Blogiversary! Let’s Celebrate!

PurdueAvenue Happy Blogiversary Party in a Box Giveaway Ends 1/9/14 at Midnight!!

Two years ago today I started this lil’ ol’ blog.  I remember sitting down to write my first post.  I was excited & terrified all at the same time.  What if no one read it?  What if lots of people read it, but no one liked it?  What if they TOLD me that they didn’t like it!??!?!  {Luckily, I’ve only had nice readers to date – THANKS FOR THAT!}  I finally decided that, if nothing else came of it, it would be a place for me to share all of the crazy crafty things that keep me awake at night, and a reason to actually finish them.

I can’t thank everyone enough for pinning the things that inspire you, and sharing this happy place with your friends.  It couldn’t grow without your comments, pins, shares and support.

{just a little shout out to Chicky – our #1 pinner !-  thank you for being so supportive and helping me grow this little blog!  And Mandi – for bouncing ideas around with me & helping me make stuff cute! –  I’m sending special THANK YOU’s  your way}

Parties seemed to be the most popular topic of the year, as a very small thank you to you, my kindred spirits, readers & friends – we will be giving away this “Party in a Box”  to the person who spreads the love the most!

Purdue Avenue Party in a Box Giveaway!  Ends 1/9/14 at Midnight!

This Party in a Box includes: 1 Tablecloth {background}/2 Glittered Banners {1 “Celebrate” German Glass Glitter Garland {tutorial to come}/1 Cascading Glitter Bunting}/2 lengths of Newsprint Fringe Garland{tutorial to come}/2 “Celebrate” Paper Ribbon Pennants/2 tissue paper fans/2 dozen Cupcake Liners/2 containers of edible baking glitter/2 tabletop chalkboard inserts with frames/2 chalk pencils/2 serving platters{from Home Goods}/2 packages of paper straws/2 sizes of honeycomb balls {not shown}/2 dozen tinsel cupcake toppers/

To Enter: Use the Rafflecopter Form to FOLLOW THE BLOG, LIKE US ON FACEBOOK, SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS and bonus entries when you pin & share images from our Top 13 Posts of 2013!!

**NOTE:  Once you’ve followed the blog – you will be given a little window at the top of the Rafflecopter Form that looks like this:

Share This Button

This little button is the gold mine of entries!  When you click – it will give you the option to “Share This” through Facebook, Email, Twitter – you choose – for every friend that enters from your “share” you will receive an additional entry!***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck in the giveaway & thanks for all of your support!!  It’s been a GREAT 2 years!!!


Top 13 Posts of 2013

PurdueAvenue Top 13 Posts of 2013

#13 {our homemade christmas}

Homemade Christmas Ideas

#12 {road trip survival kits}

Road Trip Survival Kits

#11 {ice cream party}

Ice Cream Party **ideas**printables**tutorials**

#10 {top 5 DIY projects in my house}

PurdueAvenue top 5 DIY projects for the home

#9 {photo booths are all the rage}

Free Printable Photo Booth Sign

#8 {treat bags & gift tags}

The Delicious Collection

The Yummy Collection

#7 {garden party}

Garden Party Ideas & Tutorials

#6 {no tricks…just treats}

THEE BEST Caramel Popcorn Recipe

#5 {pink & gold party}

Pink & Gold Party **ideas**printables**tutorials**

#4 {a place for everything}

Craftroom Studio Organization Solutions

#3 {tomatillo chicken with cilantro lime rice}

Tomatillo Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice #slowcooker #pressurecooker

#2 {his & hers soiree}

His and Hers Soiree **ideas**printables**tutorials**

#1 post of 2013… {Pretty Paper Lanterns}

pretty paper lanterns #silhouette

Our HOMEMADE Christmas

I hope that you all had a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  Ours was wonderful!  This year we took things down a few {okay, a few major} notches.  As I posted earlier, we needed to simplify Christmas this year and decided to make all of the gifts. {with the exception of clothes they needed & thanks to wonderful Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles, Santa Claus brought them a gift that they wanted, too!}

But –  this post is to tell you all about the HOMEMADE part of Christmas.

I don’t mean to sound like a salesperson – but I couldn’t have done these projects without 3 things.

1. My sewing machine.

2. My Silhouette Cameo

{If you got one for Christmas but need to learn how to use it – you can sign up for my Online Silhouette Course HERE.  Class begins Monday January 6th!}

3. My Photoshop Skills.












Here is what we all made for each other:




My cute hubby made my 9 year old daughter this “pink fluffy” pillowcase.

She see’s them in the store and loves them and says funny things like:

“It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die” – so he knew that it was the perfect gift for her.

{He was VERY proud of himself}


That’s a dedicated dad :0)







My husbands favorite game is Monopoly.  Our family has a not so good history with it.  I’m ashamed to say that the biggest fights in our marriage have been over Monopoly.  We were actually banished from playing it at his moms house.  I thought that maybe if I made a homemade version that had funny things to lighten the mood that we could play a friendly game.  So – I put my photoshop skills to good use and made him a JAREDOPOLY board.  I had so much fun thinking up clever Chance & Community Chest cards, talking to his mom to find out the places he’s lived for the properties (which she impressively remembered them all!) It was ALOT of fun!


 And even more fun when we played and I CRUSHED him Christmas Morning!  {although – he was so mad that he didn’t enjoy my funny cards :0(  There is a price that comes with Monopoly Domination.  Ho Ho Ho!}

I will post all of the details on making this board another day.  That would be an entire post on it’s own and I need some time to change the files to be generic for you to use!

But just be throwing around ideas for a board of your own.  I think that a LOVEOPOLY board would be SUPER FUN for Valentines!!




My 13 year old daughter has been wanting new ipod covers.  One day she will say “I want a minnie mouse ipod case” another day it was “I want a BYU iPod case” – so my 9 year old, who loves to draw, decided to make her these interchangeable skins to go inside this Clear iPod Case.  You can download the silhouette studio cut file HERE.



PVC Pipe Bow & Foam Tipped Arrows


My 11 year old son is boy through and through – so we helped our 7 year old son make him this PVC pipe bow and arrow. (the “arrows” are wooden dowels tipped with cut up pool noodle)  We’ve seen them made with hula hoops – but we had extra PVC and 45 degree elbows laying around – so used those with a rubber band for the the string.  We now have 3 other kids that want one, too…so our work here is not done.



Constellation Flashlight


My 7 year old son has a hard time staying in bed – so we thought that something interesting to keep him there would be PERFECT!  I’ve seen these around – but decided to make more work for myself and make a set.  My 9 year old son got to learn how to use my Silhouette to make these.  He thinks he’s pretty cool now.

You can download the Silhouette Print & Cut File HERE.

Or print a regular printable HERE.  {Just cut out the big circles and use push pins to punch out the small constellation circles.}

Don’t want to mess with it, and would just like to purchase??  I’ve added them to the shop, and the low cost keeps them in the frugal category!

I put a tiny piece of double sided tape on the flashlight to hold the cards in place – but they still pull off easily.





I’m ashamed that I had to ask what this thing was.  My husband helped my 13 year old daughter make it for me.  Once I found out – I was REALLY excited!  I’ve been doing a lot of screen printing using my Silhouette to make the masks.  This will make my work go MUCH quicker!!  Very thoughtful!  LOVED IT!


The rest of the homemade stuff was all me.  And I had so much fun doing it.





I used the Silhouette to cut out vinyl to act as a mask – and then sprayed them with this frosted glass spray. (and I couldn’t help myself – I added a blast of glitter spray, too)

You could also use Etching Cream – but I had this spray on hand – so I used it, instead.

**If you use the frost spray – they MUST be hand washed!  If you want dishwasher safe – go for the Etching Cream!!**

{If you don’t have a Silhouette – you can use contact paper and an exacto knife.}



Christmas Jammies


Every year on Christmas Eve we have our fancy Christmas Dinner.  They each have a wrapped gift at the table, and it always has their Christmas Jammies inside.

We open the gifts and change into our Jammies and eat our super fancy dinner in them.  I love it.  I’ve never attempted making PJ’s before and was a little nervous.

I followed this SUPER EASY TUTORIAL and they turned out great!

The only changes to the tutorial I made were:

*adding the ribbon to the girls and a shoelace to the boys to look like ties. (in hindsight I would’ve used thinner ribbon)

*I didn’t make the pattern like she suggested.  I just eyeballed cutting around the sample and then used the first cut as a pattern for the second cut.

Luckily – I’m a fabric junkie – and have  A LOT of fabric hanging around.  Leftover from old projects – or projects that never came to fruition – however it worked out – I had ticking stripe fabric lying around – and thought that PJ’s would be the perfect use of it.



Rosemary Place Card Wreaths


For the dinner table – my sister in law shared some of the rosemary from her garden and I made these wreaths and place cards:





We also break a piñata on Christmas Eve – and they started last week making it.  I didn’t get a picture of the finished product – because, to be honest, it creeped me out.  It was supposed to be rudolph the red nosed reindeer – but it looked more like a brown rat with a red nose.  Not pretty.

If you want a tutorial on making a piñata – check out this post.



Homemade Tamales


I used THIS RECIPE for the masa & some of my leftover TOMATILLO CHICKEN for the filling.  I even used the juices from the chicken to make a sauce to top them with.

I wish I could tell you how delicious these Homemade Christmas Tamales were…

BUT…I burned them.

Yep – they were all destined to be perfect.  I didn’t add more water to the bottom of the pan and before we knew it – the house filled with smoke and my favorite pan was scorched and our Christmas Tamales had a inedible smokey flavor and went into the trash.  Here is a picture of them all perfect going into the pot to their un-forseen demise.


I was sad – until I had the idea to have cereal instead.  And then I was happy – because I love cereal!

I had a lot more plans – as you can see on my Homemade Christmas Pinterest Board – but not enough time.  But, regardless of having or not having a job next year – I’m definitely doing this again!!!

For a lot of reasons:

*got to teach the kiddos a few skills while we helped them make the gifts

*having them think of the idea {thank you pinterest!} & make it was WAY more exciting for them than picking out a gift in the store

*christmas morning seemed much more exciting – because they had their handiwork to show off & they were much more engaged while they opened gifts.

*the joy of giving really took center stage this year.  I think because they were more invested…


I hope you’ve been inspired a little bit to do this with your family. And I hope that you’ll share any links to great homemade Christmas Ideas in the comments section!



I’m gonna be a Calligrapher!

Calligraphy Class

Ha Ha…maybe.  We’ll see how it goes.

I’m very excited about this calligraphy class that I’ve signed up for.  My sister referred me, which gave me a $10 first timer credit – so the class only cost $10.  WOOHOO!  Can’t beat that!

If you want to join me – you can get the same first timer deal if you use this link to sign up.

She has a list of class supplies that you’ll need to buy as well – but they only add up to $8.30.

Calligraphy Class Supplies

So – the question was…

Am I willing to pay $18.30 to learn calligraphy?

The answer is…

uh…duh!  Yes, yes I am.  I hope that you are, too!!