Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Calendar Craft Tutorial

Today is the first post in my new series, A Season of Serenity (Now) at Home. You can look forward to a whole month of creative tips and tricks to bring some Serenity to your Christmas holiday. Today, Kelli from Random Thoughts of a SUPERMOM is going to show you how to make a simple and inexpensive Advent Calendar for your family. You could use some inspiration from Kelli's post to create something fun your own family will enjoy working on together!

Take it away, Kelli!

Hi! My name is Kelli and most days you can find me blogging at Random Thoughts of a SUPERMOM!

I am a wife and stay at home mom of three boys. I love to be crafty, make yummy {and SUPER fun} food, share pictures of my cute boys, and blog about the every day happenings of my life as a SUPERMOM! I am SUPER excited to be sharing this fun Metal Tin Advent Calendar with all you Serenity Now readers! This is a craft I made a few years ago that is still a huge hit {and now a tradition} at my house! Thanks so much for letting me share it here today, Amanda!

I had been wanting a cute advent calendar for awhile. We used a cheap felt one from Walmart for a few years. It did the job okay, but it wasn't nearly as cute as I wanted it to I decided to make my own Advent Calendar. I did a little research online, and I got a ton of inspiration from other blogs and from Etsy. I took a few of the ideas that I found and mixed them all up and came up with my own version of a Metal Tin Advent Calendar:

I hit up Hobby Lobby for:
  • a canvas
  • wedding favor tins {you need 24 in all}
  • Christmas scrapbook paper
  • a painted star

I already had some stuff at home:

  • fabric
  • rick rack
  • Mod Podge
  • hot glue


I started by cutting out a lot of circles with my circle cutter...48 to be exact.

24 circles with numbers for the front of the tins, and 24 unnumbered circles for the inside of the tins.

I applied a thin layer of mod podge to the inside of the tin and to the inside of the lid:

I placed the unnumbered circles {pattern side up} inside the tins and Mod Podged them in place.

I put the numbered circles in the lids {with the pattern of the paper and the number showing through the front of the plastic} and then Mod Podged them into place.

I cut out a Christmas tree from leftover green and white polka dot fabric and used spray adhesive to attach it to the canvas. I also added a trunk to the tree made from a scrap of brown corduroy fabric. I finished off the edges of the tree by attaching some white rick rack around the edges with my hot glue gun. I also added a wooden painted star to the top of the tree. 

After all the Mod Podge was dry, I put the lids on the tins and hot glued them to the Christmas tree. I chose to attach my numbered tins in a straight line, but you could mix it up and glue them in a random pattern if you wanted.

On the last day of November, we load up our advent calendar with small treats and hang it in our hallway. Starting on December 1st, my boys will get to remove the lid of one tin each day until Christmas {starting with number 25}.

To make our advent calendar even more fun, I also place small pieces of paper with special Christmas activites {bake cookies, sing Christmas songs, wrap presents, watch a Christmas cartoon, read the Christmas story} for us to do in some of the tins. 

Thanks so much for having me over today, Amanda!


Thanks, Kelli, for sharing your project with us today. I love activities like this because it gives my kids something to look forward to each morning, and it keeps them occupied...rather than whining!

Stay tuned for more fun posts from myself and my fabulous guest posters! Tomorrow brings a Giveaway from Little Doodahs!

Shaklee Giveaway Winner

The winner of the Fresh Home for the Holidays: Shaklee Giveaway is #125, Cheree from The Morning Latte, who linked up her Quilting Post.
Cheree, please email me by Friday at 5 pm ET, to claim your prize...a bottle of H2 Basic Organic Cleaner! You can reach me at amandaserenitynow (at) gmail (dot) com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Season of Serenity (Now) at Home- New Series!

Welcome to my new holiday series, A Season of Serenity (Now) at Home. My goal is to share creative tips and tricks to bring some Serenity to your home this holiday season!

"'Tis the season to be jolly."

That's the quote, right? Why do so many of us find ourselves stressed out, over-committed, and just plain tired this time of year? When I felt the annual guilt and anxiety start to creep in, I knew it was time to do something about it.

As my friend Kate so aptly said, with all of the distractions that can pop up at Christmastime, our goal should be to "prioritize our time spent together-it's more important than anything else."

I enjoy writing this blog and creating little projects and recipes to share here, but my number one priority this Christmas season is to make lasting memories with my children. In twenty years, they won't remember those yummy cookies Mommy posted about in December of '11, but they will remember snuggling on the couch to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, or driving around to see Christmas lights.

I still want to provide you guys with some fun reads this next month, so don't worry--I do have lots of posts planned for you. I also have a very exciting group of guest posters who will be contributing their own holidays tips and tricks.

We are all looking forward to sharing fun projects, activities, recipes, and more...things that will keep your stress levels low and invite some Serenity (Now) into your home for Christmas!

I'll be posting the links for each post in the series here, so please check back in here if you miss one:

#1 Metal Tin Advent Calendar
#2 How to Stay Joyful (and Sane) this Christmas Season
#3 Sausage Stuffing (a Simple Holiday Side Dish)
#4 Christmas Organizing Tips and Tricks
#5 How to Throw a Less Stressful Holiday Party
#6 Decorative Chalkboard Tin
#7 Vintage Silhouette Ornament Tutorial
#8 Holiday Style Guide
#9 Christmas and Holiday Card Display Craft
#10 Christmas Tinsel Garland Wreath (Dollar Tree Decor)
#11 Adding Flair to Your Christmas Gift Wrap
#12 Affordable Tablescape Tips and Ideas
#13 Series Wrap-Up and Holiday Inspiration

May you and your family enjoy a blessed and stress-free Christmas together!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Framed Glitter Christmas Tree (DIY Screen Print!)

Excited for my first Christmas project of the season! I had the opportunity to test Plaid's Simply Screen Kit, and wanted to try something a little different since we don't need any more clothes right now. I've never done screen printing before, so I settled on a small home decor project: a Framed Glitter Christmas Tree.

I found a Christmas Tree silhouette in my Silhouette machine software and printed it in black ink on my home printer. You could easily search Google for images and print one at home. The instructions that come with the kit are pretty straightforward, so I won't waste time reprinting them here. I was happy to see that my screen print "took" on the first try.

I adhered the screen to a $1 white dishtowel from Wal-Mart. I opted to use the Simply Screen glitter and adhesive. The tubes are pretty small, as was my project, so I don't know that one tube of glitter would cover something on a large scale. Another downside was that I had to wait for the glitter to adhere for 24 hours before I could set them with an iron on the cotton setting.

Once my glittered screen print was dry, I embellished it with some green ric-rac and some tiny colored buttons I picked up from a local craft store. I used my hot glue gun for that part, and didn't notice any effects on the screen print:

I had a large black frame stashed away, so I took the glass out and stretched the dishtowel around the backing, cutting away the extra fabric on the back:

It's nothing too fancy, but I do loooove me some glitter....

Pros to using Plaid's Simply Screen Kit:
-You can use your own, custom designs
-You don't have to reverse your image and you don't have to use tranparencies
-The ink is acrylic and non-toxic
-You can buy the kit (and re-fills!) at Hobby Lobby

-Multiple steps to a completed project
-Does better with simple designs
-Designs must be hand-washed in cold water and line dried
-I can do similar designs with more detail using a crafty cutter and heat transfer material

All-in-all, I had a positive experience using the screen kit. If a "crafty cutter" is out of your price range, and you've really been wanting to make custom bags, t-shirts, pillows, you might want to try this for yourself!

Linking to Home Stories A to ZHi Sugarplum!

*Plaid provided me with the kit for this review. All opinions are my own!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

More Highlighted Links--Share Your Best Post!

Good morning, friends! If you're here to link up to Weekend Bloggy Reading, it's open for new links until 10 pm (ET) tonight. Please share your best post of the week with us...crafts, recipes, home decor, book reviews--all kinds of posts are welcome.

I also like to Feature bloggers who not only have great projects, but who also take the time to  link back to me within their post(s). I add many of these Features to Pinterest, so there's some extra incentive to be a gracious blogger and add a link back to this party.

Here are a few links from Weekend Bloggy Reading that caught my eye!

~Nature Inspired Christmas Wreath

~Curly Hair Styling Tips

~Half Bath Reveal

~Ornament Wreath

~Handmade Gift Ideas

~Drop Cloth Headboard

~Pumpkin Scones with Whipped Butter Frosting

~How to REMOVE a Follower

~Holiday Table

~Spice Rack Update

*For even more fabulous inspiration, don't miss out on today's edition of The Best of the Blogosphere at Centsational Girl! Kate and I teamed up this weekend to share some of the blogosphere's finest links of the week. It will be up some time later today or this evening! Did we feature you?

*Please, if you haven't already, take a few moments to visit a few of the other links from the party if you linked up this weekend. I love hosting, and I love commenting on posts...but it's no fun for anyone if we just have stale links sitting around. Get out there and find some fun reads! {wink}

Did I feature you today? If the answer is "yes," feel free to grab this button for your sidebar!
Featured At Serenity Now

Enjoy your Sunday! I'll be back tomorrow with a Christmas craft.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Highlighted Weekend Links-- Share Your Best Post!

Happy Saturday! Are you enjoying your weekend? Please pop in to link up YOUR best post of the week at my Weekend Bloggy Reading party.

All kinds of posts are welcome here: We have recipes, home remedies, room makeovers, crafts, fashion advice, book reviews, and more! The code for the button is near the end of this post.

I see that there are a lot of fabulous posts this weekend! If you haven't yet, please be sure to visit some of the other links from the party and say a quick howdy to those who have taken the time to visit you. I'd also really appreciate it if you'd take the time to link back to me within your post(s)...I like to return the favor by Featuring the bloggers who follow through with good old fashioned blogging etiquette!

We got back into town late last night, so I haven't had a chance to put together any features yet. If I can get a post together for today, stay tuned. If not, I'll have an extra long list of wonderful features for tomorrow!

So, what did you have up your sleeve this week? Come by and share it with us here! Be sure to check out some of the other bloggers' work too. Here's the button in case you'd rather use that than a link back.
Weekend Bloggy Reading

I'm working at commenting as well as balancing my family and fun time this weekend...thanks for your patience! I have a house to clean before I can decorate for Christmas--no one wants to layer pretty Christmas things on top of dust. Ick!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 25, 2011

::Weekend Bloggy Reading:: Link Up!

Welcome to Weekend Bloggy Reading. I hope you'll link up your best post of the week today, and maybe leave me some comment love! I'm out of town today, indulging in some Black Friday shopping, so I don't have any outside features today...let's get right to the party-it's all about you!

All kinds of posts are welcome--recipes, crafts, funny stories, home decor, etc.; but please do not link to Etsy shops, businesses, items for sale, etc. (I have a Sponsors section, if you'd like to Advertise with me.)
        Time to link up your best post of the week. Please remember that this party is dedicated to showcasing your best post of the week--we've had some issues with people linking up 10 or more posts each week, and some of them for multiple weeks in a row.

        • Please link back to me within your post. I will not feature your link if you don't link back to me.
        • No items for sale, shops, etc. and please don't link up the same post week after week. 
        • Please visit some of the other links--that's how a good blog party works--participation!

        Here's the button code if you'd prefer to use that rather than a text link-back:
        Weekend Bloggy Reading

        Party is open until 10 pm (ET) on Sunday night.

        What are you up to this weekend?

        I hope to be back tomorrow with some highlights from Weekend Bloggy Reading!

        Thursday, November 24, 2011

        Happy Thanksgiving

        Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

        "O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting." -I Chronicles 16:34

        Wednesday, November 23, 2011

        Thanksgiving Menu Ideas and Recipes (Pins to Admire and Inspire)

        I decided to go to my "happy place" and share my pretend Thanksgiving Menu because we're traveling today. Thankfully, just to the other side of Virginia this year. This is some of what I would serve if Thanksgiving dinner was in our home again this year (click on the source links for recipes!).

        Here's a no-brainer, Turkey. Anyone have a secret to a moist (I hate that word) turkey?

        If you have turkey, you must have Gravy:

        Another fab accessory to gravy? Mashed Potatoes:

        Corn (this one has garlic, butter, and cream cheese!):

        Dressing (or "Stuffing" if you are from the North), my fave:

        (I have an amazing Sausage Stuffing Recipe that I'll share in December!)

        An American Thanksgiving staple, Green Bean Casserole:

        Roasted Butternut Squash:

        Bread, wonderful bread (I like carbs):

        Dessert, which is really the whole point of the meal, if you ask me!

        Last year, I had apple cider simmering on the stove all morning while my sis-in-law and I cooked and watched the Macy's parade with the girls:

        Add in my Nutella Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread for a morning snack, and you are set!

        I don't mind admitting to you that I really really wish that we could stay home for Thanksgiving. Last year was my first time hosting, and I loved it. Travel during the holidays can be expensive and stressful, not to mention adding in the effects of trying to please both sides of your family. So, for now, I'll settle for this virtual menu and maybe start taking notes for next year.

        What are you most looking forward to serving (and eating) tomorrow?
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