From the category archives:

make something

Summer with The Goods

June 8, 2016

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By Gabrielle

Tomorrow is the last day of school. Which means: It’s summertime! Which means: Bored kids! Are you ready?

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t despair. Amy Christie, a long-time Design Mom crafter, just sent me the link to a new subscription service she launched called The Goods. And it seems like the perfect antidote to summer vacation boredom! Oh. And you can try it for free!

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Amy told me she thinks summertime is magical. The weather, the flowers. Schedules are lax and moods are laid back. But as the mother of 3 very young kids, she also knows that summer poses a challenge for parents and caregivers of children: how do we fill all that time and prep all those meals?

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So Amy created The Goods hoping it would be a way to help. She’s put together several subscription options that offer support for summer break, including these two:

1) Summer Making is a 10-week email subscription of projects children can do. Each email delivers four projects, printable, illustrated directions, a printable materials list and links to materials for purchase. When the emails arrive, decide what you and yours want to make and do it! The Goods offer subscriptions for two age groups: 2-5 years and 6-12 years.

2) Summer Lunching is a 10-week email series to help with lunch menu planning. Combining the favorite recipes of your home with two new recipes each week, no one will go hungry. Subscribers receive printable recipe cards, a printable menu planner and printable pantry/grocery checklists.

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Sounds awesome, right? Want to try it for free? Follow this link and sign up to receive one set of projects at no cost, sent directly to your inbox. Four projects with printable, illustrated directions, a printable materials checklist and links to materials.

I love this idea so much! Sometimes, the best gift is when someone else does the thinking for you. You know what I mean? If you are stressing about summertime, or you’re just looking for something fun to do with your kids, check out The Goods!

Photo credits: The Goods

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie.

Here it is. The best idea for last-minute celebrations and forgotten holidays! You’ll want to bookmark or pin this one and keep it handy. It’s awesome because it looks special but only requires kindergarten-level crafting. Can you cut basic shapes out of paper with scissors? Then you’re good.

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Let’s take Mother’s Day for example. It’s coming up on Sunday. Have you thought about what you are doing for the moms in your life? Even if you’re out of time, you can manage store bought cupcakes topped with a cut letter message. A simple project that happens to look cool. Extra points if you spell out something sassy!

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Just about anyone (including little hands) can cut out letters, so this can be a family effort, or a surprise the kids make for Mom or Dad or a friend’s birthday. And, I promise, the recipient will love it.

Pick up some baked goods at the grocery store. Cupcakes are cute, but donuts or muffins or brownies (or cake or pie) work too. Grab your sweets and let’s get to work!

Click here for the simple tutorial, plus free alphabet download!

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By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Hooray! I’ve got another gorgeous DIY to share with you. And it coincides so nicely with the gorgeous spring weather we’ve been having. This project is the perfect excuse to get outside and interact with nature.

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I’m so delighted with how these turned out. Completely over the moon! They would be gorgeous inside or out. I can picture them in our living room, and also on the balcony. I really want to make like 35 of these and line my front walk with them! I think they’re so cool.

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I’m going to tell you right now, that this project takes a few bona fide tools and some muscle, too. But it’s actually pretty easy and straight forward. If you can handle a drill, than you can handle this project.

Before we jump in to the instructions, I have one question: Do succulents do well outdoors in your neck of the wood? Or do you consider them houseplants? They flourish like crazy here in our Oakland landscaping, but I don’t remember seeing them as outdoor plants in France (although it’s very possible I wasn’t paying attention). How about you? Do you have any succulents at your house? Indoors or out? And do you find them to be as carefree as their reputation? I’d love to hear!

Click here for the simple tutorial!

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By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Homemade earrings that don’t look homemade at all! And so easy that your kids can get involved too. How does that sound?

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Amy Christie, who is the established queen of polymer clay, sent me this idea for 3 different earrings and I loved it immediately. I’m perpetually on the hunt for sweet, pretty, usable, handcrafted projects. Ideas that are perfect for a rainy afternoon, or for a Ladies Crafting Night, or for a birthday party activity, or to make as a gift. And this project definitely fits the bill!

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Before we jump into the instructions, I’d love to hear: have you ever made your own jewelry? In my experience it takes a particular patient frame of mind from me, because the elements are so small and can escape my fingers easily. Maybe that’s why kids take to this kind of project so well — they have smaller hands!

Instructions for all 3 earrings straight ahead!

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By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

It’s April! Are you ready to think about working in the yard yet? Maybe planting some flowers, doing some landscaping, setting up the hammock? I’m am for sure ready! In fact, last weekend we cleared out the shed. Every single thing. Bikes, tools, buckets, rakes, old lumber, dutch ovens, camping lanterns, unused tile, and on and on. We dusted and de-cobwebed. We re-ogranized. We free-cycled the building materials. We bought hooks to make use of the pegboard wall. The whole family helped!

And the entire time, my eyes kept going to the gardening tools. The trimmers and trowels and gloves and watering can. I’m craving yard work like crazy!

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So when Amy Christie texted me a photo of some painted bricks she was creating for her garden, I said, “DIY please!”

I’m super delighted I get to share them with you, because I find them so darn happy-making. Can’t you just picture a little brick village nestled in among the flowers? Adorable!

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I also love that this DIY is a great way to use-up extra materials — the random bricks and cinderblocks left over from earlier landscaping projects.

Before we collect the materials and get started, I’m curious. Do you find yourself gravitating toward little villages? The kind people put out at the holidays? Or even toy village sets? I love them! I feel like when I’m shopping for travel souvenirs, I’m drawn to items that reflect that local architecture. How about you?

Click here for the simple tutorial!

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Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

We’ve used beets to get shades of red. We’ve used onions to get shades of orange. We’ve used turmeric to get shades of yellow. We’ve used cabbage to get shades of blue. But what about greens? Did we forget about greens? Never!

Today, we’re going to mix up one batch of turmeric dye and one batch of cabbage dye, and show you how to dip eggs in both to achieve shades of green. It’s like a lesson in color theory, plus a lesson in Easter egg dyeing, all in one!

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for GreenEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

For this finale in our natural egg-dyeing series, Amy Christie once again took the gorgeous photos, and she’s got all the tips for us too.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for GreenEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for GreenEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Turmeric & Cabbage for Green

Let’s get to dipping.

Click here for the simple tutorial!

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Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Oh goody! I’ve got more natural egg dyeing for you today. We’ve covered using cabbage to get shades blue. We’ve covered using beets to get shades of red. And today, we’re going to use turmeric and onion to get shades of yellow and orange!

Hit the grocery store for eggs, onions and spice, and you’re all set to become a natural-dye pro.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for OrangeEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Turmeric for YellowEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for Orange

Once again, Amy Christie took the gorgeous photos, and she’s got all the dyeing tips we need below.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Turmeric for YellowEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & YellowEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion for OrangeEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Onion & Turmeric for Orange & Yellow

Another day, another color. Let’s go!

Click here for the simple tutorial!

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By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

This is awesome! Awhile ago, there was a post here on Design Mom about how to dye eggs in a range of blues, using only cabbage. It was such a great post! Totally simple, totally doable, and filled with helpful information.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for RedEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

So I was chatting with Amy Christie, and we decided to continue the series! We’ve got red today, and two more colors to share over the next week or so. I know you’re going to love these posts — and the photos are so gorgeous!

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

Here’s what Amy says:

The post on blue-hue cabbage-dyed eggs from a few years ago is one of my favorite I’ve ever done. Colored eggs happen to be very photogenic. I still have all of them, minus the broken ones (I finally accepted that they would never be whole again). Now, working on the other colors of the rainbow, I am again blown away at their beauty. The hues are stunning and rich and the texture of each shell, unique. I wish I understood more about the chemistry of the egg shell to understand some of the textures and patina and spotting but since I don’t, I’ll just enjoy their beauty.

Easy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for RedEasy Natural Dye Easter Eggs: Use Beets for Red

Ready to dye? Let’s get cracking.

Click here for the simple tutorial!

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DIY: Coding Jewelry

March 2, 2016

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Last month I went to a lecture about girls and tech given by Cynthia Bailey Lee of Stanford University. Cynthia is a mom of two, and teaches C++ programming, computing theory, processor architecture, and number theory. Specifically her lecture was about getting our daughters and nieces and any other young girls in our lives to get more excited about working with code, and making the coding world more accessible.

One idea she had was making jewelry based on ASCII code. (And if you don’t know what ASCII code is, no worries. It’s all explained below.) I was really taken by this idea! I called Amy Christie and we brainstormed options for both kid jewelry and grown up jewelry (because hey! it’s not too late for us grownups to learn coding either).

The basic idea is to use beads to write your name or initials or a favorite word or a secret message in code. It’s so cool!

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I adore how these pieces turned out. I think this would be a really fun activity for a girls night out or a birthday party. This project is the perfect combination of smart, nerdy and pretty. : )

Amy is a jewelry pro and added clasps and hooks to all these pieces, which really step them up quality-wise. But if you find jewelry work intimidating, or try to avoid anything that requires needle-nose pliers, you can still make similar versions. Just use elastic thread and knot it well when you’re done. Easy peasy!

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Before we jump into the DIY, let’s talk a little bit about code and share some learning resources for the kids. Here’s what Cynthia, the lecturer, writes about ASCII:

“As I’m sure you’ve heard before, inside a computer, EVERYTHING is numbers — specifically, binary numbers. As far as the computer is concerned, every photo in this post is just a bunch of binary numbers. This blog post, your grandma’s voice and face on Skype, all the movies you watch on Netflix — all these things are just binary numbers.

The computer doesn’t actually distinguish between these things in storing the data or performing computations. Software imposes our human interpretations on the data — it could interpret the exact same binary number as a high pitch sound in one case, as a shade of dark green in another, and in yet a third case as a letter of the alphabet.

When people agree on what interpretation we want to impose on different collections of binary numbers, it gives them meaning in that context. We call these agreed-upon interpretations encoding schemes or just encodings. This activity explores an encoding named ASCII, which is one common way of interpreting binary numbers as letters of the alphabet.”

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And here is more from Cynthia on ASCII specifically:

“ASCII is abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that use text. Most modern character-encoding schemes are based on ASCII, though they support many additional characters. ASCII was the most common character encoding on the World Wide Web until December 2007, when it was surpassed by UTF-8, which is fully backward compatible to ASCII. The ASCII code for capital letters is shown here:

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Unlike base-10 numbers, which can have the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, binary (base-2) numbers can only have the digits 0 and 1 (we usually call the binary digits bits). On this cheat-sheet card, the black squares represent 0 and the white represent 1.”

We also made a printable sheet for you to make things really easy and the link to that is below.

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Okay. I think we’re ready. Let’s get nerdy!

Full tutorial, and more coding resources, straight ahead!

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Block-Color Wrapped Jar Pots for Succulents | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Craving spring? February lasting just a bit too long (Hello, Leap Day!)? Well here’s a happy, easy project to bring a little sunshine and color into your day.

These little twine wrapped planters are perfect for brightening your home. I like the idea of a collection of them on the coffee table, or perhaps lining a windowsill. And they would also be darling as party favors or anytime gifts. Another idea: I can picture these as place-setting holders — you could hang the name name cards from an extra length of twine.

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However you choose to use them, you’ll be glad you made this easy project! Amy Christie shot the gorgeous photos for these pretty little pots. Here’s what she has to say:

I live in Minnesota and the weeks of “acceptable winter time” have passed. We’ve now entered “it needs to be spring immediately” time. We’re getting there but it’s slow progress. In the past week, we’ve experienced sunshine and gray skies, rain, snow flakes and frost. So I’m trying to channel my inner springtime by filling my home with living things. Succulents are my favorite and so simple to care for. All the variations are so cute!

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I love to tuck succulents into little jars. I always seem to have a variety of sizes laying around because I wash and save empty jam jars, pickle jars, and peanut butter jars, knowing I’ll be sure to find a good use for them at some point. And this is the perfect sort of project!

To make them really pop for spring, we wrapped them with colorful jute string we found in the craft store. It’s really easy and they are easy on the eyes, right? : )

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Let’s get to wrapping. Click here for the simple tutorial!

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Here’s another super cute option for your Valentines this year! All it’s an easy one too. Print and trim the free printable, and attach an inexpensive rubber stamp. That’s it! Yes, it’s candy free, and yes, it’s appealing to all sorts of kids. Who wouldn’t love a little stamp with animal feet!

And bonus, the printable is a little ruler, so your kids can measure any real animal footprints they come across. Best valentine ever!

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Before we jump into the instructions, I have a quick question. How are your schools handling Valentine’s Day this year? Since it’s on Sunday, will your classrooms be celebrating on the Friday before? Or the Monday after? For us, it depends on the teacher. One is skipping a Valentine’s party altogether (though the kids are allowed to exchange valentines), another is having the celebration on Monday, and I’m not sure what the third one is doing. I better go check!

Now, let’s get to it!

Printable and sources below. Click here.

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Oh my goodness you guys. This is the cutest little project! I’m basically in love with it. And even if you are not crafty, this is doable, I promise. Can you print things out? Can you buy chocolate? Do you have scissors and tape? Then you can make these! You’ll love writing sweet messages with them, and so will your kids.

As you can guess with the timing of this post, these wraps were originally brainstormed as a Valentine’s Day project. But once the chocolates starting getting wrapped, it became clear that these wraps would be adorable any time of year! Write messages for Mother’s Day, for birthdays, for book club, for a baby shower. Wrap up initials as place markers at a dinner party. Drop off a sweet chocolate note for a friends who is having a hard day.

You simply can’t go wrong with these happy little wraps!

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Amy Christie led out on this project and here’s what she says:

This project is probably one of my favorites ever. It’s the colors, the cuteness, all the possibilities of messages to write and it’s chocolate!! #winning to the max. And while this week is all about Valentine’s Day, like Gabrielle said, these sweet treats can be used for any occasion throughout the year! New babies, dad’s day, kid’s day, after-surgery day, teacher gifts, a treat for the mail carrier. Even a ho-hum date night. Everyone, EVERYONE, will love this.

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We picked fab colors and all you have to do is print, cut and wrap. If you sneak a few chocolates while you’re working, that’s okay too.

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Brush up on your proofreading skills and let’s get going.

Click here for instructions and the free printables!

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Creating a Bathroom Pantry

February 8, 2016

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Photos and text by Gabrielle. Photos of me were shot by Maude Blair. This post is brought to you by IKEA.

So I’m totally into this project! I can’t wait to tell you all about it. IKEA issued the Daily Creativity Challenge: Take one area of your home, and organize it or make it more efficient, so that it frees up a few minutes of your day. Then take those minutes and use them to focus on a creative pursuit. Awesome, right?

I love this, because I’m always up for making the house run more smoothly, and because making the most of small chunks of time is something that has been on my mind. I have a lot of very different projects I want to take on this year, and I’ve been thinking about how to divide my day into small segments — each segment dedicated to a different project — in order to move them all forward. So this challenge really came at a perfect time.

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I thought about this challenge for awhile, and decided that at our house, something that could really help free up some brain space, and keep our mornings running smoothly, would be to create a “bathroom pantry” for the kids. If we don’t stay on top of our supplies, it totally causes preventable stress — like having Olive realize mid-shower there’s no more conditioner, or hearing Oscar report that we’re on the last role of TP and wondering if it will last until I can get to the store that evening.

Historically, we’ve been pretty good about staying stocked up on bathroom supplies, but in this house, we don’t have much in the way of cupboard space in the kids’ bathroom, and it’s been more challenging. So I figured we could use some blank wall space to add some shelving and create a bathroom pantry.

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Yes, it’s out in the open, which is tricky, because bathroom supplies aren’t necessarily handsome, but IKEA is actually perfect for that sort of challenge — they’re all about affordable storage solutions! That fantastic red shelf? It’s called VITTSJÖ and it’s $49 bucks! That green rubber laundry basket? It’s called TORKIS and it’s $4.99!

And it turns out there’s actually a big benefit to having everything out in the open: It’s much easier to stay aware of our stockpile. I’ve instructed the older kids to text me whenever they see any bathroom supply hit the 50% mark. Then I just copy the text to my ongoing grocery list and — tada! — we’re doing a much better job of staying on top of our supplies.

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If you’d like to use this idea, here are the products we’ve found most helpful. The VARIERA bins. We used these for the TP, and for general supplies. I like the red and blue interiors combined with the high gloss white — such a fun way to add a color accent. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but they coordinate really well with these GESSAN boxes. Plus I really like the nesting blue PALLRA boxes. These are great for storing things like first aid items and ointments that call for more privacy.

More product links, before and after photos, plus the project I’m working on with my newly free minutes — click here!

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Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine! | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Happy February! Pull out your red construction paper and your pink glitter and your heart stamps, because for the next two weeks it’s all about Valentine’s Day. Are you excited? Neutral on the subject? No interested at all?

Well, wherever you fall on the Valentine’s Day spectrum, you’ll like this project. It’s all about how to print out and fold this handy little wrap-style envelope. Yes, this envelope is perfect for gently wrapping up a Valentine sweet, but it’s also useable any week of the year, and can be printed on any colored or patterned paper you like.

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design MomEdible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design MomEdible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom

Use these simple envelopes to wrap up a note, the pony bead necklace your son made for his aunt, cookies or chocolates, a set of coasters, friendship bracelets — really, anything that’s small and relatively flat. These are so simple and so useful! You’ll want to make a stack to have at the ready.

Bonus: Amy Christie shot the photos for this project and made awesome initial cookies from font printouts. So you can learn how to do that in this post too!

Edible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design MomEdible Monogram Cookies for Your Valentine | Design Mom

Before we jump to the how-to, I’m curious. When prepping for Valentine’s Day, do you make valentines for your friends? And have you ever heard of Gal-antines Day gatherings? The idea is to celebrate your gal-friends on February 14th instead of focusing on who does or doesn’t have a love interest at the moment. I’m thinking these little wraps are perfect for cookie deliveries to your circle of friends.

Okay. On to the instructions!

Click here for the tutorial, recipe and notes!

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Facing another snow day? Well I’ve got the perfect activity to keep the kids active and happy — and the main thing you need is old markers. Emphasis on the old! Before you throw away that set of neglected/mostly-dried out markers, give them one more shot at artistic glory. Use them to make snow paint!

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As you can imagine, Oakland is not snowed in at the moment (or ever), so I asked Minnesota-based Amy Christie, to help us out with this DIY.

The photo turned out so wonderfully! They make me want to load up the car and head to Tahoe so we can have a snow day too — snow painting, sledding, making a snowman. Hmmm. We don’t have school tomorrow because of a teacher prep day, so maybe we can really make this happen!

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Before we jump into this very easy DIY, I’d love to hear the snow situation in your part of the world. Are you snowed in? Stuck at home? Or are you seeing all the snow photos on social media and wishing you had an excuse to pull out your mittens and snow boots?

Click here for the simple tutorial!

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Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

It’s been a whole year since I pulled out my wood burner/etcher. But I’m feeling the burn once again! So I was brainstorming possible wood-etched crafts with Amy, and she happened to mention there are metal initials you can use with your wood burner. They attach to the wood burner, heat up, and then “brand” the wood.

Well, that pretty much blew my mind, because trying to write with a wood burner is super hard and I generally avoid it, but now that I know about wood burning letters, it opens up all sorts of awesome possibilities!

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Awesome possibilities like these wooden initial pins! We’re calling them heart flair. (Did you ever see Office Space?) And the concept is pretty simple. Take pre-cut wooden hearts, burn in the initials of your true love (or all your 3rd grader’s classmates), and then glue a brooch pin on the back.

Wood You Be My Valentine? | Design MomWood You Be My Valentine? | Design MomWood You Be My Valentine? | Design Mom

You’ll find links to all the supplies below. Plus! There’s a super cute FREE printable to go with the pins!! Wood you be my valentine?

Get your etching tool plugged in and let’s get started.

Full tutorial straight ahead!

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Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Anette.

Remember that big knit mega scarf that I shared in November? Well, Anette sent me another chunky knit project, and I immediately wanted to share it with you. I continue to find big knit everything hugely appealing.

In this case, the project is for your home. It’s a thick wool cushion for your chairs, and it looks so cozy and easy to make — Anette knits these with her fingers!

Knitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design MomKnitted & Felted Seat Pad | Design Mom

I want 8 of these, pronto, for our kitchen chairs. Or maybe to use as a stack of floor cushions!

Before we jump to the how-to, I’d love to know, have you ever knit something with your fingers? And do you know how to follow knitting instructions — chains, rows, casting on, etc.? I have experimented a bit with knitting, but I’m a complete novice. I usually depend on my daughter Maude to help me with knitting projects because she’s taken more lessons. What’s your take on knitting?

Click here for the tutorial!

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

I was brainstorming DIYs for this month with Amy Christie, and she brought up craft paper punches. And I basically responded, “Paper punches? I think I have like five. I used them to punch the edge of some stationery once, and now they’re just collecting dust.” And Amy told me she was about to blow my mind, because she’s been playing with hers and figured out how to really maximize their possibilities. To which I replied, “Bring on the DIY!”

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So think of this as a double DIY. Yes, you’ll learn how to make pretty votives, but even more awesome: you’ll learn a whole bunch of new tricks that you can do with your paper punches.

And dang I love stuff like that! I love making the most of tools I already have, and re-thinking how I might use them.

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If you are the proud owner of paper punches, then this tutorial is especially for you.

Click here for the tutorial!

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Have a plain brown paper package? Here's a few ideas how to dress it up! | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

I’m in love with this post! It’s not really a how-to or a DIY post. Instead, it’s designed to inspire and spark ideas. It’s all about how to embellish simple brown wrapping paper, and it’s chock full of examples.

How to Dress Up a Brown Paper Package | Design Mom

Even if you don’t have any of the add-ons featured in the photos, you probably have something similar. Raid the junk drawer and the craft cupboard. Scour your yard and the recycling bin. There’s a good chance you’ve already got everything you need to wrap your gifts up gorgeously this year.

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Ribbons, paints, jingle bells, pom poms — dressing up the wrapped gift is almost as fun as giving it in the first place! Let’s get wrapping. This is going to be fun!

Click here for notes and ideas!

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Colorful Bauble Gift Tags - Print them yourself! | Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Stephanie Lee for Design Mom.

Let’s talk holiday colors for a minute. When you pull out your boxes and bins of decorations, what is the main color you see?

At our house, I would say brown is one of the key colors since we’ve moved to the treehouse — wooden ornaments, pinecones, kraft paper wrapping, burlap ribbon — that sort of stuff. But I’ve tried a few different things over the years. Gold was definitely the key color for the first years of our marriage, and I still have the gold-gilded, papier-maché fruit ornaments I made for our first Christmas together. I also have a long-standing thing for the traditional red and green — in fact, if you were at my house right now, you would see a lot of red and green mixed in with the brown.

Free Colorful Printable Bauble Gift Tags | Design Mom

In addition, there’s one big ornament bin that has less-traditional colors. Pink and turquoise and yellow and purple. It started with a string of lights. In the late 90s Nordstrom based their holiday decor on the book, Olive The Other Reindeer, and they had these awesome lights to match. Globe bulbs in really interesting color combinations. (Does anyone else remember these?) I bought a string and wrapped it around a wreath, and hung it in the kids’ room.

Then, my friend Denise Daniel gave me several boxes of vintage ornaments she found in the very old house she bought — an assortment of gorgeous metallic pastels. I still have every one. They are like treasure! More recently, our daughter Olive added strings of pink lights that she used in a Taylor Swift costume.

Free Colorful Printable Bauble Gift Tags | Design Mom

It may be too late for this year, but I keep thinking I want get one of those bright white artificial trees and fill it with all my pinks and yellows and vintage blues. It would be a totally different look than what I’ve got going on right now, but would look fun in our family room against the colors in this wall map.

And speaking of non-traditional colors, Stephanie Lee, a maker in Australia, sent over these awesome printable gift tags in sherbet shades. They would be perfect under a pink-lit tree! Plus, they make a really good last-minute addition to your packages. Just print, trim and go!

But before we get to printing out gift tags, I’m curious. Do you have a particular color scheme you prefer for the holidays? Do you lean more traditional or more non-traditional? And have you ever switched it up?

Gift tag download and instructions when you click here.

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