christmas shopping with one click

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Hello my dears, and happy Friday!! I’m in and out today, as I have family in town and a full day of plans with them ahead. I hope you’ve been enjoying all my crafty little DIY gift ideas over the past couple weeks. I’ve sure had fun working on them, and my pile of homemade presents to give is growing daily. I have a few more last minute homemade gift idea up my sleeve, which I will share next week. Today I am here with a shameless plug, as I point you in the direction of my shop, Emmy Lu Design Studio.

I know many of us are feeling the cost-crunch this time of year, and are looking for budget-friendly, yet hip-and-trendy gift ideas. My shop is stocked full of lovely, simple and cheerful printables that can be purchased for a low price, then printed over and over, as many times as you’d like.

This year, I printed off several calendars, slipped them into CD calendar cases, and wrapped them up as a little something for many of my friends. The jewel cases are less than a dollar a piece, and they also double as a stand for the calendars! I bought a five-pack of cases for $3 from Papertrey Ink, and I was so pleased with how quickly I received them, and the nice quality of the end product.

So, all that being said, if you need a last minute gift, or are on a budget, head over to Emmy Lu, and check out my calendars, notecards, recipe cards and gift tags!

the button club {december members}

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Hello blog friends! It’s time for another edition of The Button Club! This month, I have four lovely ladies here to share their favorite Christmas memories with all of us. These women are each amazingly creative in their own ways, and I’d encourage you to visit them at their respective online homes to see their talents in action! I’m so grateful for the inspiration and support that Button Club members provide each month, and I’m thrilled to be able to share my blog so you can be inspired by them too!

This month I asked Button Club members what their favorite Christmas memory is. Before we get to their answers, I’d like to briefly share my own. Christmas has always been a special time to me. I love traditions, and I love celebrating the birth of our Savior. My birthday happens to fall 9 days before Christmas (today, for anyone who’s counting), and my husbands birthday is exactly one week after mine. So, it seems that half the month is spent in celebration I love being with family, and I love the simple joys that surround a night at home, gathered close by the fireplace. One of my very favorite Christmas memories, however, takes place outdoors in the wild woods of northern Minnesota. When I was about 10, my parents and I took a team of our sleddogs into the Boundary Waters for a Christmas day adventure. We crossed frozen lakes, and wound our way through forests laden with snow. At midday, we rested the dogs and made ourselves a hot lunch over a campfire. The snow was falling, and I remember the magic of that moment as if it were yesterday.

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Name: Laurie Ashbach :: Arise Designs / Vine & Branches Gallery / in{side}out blog

Online home: www.insideout-blog.com & www.vbgallery.com

What is a favorite Christmas memory for you? My favorite Christmas memories are that I always have the privilege of being a part of other people’s Christmas giving through my jewelry lines.  Yes, there is an amount of pressure involved, but the satisfaction level is sky high.  There is always some change to be made – engraving, sizing or personalizing that allows me to hear the story behind the gift, who it will be given too and why.  That’s pretty special.  I really get a kick out of thinking of how many presents are being opened and pray that they bless the giver and receiver.  Then with my own family, I’m always making jewelry for the girls, knitting or doing something special with the Christmas meal or table that I hope says, “I love you.”  And I love listening to Christmas music while I create.  Merry Christmas!

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Name: Nathalie Carrigan :: 120 Inspired

Online home: www.120inspired.com

What is a favorite Christmas memory for you? My favorite Christmas memory is digging through our stockings on Christmas morning with my siblings. I love the time spent with family, eating candy and getting so excited about the little perks mom carefully picked out for each one of us. It was the quiet time of the holiday, just our immediate family, and no one had to think about school or work or anything else.

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Name: Emily Steffen :: Emily Steffen Photography

Online home: www.emilysteffenphoto.com

What is a favorite Christmas memory for you? My favorite Christmas memory was our Christmas Eve ritual. We would eat a giant dinner (and giant I mean 3 courses and multiple plates of food and of course a few glasses of Egg Nog), open our presents and play a new family game together while watching a Christmas movie. :)

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Name: Carolyn Tillman :: tilly | maison

Online home: tillymaison.etsy.com

What is a favorite Christmas memory for you? For many years my parents have kept our Christmas celebration small–just our immediate family (which, with 4 other siblings isn’t that small, I suppose). But my favorite holiday memories were a series of years when I was in middle school. For those years our entire extended family would travel to one family’s home and stay together for a few days of celebrating. There is nothing better, in my opinion, than a house packed full of family during the holidays. It somehow magnified every experience–every meal, going to church in a huge group, waiting up for Santa with all the cousins–and made everything so much more memorable. I can totally see myself having a Clark Griswold moment in the future, trying to recreate that fun, old-fashioned, family Christmas. :)

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staying warm and toasty

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Hello friends! I’m here to talk about sewing scarves. I love scarves, and usually have one around my neck all winter long. I’m attributing this to the fact that I hate being cold and that I will take full advantage of any bit of extra warmth I can hold closer to my body. All that being said, when I noticed the growing “infinity scarf” trend, I figured I better try one out.

Feeling extra crafty this holiday season, I decided I would take a shot at making my own. First, I purchased two yards of this lovely plaid flannel that goes with just about everything in my wardrobe (black? check! brown? check! gray? check! white? check!). I cut a piece 12″ wide, by 2 yards long. Then I stitched the two long edges together to make a skinny “tube”. Next, I turned the scarf right side out, so the seams where on the inside of the tube. And here is where it got tricky. (Or maybe not, depending on how skilled you are as a seamstress.) Seeing as I didn’t have a pattern (or a clue about how to do this), I wasn’t sure how to finish the ends so the seams would be hidden. I ended up tucking one end into the other and then folding the exposed end in on itself before hand-stitching around the circle. I know there are better ways of doing this, but for the novice sewer, this method did the trick!

Now, enough about the process… the scarf itself is warm, cozy and easy to wear. I like being able to just loop it around my neck a couple times and forget about fussing with a knot. It’s perfect for wearing with a  winter jacket or vest because the longer loop can tuck in, while the shorter loop can sit higher around your neck.

I ended up sewing another plain scarf (not the infinity version) with the same fabric, and it was a snap to make. I simply sewed a long tube, turned it right side out, then stitched straight across each end, about 4 inches in. Then I took my fabric scissors and cut wide fringes below the seam. If you have a sewing machine and want a really easy Christmas present to make, buy some flannel and go to town on scarves! If you are a novice, just make plain scarves, or if you want a challenge, try your hand at the infinity scarf. Happy sewing, my dears.

p.s. don’t forget to add a “handmade with love” tag!

felt cup cozies

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Over the weekend, one of the projects I tackled was the creation of these felt cup sleeves. I had some scraps of felt left over from another project, and their long, narrow shape looked just right for wrapping around a cup of something hot. I traced a Starbucks cup sleeve onto one such scrap, cut, and then contemplated ideas for ways to embellish it. A strip of twill tape seemed like it would provide a nice, clean accent. However, I was fresh out of twill tape, and there was a blizzard raging outside.

Not one to be easily deterred, I bundled up and walked to our local variety store. It is quite a place. I think at one point it was a Ben Franklin. Now it’s a locally-owned “everything” store, packed to the brim with toys, craft supplies, holiday decor, pets, and who knows what else. I managed to find a spool of red twill tape, which, judging by the picture on the label, must have been from the early nineties.

Back home, I added the twill to the felt before sewing the ends together. The result was pretty cute, but something was still missing. So I came up with a little personalized tag (printed using this method) and then hand stitched one to each sleeve. Now all my friends will have cozy little cup sleeves for their coffee–personalized ones to boot! To make you own, just follow the directions below.

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:: SUPPLIES ::
felt
cardboard cup sleeve to use as a template
twill tape
sewing machine and contrasting thread
fabric and supplies to make tags (directions here)
pinking shears
embroidery floss
needle

:: DIRECTIONS ::

1) Trace cardboard cup sleeve onto felt, then cut along line.

2) Use sewing machine to sew twill tape along the center of the felt.

3) Sew ends of felt together by overlapping slighting, then stitching up and down along the edge.

4) Print fabric tags using this method, then cut with pinking shears, and hand stitch onto center of cup sleeve.

5) Slip the sleeve onto a coffee cup, and share the joy!

snowed in

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The snow started falling on Friday night… big, fat, heavy flakes that quickly began to accumulate. On Saturday morning, we woke to a piles and piles of the white stuff, with more falling by the minute. We were officially in the midst of a Minnesota blizzard. Roads, stores and malls were closed, church was canceled, plow trucks were eventually pulled off the roads, and our beloved Metrodome roof even collapsed from the weight of the snow.

So, you might ask, when snowed in, what does one do? If you’re anything like me, the list might look something like this… craft, clean, cook, sleep in, relax, watch movies, and play in the snow. When I wasn’t cozied up in the cottage with a project on my lap, a meal simmering on the stove, or a movie playing on the TV, I was outside bundled up in my parka and mukluks embracing the cold. I played with Emmy, helped clear snow from the driveway, threw a few snowballs, and even walked to the store in the midst of the blizzard. I can scarcely believe I am about to utter these words… but I actually found myself loving the cold and snow! Strange, right?

Today the high is six degrees, and I don’t think I’m quit so fond of embracing THIS kind of cold. I’m glad to be warm under a blanket with my cup of tea close at hand. I hope your Monday is off to a great start, and that you had a lovely weekend as well. I’ll be back tomorrow with another fun little DIY for you all, so stay tuned!

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