Easy Yarn Wrapped Christmas Tree Decoration

This little joyful thing is so easy that nearly anyone can do it and it utilizes the most basic of crafting supplies. It makes a cute table centerpiece, adorable window decoration, or fun pop of color among Christmas p resents. You can even give them away as gifts!

Supplies:

  • Tape
  • Cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Beads (or other trinkets for decorating)
  • Hot glue gun + extra glue

Steps:

  1. Form your cardstock into a cone shape. Tape in place and cut the bottom excess paper off so that it sits flat.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, good enough is fine.

Slowly wind your way around the cone, gluing as you wind. I like to do a small line of glue and then wind around, sinking the yarn into the same stripe of glue a few times as I go.

If you’re using a regular yarn don’t worry about gaps in between, since you’ll be winding back down to fill it in. If you’re using a textured or fuzzy yarn it can be a little harder to glue down, but it should look great without a second layer. Keep going!

2. Begin the yarn winding process by securing the tip of the yarn inside the cone with a bit of hot glue and pressing it in.

Around the outside on the base, glue down the yarn all the way around. This is to create a stable base.

Slowly wind your way around the cone, gluing as you wind. I like to do a small line of glue and then wind around, sinking the yarn into the same stripe of glue a few times as I go.

If you’re using a regular yarn don’t worry about gaps in between, since you’ll be winding back down to fill it in. If you’re using a textured or fuzzy yarn it can be a little harder to glue down, but it should look great without a second layer. Keep going!

3. When you get towards the top begin securing it with glue a little more often again. At the tip, glue it all the way around.

If you are satisfied with how your tree looks at this point without going back down then skip ahead to the next step. As you can see from my picture, I had some glaringly obvious blue gaps and hot glue, which I wasn’t happy with.

Wind back down the tree, filling in gaps, hiding glue, and fluffing out the tree. Be careful with how you glue now so you don’t need to worry about seeing it later! Secure around the base similarly to before, gluing around so it stays nicely.

Cut the yarn, wrap the tip around the base cone, and secure inside with a dab of hot glue.

4. It’s time to decorate your brand new Christmas tree! Whatever you have on hand as decoration is fair game. Beads, pom poms, bows, ribbons, buttons–whatever it is, have fun! I like to use broken jewelry pieces, too.

Hot glue decorative elements all over your tree to your heart’s content. Don’t forget to select a tree topper! We had these large star beads, so I glued 2 together for my tree topper. I’ve also used broken brooches and ribbon bows as toppers.

5. Decide where you want to display your new mini tree for maximum cheer!

Fuzzy Table Centerpiece

https://www.instructables.com/Yarn-Christmas-Tree/

Easy Pumpkin Custard for Thanksgiving

I loooooooove pumpkin pie. Seriously. It evokes fond memories of Thanksgivings and Christmases from years past, always at my grandma’s house.

Honestly, though, sometimes I don’t feel like baking a pie. It’s easier to put it all in a crockpot, add some toppings, and be done with it. Plus, with the addition of an easy strudel and whipped cream or yogurt, I don’t even miss out on the pie! I won’t lie and say that it’s as good as pie, because let’s be honest, nothing is as good as pie, but it’s very close.  

It’s also nice to have the oven free to prepare other dishes. I don’t know about you, but my family always has a ton of dishes waiting in line to go in the oven.

I use a small crockpot for this. If you want to serve this for a large gathering, simply double the recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 6 eggs
  • 8 tbsp avocado oil, or melted coconut oil, butter, ghee, other cooking fat of choice
  • 1 cup granulated sweetener (stevia, erythritol, monkfruit) 
  • 4 tbsp honey (optional)
  • 1 tbsp molasses 
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla or maple extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or 1 tbsp cinnamon + 1/8 tsp allspice + 1/8 tsp nutmeg 

Directions:

  1. Grease crockpot.
  2. Whisk or blend eggs until thick and foamy.
  3. Beat in sweetener.
  4. Add vanilla/maple extract and pumpkin puree and beat. 
  5. Add coconut flour, spices, salt, and oil. Beat until well mixed.
  6. Optional: At this stage my kids are starting to get mad and impatient that they can’t eat it for hours. Scoop a small amount into a microwave safe container (such as these silicon ramekins) and microwave for 1 minute and serve to the impatient ones. 
  7. Pour mixture into crockpot and wiggle a little to distribute evenly. Insert a paper towel underneath the lid to collect condensation. Set crockpot on low.
  8. Cook 2:30-3:00 hours. Mine usually takes 3xaround 2 hours and 40 minutes.
  9. Serve with this strudel, this whipped cream, a dollop of vanilla ice cream, yogurt, or kefir. 

I know my spice blend isn’t technically pumpkin spice, but I prefer it in some ways. I like the cinnamon to be prominent and here’s some heresy for you: I don’t really like the overpowering notes of ginger or clove in some traditional pumpkin spice mixes.

Stamp Chart Reward System

Sometimes it can be really difficult to get kids to cooperate when you need them to. Believe me, I know. My kids can be as stubborn and ornery as their mom and dad.

One of the best ways that I’ve come up with to get the kids to help out is a stamp chart. It looks like this:

Stamps could easily be exchanged for stickers, but we use stickers elsewhere and my girls really enjoy the process of getting to ink the stamp and press it on paper, so it’s more rewarding for them.

The kids can earn a stamp in a few different ways:

1. Picking up their own messes/cleaning up toys

2. Eating like a civilized person and not throwing stuff

3. Not whining or hitting, aka trying to express emotions with words

4. A day without TV

5. Filling a row on the potty sticker chart

The rewards on the chart are usually a fun trip or activity that the kids enjoy. We try to keep the cheap, easy rewards towards the top and more expensive rewards for the end of the chart. This requires quite a bit of help from the girls to actually get to go do something like go out to eat or go to the riverwalk. The chart ends on the last day of the month, so it’s possible to reach the end without acquiring every reward–and that’s okay, too. It’s okay to not get everything. I want them to see that sometimes you don’t win, and working harder improves your odds. Right now when one of them earns a stamp they both get it, but that will change soon.

This is intended as an active, exciting way to engage them in the process of learning how to help out and pick up after themselves. It’s also a precursor to earning an allowance, or “salary.”

Having said all of this, sometimes it doesn’t work. One kid is almost 3 and the other is going on 2, so they often know better than mom and dad or just want to be bratty (as indicated by the accompanying smirk they give), but it’s alright. Some kind of system is better and more successful than no system at all.

Luxury Multipurpose Body and Hair Oil (and Makeup Remover!)

This can be used as a general facial cleanser with cotton pads. It can also be used as a natural makeup remover.

When I wipe my face with cotton pads after applying, it’s amazing to see how mich comes off on the pad. I don’t know how everyone else’s skin works, but if I have something like a pimple on my face and use this stuff for a day or two it clears right up.

Supplies:

  • A carrier oil (olive oil or coconut oil are great)–I really prefer coconut oil because I like the solid set at the end for easy application.
  • Dry herbs or essential oils: I like calendula, rose petals, chamomile, lavender, and jasmine flowers. Some other great additions include clove, thyme, sage, rosemary, and peppermint.
  • A way to slow-heat your oil. I use a  double boil technique with a glass bowl on the stove.
  • Cheesecloth
  • A small mason jar

Steps:

1. Select your oil and dry herbs. I like using ingredients that are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties, as well as cleansing and nourishing.

2. In a glass bowl, combine oil and dry herbs. Place inside a small pot or pan with about an inch of water. The water should not be touching the bowl.

3. Heat until water boils. Allow herbs to infuse for as long as you can possibly wait (mine is usually 1-2 hours, simply because I’m not patient). Make sure the pot always has water.

4. Remove glass bowl from pot. Remove from heat. Using your cheesecloth, strain the herbs out of the oil into your mason jar.

5. Add some essential oils if you like. Make sure to do this after the oil is off the heat, since essential oils are volatile.

6. Enjoy your new, luxurious oil!

Portable Busy Box

Sometimes you go somewhere, like a restaurant or the doctor’s office, and the kids get bored and restless sitting there. What can you do?

I’ll admit that I have resorted to handing over my phone in some dire circumstances, and although I am never particularly proud of myself for this, I am thankful for the temporary reprieve that it offers.

However, I knew in my bones that there had to be a better way. And then suddenly, after a hankering for turkey lettuce wraps, the solution sat in front of me in the form of an empty lunch meat container.

Just a smallish container and the possibilities became endless.

Supplies:

A small container per child

Art supplies–colored pencils, crayons, markers, stickers, and coloring pages have worked well for me

Small, versatile toys–blocks, figurines, or even a puzzle might be fun

Directions:

Mix and match! I like to change the contents of the containers frequently because I enjoy their surprise when they see what’s inside.

That’s it! Cheap, simple, fun, and effective.

Paper Tulip Bouquet

Happy Mother’s Day, moms!

Last night I wrote up my first instructable for a gift I’m giving my mom tomorrow, and this morning it’s featured on the front page, so that’s awesome. If you don’t have something for mom yet you can find it here:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Paper-Tulip-Bouquet/

My other projects are on here but for this one I suggest looking at the link on Instructables, because you really need the pictures laid out with it and I love how their site handles it.

Exfoliating Herbal Face and Body Scrub

This is really more of a how to, DIY home recipe for a luxurious herbal face and body scrub, but I don’t want it confused with food.

Well, January is feeling great, we’re a week in and I hope most of us are still going strong on those new goals. One surefire way to continue to feel good is to treat yourself right.

As most of you have probably figured out, I don’t generally approve of sugar as a food additive, but there is one thing that it is GREAT for–skincare. Sugar is an incredible exfoliant! Well, and it’s food for attracting ants, so that’s two things. I digress.

If you want to use salt instead, that’s fine, but salts are a bit abrasive, especially on the face, so you might want to powder it in a mortar and pestle first (if you happen to have one lying around). I used salt because we don’t usually keep sugar in the house. My absolute favorite version of this was made with brown sugar as a base. It was wonderful! I would put it on about 5 minutes before getting in the shower and then let it crystallize on my face. I also don’t usually take the time to powder my herbs all the way, because I don’t mind it a little rough and chunky.

Supplies: Disclosure: some of the supplies linked are affiliate links, meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you use this link to make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Steps: 

  1. If you’re using salt as a base substance, grind in a mortar and pestle until a fine powder. Add salt or sugar to mason jar.
  2. Select your herbs. I have chosen mine based on skincare and anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. One at a time, grind each herb in your mortar and pestle (or you can blend them in a blending apparatus for a few seconds).
  4. Add ground herbs to mason jar.
  5. Shake until combined.

That’s it! I love making this stuff, and I enjoy giving it as gifts too.