Monthly Archives: December 2014

Heartfelt & Handmade Gifts – Holiday Bags

Hi-Lo everyone? Has it gotten cold where you are yet? We had some nice weather in NY this weekend but it’s supposed to get cold again. And frankly, I’m a little happy to hear that. It doesn’t feel like Christmas to me if it’s not cold. There really isn’t much time left with eight days left and counting before Christmas is here. Especially when your goal is to make and give heartfelt and handmade gifts to family and friends. I like to give a mix of purchased and handmade gifts every year. I love getting gifts people put thought, time and energy into. I mean sure a gift card is nice but you feel special when someone goes the extra mile.

Quite a few years back I started making felt bags to give gifts in. These holiday bags are easy and cheap to make, they’re also a lot of fun to decorate. You can personalize them or just decorate them for the holiday.

DIY felt holiday bag


  • Felt
  • Needle
  • White dental floss
  • Sewing machine (optional)

I’m sewing machine challenged and while I know more today than I did a year ago (thanks to my talented niece) I still prefer to sew these with a large needle and dental floss. You can whip these up in no time with a sewing machine if you prefer.

DIY christmas bag

I usually sew mine while I’m watching a movie or something. This is the kind of craft that doesn’t require much thought. You just want to make sure the stitch is straight; it looks a little funny if it’s crooked. I cut two strips of felt for the handles and stitch along both sides. When that’s done I attach them with my glue gun. You can sew them of course but gluing is easier.

I just love making these felt holiday bags for family and friends.

DIY christmas bag

DIY Holiday and Christmas Decorations

Hello and how was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I hope your turkey was juicy, your sides were scrumptious and your dessert was sweet. One of my favorite things to do and kind of a tradition in my home has been to put up the Christmas tree and holiday decorations the day after Thanksgiving. Christmas is one of my FAVORITE holidays; I LOVE this time of year. So it should come as no surprise that I like to enjoy the tree and decorations for as long as I can. Everyday I come home from work and one of the first things I do is plug in the tree. It’s also super fun seeing my boys extra excited all month long, admiring the decorations in the stores and on the streets. And dare I say it, but people are actually a little nicer in New York this time of year.

I struggle with my goal of living a more simplistic lifestyle some days, but I’m still working towards it. So I was determined to decorate this year without bringing a bunch of stuff in the house. I took a peek at what I already had and then shopped around the apartment to see what I could repurpose. I had been poking around Pinterest for weeks and my board was filled with ideas. While I got about 75% of the decorating done that day there are still a few areas that need work.

DIY Holiday & Christmas decorations

I started by making these Christmas Tree Jars. Aren’t they adorable? I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way they turned out, not to mention the fact that I made all three for less than $5. I  grabbed a few washed out glass jars and some Kosher salt from the cabinet. I picked up the red yarn and a pack of miniature trees and sleighs at Michael’s with a 25% off every item coupon. I hot glued the trees to bottom of the jar and filled with salt. Then I grabbed my serving tongs and positioned the sleigh. I finished off the jars by tying a bow around the top with red ribbon because it just looked so plain without anything. The last thing I did was cover the books with some wrapping paper.

Christmas tree jars

I grabbed some decorations from Christmas’ past and moved on to the shelves. I found these reindeers last year on sale at Michael’s and put them in my cart without a second thought. They were plain wood with kinda rusty looking antlers so they got a makeover with some white and silver craft paint. I also picked up the little tree during the same visit. Last year I had this stuff in the kitchen but it looked so nice on the shelf and it fit perfectly.

christmas reindeers

I love using wrapping paper to decorate; it’s such a nice way to add decor that you can change from year to year. I’m a huge fan of red and green, the traditional holiday colors. So I picked up a roll or candy cane inspired paper and wrapped the frames above the IKEA Trofast AKA toy storage. I liked it but it still needed something else… So I printed a snowman and a tree on a manilla folder, cut them out, painted them black and attached with some spray adhesive. If you have a Silhouette you can whip these up super quick but I don’t so I improvised.

christmas frames, holiday decor

The area by the front door gets the same kind of love for every holiday which means I fill the glass hanging thingy with holiday appropriate decor. Being Christmas and all I filled it with a bunch of red ornaments and hung the wooden Santa plaque above the front door.

front door christmas decorations

The lighting in the living room is pretty much nonexistent; fortunately I get a lot of natural light during the day. Right now I have two sources of light but could always use another. One is a lamp on the coffee table by the front door and he second is a three bulb light in the corner. It was looking plain and boring as usual so I decided to spread the Christmas love. I wrapped some artificial garland down the base and tied a bunch of red ribbon bows for a pop of color. So simple, so festive and so inexpensive.

christmas lights

I’m still working on projects for the 25% that I didn’t get to decorate and plan on posting those ideas as soon as I’m done. I’m also DIY’ing some gifts from the heart and planning a holiday party at my house for my toddler, some of his friends and of course their moms. I cant wait to post details about the party; I found some great crafts and ideas on Pinterest.

Let’s take one last look at my holiday decorations.

DIY Holiday & Christmas decorations

How do you decorate for the holidays?