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Children’s Advent Calendar

25 Dec

When I was young, my aunt made my cousin and I a felt advent calendar. It’s almost 20 years old now and I still use it every year. I wanted to make my nephews something special they could look forward to each Christmas as well. So I decided to make a felt advent calendar for them too!

Supplies:
Christmas Fabric (1/2 Yard)
Red Felt (1/2 Yard)
Green Felt (1/2 Yard)
Assorted Sheets of Felt in all different colors
1 dowel
Ribbon
Craft Glue
Scissors
Velcro
puff paint

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I wound up buying way too much fabric and felt ( A yard of each…I have enough extra to make a blanket). You really don’t need much to do this, but it’s good to have a little extra incase you make any mistakes. I spent about $18 on this project, but you could probably get away with spending much less.

Lay your red felt out and cut it to the desired size. Mine was about 36″ x 15″…but I honestly didn’t measure anything. Cut your christmas fabric a little larger on all sides to make a border with it. Then fold your green fabric in half and cut to make a symmetrical Christmas tree. The tree should take up about half of your red fabric when laid out.

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Next is the fun part (and the time consuming part). Come up with 25 different Christmas ornaments for your tree. Make sure you keep your felt tree nearby so you can test and make sure they’ll all fit as you make them.
Don’t forget the star for the top!

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Cut 25 little squares big enough to hold your ornaments. I didn’t cut mine to be a specific size, they all are a little different, but I think it looks more fun that way.

Fold over your christmas fabric and glue it to your red fabric for a boarder. If you sew- that would work too. Glue down each pocket as well. When I glued mine down I put scrap felt in each one to puff out the pockets and make sure the ornaments would fit. (You can see the difference in the bottom 2 rows that I started compared to the top 3)

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Grab some puff paint and number each pocket. Be sure you put something like paper in each pocket just to make sure the puff paint doesn’t stick through to the felt.

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I bought sticky velcro and cut tiny squares of the rougher side. Stick one to the back of each ornament and put them each in a pocket. Each day of December, take out an ornament and place it on the tree.

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By December 25th your tree will be all filled up!

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I cut a hole on each side of the backer christmas fabric and pushed a dowel through it. I tied a ribbon to the dowel so it can hang on a door!

Happy Holidays from the Two Girls! Hope you all have a very crafty Christmas!

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Wrapping ideas

21 Dec

Janlynn has graciously sponsored the Two Girls and sent us some awesome crafting supplies! They really do have everything every crafter could need- take a look at their site if you have a second, you’ll be hooked! They also do giveaways on their Facebook each week (and who doesn’t love giveaways?!).

They provided us with lots and lots of embroidery floss. I wasn’t sure what to use it for at first…I wasn’t in the mood to make friendship bracelets…but then I thought about gift wrapping!

photo 3-3-Emily

Mint Chocolate Body Butter

19 Dec

 

 

My DIY Christmas continues with some homemade body butter! I based the recipe off of the one I saw over at Wellness Mama, but I quadrupled the ingredients and made them holiday scented.

Ingredients:

16 oz. Shea Butter

16 oz. Cocoa Butter

16 oz. Almond Oil

16 oz. Coconut Oil

Approximately 30 drops of essential oils – I used Peppermint and Spearmint

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Here are all of the supplies, which actually doesn’t even look like much! I purchased an entire essential oils kit because I wasn’t sure what scent I wanted to go with at that point.

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The recipe says to heat everything except the essential oils in a double boiler so I just used a heat-safe glass bowl, but as you can see it was very very full.

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I switched over to this large sauce pot about halfway through to cut back on spillage possibilities.

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This is what it will look like completely melted. It took about 20 minutes to get to this point and as long as the heat is on about medium, there’s really no need to even watch it – so simple! This is where I added my essential oils because there was no direction in the recipe for when to add them.

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Once everything is melted, the recipe says to let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes before popping it in the refrigerator to cool longer – I just went straight to the fridge and had no problems. It will take longer than the estimated hour to set up though, so keep an eye on it. You want to take it back out of the fridge once it is almost hard, as you can see above I tested it with my finger and it should have a little give but still be a little soft.

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Once the mixture has reached that point, you can take out your beaters and start whipping the body butter to your desired consistency. The mixture will warm up and melt a bit the longer you whip it, so I actually did a double whip, cooling it in the fridge for about 5 minutes in between. IMG_0053

After you’ve whipped the mixture, back in the fridge it goes. You can let it sit there as long as you want, but I was anxious and gave it only about an hour before I portioned it out among my glass jars. I used 8 oz jars that I bought in bulk on Amazon. This recipe filled up 10 and a half of the jars.

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Onto the labels – I debated between hanging labels and glued labels, glued won this round so I used Adobe Illustrator to design them. The labels measure 2″x8″ and don’t wrap completely around the jars.

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I printed these on some thicker cardstock paper and just ran a small bead of super glue down the short ends of the label to secure them.


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Here they are, all finished! I love that the labels all look the same but are each a bit different. I am so excited to give these out to friends and family – they smell almost exactly like Thin Mints, the texture is wonderful and the ingredients are all natural. As usual, there are so many variations that can be done on this project and overall it only took one day to make and cost about $5 per container. Win. Win. Win. Ho. Ho. Ho.

–Heather

DIY Photo Booth

17 Dec

What makes an amazing holiday party even better? A photo booth! But who wants to spend $1,000 on renting one for just 3 hours when you could make one yourself for less than $5 and keep it up all night long!

My friend Stephanie just had the holiday party of the season and she decided to make her own photo booth. It was the talk of the night and made the party even more fun. The more the guests had to drink…the better the photos got! So here are all the steps you need to make your very own photo booth.

Supplies:
Crepe Paper
Wrapping Paper
an iPad
Construction paper and wooden dowels
Scissors
Glue
Random assortment of props

“I started by covering the back wall with colorful wrapping paper (I would suggest something simple with geometric shapes or a simple pattern), and then taping crepe paper in a line so it hung down to the floor over the paper.”

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“For the props, I just had a wicker bench to serve as the seat, and put two tables next to it to hold a box of props on one and the ipad on the other.”

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“Props included mustaches that I drew, santa hats, funny headbands, reindeer antlers and a red nose I made out of glittery foam. I wanted to include a chalkboard for people to write their own messages, or had a sign that said “I’ve been naughty/nice”, but didn’t make it that far. Another suggestion would be to have mistletoe!”

“I made a frame out of cardboard covered in glitter. This turned out to be the favorite prop of the night!”

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“To take the pictures, I used an app on the iPad called “Pocketbooth”, which was simple to use and had a self-timer (someone needed to hold it up because I didn’t have a stand, but if you can rig something up- that would be even better).

“It was cheap ($1.99!) and pictures could easily be saved to the camera roll, emailed or posted right to facebook or twitter.”

-Stephanie

Thanks for sharing the ins and outs of making this awesome photo booth, Steph! It was a huge hit and super fun and easy to make. It’s definitely worth the $1.99 investment in the app.

If you don’t have an iPad- no worries! A lot of people were posing, using the props, and taking photos on their own phones or cameras as well. Definitely the perfect addition to any holiday party.

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-Emily

Pinecone Garland

12 Dec

Christmas season is in full swing and the carols have been playing in my car since Thanksgiving! If you don’t know yet, Christmas is my favorite, but now that I’m not living at home anymore, I have ZERO Christmas decorations(besides an adorable snow globe). I knew I needed to fix this ASAP. Michaels was having a sale on pinecones, I knew my family had some string lights to spare and -get ready for this- Two Girls have their first official sponsors! Janlynn, a craft supplier based out of Chicopee, MA, has offered to send us some project supplies and feature our projects on their Facebook page!

IMG_0026Woo! Look at all the fun things we got! And just in time because I was running very low on embroidery floss and this package was overflowing with all different colors of thread.

IMG_0027And wouldn’t you know it, there was some sparkly Christmas colored thread just aching to be used in this project.

IMG_0029To start, I just tied the tops of the pinecones with gold and red embroidery floss, making a loop at the top.

IMG_0034There ended up being about 50 pinecones in two bags from Michaels.

IMG_0036Here is the step that I would skip if I did the project again, I just wasn’t quite sure where I was going to take it at this point. I had strung all of the loops along one long piece of string. I ended up using the loops and just tying each one to a bulb along the string of 60 lights, so the extra string was unnecessary.

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The embroidery floss shimmers in the light and the pinecones cast beautiful shadows.

IMG_0056I had originally planned on hanging the garland in my room, but I knew that sharing the Christmas cheer with my roommates was a better idea, so the garland found its home on our entertainment area.

What’s great about this garland are the many ways it can be customized – paint, glitter, colored lights, no lights, ribbons, etc. and they fit both fall and winter decor. So get into the holiday spirit with an easy project that’s bound to liven up the atmosphere!

Heather

DIY Snow Globe Soaps

26 Nov

This is perfect for the beginner soap makers out there who would like to make some personalized soaps in bulk for holiday gifts. I got this idea from the Alpha Mom blog. I stumbled on it when I was searching easy soap recipes and it was just too cute not to try. It cost me about $15 in supplies and took about an hour from start to finish. This makes homemade gifts for about 30 people, so in my book- this is an amazing project.

Supplies:

Glycerine
Soap Dye
Soap Scent
Soap Glitter
Mixing Bowl
1 White bar soap (I used Dove)
Ice Cube tray
Measuring cup
Cheese Grater
Holiday buttons, toys, figurines, ect…

Don’t be afraid by the word “Glycerine”. It was actually very easy to find at the store. I made one stop at my local A.C Moore and found all of the soap materials I needed including the glycerine.

Chop up your glycerine into ice cube-shaped blocks (which is pretty easy if you get the block of glycerine like I did). Then shave your white bar soap with your cheese grater into a pile.

Put about 6 of your glycerine chunks into a mixing bowl for 1 minute.

Gloppy goo. So add your soap dye, scent, and soap glitter to the bowl. I added 2 drops of blue and about 8 drops of lavender vanilla scent. I was iffy about the soap glitter- but I’m really glad I decided to use it. It makes the end product sparkle and seem more “winter-ish”, and it doesn’t come off at all on your hands when you use the soap. So I would definitely recommend picking up a little jar (I think it was about $3 and well worth it).

So here is where there is a little guess work involved. Stick your goop back into the microwave for about 20 seconds at a time. You want it to be as liquid as possible.

Pour your soap liquid into a measuring cup so it’s easy to pour into your ice cube trays. WORK QUICK! This is another one of those projects that I wasn’t able to take as many photos of the process as I would have wanted. If your  mixture solidifies, just put it back in the microwave.

Fill your ice cube tray only about 3/4 of the way up. You want to leave a little room for your “snow”. Place your fun little figurines into each cube while it is solidifying. I found little gingerbread men, snowflakes, and other fun embellishments in the scrap-booking section.

Sprinkle the white bar soap shavings on top of the soaps (which should now be turning solid) and then add pour the last bit of your liquid glycerine on top of each cube to make sure the “snow” sticks.

Pop the tray in your freezer for about 20 minutes, pull out, and enjoy!

I packaged mine with clear sandwich bags and ribbon. I’m keeping them in my fridge until I’m ready to give them as little gifts this holiday.

These would be perfect for the child who frequently skips washing their hands. Once they use up the soap- they have a little toy!

Happy Holidays!

-Emily

Cinnamon Ornaments

14 Dec
The holiday season is in full swing and my Christmas spirit is unstoppable lately! Growing up I was always partial to the christmas ornaments on our tree that were homemade and frankly a bit ratty looking; you just can’t buy that type of nostalgia in a store. There was this one ornament in particular, made from a cinnamon dough and shaped like a cow that always intrigued me. This year I stumbled upon a recipe (thanks Martha Stewart!) for cinnamon ornaments and knew I would be testing them out. 
Supplies:
Cinnamon
Applesauce
Glue
Glitter
Ribbon
Stencil or cookie cutter
So as you can see, I had tested out a few tree ideas in my sketchbook and settled on the one in the middle with the bubble around it. I had initially thought I would just draw the design out bigger on a piece of cardboard but the shape just didn’t have the same feel to it as the sketch did.

Luckily I have an all-in-one printer that I used to copy and enlarge my sketch so I didn’t have to keep trying to recreate it. 

I knew the sketch would leave the limbs of the tree a little too flimsy to work with this type of dough, so I traced the tree a little bit fatter than my sketch.

Using my trusty utility knife, I cut out my stencil. Now this project would have gone probably five times faster if I had just used a cookie cutter, but surprisingly I couldn’t find cookie cutters anywhere that I was in love it. 

I went to the dollar store for the cinnamon and applesauce – I figured quality was not top priority for this dough and didn’t want to use up our cinnamon supply so soon before Christmas.

Here is what the dough looked like. First you add the cinnamon and applesauce together then mix in the glue. I found that the dough was still too dry and crumbly at that point and was adding water little by little until it was a rollable consistency. 

The stencil tracing was the most time consuming part, but look at how cute those little babies are!

All ready for the oven!

Can’t forget to make holes to string them from. Martha used a straw to poke holes, but that was too big for these ornaments, so I just used a toothpick and widened a hole.
So the recipe calls for baking them for 2 hours at 200 degrees, flipping once halfway through. At this point I realized the ornaments were sticking pretty badly to the wax paper. Luckily I had another hour while they finished cooking to come up with an idea to fix them.

Once they were cooled down, I painted the sides with the paper stuck to them white and you would never know that they had a little mess up. In the future I would definitely sprinkle a layer of cinnamon down on the wax paper before baking to try to combat the sticking.

Ready for trimming! I just used some glue and glitter to make the limbs look a little snowy.
Stringing them up looked like it was going to be a bit of a task; the holes were small and the ribbon was fraying at the end. My solution was to tape the end of the ribbon and stick all of them on at once and just cut the ribbon down for each one from there. 

Happy Holidays everyone!
–Heather
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