Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Frames

This year we hosted a Family Halloween Party. Each family dressed up and had a theme to their costumes (The Wizard of Oz, Pirates, etc.) and I took a picture of them as they arrived. I thought it would be fun to give them a little something to remember the evening by so I made these frames for the pictures to go in.


wood frame (I got these at Michael's, they are made by Provo Craft, and they are normally about $7, but I had coupons)

orange craft paint

black craft paint

alphabet stamps (I already had these they are the foam stamps made by Making Memories)

45 inches of ribbon

glue gun

sand paper

To assemble simply paint the whole frame orange and let it dry then lightly sand around all the edges of the frame. Sstamp the word "Boo" on the lower right hand corner. Cut the ribbon into one 21" piece and one 24" piece. Hot glue about a 1/2" of the shorter ribbon on the back left side of the frame and do the same with the larger piece on the right side, both about an inch down from the top. Then tie in a bow off to the left side and then secure the back of the bow to the frame with some glue. Easy, fun, and festive!

submitted by Emily (

Thanksgiving Cards

We moved recently between Christmas and New Year's. Due to the chaos, I never got Christmas cards sent. I love receiving Christmas cards and was nervous that some friends who are "Christmas card friends" wouldn't know my new address in order to send ME Christmas cards, so I came up with Thanksgiving cards.

It was fun to get fall dresses (any excuse for matchy-matchy girl clothes!) and use fall colors. I had the letter inside be based on what each of us was thankful for that year. It was really fun and it felt so good to be completely done with Christmas cards before Thanksgiving even hit! (I have a love/hate relationship with making Christmas cards!) Give it a try!

Submitted by: Hilary

Neighbor Taco Soup

A couple years ago I gave out quart jars of homemade Taco Soup with this tag tied on. (sorry I didn't want to make taco soup just for a photo! Imagine a jar full of yummy soup!) You could include tortilla chips.

My taco soup recipe is as follows:

1 lb. hamburger
1 med. onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
– Combine, brown and drain.

In large (5 qt) pot combine the following:
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can pinto beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 lg can diced, stewed tomatoes
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
Add in meat mixture and water to cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour. (Or, keep the water to a minimum and put it in the crock pot for all day.)

Serve over tortilla chips (or tamales). Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheeses, cubed avocado ... or all three!

Cost is relatively cheap - quart jars, ribbon and then tortilla chips, if desired.

(oh... I delivered them warm and made sure to tell them they weren't canned (processed), so they did need to be refrigerated until being eaten.)

Submitted by Hilary

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Card/Gift Making Gathering

This is something I have wanted to do for a couple years but haven't yet. Hopefully this year will be the one!

I think it would be fun to host a casual get together towards the end of November where everyone can come and get their Christmas Cards done. Whether it's hand making the cards or simply stuffing the envelopes and addressing them. How nice would it be to have something that made you get it all done so you could drop your finished cards in the mail by Dec 1st! If someone doesn't send cards they could bring any handmade gifts they might be making to work on.

And of course anyone who knows me knows food would need to be involved and since this is a stressful time of year I think this would be a great night for take out or some sort of soup in the crock pot and rolls.

submitted by Emily(

Girlfriends Christmas Party

You may want to get a glass of water, this is a long one!

Last year I decided that instead of doing individual gifts for close friends I would have a Dinner Party instead. It was so much fun to plan and attend. My friend Alisha is always up for a party and helped out a ton. This idea could easily be adapted to a couples dinner party, you could do a progressive dinner with neighbors if you are close with several of them, or you could just use some of the little ideas of things we did at the party.

First I made these invitations.

I combined a place card and favor into one as shown below.

We had a couple different appetizers as guests were arriving and then for our meal we had Christmas salad, Cornish Game Hens with Wild Rice Stuffing, Homemade Rolls, and a fruit salad. For dessert we had Hot Chocolate and a delicious cake that Alisha made.

After dinner we painted picture frames and then added the word "JOY" to them with vinyl lettering. I got the frames from Micheals for $1 and the vinyl lettering online from Just a little holiday decoration they could take home to remember their evening.

Then we had a dessert gift exchange. Each girl brought a favorite holiday dessert in a nice serving dish to give away (serving piece included). We did the exchange white elephant style so you could steal back and forth to try and get what you wanted.

Adrianne's tray of chocolates from Harry & David and Chocolate Mousse Cups

I made English Trifle

Alisha made a cranberry pear tart

Kelly made a chocolate peppermint trifle

All in all it was a great night with friends, food, and visiting. This years is already in the works!

submitted by Emily(

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Christmas Card

This was our Christmas Card from last year. I actually don't recommend it if you need to make a large amount. I darn near killed myself rounding so many corners last year. Anyway, I just photoshoped and printed off the pics of the kids in strips, cut them apart and rounded all the corners. Printed the text out on the computer and punched it out with a circle punch. Printed the Merry Christmas on the computer and cut it out and rounded the corners and then put it all together. So, if you only have a few cards to make or if you can adapt it without all the corner rounding go for it. If not, learn from my corner rounding fiasco!

submitted by Emily(

Christmas Party Invite

These were the invitations I made last year for a Girlfriends Christmas Party. Simple but fun.

I used some white cards that were already cut and scored, ran them through the printer and printed all the info I wanted on the inside. Found some fun patterned paper, used red velvet ribbon from Michael's and then the snowflake stamp was embossed with some glittery blue embossing powder. I know these aren't very specific instructions, but I figure with cards it's kind of a look at it and adapt it the way you want. Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments and I'll answer them.

submitted by Emily(

Friday, October 19, 2007

Christmas Countdown

I made this last year when I had to come up with a quick extra craft for our
Super Saturday craft day at church. It's a little chalkboard countdown to
Christmas. It would be a fun gift for someone before Christmas so they
could use it during December.

It's just a 12x12 artist canvas (it cost around $5). I painted it black
with craft paint. You need to use several coats because the canvas really
absorbs the paint. Then I glued a scalloped edge piece of Bazzill cardstock
on top of that, and then topped that with the red holly patterned paper.

I printed off "Days Until Christmas" on my computer, and mounted that on
green cardstock. I put pewter brads through the corners of the cardstock,
before I attached it to the canvas. It would be very hard to get those tiny
brads through all that paper and the canvas.

I punched a hole in each upper corner of a square of chipboard, and then
used several coats (you must use several coats) of chalkboard spray paint to
turn it into a little chalkboard. I put a large decorative brad (this one
was through the canvas) in to make a picture hanger type effect, and then
put ribbon through the holes of the little chalkboard. I did attach the
chalkboard to the canvas with adhesive, though, because it would not stay
without that. So, it just looks like it's hanging there.

As an added touch, I stapled a loop of ribbon to the top for a chalk holder.
You can staple it to the wooden frame on the back of the canvas.

My kids loved erasing and writing in the new number each day as we counted
down toward Christmas.

You could hang it on the wall, but I don't have much wall space, so I put it
in a decorative plate holder and keep it on a table.

Submitted by Kelly (

Altered Photo Tiles

Here is an idea, not mine originally, but it is super cute and inexpensive. Simply purchase some tiles, any size, color and texture you'd like; pick up some Mod Podge, and some clear glaze. Choose some pictures from your stash or have a few of your favorites printed up. Crop the photo to the size you think would look best on the tile. Play around first before you start mod podging! I put some rubons on the picture. You could also put some on the tile before you start mod podging. You can also use some things from your scrapbooking stash, such as rubons, stickers, or cardstock to back the photo with.

These are the directions:
1. Clean and dry the tile. Decide how you want the photos placed on the tile, and put any rub ons or stickers on before starting Step 2.
2. Dip your paint brush (the sponge kind works well) in the Mod Podge, and brush on tile gently but quickly, working from center out in long strokes. You can keep strokes all in the same direction or not, depending on the look you want. Once tile is well coated move on to step 3.
3. Get your photo and put a small amount of mod podge on the back, especially the edges.
4. Place the photo where you want it on the tile, gently pressing down, especially the edges. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
5. After 30 minutes, get more mod podge on the brush, working from center of photo outward again, covering the entire photo and tile. Once it is well covered, you can decide to make it a clean look or a cross hatch look, or gently go over with a sponge for a textured look. Then using a toothpick, pop any little bubbles that you see, and go back over that area to clean it up.
6. Let tile dry for at least 24 hours
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6.
8.Go outdoors or in a well ventilated area and spray the tile evenly with the gloss.
9. Let dry at least 24-48 hours.

These are the supplies:
Mod Podge matte (I found mine at Michaels)
Triple Thick Clear Glaze (Crafts Etc!) or any clear glaze you can find (I found mine at Michaels)
tiles (I got mine at Lowe's or Home Depot for under a $1 depending on size)
sponge paint brush (Michaels)
Small easel to stand the tile on (I purchased mine at AC Moore, but I am sure you can find them in any frame department.)

I believe the entire cost of one tile was $5 or less depending on the kind of tile you purchase and the kind of easel you buy!

Submitted by Liz

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Trunk of Treats

Trunk of Treats

I saw something very similar to this on Hobby Lobby’s website, but changed it. All of my supplies were bought at Michael’s craft store.

The boxes are $4, I used a dark brown acrylic paint to paint the box, the orange paper is 59 cents, and the green paper underneath has a sheen to it so it is 99cents. The ribbons were each $1.99 and you can get 2 boxes worth from each spool. I also cut out the flower on the orange paper and stacked them for the raised look. You can put what ever saying you like on the box, I just happened to choose this one. I also made boxes with blue accents instead of green and they are really cute. You can then fill the boxes with whatever you like. These are great for visiting teaching, neighbors, etc.

Total cost: about $7-8 (this includes the candy)

submitted by Megan(

Mayflower Kid Craft

Let’s just clarify – this is a kid craft! But, my daughter brought it home from first grade last year, and I thought it was so cute. It’s the Mayflower!


1 (clean) half gallon milk carton (cardboard kind, not the plastic bottle kind)
2 apples
2 skewers
Brown paper for covering the milk carton
White paper to make sails
Tissue Paper

Cut off one side of the milk carton (see photo to make sure you cut the right side). Cover outside with brown paper. Cut four sails from white paper. Poke the skewer through them. Put one skewer in each apple. Put the apples in the carton, and cover with tissue paper to hide the apples.

submitted by Kelly(

Christmas Card

This was my Christmas card last year. I love square, but it is extra postage, just fyi. They are just a 6 x 12 piece of cardstock, folded in half to make a 6x6 square. Then I had a strip of striped paper topped with lime rick-rack. I found a bunch of "merry christmas" rubons on clearance somewhere, but you could also do something on the computer. Then I cut it out with a scalloped oval punch and fastened with lime brads.

submitted by Kelly (

Halloween Treat Boxes

Here's a Halloween gift I made last year for my girls at Church. I bought the little take out boxes from and filled them candy, halloween jelly bracelets and other little halloween trinkets that I bought from

The take out boxes were around $3-4 (maybe less??) for a dozen and then I just filled it. I'm guessing each box including candy and stuff was around 75 cents. I made cards out of my scraps and I called it a day.

submitted by MaryRuth (

Pampering Kit

This gift is not unique but its fairly easy to put together... I just got paint cans, covered them with scrapbook paper and filled them with spa stuff... lotions, candles, bath salts, etc. The cans weren't expensive to make and you can keep the cost down depending on what you put in it. These are the gifts that I gave to the YW presidency that I work with and my close girlfriends.

submitted by MaryRuth (


These are "coasters" that I made. We have a group of friends that we got together with weekly to play games and such. One of the couples had a really nice table and she made everybody use coasters all the time... it became an inside joke and we would use coasters at each persons house when we played games... so I made each couple a set of coasters.

Each "coaster" was a tile that I bought from Home Depot and I got adhesive felt from Michael's cut it down to size and stuck it on the back. I stamped the names with my scrapbook stamps and used a Stayzon ink pad... I think any ink pad would work.

Each coaster had the couples name stamped on it and then the rest of the four coasters were stamped with "Friend #1", "Friend #2", "Friend #3", Friend #4"... They were a hit and everybody loved them. Depending on whose house we would go to everybody would fight over who got to be "Friend #1" :) It was super cheap. I don't remember exactly how much the coasters were but I think the whole set of six coasters was less than $5.

submitted by MaryRuth (

Hot Chocolate Buckets

This one is a "Hot Chocolate" Bucket. I got the buckets from Target in their Dollar Spot. I filled it with hot chocolate packets, peppermints, baggies of marshmallows, baggies of chocolate chips, and peppermint Hershey kisses... tied them up with a card and gave them to ward members and my VT sisters.... the cost was pretty inexpensive... I'm guessing around $2.00 if that much?

submitted by MaryRuth (

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Peppermint Truffle Cake

For the last few years my friend and neighbor gifts have been these Peppermint Truffle Cakes. I usually decide on one day where it’s cake day, and then all I do is make these cakes. I usually do between 15 and 20. That sounds insane, but I have it down to a science. I do have a few bundt pans, which helps. It’s a chocolate cake with a peppermint fudge filling, and a cream cheese icing drizzled on, and topped with crushed peppermints. So tasty!

I don’t know exactly how much they cost, but you can find the cake mixes on sale for really cheap, and while cream cheese is pricey, you only use 1 ½ ounce per cake. I usually get some big round festive trays at a party store (but last year we could only find clear, so I dressed them up with some printed tissue paper), to put the cakes on. You will need something bigger than the average paper plate. Then I wrap them with clear cellophane and tie with a ribbon (preferably red and white to go with the peppermint theme). Polka dots or stripes are super cute.

Here’s the recipe:

1 (6-oz.) package (or 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips.
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk – you want the sweet, sticky stuff)
½ teaspoon peppermint extract

1 (18.25-oz.) pkg. devil’s food cake mix
1 (8-oz.) container nonfat sour cream (you can use the fat kind, too)
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs

¾ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ oz. cream cheese, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
6 hard peppermint candies, finely crushed

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan (or bundt pan). (Pam with Flour makes this sooo easy.) In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds; stir until melted and smooth. If necessary, microwave an additional 10 to 20 seconds. Set aside.

2. In large bowl, combine all cake ingredients; beat with electric mixer at low speed until combined. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Spoon into greased and floured pan. Drop spoonfuls of filling over batter, keeping filling away from sides of pan.

3. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted ner center comes out clean and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. (Center of cake may sink slightly during cooling.)

4. In medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, cream cheese and 1 tablespoon of the milk; beat with wire whisk until smooth, adding additional milk until of desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle icing over cooled cake. Sprinkle with crushed candy. Store in refrigerator.

HIGH ALTITUDE (ABOVE 3500 FT): For cake, add 2 tablespoons flour to dry cake mix. Decrease oil to 2 tablespoons and increase eggs to 4. Bake at 375°F for 40 to 45 minutes.

submitted by Kelly (

Simmering Scent Jars

I'm really sorry I don't have a picture for this idea but it is a great one. We did these for several years for neighbor/ward member gifts and they were always a huge hit.

Simmering Scent Jar
Cost: $2 or $3 (depending on what supplies you already have at home)

To be written on tag and attached to jar:
Pour contents into saucepan on stovetop and simmer
on low heat, add water as needed.
Refrigerate to keep fresh.

Items needed: 1 pint jar, 2 lemon wedges, 1 lime slice, 2 orange slices, 3 cinnamon sticks, 2-3 Tbsp. whole cloves, 3 bay leaves, small fabric scrap, small piece of twine/jute/ribbon.

Directions: Place ingredients in pint jar and fill with water. Top with small piece of fabric secured by tying ribbon or twine around lid. Attach tag.

submitted by Emily (

Family Movie Night Gift

We did this as a Christmas gift for several families in our ward that we were close to as well as some good neighbor friends.

I bought these cute popcorn bowls at Tai Pan Trading (in UT) and then filled them with supplies from the Dollar Store for a family movie night. I loved the idea of a gift that this gift let the family spend time together during such a busy time of year.

Large bowl/container
2 boxes of movie candy
box of microwave popcorn
old classic type movie (or you could do a Blockbuster Gift Card)
tags with personal message
newspaper to stuff the bottom of the bowl with so that the goodies stand out

Total cost: Approx $10 (can be done for considerably less with a different container)

submitted by Emily (