Tree Farm Family Christmas Photos & Christmas Cards with your Silhouette

Family Christmas Photos simply styled at a tree farm - perfect for a Christmas card!

 

I worked with my very favorite photographer (and good friend!) Amber of Amber Roy Photography for a super fun photo shoot a few weeks ago!  I styled the shoot for both of our families, and she took some absolutely beautiful photos.  I was inspired by lots of different creative ideas on Pinterest to put together my own little vignette – so I thought I’d share some of the photos with you in case they can help inspire someone else!

 

Family Christmas Photos simply styled at a tree farm - perfect for a Christmas card!

 

The set up was really pretty simple!  A red plaid blanket (with a waterproof picnic blanket underneath), an upside down milk crate along with milk and cookies, plus a few teddy bears for cuddling.  I whipped up another paper circle garland like I did for my sister’s graduation party – they are really so easy!  It added a bit of extra interest and festivity to the background without taking away from the rustic feel of a Christmas tree farm.

 

Family Christmas Photos simply styled at a tree farm - perfect for a Christmas card!

 

The cookies weren’t just for decoration…they made for a precious daddy-daughter shot too :-)

 

Family Christmas Photos simply styled at a tree farm - perfect for a Christmas card!

 

I picked up some cheap ornaments and tinsel at Goodwill to use as props for tree decorating (that way if they got dirty or broken I wouldn’t care.)

 

Family Christmas Photos simply styled at a tree farm - perfect for a Christmas card!

 

Of course we took the opportunity to get a few belly shots, too – I love this one of the baby bump with the little toddler legs!

 

Family Christmas Photos simply styled at a tree farm - perfect for a Christmas card!

 

And I wish I could give credit to whoever came up with this adorable idea in the first place…I’ve seen it several places around Pinterest so I don’t know who was the original!  We brought along Addy’s Cozy Coupe, some rope, and the top part of an artificial Christmas tree to get this shot.

 

Family Christmas Photos simply styled at a tree farm - perfect for a Christmas card!

 

For you local readers, Amber Roy Photography is a is a maternity, newborn and family photographer located in State College Pennsylvania serving the Penn State community and surrounding Central PA areas.  She took first birthday photos for our little girl and they were absolutely beautiful.  I’d highly recommend her!

 

Use your Silhouette to create simple and fun Christmas cards

 

I thought I’d share our Christmas cards with you, too, since they were at least semi-DIY.  We threw them together kind of last-minute, and with that plus the cost of printing/sending and the energy it takes to gather addresses and actually assemble and address so many cards, we didn’t send very many of them (just a handful to close friends and family)…but nonetheless, I’m glad we got something out this year!

 

I knew I wanted to use my Silhouette for a small element of the card, so I decided to have a more traditional photo card printed but add an extra insert cut out with my Silhouette.  I designed both the card and the chalkboard insert in Photoshop (the insert uses this design from Miss Kate’s Cuttables).  I imported the insert design into Silhouette Studio and added the cut lines, selected my registration marks, and then “printed” to PDF so I could take the file to the print shop.  I had them print color copies on white card stock so I could bring them home and cut them with my Silhouette.  (I describe the process of doing a print and cut with professional prints more in detail in this post!)

 

Use your Silhouette to create simple and fun Christmas cards

 

I had the photo cards printed and cut as well, so all I had to do once I cut my inserts was to use some pop dots to attach them to the cards.

 

Use your Silhouette to create simple and fun Christmas cards

 

That popped up insert just adds a little extra “something” to the cards, but were really quick to assemble and stuff into envelopes!

 

Use your Silhouette to create simple and fun Christmas cards

 

I wish I could send a Christmas card to each and every one of you, lovely readers!  But you’ll just have to accept my virtual sentiment instead.  Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones – may your days through this holiday season be merry and bright!


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A Whimsical and Fun Holiday Table + a $500 Wayfair GC Giveaway!

 This post is sponsored by Wayfair.com – as always, all thoughts and opinions are completely my own!

 

Some super cute holiday table decor - let loose and have fun with your Christmas table decor!

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I often get caught up in the world of beautiful home decor on Pinterest, especially around Christmastime.  The stunning mantle displays, tasteful front porch decorations, perfect tablescapes…it’s all so pretty!  But lately, I’ve been feeling like I need to give myself “permission” to be imperfect and just LIVE in my house, specifically when it comes to my holiday decorations.  Not every corner of my home needs to look like a page out of a magazine.  It’s okay to choose a decor item just because I like it, not because it goes with a color scheme or fits a trend.  Same goes for when I’m entertaining!

 

So, on that note, I’ve put together an inspiration board of “whimsical and fun” holiday table decor from Wayfair.com, perfect for holiday entertaining.  It’s a collection of items that made me smile, and would look terrific all together on a Christmas table!  Here are the details:

 

Whimsical and fun holiday table decor

 

1. – Flatware Set

2. – Peppermints Spreader

 

Whimsical and fun holiday table decor

 

 3. – Poinsettia Table Runner

4. – Tempered Glass Plate Set

 

Whimsical and fun holiday table decor

5. – Snowman Cookie Plate

6. – “Holiday Hoot” Platter

 

Whimsical and fun holiday table decor

 

 7. – Ornament and Napkin/Placecard Holder Set

8. - “Holiday Hang-Ups” Stemless Wine Glasses

 

And if that’s not enough to put a smile on your face, the friendly folks over at Wayfair.com have put together a fun holiday giveaway – a $500 Wayfair gift card!  Just think of all the fun and whimsical things you could stock up on with that!  (Okay, maybe some practical things too…but promise me, if you win, you’ll buy at least one thing just-for-fun!)

 

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If you need it, I officially “give you permission” to stop obsessing over perfect holiday decor and just have some fun with your holiday entertaining!

 

Have you been stressing about how your house looks this holiday season?  What is one thing that you need to give yourself permission to let go of?

 

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Graham Cracker Houses and Reindeer Peanut Butter Balls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PBandG #CollectiveBias

Don't forget about this fun holiday activity for your kids - make an easy gingerbread house out of graham crackers!

 

It’s a two-for-one post today, folks…two fun ideas you can try with just one box of Honey Maid Graham Crackers!  I picked up a box at Walmart the other day – you can find them in the cracker aisle, just look for the blue box.

 

Don't forget about this fun holiday activity for your kids - make an easy gingerbread house out of graham crackers!

The first is not a new one to you, I’m sure, but worth a reminder in case you’ve forgotten about this fun project to do with your kids…use some Honey Maid Graham Crackers to make a simple “gingerbread” house!

 

Here are a few tips -

 

Make your house whatever shape you’d like!  A serrated bread knife (using a saw motion with almost no pressure) works well to cut the graham crackers if you need to.

 

Don't forget about this fun holiday activity for your kids - make an easy gingerbread house out of graham crackers!

 (yes, that is a gummy snowman on the roof of the house.  Addy wasn’t really going for “realistic” here.)

A piece of cardboard (I used a box flap) covered with freezer paper makes a great base for your house, or even a little village!  A styrofoam or paper plate would work, too.

 

Don't forget about this fun holiday activity for your kids - make an easy gingerbread house out of graham crackers!

 

Royal icing is the ultimate frosting “glue” – it will hold together anything!  I used meringue powder instead of egg whites so it was safe to eat.  If you’re not ambitious enough to make a batch of icing, though, store bought icing will get the job done too.

Use a muffin tin to contain all of your candy decorations – it keeps everything within reach, and it’s virtually impossible to knock over.

Cover an ice cream cone with green frosting to make a Christmas tree!

 

Don't forget about this fun holiday activity for your kids - make an easy gingerbread house out of graham crackers!

 

My two year old had a blast making her gingerbread house!

 

Don't forget about this fun holiday activity for your kids - make an easy gingerbread house out of graham crackers!

 

Honey Maid Graham Crackers should be a staple for your holiday baking recipes, too!  I recently attempted some “Rudolph Peanut Butter Balls” with Honey Maid Graham Crackers as a special holiday sweet treat.  They didn’t turn out exactly as I had envisioned…but still pretty cute, and absolutely delicious!

 

Make "Rudolph" Peanut Butter Balls as a cute holiday treat - perfect for entertaining!

 

To make the peanut butter balls, mix together 1 c. peanut butter, 1 c. graham cracker crumbs, 2 c. powdered sugar, and 1/2 c. softened butter.  (These will make about 2 dozen.)

 

Make "Rudolph" Peanut Butter Balls as a cute holiday treat - perfect for entertaining!

 

Make sure to mix well until the dough is uniform – it will be crumbly, but you don’t want any big chunks of butter.  Then chill the dough for about 30 minutes until it’s easy to roll into small balls.

 

Make "Rudolph" Peanut Butter Balls as a cute holiday treat - perfect for entertaining!

 

Here’s where my vision failed me.  I had originally wanted to make these little reindeer peanut butter balls on a stick, so I rolled the chilled dough and put lollipop sticks in them – when I dipped them in the chocolate, though, the fell right off the sticks.  So instead, they’re just little reindeer heads…still cute, though!

 

Make "Rudolph" Peanut Butter Balls as a cute holiday treat - perfect for entertaining!

 

The final step is to dip your peanut butter balls into melted chocolate.  The problem I had was that the peanut butter balls began to fall apart as soon as they hit the melted chocolate.  In hindsight, I should have done two things differently – 1) abandoned the sticks all together and just rolled the dough into balls, using toothpicks to dip them in the chocolate. 2) Chilled the rolled balls in the freezer for at least an hour.

 

Decorating the little Rudolphs was the fun part!  Half pretzels make the perfect antlers (though it’s difficult to break them just right – be prepared to go through quite a few pretzels to get enough intact halves!), then add some candy eyes and cinnamon candy noses.

 

Make "Rudolph" Peanut Butter Balls as a cute holiday treat - perfect for entertaining!

 

Even though they look a bit messy, they are deeelicious!  I’d recommend storing them in the fridge and serving them chilled.

 

When you go pick up your box of Honey Maid Graham Crackers, don’t forget to print this coupon to take with you!

 

Do you have a fun memory of making graham cracker houses?  Or maybe a favorite holiday recipe that uses graham crackers?  I’d love to hear about it!


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DIY Vinyl Wood Slice Ornaments and a Silhouette GIVEAWAY

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

I don’t know about you, but I am loving the wood slice trend!  You see them everywhere on Pinterest – ornaments, coasters, wreaths, centerpieces, wedding decor, and more.  I actually pinned these beautiful wood slice ornaments from Upcycled Treasures LAST year and have been dying to try my own ever since.  Then I first hopped on board the “wood-slice-wagon” last month when I used a large wood slice to make some chalkboard decor for Thanksgiving!  You can buy large or small wood slices at craft stores, but they can be pricey.  I figured they had to be pretty easy to DIY (especially with the services of my extremely handy hubby), so I started keeping an eye out for a log that would work well.

 

I didn’t have to look far!  Our neighbor had trimmed some nice, round branches from a tree and put them at the curb for brush collection.  I thought they would be perfect!  In hindsight, though, they were NOT – freshly cut branches have tons of moisture in them.   Even though they sat in our garage for a week or so before cutting them up, the majority of them cracked a few days after they were sliced. :-(  I am pretty sure that a fallen branch from the woods wouldn’t crack nearly as much, but learn from my mistake – a freshly cut branch is not the way to go.

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

The how-to of creating your own slices is really simple, though!  I think it works best with a miter saw – it’s pretty straightforward to just slice up the log into 1/4-1/2″ slices!  We used a new blade on the saw to get nice, clean cuts.  I had my husband do some straight-on cuts to make perfect circles, and also slightly try some angled cuts to get some more slightly-oval-shaped slices (we cut at 22.5 degrees).  I used both, but actually liked the slightly angled cuts for the ornaments – it made the edges a little more interesting and reveals more of the outer ring and bark when you see it straight-on.  It just depends on the look and shape you’re going for.

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

After a few days of drying out, I gave the surviving, not-cracked slices a quick sand on both sides, then wiped off the sawdust with a damp paper towel.  Look how beautiful they are!

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

I debated on how to actually create these ornaments…I thought about cutting out stencils and painting them, or even using the image-to-wood transfer method I’ve tried before.  (I actually decided to hold off on using that method for another wood slice project you’ll be seeing soon!)  I finally decided to keep it simple and use vinyl.  I used glossy outdoor vinyl (Oracal 651) in red and gold.  If you don’t have a Silhouette, there are still lots of different ways that you could make wood slice ornaments, too – draw or paint on them by hand or with stencils from the craft store, or try a wood burner!

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

I used transfer paper to apply the vinyl to the ornaments.

 

I love being able to design in Silhouette Studio using all the fonts I have installed on my computer.  I was able to quickly and easily design these ornaments!  Because I designed the text ornaments myself, I would be happy to share the cut files with you - download them here!     (I purchased the snowflake shape and the reindeer shape from the Silhouette Design Store, so hop over there and check them out if you'd like those, too.)

 

Once I applied the vinyl, I went over the whole surface of the ornament with a coat of Mod Podge.  It helped to seal the vinyl down to ensure it wouldn’t peel up, and also gave the wood a nice shine!

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and decided that I wan’t to glam up my ornaments a bit – enter Silhouette’s double-sided adhesive.  (Remember the Glitter Pallet Sign that I shared last week?)  So I used the double-sided adhesive to cut out the snowflake as well as the embellishments on the “Merry” and “Joy” ornaments.  If you are new to double-sided adhesive, I have a simple step-by-step tutorial here.

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

I love the extra glam the glitter adds!

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

I did an entire snowflake out of glitter – it looks so pretty when it catches the light on the tree.

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

 

The final step was figuring out how to hang the ornaments.  I didn’t want to drill a hole through the face of the ornament, so I drilled a small hole directly down through the top of the wood slice and then screwed in a small screw eye (I found them with the picture hanging hardware at Walmart).  I used baker’s twine, but I think regular or jute twine would look nice, too.

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

 

I love being able to design in Silhouette Studio using all the fonts I have installed on my computer.  I was able to quickly and easily design these ornaments!  Because I designed the text ornaments myself, I would be happy to share the cut files with you – download them HERE!   (I purchased the snowflake shape and the reindeer shape from the Silhouette Design Store, so hop over there and check them out if you’d like those, too.)

FINE PRINT – these designs are for personal use only.  I would love for you to follow me via FacebookPinterestInstagram, or Twitter in exchange for downloading the cut file or free printable.  It’s certainly not required, but much appreciated!

 

DIY wood slice ornaments with vinyl - so pretty, and would make great gifts!

Black Friday SALE – LAST DAY!

If you are a Silhouette user (or Silhouette hopeful!) and haven’t yet checked out the amazing Black Friday Sale, you need to do that TODAY!  It runs until midnight tonight…so if you’re looking to purchase your own machine or stock up on supplies, now is your chance!  They’ve got some incredible machine bundles, 40% off all materials, and free shipping on orders over $25.  Visit the sale page here and use the code “UNORIGINAL” to get the discount.

 

Silhouette Black Friday Sale - 40% off all materials and FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25!! Use promo code "UNORIGINAL" for the discount.

 

Not sure what to stock up on (or put on your wish list for Santa)?  I’ve got a list of recommended essentials for new Silhouette users, plus a list and description of my favorite tried-and-true specialty materials – check them out HERE!

 

Silhouette Challenge

The inspiration doesn’t stop there, friends – it’s Silhouette Challenge day!  That means 36 of my bloggy buddies are sharing Holiday Silhouette Projects on their blog today.  You can click on any of the images in the collage below to browse around!

Reinvented Elf on a Shelf Book Cat-Shaped Ornament Stamped Christmas Towels M&M Milk Bottle Teacher Gift 3D Holly Berry Ornament Deer Silhouette Mirror Silhouette Christmas Craft with Double-Sided Adhesive Winter Village Display Wood Grain Nativity DIY Rustic Pallet Christmas Tree 2014 Christmas Card + Giveaway Gift Tags Chalkboard Vinyl Christmas Signs Personalized Christmas Ornament DIY Wood Slice Christmas Ornaments DIY Nativity Candle Jar Sleeve Chalkboard Charger Inspiration + Giveaway Christmas Countodwn Festive Advent Christmas Decor AND A Giveaway! All Hearts Go Home Luminarias Deer Silhouette Vinyl Wood Slice Ornaments Some People are Worth Melting For Olaf (Frozen Inspired) Ornament Personalized Pajamas with HTV 3D Reindeer Shield Decoration Trendy Christmas Cards with Silhouette + Free Cut Files Let It Snow Mitten Banner DIY Christmas Coasters Elf on the Shelf Wardrobe Simple Ornaments Stenciled Santa Sack Put on your Yamika! Reindeer Photo Ornament Christmas Card DIY Nativity Shadowboxes Monogrammed Drop Cloth Christmas Tree Skirt Canvas Wall Art for the Holidays

1. Pineapples and Pinecones // 2. Simply Kelly Designs // 3. Architecture of a Mom // 4. Just a Girl and Her Blog // 5. Two Purple Couches // 6. Chicken Scratch NY // 7. Creative Ramblings // 8. One Dog Woof // 9. Ginger Snap Crafts // 10. The Thinking Closet // 11. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 12. Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body // 13. weekend craft // 14. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 15. Practically Functional // 16. Living My Given Life // 17. My Paper Craze // 18. The Kim Six Fix // 19. Home At Eight // 20. Queen of Everything // 21. Tried & True // 22. McCall Manor // 23. unOriginal Mom // 24. Create it. Go! // 25. From Wine to Whine // 26. GetSilvered // 27. It’s Always Ruetten // 28. Nearly Handmade // 29. Mama Sonshine // 30. Silhouette School // 31. It Happens in a Blink // 32. Create & Babble // 33. Sowdering About // 34. Where The Smiles Have Been // 35. My Favorite Finds // 36. Lil’ Mrs. Tori // 37. Designed Decor

Silhouette Giveaway!

Win a NEW Cameo or a Silhouette Portrait bundle!

 

And I’ve saved the best for last.  I’ve got another ah-mazing Silhouette giveaway for you this week!  My Silhouette Challenge buddies in partnership with Silhouette America are hosting a mega-huge giveaway for not one…but two winners!

First prize: The NEW Silhouette Cameo Machine and Designer Edition Super Bundle!  $406.93 value.

  • Silhouette CAMEO®
  • Designer Edition Software
  • Dust Cover
  • $25 Download Card
  • Four Essential Silhouette Tools (hook, spatula, scraper, pick-me-up™)

Second prize:  Silhouette Portrait bundle! $219.98 value.

  • Silhouette Portrait Machine
  • Rhinestone Starter Kit

We want you to have the chance to get that Silhouette machine that might still be on your wish list – or the wish list of a loved one!

To enter: just complete the entries in the Rafflecopter widget below or at this link.  Because of my many blog friends who helped make this giveaway possible, you have 42 potential entries, which means a lot of winning power.  So, hurry up and enter!

{This giveaway runs from today through Monday, December 15th at 11:59p eastern and is open to anyone 18 years of age or older with a U.S. or Canada mailing address. You can read the rest of the terms and conditions in the widget below.}

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So, what is your take on the wood slice trend?  Dying to try it out, or not really for you?  Or do you have another type of ornament on your to-craft list?

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