December 2014 - Rachel Teodoro

Merry Christmas!

I can hardly believe that it's nearly Christmas!
Where did this year go?!
It's been an amazing year full of fantastic projects {round up coming soon},

I will be taking a short break to enjoy my holidays with the people I love the most.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


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White Button Christmas tree

*This post was originally published at Design Dazzle as part of their Christmas Wonderful series.

I love crafting and decorating for Christmas.
It's my favorite time of the year!
Today I'm going to show you how I made this simple yet elegant white button Christmas tree.

button tree final
I am always picking up supplies throughout the year.  You could call me a craft supply hoarder and it would be absolutely true! I found some Styrofoam cones at the Dollar Tree, some white buttons at a flea market and these white pearl straight pins at Amazon. You should be able to gather all the necessary supplies for under $5.
  button supplies 
 I randomly gathered all of the white buttons that I had.  Some are bigger, some are smaller.  I slipped a pearl headed pin through one of the holes and simply slipped it into the Styrofoam cone. Once you start reaching the tapered end of the cone, you will need to start angling down your pins, but for the most part, you can push them straight in to your cone.
  button 
 On zoom, you can see the Styrofoam popping through.  Go through and fill in any gaps with an overlapping button.  For this tree, I used about 250 straight pins and buttons.
  button tree cone
I just love how these turned out! They are quite fancy without being too froo-froo if you know what I mean! Simple elegance.  It's my kind of style!
  button tree 1 
Are you ready for Christmas?
It's only a few days away!
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A handwritten note is the best gift


Since the invention of the interwebs and the ease of computers I know I don't send as many handwritten notes or even address as many cards as I used to.

I remember a few years ago when I was in Washington DC, one of the things that stuck out the most to me when looking at those historical documents was how amazing their handwriting was.

I have never really liked my handwriting and lets be honest, it's just easier sometimes to send a quick text or e-mail of thanks.  I do try to make it a point to send out as many handwritten notes as I can because I think that it's a lost art.

Some of my favorite recipes are those written in my mother's handwriting and I always love it when someone takes the time to add a personalized message to a card that I receive. My favorite part of the Christmas season is receiving holiday cards from friends and family. It doesn't have to be much, but I always love seeing a sweet note scribbled at the bottom of a card or by their picture.

My youngest son recently had a student teacher in his class from the beginning of the year, until last week.  She graduates this week and is no longer in the class, but she certainly made her mark on those kids.  I made sure that I included a nice handwritten thank you card for her along with her gift.

Speaking of teacher gifts, tis the season! A handwritten note with a coffee card would be much appreciated. Also, a pair of movie tickets for the teacher and a friend would be a great gift.

Here are a few great gift ideas for those teachers in your life. You may not want to meet them at the movies, but they would probably appreciate the extra movie ticket for one of their friends. Trust me, I know teachers love those handwritten notes, especially those of appreciation for all of their hard work.

I am a big fan of hand lettering and wish that I was better at it.  When I see a Christmas card handwritten in gorgeous font with scribbles and circlicues, it's the first card I open.  Guess the only way to get better at it is to practice am I right?!  I love this tag envelope from Big Flourish

 photo tag-envelope.jpg

While you may hate your handwriting, others will appreciate knowing you took the time to think of them. Pop a handwritten note in the mail today and maybe decorate that envelope too!

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Dry erase notes-perfect handmade gift for under $5!


While on the hunt for a gift idea that a group of elementary school kids could make, but that wasn't too expensive, I ran across an idea for a dry erase plate from House of Smiths.  


I found the square plate at Wal Mart for $3.50.  I used my Silhouette machine to cut out two different pieces of vinyl and I bought a dry erase marker.  I always have Velcro® brand products on hand, because lets be honest, they are a staple in crafting.


I attached the dry erase marker to the back with Velcro® brand sticky back and used a plate stand from The Dollar Store to rest the plate on.

It makes a great inexpensive gift that is quite practical and will match any decor.
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Washi tape box update


I know I'm not the only one that loves pretty packages.  I love seeing them under the Christmas tree, I love receiving them, and I love giving them. However, I'm not always that good about making all of my packages pretty.  I usually get the gift I'm giving wrapped but can't seem to take the time to finish off the package...to add that pretty final step to wrapping the gift, but it makes all the difference don't you think?


This year, I received an order of plain white boxes from Jam Paper and decided to use washi tape that I had on hand to give those plain white boxes a little umph.


I really like the contrast of the grey and white and love how easy it was to take these boxes from drab to fab.
What is your favorite way to wrap a package?
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Make your rewards credit card work for you

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chase Ultimate Rewards for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Several years ago I did a months long blog series called Living Well on Less. I shared with you how my family of five lives well and is debt free on one income.  We have no debt {other than our home} and pay off our credit card in full at the end of the month.

And yes, I said credit card {not plural}.  We only have one card that we use: a Chase Freedom card. Because we only use one credit card, we did a lot of research to find the card that would work for us. And by work, I mean in the "work it" sense of the word. We needed a card that provided a personalized experience to fit our needs. A card that rewarded us based on what we were already buying.

We've all heard people say they use their credit card to get airline miles. But I use my card and get airline miles, movie tickets, Christmas presents for the kids, cash, you name it.  I'm not tied down by what some credit card thinks that I want.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is a rewards program available to Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, and Ink from Chase cardholders. When you use your card, you earn points on every purchase and then those points can be redeemed for your choice of rewards.  And yes, that can even mean cash directly deposited into your account. During the holidays, Chase also offers extra incentives to cardholders with Ultimate Rewards, really helping you to stretch every dollar!

If you want to, you can redeem your rewards for travel.  You can chose any flight without black out dates or restrictions. How sweet is that?!

Throughout the year and especially during the holiday season, Chase rewards us when we do our everyday shopping. Have you made a purchase at Amazon, Nordstrom, Lowe's or Groupon recently?

I have. At all three stores and I received 5% cash back because I used my Chase Freedom card.
Every three months there is a new 5% rewards category.  I get alerted via text and opt into those bonuses every quarter. The best part is, there is no annual fee for my Chase Freedom credit card!

Starting being rewarded today!
Visit UltimateRewards.com to learn more.

Visit Sponsor's Site
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Netflix year long subscription giveaway

About twelve years ago our family got rid of cable in an effort to save money.
A little over a year ago, I joined the Netflix stream team and our family has enjoyed having Netflix at home immensely.

My husband watches his "stories" {House and Psych} on his lunch break,
my kids have found some new favorite shows {Sweet Life of Zach and Cody} 
and I can stream good TV and movies on my iPad while I am sewing or crafting.
At night, after the kids are in bed, my husband and I enjoy watching a new series that we haven't seen.
As a family, we love streaming movies or old series {Saved by the Bell} that we used to love when we were kids.

I love that we can set up five different profiles in our Netflix account and each family member has their own favorites saved.  There are no commercials to watch, no ads to wade through.

I was just asking on my Facebook account the other day if people had gift ideas for people who didn't have a "thing".
You know, people who aren't golfers or cat lovers.
It's hard to shop for those people some times, but I think I found the perfect gift.

I can't think of someone who wouldn't love receiving a year long subscription to Netflix.
It's a great gift for those people in your life who have everything.


You can find Netflix subscriptions at your local stores or by using this store locator.

I'm giving one lucky reader a year long subscription to Netflix. 
You can use it yourself or give it as a gift.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Picattoo-make tattoos from your favorite instagram photos



Picattoo is a really cool new product by the fun and creative team at INK361. They are personalized temporary tattoos, made from your own Instagram photos. Picattoo comes in a pack of 12 tattoos for only $14.99. They are printed on high quality tattoo transfer paper and last about a week. I love that they ship FREE worldwide!


Simply log into your Instagram while you are on picattoo.com, select the 12 photos you would like to use, submit your order, and the tattoos will be at your doorstep in approximately a week.


Since they are made from your own photos, the options are endless. I made mine from photos I took on safari in Africa over the summer.

The ability to be creative in making your set of tattoos makes Picattoo perfect for people of all ages, and both boys and girls.  It's a great stocking stuffer or they make the perfect gift.


Picattoo is great for kids to show off things that they love and are proud of. For example, their favorite toys, their pets, or even themselves or their siblings and family members! Another great idea for Picattoo is typography. Kids love being able to wear their own name in a creative way. Picattoo is very popular with pet lovers of all ages, because it is a cute, safe, and temporary way to show off their beloved furry friends.


 Another cool use of Picattoo that you wouldn't normally think of is decoration. Picattoo is perfect for children's theme parties. Decorate cups and plates, or make it a fun activity for the kids. You can also use Picattoo to decorate things such as your nails, mason jars, Christmas baubles, and notebooks.



You can be really creative in your use of Picattoo. Get yours here!
disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are 100% my own.  I wouldn't share something if I didn't love it.
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Die cast car with snow and Christmas tree

I'm a sucker for vintage cars.
My dream car is a 1938 red Ford pick up.
I want to wear plaid and drive from garage sale to garage sale loading up the bed of that truck with old rusty goodies.

The next best thing is crafting my very own dream car.


I found a few of these cute little die cast cars at my local craft store for $3.99 each.


I had some Plaid collage clay left over from a project that made the perfect amount of snow on my vintage cars and trucks.


I simply used my finger to spread it around where I thought snow might stick.


You could also use a toothpick to help spread your collage clay around.


Once the clay dried {about 10 minutes}
I took one of my bleached bottle brush 1" trees 
and put a dab of hot glue on the truck where the tree would lean.


They were hot sellers at my recent craft fairs.

What's your dream car?
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Heart shaped fingerprint ornament

All week long I've been sharing with you my sculpey clay ornaments that my nine year old son and I made last week.

I always have random ideas when I'm crafting.
Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't!
I thought I would make a heart shape out of clay and put my husband and my fingerprints in it.
It's not super obvious, but it is a pretty sweet keepsake either way.


The fingerprints work best if you are then going to paint your ornament after you cook your clay.

In case you missed it, I also showed you these feather ornaments



I hope you found some inspiration this week.
I can't wait to create more with this clay.
It's tons of fun!
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December printable memory verse

On Friday my daughter goes in for oral surgery.
She is quite anxious about it, which is why I decided on this memory verse for December.

Perhaps you are anxious or concerned about something?
This verse is always a great reminder.

As always, these are free memory verses for your personal use only.
Right click on the image, save it and print it.

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Clay ornaments made with cookie cutters and stamps

Can you believe that my nine year old son made these ornaments?!
They were such a fun activity for the two of us to work on one night and I think they turned out great.


These are the supplies you will need:
cookie cutters
rolling pin (or brayer
skewer
stamps


Start by taking a small bouncy ball sized piece of your sculpey clay and working it with your hands.
It's very stiff so just stick with it.
Once it becomes more easily manipulated, you can use your brayer or rolling pin to roll your clay out flat.  You will want to roll it to about a quarter of an inch thick if you are stamping it and an eighth of an inch thick if you are just going to use the cookie cutter.


Use your cookie cutter to cut out your shape.


If you would like, you can also use your stamp to make designs in the clay.
Poke a hole in your ornament with your skewer and bake according to the package directions.


Once your ornament is cooled, you can paint it if you want, or leave it white.


Place a ribbon as a hanger and stand back and admire your new creations!


These would make simple gifts for your kids to make or for a group craft project.


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