Boxwood wreath from Trader Joe's snazzed up for free

Trader Joe's Boxwood Wreath Update with Red Berries

I follow a lot of bloggers on Instagram
and yesterday my feed was blowing up with pictures of bloggers snatching up boxwood wreath's at their local Trader Joes.
I had no idea what a boxwood wreath was or why I needed one,
but I suddenly HAD TO HAVE ONE!
I literally snatched the last boxwood wreath off of the rack
when I was at Trader Joe's this afternoon
and then while I was in line to pay, 
I felt like I needed more!
It's like when you can't have something you suddenly want it that much more.
Yep, I felt that way about a wreath.
Weird right?
Anyway, I asked the cashier, 
who dinged her bell for the manager
who checked with a stock boy
who went to the back
{and no, I'm not ending this with "In the house that Jack built"}
and low and behold, a man wheeled out a box full of new boxwood wreaths.
Deciding not to be excessive,
I  only picked up two.
Mostly because I wanted to squelch this sudden desire to have something 
that I didn't even know I needed two days ago!
And because I thought two would hang on my french doors perfectly.
And they do!
But, they needed something else.

So I went outside and found these berries growing on a bush behind a fence in the drainage pond.
I scaled that fence and tried my best not to kill myself
{the things I do for free stuff!}
and managed this haul.

I cut the berry branches down
{you only need a sprig or 5-7 inches depending on where you want them}

and I poked them in to the wreath.
I didn't glue them, just poked the stem in until it found a place to rest and didn't fall out.

Now I know why all of those bloggers were so excited about the $9.99 boxwood wreaths at Trader Joe's!
I love it!

A fresh wreath for under $10!

This is my first time having a live wreath.
Any tips on keeping it fresh through the end of the year?

Elegant Feather Christmas Wreath

Today, you can find me guest posting at Design Dazzle as part of their Christmas Wonderful guest series.
I'm sharing my Elegant feather Christmas Trees on Design Dazzle
and since I love Christmas so much, I wanted to give you, my readers, a bonus tutorial and show you how I made my feather wreath!
In keeping with true Holy Craft form, these elegant feather decorations just look like they cost a lot of money, when in reality each one cost less than $3 to make!

The Dollar Tree sells these round foam wreath bases.
They are quite thick, so I cut them in half {with a knife}.
And since I was putting white feathers on them, I spray painted each wreath form white.

Foam tends to break easily, 
so I made a paper backing out of cardstock to help keep the form from bending.

I started by using my hot glue gun to glue feathers to the inside of the wreath, 
then I moved to the outside main part 
and finally to the final outside ring.
Some of the feathers I was able to poke into the Styrofoam, others I glued down.
More is better.
You don't want any of your foam wreath showing.

I just love how these Christmas trees and wreath turned out don't you?!
My favorite part is that they look expensive, but they really weren't!

Thanks to all my new Design Dazzle readers for joining me today.
Grab a cup of coffee and stick around!


Why I stopped hating the early Christmas set up and started embracing it

For some reason, this year I have been more annoyed than ever at the early Christmas decorating.
Is it just me or does it feel like Christmas started earlier this year?
Hobby Lobby had Christmas decor up in October,
Santa came to the mall before the carved pumpkins were rotten
and just this afternoon I saw that the live Christmas tree stand was open.
My neighbors started decorating for Christmas before they decorated for Halloween
and Christmas music has been blaring from the stores that I shop in.
With every Christmas tree that was up in a retail store, 
I would shake my head and wonder why other stores didn't embrace the Nordstrom mentality.
I love being able to slow down and celebrate one holiday at a time.
October is reserved for Halloween
November is a month to be thankful
and December is Christmastime.
Somehow all three holidays started getting smooshed together into one big retail celebration.
Jack o lanterns sat on shelves next to turkeys and gold Christmas balls,
Jingle Bells was playing through the loud speaker while I was still munching on Halloween candy
and Christmas wreaths were hanging on neighbors doors right next to their selection of gourds.
I just kept thinking, stores are pushing Christmas on us earlier and earlier and I was getting so annoyed.
Until, my dear friend and I were talking and she made a fantastic point that I just can't stop thinking about.

What is so bad about spending more time thinking about and celebrating Christmas?

At Christmastime we celebrate the greatest gift the world has ever received through the birth of Jesus Christ.
His birth was part of God's plan to save all of us sinners from a death that we deserve, but instead we have been spared because our Lord payed that price for us by dying on the cross.
Jesus' birth was an amazing gift and one that should be celebrated!
So while I hate the consumerism behind the early Christmas set up,
I appreciated being reminded that God's gift shouldn't just be celebrated in December, 
it should be something we celebrate every day!
Today when I saw a Christmas tree set up in the store I smiled,
I even hummed along to the Christmas music.
And when my belly is full of turkey on Thursday, I will be thankful for the most precious gift I have ever received.

Photo Christmas cards with Minted

One of my most favorite things about Christmas is receiving Christmas cards.
It's the one time of year that I race my husband to the mailbox.

Last week I spent the whole week focusing on tips on how to write the perfect Christmas letter everyone on your list would enjoy reading, and today, I want to share with you a fantastic company that you can order your Christmas cards from.

When we receive cards, a few cards stand out from the rest, 
and those are usually cards by Minted.

You can tell just by the paper that they use.
This is a stack of 50 Minted cards up next to a stack of 50 of their competitors.

50 cards from us vs. 50 cards from the competition

I spent some time browsing the Minted site, 
and while I really couldn't find a single card I didn't like
I did find some cards that I wanted to share with you that stood out from the rest.

If you don't want to write a lengthy Christmas letter, 
but still want to include a few of life's details,
this year in review card is perfect for that!

Bonus, you don't need a fancy family portrait for this one.
And believe me, if your recipients receive this fun card, 
they won't even notice your mug isn't on it!

Vintage Library Card Year in Review Holiday Non-Photo Cards

If you really want to splurge, 
I love these year in review holiday mini books.
These mini books are 7 pages of pictures and text 
for you to include the highlights of your families year.

Gilded Year in Review Holiday Minibook™ Cards

For the newlyweds, 
these merry and married holiday cards are super fun

Merry and Married Holiday Photo Cards

and for those with a newborn
not so silent nights is a fun way to introduce your little one to the world.

Not So Silent Nights Holiday Photo Cards

I love the simplicity {and the shape} of this seasonal sprinkle card

 Seasonal Sprinkle Holiday Photo Cards

and speaking of shapes, 
check out this Noel holiday card ornament!

White Noel Holiday Ornament Cards

I love this photo collage card that allows you to use a lot of photos without making it feel too busy.

Holiday Squares Holiday Photo Cards

It's hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to choose just one, 
I would probably pick the elegant peace holiday card.
The shape is unlike anything you can get at those other places
and I'm a big fan of the design's simplicity.

Elegant Peace Holiday Photo Cards

One thing that I found while browsing the Minted site is that it is so easy to use!
You can easily change the shape of the cards with a click

Elegant Peace Holiday Photo Cards

And change the font colors in a snap

Elegant Peace Holiday Photo Cards

The versatility of what is available makes it so that you won't be 
sending out the exact same card as everyone else.
And believe me, when all the cards are lined up on the mantle or on the fridge,
you notice if you have more than one card that is the same!

Want to know something else that is cool?
Minted will print your recipients addresses on your holiday cards for no additional fee.
That's one more thing you can check off your long list of things to do!

Meet the Minted Address Assistant

So what are you waiting for?
Go order your holiday cards!
this is a sponsored post by Minted
all opinions are 100% mine.
I really do love them!

Rustic burlap Christmas tree guest post

Today, you can find my sharing my rustic burlap Christmas trees over at A Glimpse Inside.

Come on over and see me!

Burlap Christmas gift bags

I love burlap!
It's a cheap fabric that is so easy to use, 
plus it gives a fun rustic elegance to anything you make with it.

I love using gift bags to wrap presents in, but I wanted to take the gift bag up a notch, 
so I made these burlap Christmas gift bags for those hard to wrap items.

I had two yards of burlap and made 5 gift bags.

Burlap is one of the easier fabrics to cut if you know the tricks.
First, measure how big you want your bag
{I made mine 15" wide by 18" tall}

Once you find where you want to cut down, simply pull that thread slowly and as carefully as you can.

That thread will pull out leaving you a cut line that you can use to make a straight cut through your fabric.
Easy as that!

 I have loaned out my serger
{this would be a great project for it}
so I decided to use my zig zag stitch instead.
You don't really have to do any fancy ironing of the seams or pinning your fabric in place
just fold the top of your fabric down about a half an inch and sew it down with your zig zag stitch. 

The bags are fun plain, but what really jazzes them up are the Christmas designs.

I used my Silhouette to cut out some Christmas designs and ironed them on.
And remember those glitter jingle bells from Monday?
I tied those around to keep the sack closed.

Each bag cost me less than a dollar to make and they are sure to come in handy this holiday season.

Our Puerto Vallarta anniversary trip recap

If you follow me on instagram 
or facebook
you will know that my husband and I spent the last week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
celebrating our {belated} 15th wedding anniversary.

Our wedding anniversary is in June
{June 6, 1998}
but since the weather in our area is nice in June, we hate to leave.
Spending time in Mexico in November is much nicer!
We leave the rain and clouds behind and enjoy sunny 80 degree weather.
We called Secrets Resort and Spa home for a week and enjoyed every minute of our trip!
Our room was beautiful!
My favorite part of my day was coming back to the room to soak in the tub on the patio and enjoy the sunset and watching the city lights twinkle.

This is the view from our room!
We were totally spoiled!
It was amazing to sleep with the patio doors open and listen to the waves crashing.

 We enjoyed the resorts entertainment each evening.
There was {good} live music every night, cultural shows, magicians 
and karaoke to a live band in the on site disco club.

The lobby in the resort was one of my favorites.
The views were amazing!

 There are 8 gourmet restaurants on site
plus a full service coffee shop
{my favorite stop for an iced mocha}

We met the loveliest couple that was on their honeymoon during our Teppanyaki dinner.

 We don't go out much when we are home, 
but when we are on vacation,
one of our favorite things is to dress up and enjoy a fancy dinner.
We tried to document every night with a picture before we left the room.
{we got really good at the self timer}

I love turtles so I was so excited to hear that on one of our nights at the resort over 150 turtle eggs hatched and were being released at sunset.

A few years ago our family had the opportunity to release turtles into the ocean in Ixtapa, Mexico.
I must say, the experience doesn't get old!

Look at how cute that little guy is!

Here they are making their way out to the sea.

This was my fifth time in Puerto Vallarta and I have been to Mexico at least a dozen times but this is the first time we have ever experienced cloudy or rainy weather.

It did make for some amazing sunsets though.

It was a fantastic anniversary trip!
I read 5 books, spent hours doing nothing and didn't have a single thing planned during our time away.
I couldn't have asked for a better partner to join me on our trip either.
We had the best time with each other and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Until next time Mexico!
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