Archive of ‘Make’ category

Fun Valentine’s Day Table Top Decor

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and now is a great time to plan some holiday decor. In my search to find creative Valentine table top decor, I discovered Crossroads Cottage and their fabulous tablescapes. You will love all of their ideas and inspiring photos showing off their many table top ideas. My eyes were drawn to the Valentines designs of course, and I am dying to share them with you!

I love creating Valentine’s Day decor that is beyond the usual heart motif. You can play with fun and flirty patterns and colors when you are decorating. Above are Pinwhirls created out of romantic patterned paper with yummy names such as pink raspberry and candy stripes.

I love taken one item and using it several different ways when creating party decor. Here, you can see how these fabulous pinwhirls are used to pull the table top together.

  • Gathered in a vase for a whimsical centerpiece
  • Placed at each individual place setting doubling as name cards
  • Inserted into a cupcake for a fun and personal touch.

What a simple way to pull of some unique party decor! Oh– and did I mention this would be a great idea for any party your having? Check out all of their pinwhirl designs!

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Let Your Love Grow!

I have had the pleasure of discovering an inspiring company: Trees Instead. Trees Instead offers an eco-friendly alternative to giving the traditional bouquet of flowers. Now I will be the first one to admit, I love a gorgeous floral arrangement, but really, how much more thoughtful is giving a TREE? Fabulous!

I have an idea! How about sending your love bird a certificate telling them you purchased a TREE for them this Valentine’s Day? Not only is this a wonderful “green” act, it is so romantic. Come on, let your love grow! Trees can be sent for any occassion and can be purchased for as little at $25.00!

You can learn more about purchasing, sending, and visiting your tree at Trees Instead.

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Holiday Decor Inspiration: Cranberries

With so many different ways to decorate your home for the holiday, I suggest trying to pick something that you love (could be a color, a theme, or an item) and streamline your holiday home decor around it. Your holiday decor will appear more thought-out and really pop. We loved these holiday decor ideas we found at BHG all inspired by cranberries!

Simple Mantle Decor: Fill glass cylinders with fresh cranberries and white candles. Use different height cylinders and candles for interest.

Cranberry garland decor

String cranberries to make a festive garland. Attach to mantle with small hooks.

Outdoor Holiday Decor

Take the cranberry decor outside! Line your porch or front step with cranberries atop fake snow in a glass cylinder or other vase.

Crannberry table decor

Carry on the theme by freezing Cranberries into ice cubes to keep your holiday spirits cold.

Cranberry Wreath

Simple way to make a bold statement! Glue cranberries to a cardboard cut out of your families last initial. {Tip} Many craft stores sell cardboard letters in various sizes that are very affordable.

Cranberry Centerpieces

Cranberry centerpieces: Glue Cranberries to foam spheres of different sizes. Display atop candle holders, vases, or cake stands.

Do you use cranberries as decor? Share with us your tips. Or let us know what other “theme” inspires you!

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Simple Holiday Decor: Winter Berry Wreath!

Guest Post

Emily from My Little Window Shoppe shares her simple and creative tips for making an impressive holiday wreath. She proves that it doesn’t take a lot to make something fabulous!

Hello Thoughtfully Simple readers! This is my favorite Winter Berry wreath! I have it at home proudly displayed and since I thought it was so pretty, I took a few pictures of it and put it up on the front page of Little Window Shoppe a week ago. Since posting it up, I have had a lot of questions about it! So, due to popular demand, I wanted to write a quick tutorial with easy steps on how to make your own gorgeous wreath this year.

  • An old or new grapevine wreath base (size = your choice). You can buy these at Michaels for about $3 – $6. Mine also has extra dried twigs included in it, in fact you could dry your own twigs and make a base out of it…just secure it together with floral wire.
  • A bunch of your favorite freshly picked Red Winter Berry Stems – (the artificial stems are also found at various craft stores).
  • Floral Wire – to secure everything in place and to make a hanger for your wreath.
  • Scissors and/or a wire cutter
  • (Extra) Ribbon – if you want to add a ribbon to your wreath.

Simple Steps

Once you have your grapevine/twig base and your Winter Berry stems, start weaving them into the base and secure them with floral wire. If you can’t keep it in place with just the wire, you can also use hot glue (I like to avoid glue if at all possible on this project, but it can definitely help hold it all together if nothing else is working).

Finally, once the stems are intertwined and secured, you can use your floral wire to make a hanger for your wreath or to attach a pretty bow. This is a fun and easy little project for the holidays and will help you to save a lot of money too! Many of pre-made berry wreaths are selling for about $20 to $40 (depending on the size). So, have fun and keep your cash this season.

Author Bio
Emily {Little Window Shoppe Founder and Editor-in-Chief}

We were so thrilled that Emily was interested in guest posting with us! She’s the kind of girl who reads every inch of the Pottery Barn magazine the day it comes in the mail just to glean ideas from each and every page {we love that}! Her site My Little Window Shoppe was created from a true passion. Emily explains:

“I especially love to window shop when it’s “shoppetique” style (”Shoppetique” ~ my own little combination of shoppes and boutiques). To me, there’s something so cheery and personal about shoppes that I find absolutely beautiful. I quite enjoy the eclectic feel and seem to find artistic creativity in every nook and cranny.”

Want to know more about Emily? Check out her daily blog and also read “20 Fun Facts” about her!

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New Uses For Old Wine Corks

If you are like me, you have a few old wine corks lying around the kitchen. Don’t throw them out…use them as decor! Here are a couple “corky” ideas for the next time you entertain!

Place Cards Holders: Take cork, cut a slit along the side, and insert a name card. Tip: If the cork won’t stand on it’s own- put a square of double-sided tape underneath it.

Centerpiece: Fill up a glass vase or jar with all of your old wine corks…simple!

Other idea: Instead of using the corks as place card holders, use them to create labels to identify your dips or dishes. Think wine and cheese party! Fabulous!

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5 Simple Ways to Get Your Kids Writing Again

If OMG and BTW seem like they are referring to a person’s initials, you are not alone. The way in which our children communicate in today’s techno advanced world almost seems like another universe for most parents. And although we all find convenience in sending emails and receiving instant responses, quicker is not always better. Many moms would agree that driving through a fast food restaurant every night for dinner may be a lot easier and faster, however I bet most would agree it is not the better choice than taking the time to cook a home made meal. Although there is nothing terribly wrong with the occasional drive thru (or e-card) lets take the time to teach our kids that it is important to actually pick up a pencil once in a while!
I admit, it is not always easy to get your children to eagerly do a writing project when assigned for homework, let alone just for fun. Getting children to pick up a pencil and put down the video games and cell phones may seem like a comical idea, however, as parents we need to encourage our little ones to do just that. Unless we want our kids to be paralyzed without the crutch of the computer’s spell check and unable to communicate outside of texting lingo, we need to get them writing once in a while…the good old fashioned way! Here are some simple ideas to not only get them to practice their writing skills but also some ideas that might even get them interested in writing more (I did say might).

Here are 5 simple ideas that just might spark your child’s creative writing skills… or at least get them writing anyway!

1. Make it FUN for everyone!
Lets face it, children are not going to be eager to do a writing assignment if they see as it as a another chore or just more homework. Lets make it fun and really encourage them to be creative! Get their creative juices flowing with this fun family idea:
Make it Secret Story Sunday!
First, gather up all the members of the family (if they are too small to write independently perhaps partner them up with a parent) and have them brainstorm some really fun topics or subjects for stories. Give everyone a couple pieces of paper and have them write down whatever comes to mind like “Vampires” or “The Beach.” Then, place all the topics in a jar. Every Sunday morning (maybe at breakfast) have each family member pick a topic and keep it a secret! Have everyone write a story at some point during that day about the topic they selected. Share these stories in the evening maybe after dinner or sometime everyone is together. Not only will this get everyone in the same place at the same time- but it just might inspire your little budding author!

2. Teach them GRATITUDE and why it matters

The next time you receive a thank you card or thoughtful note in the mail share it.
Even a five year old can understand that doing nice things for others is rewarding. Express to them how good receiving that card felt to you. Encourage them to always express their gratitude towards others as well. In fact, I say it should be required for children to send thank you cards for things they receive in the mail. It may take a push or two, but eventually children will understand that it makes others feel good to know that you are thankful, plus they will feel a sense of pride in sending that card off in the mail. Don’t leave the little ones out, small children can do this too! If they are unable to write independently, have them draw a picture and then dictate to you their message you can write at the bottom.


The next time your child “wants” something (like that remote control he cannot live without), have them write a request to you. Have your kids “put it in writing” from now on. Have a designated jar or box for all written request. Have them include their name, what it is they want to have or to do and why they should be granted their request. You can make this more fun for you by also having them write what it is they are willing to contribute in order to get it. Have a day like the first of every month where you promise to review all request and pick one to fill. Not only does this get them writing, it may reduce their whining!

4. Let them COMMUNICATE with their pens!

As a child, I had a pen pal and treasure the memories. Let your children exchange letters with another child their age. The back and forth written dialogue really is exciting for children. They learn to communicate through writing and the natural question and answer format that takes place. Not only will they be anxious to write to their pen pal, they will learn valuable patience while they await a response letter. Once they exchange a couple of letters they will be hooked! You can find pen pals for your children through online services (parents make sure you do the research) or simply have them exchange letters with an out of town relative or family friend.

5. Have them HELP you
You can sneak in simple writing assignments by having your children help you with everyday tasks. For example, let your child write out your grocery list as you verbally list items you need while digging through the pantry. Not only will they be having to access a unused vocabulary (how often does a 12 year old write asparagus?) But they will be learning small life lessons about household responsibilities. Also, have them help you address out going letters or bills. This is an exercise that will come in handy for them in years to come. The point is, if they can help you, let them- it may not seem like a big deal but little life lessons add up to bigger ones.

These are five ways in which you can get your kids sharpening those pencils. My point is to get creative and get them writing. It is important that we teach our children how to communicate with the written word….after all what ever will they do when their cell phone battery goes dead or the power is out and the computer wont turn on?!

Written by Tori Tait
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