Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Personalized Tile Coasters

I got crafty this past week. Christmas is coming and I still have a few people left on my list for gifts. I believe that handmade gifts mean more to the recipient than anything that can be bought at a store. I made these beauties for my father-in-law. He loves this kind of stuff.
What you will need to duplicate these:
4 (4"X4") tiles- These can be found at Lowes or Home Depot. They range in price from about $0.15 to $1.50 a piece. The ones I bought were from Lowes and were $0.33 each.
16 felt circles- I bought mine from the Dollar Tree. They came in packs of 12 and have adhesive already on them.
4 photos of your choice- I had 4" X 6" prints done at Walmart for $0.19 each.
clear coat- I used Rust-Oleum Crystal Clear Enamel I found at Lowes for under $5.00.
rubber cement- Can be bought at any craft store for around $3.00.
First cut pictures to fit so there is an outline of the tile in the background. Apply a generous amount of rubber cement to the surface of the tile. Place picture on top of the rubber cement and smooth out any air bubbles. Allow to dry overnight.
The next day, spray each tile with the clear coat in a well ventilated area. Allow to dry for 30 minutes then repeat with a second coat. Allow to dry for a complete 24 hours. Once dry, place a felt circle on each corner of the underside of the tile.

That's my kind of project....simple, that looks like you put a lot of effort into it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Polar Express inspired bells

One of my favorite Christmas movies has to be The Polar Express. We have a tradition of watching it every Christmas Eve just before the kids put out milk and cookies for Santa. One year I bought them all their own bells with each of their names on them for our tree. I probably paid too much for them, but it was worth it just for the mere fact that they followed along with the story of The Polar Express. Looking back in hindsight, I'm sure I could have made them for a lot less.
I wanted a unique gift for my son's and daughter's teachers this year. It had to be something that would remind them of my child each time they looked at it. A teacher friend of mine suggested an ornament. That's when the search began for the perfect item. Then I remembered the bell ornaments I had bought my children and how easy they would be to duplicate.
I found a pack of 9 bells at the Dollar Tree along with the curling ribbon. Did I mention how much I love that store for my crafting addiction? Well, I do. You never know what you'll find in there.
Keeping with The Polar Express theme, I wanted to add something to make the bell have more of a meaning. I ran across Crafts re-Designed and she had a link to these cute little tags. I love the saying on them and had to add them to mine. To make them a little more sturdy, since I didn't have any card stock, I glued the tags to some green construction paper. I wrote my child's name and year on the back so their teach will remember just who gave it to them and when. Easy, peasy gift that only cost me $2 and less than half an hour to make.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Letter to Santa

Yesterday was day 3 of Advent and our activity was to write a letter to Santa. After dinner I sat down with my twin 3 year olds and talked to them about what they wanted to say to Santa. I hand wrote a letter from each of them and put them into an envelope until I could find an actual address I could mail them to.

In the past we always just left our letter out on Christmas Eve and Santa would get it then. He would then leave the toys on the list. This year I thought it would be fun if they got their own piece of mail. I can't wait to see their faces when their letters arrive.

I wanted to get a list of websites and addresses together that had the option to write a letter to Santa and get one in return. When I started researching where to mail our letters to, I couldn't believe how many different choices there are. Below are the ones I thought are worth a look:

1. Write your own letter to your child from Santa and mail it to the below address in a self-addressed stamped envelope and the USPS will post mark it and mail it back so that it looks like Santa actually mailed it himself. Mail needs to be received by December 15th in order to get a response before Christmas. *Be careful though with this one....your child may recognize your handwriting. Better to have someone else write it for you.

    North Pole Christmas Cancellation
    54000 Mail Trail
    Fairbanks, AK 99709

2. The USPS has volunteers that will write a letter from Santa if you mail it to the address below. It needs to be received by December 21st in order to get a response.

    Santa Claus
    PO Box 1
    Santa Claus, ID 47579

3. This return letter comes from the actual North Pole. It does cost $5 to guarantee a response. You do need to mail a picture of your child and a self-addressed stamped envelope along with a check payable to North Polar LLC. You will get a letter, an authentic "Nice List", and a special photo in return.

    N. P. S. C.
    PO Box 56099
    North Pole, Alaska 99705-1099

4. Some people prefer to email Santa. Both links below allow you to send an email and get one in return.


5. If you want to really want to see their faces light up, how about a personalized video message from Santa?

PNP Video

6. You can also create your own letter from these these three links:

Free Santa Letters
Best Santa's Letter
Letter From Santa

7. I love this site because there is so much more than just getting a letter from Santa. There are printables, activities, games and recipes to get you in the Christmas spirit.

North Pole

8. I just have to mention this site because it is one of my favorites.... This is where we keep an eye on when Santa is going to arrive on Christmas Eve. It's so much fun watching the kids get excited when his sleigh is spotted near our area!

Norad Santa Tracker

9. This is also a fun site just to have the kiddos see to reinforce their belief in Santa. Santa comes out to feed the reindeer At 11am, 6pm and 9pm EST.

Reindeer Cam

10. Lastly, there is always the old standby and write a letter yourself and leave it out where your child can find it. Wouldn't it be fun if it appeared sticking out of the top of their stocking?