Friday Favorites–Staying Warm

I always feel like winter kinda gets the short end of the stick when it comes to seasons.  Autumn gets a lot of the cold weather credit in November, then when winter actually gets its day in December, no one notices because it’s almost Christmas.  Once the holidays are over, all anyone can think about is when spring will arrive.  Well, Winter, this one is for you.

Crafty DIYs for Staying Warm - Crafty Staci

What did your mom always say when you’d go outside in the cold?  Put a hat on!  This Convertible Neck Warmer from Sovanisa is a brilliant idea for sending those kids out in their bike helmets.

Convertible Neckwarmer from Sovanisa

Another great way to warm your noggin is a hoodie, and this one from Small Things is so cute.  Love those big buttons!

Mustard Hoodies from Small Things

Sometimes it’s not about going out into the cold, but keeping it outside.  This Door Draft Blocker from Patchwork Posse adds a little color to the room and keeps those breezes out.

Maybe you ventured out without sufficient coverage and now you’re trying to warm back up.  Try this Cherry Pit Pillow from Nifty Thrifty Things.  I’ll bet it smells fantastic when it’s heating.

Cherry Pit Pillow from Nifty Thrifty Things

I have this fun little thing called Raynaud’s Phenomenon.  Sounds exciting, huh?  It just means my fingers turn white, hard and lose blood flow if they get cold and they hurt like mad when they warm up.  It’s a nuisance.  Needless to say, I try really hard not to let that happen.  I think these Pocket Warmers from Fellow Fellow would be perfect for me.

Pocket Warmers from Fellow Fellow

Thanks to the above stated weirdness, I have more gloves than you can imagine.  That doesn’t stop me from adding to my collection, and these Fingerless Mittens from Zaaberry would fit right in.

Fingerless Gloves from Zaaberry

I always love an accessory that can serve more than one purpose.  This Cargo Scarf from lovefromvirgil on Instructables would be so handy.

Cargo Scarf on Instructables

You aren’t the only thing that gets cold when it’s chilly outside.  Don’t you hate when you try to take a hot dish to a friend’s house, only to find it lukewarm when you arrive?  Then you need one of these Casserole Carriers from 2 Little Hooligans.

Casserole Carrier on 2 Little Hooligans

We all know how hard it is to wrap a baby up warmly enough in a car seat, so how about a nice warm cover to go over the whole thing?  Check out this Car Seat Canopy at Fleece Fun.

Baby Car Seat Cover from Fleece Fun

In my experience, the best way to get warm is from the inside out.  This Caramel Corn Hot Chocolate from Recipe Girl would definitely do the trick.

Caramel Corn Hot Chocolate from Recipe Girl

Only about 11 more weeks of winter! Smile

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Coffee Sleeve of the Month–Pennant Banner

Is it snowing where you are?  We have nothing but fog here, not even our usual December rain.  There’s even talk of a sparse ski season on Mt. Hood this year.  I’m not a skier, but I’m so ready for some of that cold white stuff.  Bring it on, Old Man Winter.

Because I’m in such a snowy mood, I decided this month’s coffee cup sleeve would have a bit of a chill to it.  Once I was done, I realized this one would be perfect for so many other uses.  Make it in school colors to show your spirit at the game or in wedding colors for the bride to get her caffeine fix.  Some pink and red would be cute for Valentine’s Day, or some florals or pastels to celebrate the beginning of spring.  But, for now, the focus is on January’s snowflakes.

Coffee Sleeve of the Month - Pennant Banner - Crafty Staci 1

To make this sleeve, you’ll need:

  • cotton fabric
  • InsulBrite batting
  • iron-on interfacing
  • 3” of elastic cord
  • 12” of 1/2” bias tape
  • button (5/8 – 1”)
  • this pattern

Coffee Sleeve of the Month - Pennant Banner - Crafty Staci 2

Iron the interfacing onto side one of the coffee sleeve.

Fold the small flag pieces in half with right sides together.  If you look at the pattern piece, the dotted lines should be together.  Sew where the dotted lines are shown.

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Trim the corners and seam and turn right side out.  The seam should be centered at the back.  Press.

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Fold the bias tape in half and press.  Beginning 1 1/2” from the end, slip the top of the flags inside the fold and stitch the length of the tape.

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Pin the banner onto side one of the coffee cup sleeve, 1” from the top and with the flags about 1 1/4” from each end.  Stitch the bias tape from one edge of the sleeve to the other.

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Trim the ends of the bias tape even with the edges of the sleeve.  Tie the ends of the elastic cord together with a piece of thread.  Center on the right side with the loop facing in.  Add your tag on the left if you use them.

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Carefully lay side two over the top of that with the right side down.  Finish with the InsulBrite on top and pin in place.  Stitch 1/4” from the edge, leaving 2” open at the bottom for turning.

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Clip the corners and turn right side out.  Press, turning in opening.  Topstitch close to the edge all the way around.

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Stitch a button onto the point where the elastic reaches comfortably with the ends of the sleeve together.

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This does not make me want it to snow any less.

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I’m even all ready with my toasty drink!

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Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix

I love warm drinks in the winter.  Coffee, cocoa, tea, even an occasional apple cider are all welcome.  What I don’t like is having to take a long time to make it, which is why we always have drink mixes around.  Not to mention, drink mixes make great gifts.

I considered using my Cinnamon Vanilla Warmer Mix to fill my etched jars, but I was in the mood for something new.  My kids have been drinking a lot of chai lately, so that was in.  My new favorite flavor is salted caramel, which meant I was going to need something that included that as well.  I ended up with two new recipes.

Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 1

We’ll start with the chai.  I like it a little on the spicy side.  My son felt this was a little too peppery, but he doesn’t usually like even a hint of spice.  My daughter and I both felt it was perfectly seasoned.  However, if you’re like my son and want it on the mild side either reduce or eliminate the pepper and reduce the ginger.

Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 2

Spiced Chai Tea Mix

3/4 cup dry milk powder

3/4 cup dry powdered plain creamer

1/2 cup powdered vanilla flavored creamer

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup unsweetened instant black tea

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Combine all ingredients and process in a food processor until you have a fine powder.  To serve, add 1/4 cup mix to a mug of hot milk or water.  Makes about 3 1/4 cups of mix or 13 servings.

I originally planned to only make the chai, but as soon as the idea of salted caramel cocoa made its way into my head there was no going back.  I was nervous about getting the amount of salt right, but this is exactly the taste I imagined.  Make sure you’re using sea salt and not regular table salt or it will be too salty.

Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 3

Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix

2 cups dry milk powder

1/2 cup dry powdered plain creamer

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup powdered dulce de leche or caramel flavored creamer

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients and process in a food processor until larger pieces of milk, creamer and salt are powder.  To serve, add 1/4 cup mix to a mug of hot milk or water.  Makes about 4 3/4 cups of mix or 19 servings.

Just talking about these is making me want a warm cup.  The only problem is, which one?

Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 4

Fire Starter Hostess Gift

I’m starting to feel that anxiety of a busy week coming up.  I don’t mind the chaos.  In fact, I sometimes like a little crazy.  The part that makes me tense is the thought that I’ll forget something important.  When there’s so much to do, something is bound to slip through the cracks (FYI – as I was typing this I wrote “crafts” instead of “cracks” – psychoanalyze that!).

One of the things I want to make sure to remember is a hostess gift for Thanksgiving.  My husband is still away and my sister invited me and my kids to spend the holiday with her family.  Hosting Thanksgiving is no small task, so I want to thank her properly.  Before you think I’m giving away the surprise here, this isn’t the gift I decided on, but I love it and wanted to share it with you anyway.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 1

Everywhere we have lived has had either a fireplace or a woodstove.  I love being able to have a fire in the winter.  What I do not enjoy is wading up balls of newspaper to start it.  I decided instead to make something I could just grab out of a basket and throw in under some kindling.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 2

To make the fire starters, I used cardboard rolls.  Mine are toilet paper rolls, but you could also cut down a paper towel roll or the center from the wrapping paper.  Speaking of gift wrap, you’ll need some of that too.   You’ll also need some cotton string and something flammable to stuff inside, like shredded paper.  I’ve even seen these made with dryer lint.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 3

I used shredded paper for mine.  I also wadded up pieces of the instructions that come wrapped around interfacing and stuffed that in the ends of the tube so the shred wouldn’t fall out while I was working with it.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 4

Cut the gift wrap into pieces about 6” by 10”.  Starting from the larger side, roll it around the stuffed tube.  Secure with a small piece of tape.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 5

Squish the ends just above the tube and tie with a 6” piece of string at each end.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 6

To use, simply stick a couple under some small pieces of dry wood…

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…and light the ends.

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I normally use a butane lighter to start a fire, but I thought something prettier would make this a better gift.  The Burlap Bag had shared a match jar project that was exactly what I was looking for.  The only changes I made were to not cut a hole in the top and use the lid insert under the sandpaper.  I actually had a partial box of strike anywhere matches that I’m pretty sure has been around our house through most of our marriage.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 9

After I made the first batch of these using Christmas wrap, I happened to find some wood grain print paper at Target.  Now they’re perfect!

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 10

Throw in a few dried pinecones and you have a gift that’s both functional and pretty – if your hostess can bring herself to actually burn it.  The wood grain starters will probably still be sitting on my hearth in April.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 11

 

Friday Favorites–New Year’s Eve

One more holiday-displaced Friday Favorites, then we’re back to actual Fridays!  I can’t believe we’re already staring into the face of 2011.  Here’s a few of my favorite ideas for saying goodbye to the old and ringing in the new.

On New Year’s Eve 1999, I tried to create time capsules to be opened at some later date.  Sadly, not only can I not remember whether I actually finished them, but if I did I don’t know where they are.  I think it’s time to try again with these Cookie Tin Time Capsules from Kaboose.

time capsule

When the clock strikes midnight, you gotta make some noise.  It’s a rule.  Thanks to this Popcorn Tin Noisemaker from Sassy Sites, you can do it in style.

popcorn tin noisemaker

While we’re on the subject of noise, here are some cute Noisemakers from Make and Takes, and you probably have everything you need to make them on hand.

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My kids have always been champions at staying up late, and not just on New Year’s Eve.  There’s always a couple of hours between eating and the midnight chaos where they need to be kept busy.  I think this Big-As-Life Board Game from Craft would be the perfect thing.

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It’s always about now that I start to look forward to putting away the Christmas stuff.  We leave it up until New Year’s Day, but sometimes I try to throw in something new, like this New Year’s Centerpiece from from Make it From Scratch.

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These Quilted Numbers from The Iowa Farmer’s Wife are intended to be a child’s learning tool, but how fun would they be as New Year’s Eve decorations?

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What’s a party without a hat?  These New Year’s Eve Party Hats from Felt So Cute would fill both the cute party gear and something to keep the kids busy requirements.

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I don’t know why I like this New Year’s Marshmallow Ball from Simply Designing so much, but I do.  Don’t judge.

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This Mini 2011 Calendar from Very Merry Vintage Style is adorable, and she offers a free printable for the tiny pages.

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I love making New Year’s resolutions.  I love the sound they make when they deflate mid-January.  This New Year’s Resolution Cube from Chica and Jo might be just the thing to keep me on track.  At least I can fold it to a different one as they crash and burn.

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Happy New Year…see you in 2011!

Creamer Bottle Snowman

I couldn’t let Christmas go by without sharing this tutorial with you because it has special meaning to me.  This little guy is the project that planted the seed for this blog years ago.

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I’m a complete and total coffee addict.  Coffee house lattes are my favorite, but when I’m at home it’s vanilla flavored coffee with vanilla creamer.  I kept looking at the creamer bottles and thinking how easy they would be to make into a snowman.  I know there are others out there now, but at the time I hadn’t seen any.

Finally, I saved bottles until I had enough for friends and family.  I came up with a powdered drink recipe and the snowman army was born.   After I made them, I thought it would be nice if I could share how I did it with other crafty people.  And then I let that thought go.

Here I am, several years and creamer bottles later, with a tutorial to show you how they’re made.  I feel like I just completed some sort of loop.

You will need:

an empty 32 ounce liquid creamer bottle

5” by 1 1/2” flannel (cotton will work too)

18” by 1 1/2” flannel (again, cotton is ok)

12” by 4” felt

8” by 1 1/2” felt

18” of wire

embellishments (buttons, felt scraps, etc.)

Print the pattern here.  If you have the capability, you’ll want to print it borderless because it barely fits on a piece of paper.  Cut the larger piece for the vest from the 12” piece of felt.  Cut out 4 of the mittens from the smaller piece of felt.  You can also cut little squares for embellishing the mittens from a contrasting color of felt.

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Wrap the vest tightly around the empty creamer bottle.  Glue the edge down to the vest in the front using a hot glue gun.

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Using a pencil or pen, mark a dot on each side for the arms.  Slide the vest off the top of the bottle.  Using a toothpick, poke a hole on each side at the mark.  Feed the end of the wire out each hole, bending it slightly so it conforms to the back of the vest.

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Slide the vest back onto the bottle.  Glue the edges down using tacky glue.  Secure with a rubber band until it’s dry.  I used hot glue, but I don’t necessarily recommend that.  You have to be very careful not to melt your bottle and the edge doesn’t end up looking as neat.

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If you’re adding the contrasting piece, sew them on with embroidery floss before sewing the two mitten pieces together.  Stitch two mittens together using a blanket or straight stitch.  Repeat with the other set of mittens.

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Curl the wire around a pencil, leaving about an inch at the end straight.

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Squirt some hot glue into the bottom of the mitten and, working quickly, slide the wire in between the two pieces of felt.  If you’re me, carefully pry the finger loose that you glued to the back of the mitten.

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Fringe both short ends about 1” up on the 18” piece of flannel.  Tie it around the snowman’s neck, pushing the knot to one side.

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Fold the 5” piece of flannel in half lengthwise.  Press.  Fringe, clipping close to, but not through the fold.

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Unfold.  Roll up from one end, wrong side in.

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Hot glue to the top of the bottle with the edge in the glue.  After the glue is cool, fluff.

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Glue a button or other embellishment onto the vest on the side opposite the scarf.

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Let me apologize for his nose.  I know, it’s cute.  It’s a carrot button I’ve had for a thousand or so years.  I don’t know if you can still get them.  A piece of orange felt cut into a carrot shape would be a good substitute.  You could even add a little black stitching.

For his eyes, I used a Sharpie.  You could also paint them on or glue on a little button.  When I made these the first time, I used fabric puffy paint.  It gave them nice shine and dimension.

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Somewhere in the years since I first made these, they changed the bottles from white to clear.  I hadn’t even realized it until I washed a bottle to make this one.  I have an easy solution to that though.  Here’s the recipe for the drink mix I put in mine.

Cinnamon Vanilla Warmer Mix

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup powdered vanilla flavored coffee creamer

1 1/2 cup dry milk

6 tablespoons cinnamon imperials (known as red hots around here)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Add 3 tablespoons of mix to a mug of boiling water.

This recipe will fill the snowman with some left over.  I will warn you, when you add it to the hot water, it turns pink.  Tasty, but definitely pink.

The smaller snowman shown here is a stripped-down, quick version, using a smaller creamer bottle.  The buttons are glued on the front.  I now realize I forgot to fluff the pom-pom on the top of his hat. Don’t worry, I fixed it.

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It seems fitting that this would be my last tutorial before Christmas.  This chilly guy and I have come a long way together.

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handmade projects    afcc_125X125favorite

Rapunzel Scarf

I was in my favorite local craft store last week, and a little instruction sheet that was hanging near the yarn caught my eye.  Ordinarily, when something attracts me in that section, I give it a wistful look and walk away.  But this was a scarf and it was braided.  Braided!  I can do that!  I grabbed the sheet and a skein of yarn and went home.

When I got there, I grabbed another skein of yarn I already had that coordinated with the new one and sat down to read the directions.  All I can say is, thank goodness there was a picture, because I couldn’t make sense of the instructions to save my life.

I decided to cowboy it.  I started with 2 different skeins of yarn and ended up using all of one and most of the other.

Rapunzel 1

I cut the yarn into 100 pieces, each 8 feet long.

Rapunzel 2

I used a small piece of yarn and tied it about 12 inches from the end.

Rapunzel 3

That held my yarn together so I could tie a knot.

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From there, I just divided the strands into three fairly equal sections and braided them together, without pulling too tightly.  I found it was easiest to hold it up in the air to cut down on tangling.

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I tied another knot about 12 inches from the end, then trimmed the fringe to about 6 inches.

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This took me all of about half an hour to make.  It measures about 58 inches from the tip of one end to the other.  I love how it’s something between a scarf and almost a necklace.

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When I was looking for instructions to make these, I came across a really pretty one at Be Pretty Cheap.  It’s much longer than mine and made to be an infinity scarf.  She has a great idea for keeping the three strands from getting tangled while you braid.

This could be a cute, quick, inexpensive gift if you’re still trying to finish that list!

Felt and Wire Angel

So it’s December, Christmas is coming, and I just realized I haven’t posted an original Christmas project of my own yet!  How did that happen?

I love felt.  It comes in so many colors, it doesn’t fray and it’s fun to play with.  Kinda sounds like Playdough.  Anyway, here’s what I did with it last week.

To make this angel, you’ll need three small pieces of felt and a piece of wire that’s about 14 inches long.

Print this pattern.  Cut out two of each piece.  Sew like pieces together using a running stitch, about 1/4” or slightly less from the edge, and contrasting embroidery thread.  Tie small knots for her eyes, hiding the ends of the thread inside her head.

Felt and Wire Angel 1

Fold the wire in half, then twist it a few times so you have a 1” loop.

Felt and Wire Angel 2

Slide the head onto the wire so it’s between two stitches at the top of the head and the ends are on either side of a stitch at the bottom of the head.  Push it all the way to the top, where the twist starts.

Felt and Wire Angel 3

Slide the body on the same way, pushing it up next to the head.

Felt and Wire Angel 4

Using a pair of needle-nosed pliers, curl the feet up, using about an inch of wire at the bottom of each leg.

Felt and Wire Angel 5

Attach the wings using hot glue, making sure they are glued to both the head and body.

Felt and Wire Angel 6

I think these would make cute gift tags.  If you’re a talented embroideress, you could stitch the recipient’s name onto the dress!

Felt and Wire Angel 7

Friday Favorites–Snowflakes

My favorites today were inspired by the weather forecast.  There’s a chance it could snow here this weekend, and I have all my fingers crossed that it does.  In the meantime…

I live in a forest.  Seriously, my backyard is nothing but trees.  I could make enough of these Fir Snowflakes from Sunset magazine to fill my entire house.  Oh, that would smell fantastic!

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I’m pretty sure these Crayon Snowflakes from Roots and Wings Co. were meant for kids, but I have lots and lots of crayons and I’m making these.  I might invite some little ones over to help me to make it more legit.

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Given my tendency to try to make things out of fabric that are supposed to be paper, I don’t know why I’ve never tried this one.  These Fabric Snowflakes from The New New Blog would be great for so many uses.  You could even add some heavy interfacing to keep them stiff and hang them as ornaments.

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This 3D Paper Snowflake from wikiHow looks a lot more complicated than it really is.  I’ve seen these before, but if I would have realized how easy they are to make I would already HAVE some!

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This Quilled Snowflake Ornament is also made out of paper, but is definitely more complicated.  Quilling is beautiful and some day I hope to have the patience to give it a try.  Click through to Reese Dixon’s page and check out the glittery version near the bottom of the page.  They always get me with the glitter.

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I’ll bet these Stained Glue Snowflakes from Holiday Crafts and Creations are even prettier in person with the lights shining through.  I want to make these, just to see if I can.

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I love oversized Christmas decorations.  Those giant ornaments and stockings catch my eye every time.  I can’t believe these Giant Craft Stick Snowflakes from Craftynest are made from popsicle sticks!

I’ve cycled through several different Christmas countdown calendars.  The year we were trying to get our son to learn the alphabet I gave the kids a little gift that started with a different letter each day.  In order.  Yeah, a couple of those were pretty difficult.  This Snowflake Christmas Countdown from eighteen25 is simple, cute and a great decoration.  Everything a Christmas countdown should be.

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Snowflakes you can eat.  The blue sprinkles are the perfect touch and I love how they call it “edible glitter.”  These Sweet Tortilla Snowflakes can be found at FamilyFun.

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These Crocheted Snowflake Ornaments from Better Homes and Gardens look so delicate.  For you crochetistas out there, the pattern and directions on how to stiffen the snowflakes can be found on their website.

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to run and stick my nose to the window.  It might snow!