Vintage and Folk Art Handcrafted Christmas Gifts

Christmas is approaching fast, and I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get a little stressed out about it!  I’m usually really on top of gift buying and start two months in advance, but for some reason it snuck up on me this year!  I also never seem to have a problem coming up with ideas on my own… until now, that is.  Maybe things have been too hectic from traveling during Thanksgiving, or maybe it’s because I’m on a tight budget, but I’ve been finding it hard to find inspiration!

Handmade Heart SoapsI’m sure some of you out there are feeling the same stress, so I wanted to share a few more wonderful Etsy shops, which happen to belong to my mom!  Rose Cottage Soaps sells handmade and high quality soaps that are 100% kosher glycerin, cruelty-free, and that use natural, skin-safe ingredients.

Daniel and I got a few bars for Christmas last year, and we both loved them!  They smell amazing, feel great on the skin, and suds up really well!  I know I probably sound pretty partial, since it’s my mom after all, but if you take a look at her reviews on Etsy you’ll see other people love her soaps as well!  She puts a lot of care, love, and time not only into the soap itself, but also the packaging and shipping.

I particularly love the holiday soaps she has right now, I think they would make great party favors for your holiday party guests!  Very memorable and unique, and I personally think handcrafted Christmas gifts are the best!

Rose Cottage Handmade Christmas Soaps

Rose Cottage Snowflake Soaps

Rose Cottage Christmas Sled Soaps

Handmade Snowflake Soaps

Handemade Sled Soaps

She sells a variety of different scents and styles for men, women, and children that would make great stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts.  I really love these kids ones, although I think they would be fun for your favorite nerdy friend as well!

Handmade Star Wars Soaps

Rose Cottage Star Wars Soap

Handmade Robot Soaps

Country Rose Cottage Beeswax Ornament

Her second shop is called Country Rose Cottage, which specializes in handcrafted items and vintage pieces.  This shop is perfect for anyone that loves a vintage, shabby chic style, as well as folk art.

You’ll find a variety of handcrafted items here as well, including these wonderful handmade beeswax ornaments.

Rose Cottage Beeswax Ornaments

Country Rose Cottage Christmas Beeswax Ornaments

Handcrafted Beeswax Christmas Ornaments

Anyone that loves a country style would be thrilled by these, and they would look great on their tree!  Well, I hope you have found a few more gift ideas from this post, and best of luck on all your Christmas shopping adventures!


DIY Date Night Mason Jar

DIY Date Night Mason Jar

I LOVE date nights, but sometimes we have a really hard time deciding what to do.  So when I stumbled upon this Date Night Mason Jar DIY on Pinterest, originally crafted by Life in the Green House, I thought this was an absolutely brilliant idea for us.  Daniel and I tend to be pretty indecisive when it comes to activities, sometimes wasting hours of time trying to decide on a variety of options.  I loved the idea of committing to just pulling a stick out of the jar and boom, there’s our date night with no decision making required!  I also thought it would be a good opportunity to think of more creative or unique dates, so we don’t fall into the same dinner and a movie pattern.  I’ve had this DIY on my list of to dos forever, and I finally finished it!  See below for my modifications and instructions:

Date Night SuppliesHere’s what you need:

  • 1 mason jar
  • Jumbo popsicle sticks
  • Ultra Fine Point Sharpie in black
  • Red acrylic paint
  • White acrylic paint
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Red food coloring (optional)
  • Mod Podge (optional)

Paint MeasurementsHere’s what you do:

The first thing you want to do is decide on your categories and colors, and then come up with some date ideas!  I chose red, dark pink, light pink, and white. One thing I changed from the original DIY was how the sticks are colored.  Instead of spray painting the entire popsicle stick, I decided to just paint the tips, creating a paint dipped effect.  To do this, I simply measure about an inch and a half below the tip and made a pencil marking on both sides.  I used the first completed stick as a template for the rest.

They turned out exactly how I pictured.  I love how clean and modern they look!

Date Night Color Categories

Here’s what I did for color coding and some of my date ideas for inspiration!

Red sticks are mostly nighttime dates out on the town, and they are a little more expensive and take some planning.

  • Sushi dinner
  • Downtown “food hop” (appetizer at one restaurant, dinner at another, and dessert at a different one)
  • Dinner and a movie (a little cliche, but we rarely go out to movies, so I still love this one!)
  • Dinner and drinks on Mississippi Ave.
  • Weekend away
  • A night at the theatre
  • Concert or sports game

Dark pink sticks are also nighttime dates out, but are less expensive.

  • High school mall date (go see a movie and eat at the food court, haha!)
  • Bowling
  • Ice skating
  • Drinks and dessert at a fancy restaurant (great way to try a more expensive restaurant without breaking the bank!)
  • Afternoon matinee and dinner at home
  • 4th Friday free museum night (check out your local museums, many have free nights!)
  • Happy hour and bar games
  • Dinner and beer sampling at a brewery

Light pink sticks are date nights at home.

  • Homemade sushi and movie rentals
  • Matinee out and dinner at home
  • Homemade pizza and board games
  • Fondue dinner and dessert
  • At home wine bar and cheese plates (grab a few different bottles of wine and do your own tastings!)
  • Strip games and drink champagne while taking a bubble bath (this is a great one to spice things up!)
  • Hot oil massages (another spicy date night, great way to connect and a free massage never hurt!)

White sticks are daytime dates.

  • Oregon zoo
  • Wine tasting at vineyards
  • Lunch and beer sampling at a brewery
  • Museum and food carts
  • Rock climbing gym
  • Aquarium
  • Matinee
  • Brunch and a hike or a game of tennis
  • Dim sum and a walk at the nature preserve
  • Baking and puzzle making
  • Ice skating
  • Movie or TV marathon with delivery

I chose to repeat a few of the dates, because a couple of them fit into more than one category.  This was a really fast and easy DIY, I think the longest step was coming up with the date ideas.  Take a look at the finished project!

Date Night Ideas

Date Night Mason Jar

Date Night Jar Close Up

While I don’t think I’ll have a problem remembering the color coding, I did like the idea of a color code key just in case.  The original DIY had a printed label attached to the jar with a ribbon.  I had wanted to paint the lid in chalkboard paint and create a key that way, but the jumbo sticks were a little taller than I initially realized.  So instead, I painted a popsicle stick in chalkboard paint and created a key that way!

Color Code Key

I abbreviated some things to make it easy.  N is for night, D for day, In means at home dates, and the $ signs are for expensive and less expensive.

Date Night JarBonus:  As you can tell from my pictures, my mason jar is red.  I had seen a lot of pins about mason jar tinting around the same time I saw this DIY, and I really loved that look.  So I decided I might as well stick to my red tone theme!  I followed instructions on Momtastic, and I believe I used roughly 20-30 drops of food coloring to get this deep red color.

This was such a fun DIY, I don’t know why I waited so long!  This will be great for our indecisiveness and give us the chance to be more spontaneous!  I’ve even left some room to add new dates as I think of them and when the seasons changed.  What are some of your favorite date nights?


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I hope you all finished your costumes in time and got a chance to carve your pumpkins!

We carved ours last week before we left for a romantic getaway in Rockaway Beach in Oregon!  I can’t wait to tell you all the best spots to visit!

Pumpkin Carvings

I carved Boo and Daniel carved Edgar Allan Poe!  We found these great patterns on Zombie Pumpkins.  This site has an enormous selection of pumpkin patterns in a variety of categories, and they range from easy to difficult.  For just $5 we were able to download 25 patterns – such a deal!  We now have enough patterns to last us many Halloweens.

Well, I just wanted to say a quick hello and a Happy Halloween.  I hope you all have a fun and safe night tonight!  I should have my next round of apple recipes up soon, so stay tuned!


DIY Halloween Wine Bottles

Halloween Wine Bottle Inspiration

I love wine and I love Halloween, so when I saw this great DIY project on Pinterest by Lombardo Lagniappe, I knew I had to try it.

Our house is severely lacking in Halloween decorations, but this DIY was a pretty quick, painless, and somewhat inexpensive (depending on what supplies you already have on hand) way to fix that.

I mainly followed the original design, but changed a few techniques and aesthetics to suit my needs.

As you can see, I chose to vary the shape of the bottles rather than keep them uniform like pictured above.  I really loved how each bottle seemed to fit each “character” perfectly.  I already had these lying at home in our recycling bin, but if you don’t (and you want to keep this project inexpensive), you can’t go wrong with 2-Buck Chuck from Trader Joes!

Halloween Wine Bottles Before

In fact, the bottle on the left is Charles Shaw Chardonnay, and the bottle on the right is Charles Shaw Merlot!

Being on a budget, I couldn’t really justify buying all of the spray paint colors that were used in the original DIY.  Specifically because I didn’t know when I’d use them again, since I didn’t have any projects in the works that used spray paint.  So I chose to only buy the Frosted Glass spray paint (which I found at Home Depot), and use acrylic paint I already had for the rest of the color.

I’m sure it definitely took longer than just spraying them and using paint pens for the detailed work.  But I have to say I really liked the texture that came from hand painting them.  Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment!

And here they are, my ghoulish wine bottles!

Halloween Wine Bottles After

I followed the taping suggestions from the original blog post.  For Frankenstein, I sort of followed both examples.  I cut the notches first, and then put the tape on the bottle.  Once the paint was dry, I used an exacto knife to trace over the notches again so the paint wouldn’t peel off with the tape.  Because I couldn’t find black glitter at the store, I decided to nix it.  And in the end, I don’t think they really needed it!

Halloween Wine Bottles

Here they are on our dining room table!

A pretty spook-tacular addition, if I do say so myself!


DIY – Places We’ve Been Heart Maps

When I first saw the “Places We’ve Been” pin, I instantly knew I wanted to replicate it as an anniversary gift for my boyfriend Daniel.  I originally thought it was a DIY tutorial, only to find out later it was actually from an Etsy shop.  While I LOVE the way it looks, I certainly did not have over $500 to spend.  I also wanted to make it myself because I always feel that adds more meaning to a gift.  So here we are – below is my DIY of the “Places We’ve Been” pinspiration!

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 pieces of Matboard, both at least 12×12
  • Mod Podge (or any glue you prefer)
  • Sharp scissors
  • A heart stencil
  • 12 printed maps
  • 12×12 picture frame
  • Cardstock, or any thick paper (optional)

Obviously this project is all about the maps, so the first thing I did was figure out how I wanted them to look.  I did this DIY right before moving to Portland, so I was working on limited time and a small budget.  Because of that, I personally chose to use Google Maps and print them out at home.  I also chose to use Google Maps because I wanted to control the zoom of each map and what would be seen.  But you could also use an Atlas, Thomas Guide, or look for old maps at a thrift store!

Because we were about to move from Los Angeles to a new home in Portland, I chose to include a map of the neighborhood we dearly loved but had to leave behind.  You can use any heart stencil you’d like – as for me, I didn’t have one (remember that whole uncrafty crafter thing?).  So I just searched for an image of a heart I liked and printed it out on cardstock, and made my own stencil!

I stenciled and cut out each heart, and before I knew it, I had perfect little sentimental maps laid out before me.  This is the moment when I got really excited because I knew the project was going to turn out just as I had imagined it!  At the widest part of the heart it measured 2 1/2″, and from the top point to the bottom point it measured 2 3/4″.  This size worked perfectly for me based on 12 hearts and a 12×12 frame.

Next, I pasted each heart on a piece of matboard with Mod Podge and then cut out each heart again.  The reason I did this is because I wanted the hearts to have a 3D effect.  I used a pair of scissors to do this, and even though they were REALLY dull, it was still fairly easy to cut through the matboard.  With sharp scissors it should be a breeze, but use whatever cutting tool works best for you!

I tried to get fancy and penciled in a mathematical grid onto the matboard, to try and ensure all the hearts would line up perfectly.  It…mostly worked.  The grid was totally wrong, but it still helped me eyeball them into the right placement!

I pasted each heart onto a 12×12 piece of matboard using Mod Podge (you will most likely have to cut your matboard down to size), and weighed it down with heavy books for about 48 hours to make sure the edges wouldn’t curl up.  As for placement, I arranged the maps mainly by how they looked, not by chronological order.  I didn’t want two mostly blue hearts next to each other, same with the green, I also wanted to make sure our neighborhood heart was kind of in the middle, and because a lot of the places we visited were in California and on the East Coast, I tried to vary those from each other as well.

After that, all that was left was putting the finished project in a frame!  I really liked the idea of a white picture frame, since almost all the frames in our house are black, but apparently they aren’t very popular.  I searched for a LONG time to find the perfect white 12×12 frame, and still didn’t have that many options.  In the end, I decided to go with this frame, and I am more than pleased with it.  It’s not the highest quality frame I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t look cheap and feels very sturdy.

So, here it is, my completed DIY Places We’ve Been Heart Maps!

Here’s a side-by-side comparison.  What do you think?  This is the project I am most proud of to date.  And in total it only cost about $20!  Love it!

Bonus:  The Gift Wrap!

I love to make gift wrapping just as meaningful as the gift itself, and I thought I’d share what I did in case anyone is looking for some wrapping inspiration.  This had so much meaning behind it, but was super quick and inexpensive!

All I did was take brown packing paper (which came from an Amazon shipment), and with a black Sharpie wrote the lyrics from our song in cursive (in case you’re wondering, our song is “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis Presley).  Simple as that!  I completed it with a red ribbon, because I felt it needed a little color – the color of love, to be exact.

Thanks to all for reading!  I hope this tutorial gave you all Pinspiration to make your own Places We’ve Been DIY!