That moment when the baby you thought you’d never get is placed onto your chest and into your heart forever…
We are a big happy, overwhelmed, exhausted mess over here, but I wanted to pop in really quick to let you know that our sweet baby boy has finally arrived!
Samuel Joseph Duesterhaus was born this past Thursday evening, weighing in at 8 lb 6oz, 20.5″ long. After trying my hardest to walk and wish myself into labor, we opted to induce delivery a few days after my due date. Having been induced with Henry, it was the very last thing I wanted; however, the day and the delivery couldn’t have gone better. We’re now home and recovering and completely smitten with our new little guy. And Henry – we knew he’d do great…but the genuine love, care, and interest he has already shown Sam has made my Mama heart burst over and over again!
Thank you so much to all of your for your well wishes, thoughts and prayers! We’ll be hunkered down here for a little while as we adjust to our new pace of life so posts will be sporadic. But I will be back next Tuesday with my kitchen printable project reveal, so be sure to pop back in then. Happy New Year, sweet readers!
P.S. If you haven’t taken my annual Reader Survey yet, I’d love if you did so here!! Thanks so much to all of you who have already provided invaluable feedback!
I am practically giddy over today’s holiday craft project! This is one of those projects that I didn’t really need to do, nor did I really have the time for, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and HAD to see it come to life. I am SO glad I decided to see this project through, because not only are these Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers about the cutest things ever, but now I am well on my way to having Henry’s school class gifts all done and ready for the holiday party next week (which is about an entire week earlier than I normally have things ready!). If you need a super fun and cute way to top off your bags of homemade fudge for the neighbors OR are looking for another reason to buy a Cricut Explore, I have just the project for you!
I think treat bag toppers are such a clever idea. You can take an inexpensive little bag or envelope, fill it with editable treats, stickers, cards, anything (!!!) and transform it into a notable and themed gift simply by adding a paper topper to close it off. Folding and stapling paper over the top of a bag is a great solution for party favors, holiday treats and more…this project just takes it up a notch. Or two 😉
I’ll show you exactly how these cute little guys come together, but if you look closely, they are just variations on the same face: topper, cheeks, eyes, nose and smile. They become Santa, Mrs. Claus, an Elf and a Reindeer by swapping out a few accessories. I really can’t decide which one is my favorite!
What You Need to Make Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers
I will admit, these do take a bit of time to pull together. But the tradeoff is that they are super inexpensive to make! A handful of colored cardstock, treat bags, craft adhesive and a stapler are all you need to transform your treat bags into adorable Christmas characters!
Oh…and you’ll need a Cricut Explore. You can certainly make these by cutting shapes out by hand (or searching for clipart/graphics on Google and printing them onto cardstock), but the Cricut Explore sure makes this a more manageable endeavor (especially if you’re making 24 of them for a Kindergarten class!) If you have a Cricut Design Space account, I have the cut files all ready for you HERE (the project should open right in Design Space).
Note that these Christmas friends are not a Cricut “set.” I simply hunted and pecked through the Design Space library to find the images and shapes that worked the best to get the looks I wanted. If you’d like to make these on your own or in a different e-cutter software, here are the shapes and elements I used to pull together each character.
Assembling the Treat Bag Toppers
If you are making these for a class, team, troop, or even the whole street, I highly recommend cutting EVERYTHING at once. It makes assembling so much faster!
Here’s another tip! Cut all the big pieces, as well as anything that will hang off the edges, from sturdy paper…
…but cut the itty bitty pieces from vinyl! Instead of fussing with glue for the little eyes and smiles, they went on just like stickers!
Once you have everything cut and ready to go, it’s just a matter of glueing everything together with some craft glue. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Fold the base in half before assembling the character so you can be sure everything will be on the front of the bag once folded over.
Start by placing the cheeks and then build out from there.
The personalities really come to life through the eyes and smile. Don’t hesitate to play around with the placement of these elements to give each one a slightly different look.
Here is a visual breakdown of how each character comes to life:
While these are designed to be Treat Bag Toppers, they would also make super cute gift tags, gift card holders, or place cards for your holiday table!
Attaching the Treat Bag Toppers
So you might be wondering what’s inside my treat bags for Henry’s class this year? I found a few years ago that you can really go wrong with inexpensive little craft sets from the craft store. They are always on sale this time of year and are perfect for all the no food/allergy precautions abundant in school treats/gifts these days. I got these at Michaels for $0.50 each!
I simply slid the bead kit into the bag…
…folded the topper over the top of the bag and stapled it shut on each side.
Once the faces are assembled, putting the bag toppers onto the bags couldn’t be any quicker!
I have everything cut for Henry’s whole class and have about half of them assembled. They do take a bit of patience to get them all cut; but once they are, they come together pretty fast. School-aged kids are the perfect assembly helpers – they can assemble while you prepare whatever is going to go inside each bag! For us, getting Henry to write his name on each one will be the longest/hardest part, lol!
Over the years, I have found that I really enjoy these little craft projects around the holidays. Even though life is busy and there are a million things to do, I really enjoy making extra-special handmade things for the people/kids on our list. I think because I grew up with a Mom who made homemade stockings and ornaments, it just feels like the perfect time to bust out the felt and paper and markers and make something festive! I think Santa and Mrs. Claus agree!
I hope you guys love this project as much as I do! Now that I’ve made them, I can get them out of my head and (finally!) move on to finishing our decorating.
Hope you all have a great weekend! See you back here next week!
There is something about the arrival of the holiday season that makes me want to get crafty. Even though there are about one hundred other things I should probably be doing with my time these days, all I wanted to do this past weekend was play with some pretty papers and make a fun holiday craft! Henry is already (constantly!) asking how many days there are until Christmas; and since he is now at an age where he understands the concept of an Advent Calendar, I thought it was the perfect craft to satisfy my crafting urge while getting our holiday season off and running. After waaaaay too much Pinterest surfing and brainstorming, I’m thrilled with what I pulled together for this year. There is a bit of time before December 1st, so I’m breaking it all down today should you want to make your own version too!
As I was researching various options for a countdown calendar, I came across so many great ideas. From Lego-building projects to bible versus, holiday activities to scavenger hunts, there are so many fun ways to count down the days until Christmas. However, since we are officially entering “Baby Watch” time, I didn’t want to load more things onto our plate and stress our family out with more fuss and stuff. I wanted something that would be fun and engaging for Henry but easy enough to maintain no matter what the next few weeks hold. Here is what I came up with:
Using my Cricut Explore, I made 24 paper presents, each tucked inside a cute little paper envelope. Each envelope has a number that corresponds to the first 24 days of December.
The paper presents are tacked up onto a bulletin board in a very specific arrangement.
Why such a special arrangement? Because inside each paper envelop is a letter. Each day of December, all we have to do is slide off each paper envelope to reveal the letter underneath…
By Christmas Eve, the letters come together to create a “secret” holiday message!
Can you figure out the message yet? If not, here you go!
Henry is very much into words, letters, sounds, and spelling…so I am pretty certain this will be a big hit with him. However, he is ALSO very much into the jokes on popsicle sticks (even when he doesn’t understand them!) so I thought I would add a fun little addition to the back of each paper present as well! Besides revealing a letter, each paper present also has a kid-friendly Christmas-themed joke printed on the back. Not only is a letter and a joke per day totally manageable for our household right now, but it’s just SO Henry!
Admittedly, these little paper presents (with cute little paper bows) were a bit time intensive (lots of little pieces). But they were exactly what this Mama needed to keep her hands busy while she relaxed on the couch after a long holiday weekend!
This same “hidden message” concept could be adapted to any size/shape, but I really love that the presents are attached to the board and we just slide off each white envelop. Now that it’s made, its execution couldn’t be any easier!
What You Need
To make a Hidden Message Advent Calendar as shown, you will need:
Red cardstock (3 12×12″ sheets)
Blue cardstock (3 12×12″ sheets)
Green cardstock (3 12×12″ sheets)
White cardsticj (6 12×12″ sheets)
Photo paper or sticker paper (4 sheets)
24 mini clothespins
Tools: Scissors/paper trimmer, 2″ circle punch, Cricut Explore, craft glue, hot glue gun/glue sticks
I’ll show you specifically how this whole project comes together; but if you are going to do something similar, I can’t recommend enough getting everything cut at once and planning out your colors, numbers, jokes (or whatever you’re including) and phrase before starting to assemble anything. With lots of a little parts to keep track of (including spelling out a phrase!), assembly will go much quicker if you don’t have to stop and think through it all!
Okay! Are you ready to see how cute Advent Calendar comes together? For a single paper present, here is what you’ll need:
2″ scalloped circle*
Printed paper joke
Paper envelop that fits #1*
*These images can be found in the Cricut Design Space library. If you’re interested in creating this project exactly as you see it, you can access my file here!
Making the Printed Numbers and Jokes
There are a variety of ways to number your little envelopes (including number stickers, numbers cut from paper or vinyl, etc). I found the easiest way was to create some circles in a computer software program and fill them with fun patterns, numbers, and jokes (you can find the kid-friendly Christmas jokes I used HERE.) Once you have your files as you like them, print out all the circles onto photo paper for a glossy and professional finish OR sticker paper to make application quick and easy!
To trim the circles down to size, use a paper trimmer to slice the paper into strips, then cut each circle out with a 2″ punch. This print-then-punch method is a much quicker solution for numbering the envelopes than cutting a bunch of circles and numbers with the Cricut and gluing everything together individually.
Making the Envelopes
With the numbers printed and punched, you can start assembling each daily present! Let’s start with the envelopes.
The envelope is really just a rectangle with some tabs and a fold line. Fold everything along the score lines and then secure it shut with some craft glue…
Use more glue to layer the printed number and scalloped circle onto the front of the envelope.
Continue with all the envelopes and numbers until you have 24!
Making the Lettered Paper Presents
On the front of each present, secure a letter with craft glue, and then attach a joke (or bible verse, activity, etc) to the back. Make sure you pay attention to your spelling (if you’re doing a phrase) and color pattern as you go!
To create the 3D paper bows, fold the longer bow loops as shown below left. While keeping the two ends together, fold the ribbon tie around the middle of the bow and attach with craft glue.
Secure the bow to the front of each paper present with more glue for a fun 3D effect!
Load each letter present into the corresponding envelope to conceal your hidden message or other countdown surprises!
Securing the Envelopes
With the envelopes all made and the message hidden within, it’s time to figure out how you want to display them! You could tape them to a wall or refrigerator or load them into a basket or jar. I found securing them to my old cork board gave me the visual display I was craving while also keeping it super easy for Henry’s little hands!
To hang up our envelopes, I hot glued some thumbtacks to the backs of some mini clothespins I snagged from the Target Dollar Spot ages ago…
I then clipped up each envelop and pushed them right into the cork board in the formation that worked best with my hidden message.
This project was admittedly a little tedious because of all the paper pieces, but I’m so thrilled with the result and I know Henry will enjoy using it to countdown the days until Christmas. I also love how flexible this project is! You can use any paper shape/envelopes (even pre-cut ones available at craft stores or in the Target Dollar Spot!) and spell out any phrases or words you wish!
Henry hasn’t seen it yet, but I’ll be sure to update you on how it’s working out in my next coffee break post!
I’d love to hear how your family counts down until Christmas! Do you use some sort of countdown calendar? Do you do special activities or stick to chocolate? Am I the only one who gets an urge to craft this time of year? Feel free to share in the comments!
I’ll be back here on Thursday with a look at our holiday porch! See you then!
Six weeks ago, I kicked off our very first entire room makeover in this house as part of the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda of Calling It Home! Ever since, I have focused all my time and DIY efforts into this room, tackling everything from paint and wallpaper to storage and styling. I am beyond thrilled to be proclaiming the room “done” with just a few weeks to spare before baby gets here, and I am so excited to share all the final details with you today! As many of you know, we have been waiting and praying to bring another baby into our family for a very long time, and working on every single element of this baby boy nursery transformation was truly a labor of love. I’ve got a lot of pictures to share with you today, so get comfy and let’s get to it!
If you’re just stopping by for the first time, we moved into this rental home in Southern California this past summer. I started with a pretty neutral canvas in this upstairs bedroom and had big goals for transforming it into something bright, fresh, and functional. Here is a quick reminder of where we started 6 short weeks ago!
You can catch up on all the projects and design decisions by visiting the previous One Room Challenge posts below:
Now that you’re all caught up, come on in and have a look around this finished space!
The long wall opposite the door is the main focal point of the room. The sky-blue ceiling paired with the silver-and-white star wallpaper created a bright and fresh backdrop to our darker nursery furniture.
The entire jumping-off point for this room was the Super Hero Kids fabric by Ann Kelle. Not only did I use the primary colors in the fabric to accent the space, but the stars in the fabric also provided a secondary decor theme that is sprinkled throughout!
This wonderful star mobile was generously provided by Brandy of Brandalyn’s Paperie. The paper stars are perfectly sized, spaced and hung to create a simple yet stunning arrangement above the crib. It really is the perfect accent to finish off this corner, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with what Brandy put together for this makeover! Be sure to check out her shop for other great paper products!
There was just enough space right next to the crib to place a rocking chair and ottoman for feedings and reading…
I transformed the rocking chair years ago and am thrilled with how well it’s held up over the years (and through 2 moves!). The white fabric felt like such a gamble, but its proved super durable and ultimately flexible as it moves from room to room as we move from house to house.
One of the biggest projects in the room was to create better storage in the closet. Not only did the previous sliding doors make it very difficult to access anything in the closet, but it really closed off the already-tight space between the crib and closet.
The closet now serves many functional purposes including as a side table to the rocker, as a folding surface for little laundry, and as the ultimate clothing storage station! Everything from books, burp cloths, clothes, and shoes are now stored here!
An old toolbox was given a fresh coat of paint and now works perfectly to hold all the feeding supplies we’ll need in the early months! Those brightly-colored burp cloths are still one of my favorite things in the whole room!
As you continue around the room, you come to an expanse of wall between the closet and door. We wanted to keep it furniture free for good traffic flow, making it the ideal place to create a gallery wall!
As I shared in my very first ORC post, these prints from Amy’s Simple Designs were what really pushed me to go for a super-hero-themed nursery. The kids dressed up as super heroes work so perfectly with the Super Hero Kids fabric and add the perfect amount of color and whimsy to this side of the room! Amy’s shop is filled with so many fun prints and the quality is exceptional. A big “thanks” to Amy for providing the prints for the space; they are easily Henry’s favorite part of the entire room!
Now let’s flip around and look at the other corner of the room. Here is the view from the rocking chair:
I love this corner so so so much (and it’s a good thing too, because I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in that chair!). Not only is this corner a gem to look at, but we’ve outfitted it to be as functional as possible once baby arrives!
Beyond just outfitting the inside of the drawers, we added some other smart storage solutions elsewhere too!
A simple peel-and-stick hook holds baby’s bath towel for easy access…
In the corner by the door is a hamper and diaper pail…
Since we were able to store so much in the closet and the dresser drawers themselves, this allowed me to put fun accessories and books on the top shelf of the hutch!
The wooden crates on the top hold our back supply of extra diapers and wipes. Thanks Sister!
Even before we found out the baby’s gender and decided on the nursery theme, a dear friend gifted us this frame. I’m so struck by how perfect it ended up being in our space!
I was so excited to discover there was just enough space on this wall for the dresser as well as a rolling cart I snagged from IKEA on clearance years ago.
We removed the top of the cart and outfitted it with some perfectly-fitting baskets to hold more baby necessities!
Everything we need for diaper changing, swaddling, and infant care is all stocked and ready to go. I love how easily accessible everything is in this cart!
This corner is finished off so nicely by this awesome print from Sprout Jam. As soon as I saw it, I knew exactly where I wanted to put it. It’s another somewhat subtle super-hero accent that helps pull all the elements in the room together. Be sure you take a moment to check out their shop of amazing prints. And if you find something you love, which I know you will, use the code “THIHM” to get 15% off your entire order!
There are so many elements of this room that I love…but this view really is my favorite!
There are obviously some other projects and updates I’ve made to this room in the final week that I haven’t yet shared in detail. Don’t worry, I will share every last detail in some other posts down the road. Today, I just wanted to stick to all the pretty pictures and enjoy the fruits of my labors! Before I sign off though, here are a few quick “before and afters” of each wall in the room.
I’ve done my best to link up the products used in this room below. If I missed something, just let me know and I’ll add it in!
*affiliate links used
Ceiling paint color: Sherwin Williams Notable Hue (cut by 50%)
I especially wanted to thank Sprout Jam, Amy’s Simple Designs, and Brandalyn’s Paperie for providing all the artwork for this space. Each of these shops offers really unique and high-quality products that truly provided the finishing touches to this room; I hope you will check them all out! Last but not least, don’t forget to visit the final room reveals of all the other participants by clicking here:So there you have it! I am beyond thrilled with how this room came together…and maybe even more excited that it’s truly done, fully stocked and ready to go for whenever baby boy makes his entrance. I’d love to hear what you think of the space in the comments below; and I hope you all have a great holiday weekend. If you need me, I’ll be sitting right there enjoying the one and only complete space in our house!
Another week has gone by, which means it’s time for another One Room Challenge update! We’re heading into the home stretch, and there is still a lot to do in order to make this room look complete. Decorative elements aside however, one of my goals for participating in this 6-week challenge was to truly make a complete and usable room for baby. As such, this week I took a break from the decorating projects and turned my attention instead to function and organization. From the closet to the drawers, this week was all about carving out more storage and identifying the best solutions for all of our baby items!
Before I dive into the nitty gritty of the organization projects we tackled this week, here is a quick glimpse of where we are at right now. If you’re just joining in this room’s progress, you can catch up below:
This past weekend, Greg spent a few hours bringing my closet built-in visions to fruition!
I am planning on going into detail about what all we did here and why we made the decisions we did in another post. The short version is that I really wanted some functional AND aesthetically-pleasing storage (since we took the doors off) that would allow us to sort and store all the baby items we’ve accumulated from Henry and will eventually be used by this baby. I wanted the project to be as simple as possible (since I really couldn’t be much help!), so we went with a Closetmaid system from The Home Depot. Using a combination of a few new things as well as some shelves we already had, we ended up with exactly the storage capability and look I was going for!
Once Greg had the shelves in place, it was my turn to get to work. I had to transform this somewhat organized mess into something a little more streamlined and nicer to look at!
Using some small hangers from HomeGoods and some TJENA boxes from IKEA…
…I was able to find a home for pretty much everything!
Back before the One Room Challenge even started, I spent some time going through and inspecting all of Henry’s old clothes that we’ve saved. I tossed anything that was really soiled or worn, and categorized the rest by size and put them back into the beaten-up file storage boxes you can see a few pictures up. The file storage boxes hold clothes really nicely, and I was worried the IKEA boxes wouldn’t be big enough. I was quite relieved to see that not only did everything fit in them, but I actually think these boxes hold kids’ clothes a bit better! For the time being, I used some painter’s tape to keep track of the sizes. I am still brainstorming what I want to do for labels here!
The boxes hold clothes according to size, but as I was going through everything, there were some things that just didn’t seem best sorted that way. Shoes, pajamas, hats, bathing suits, and socks are all things that Henry moved in and out of at different rates than his clothing. As such, I used the three wire basket drawers to hold these items (which was also a good call because these collections were a bit larger than each stage of clothes). You can probably guess that I’m not loving the “mess” that is visible through the wire drawers, but I have a plan in mind to remedy that!
We don’t tend to hang a lot of baby clothes, but I was sure to include a short rod for the few things that are nice to have on hangers. The shot below also reveals a bit more of my intention behind this specific closet design. The space between the crib and the closet was really the only logical place for the rocker. But there was absolutely no room for a small table to hold things for feeding sessions (now) and story time (down the road). The white built-in bench now serves as a great side table to the chair, as well as a folding surface for clothes.
I have some tweaking and arranging still to do here obviously, but I am thrilled with how this whole corner turned out!
The Dresser Drawers
Admittedly, a lot of the storage in the closet is “deep storage” (i.e., clothes baby won’t wear for a while). My intent was for items we use/need less frequently to go up on the high shelves in the closet, and our more day-to-day type stuff would mostly be held in the dresser. As baby grows in and out of items, we can move them down and back up as necessary. We’ve got some time to fine tune this area before baby comes, but I wanted to get this area up and running too!
My first step was to line the drawers. No, this isn’t at all necessary, but it sure does make me happy! I had just enough spare wallpaper to line all 6 drawers…
…as well as make some drawer dividers for the top 2 drawers!
I will be sharing the details of both of these projects later; but for now, you can bet the insides of these drawers make me pretty giddy! It was a little tough to organize these drawers when I really don’t know quite what we’ll be using this time around, so I gave it my best go knowing we will fine tune once we get into a rhythm with baby. The top two drawers (the ones with dividers) are holding jammies and swaddle blankets…
…and the other holds all the cute itty bitty stuff like socks/booties, bibs and hats!
The next two drawers down hold newborn clothes (near drawer) and extra crib sheets and changing pad covers (far drawer).
The last two drawers hold the next two sets of clothes (6 and 9 months). I have space in the closet if I want to move these back in there, but I thought it might be handy to have the next couple sizes pulled down. We’ll see!
The cart right next to the dresser currently holds more swaddle blankets and some baby carriers. My plan is to outfit the other two shelves with diapers and toys…
So there we are 5 weeks into this nursery makeover! The room feels thiiiiiis close to being done. and I am honestly looking forward to pulling together the final elements this coming week. What’s left to do you ask? Here is my final checklist!
Frame and hang art
Label clothing boxes
Paint burp cloth caddie
Stock up on baby items (i.e., diapers, wipes)
Star garland for dresser
Shop for a few necessities (i.e., hamper)
Stage and photograph
Although we have plenty of time until baby arrives (we hope!), it will be so nice to have this room completely done so I can turn my attention to a few other things in the final weeks. Be sure to stay tuned to Instagram for sneak peeks of a few final updates and come back next Thursday for the final reveal!
Last but not least, don’t forget to check in all the other participants’ progress by clicking here!