Tag: Handmade

DIY Holiday Canvas {Handmade Holiday}

DIY Holiday Canvas {Handmade Holiday}
By Amanda Brown of My Hearts Desire

Thanks, Arkansas Women Bloggers, for the opportunity to guest post today! If you are new to the Arkansas Women Bloggers site, be sure to register and get to know other bloggers around Arkansas! It has been such a privilege to meet some really fantastic ladies through ARWB!

Today, I am going to show you how I used this Pinterest image as inspiration to make this simple, inexpensive, Christmas tree project that will take you about 30 minutes to create, but gives fabulous results!

Supplies needed:

  • Canvas-I used an 11×14, but any size will work (use coupons at craft stores for great prices)
  • Scrapbook papers for trees, tree trunks,or stars–I made matching trees, but you can use 3 different papers for interest. It doesn’t have to be “Christmas” paper!
  • Scrapbook embellishments (optional,for stars)
  • Mod Podge
  • Mod Podge applicator–spongebrush pictured
  • Ric Rac
  • Stars for treetops–use coordinating paper or other scrapbooking embellishments
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Scissors

Using a ruler, lightly draw a triangle on the scrapbook paper. Trees shown are 9 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches. Use this first tree as a template to cut out the next two.

Cut three mini triangles for tree trunks. Only the bottom of the triangle will show.

Measure and lightly mark the middle of the canvas so you can place your first tree, but do not glue the tree yet!


Using a spongebrush, cover the entire surface of canvas with Mod Podge. Then coat the back of your first tree with Mod Podge and place it in the marked spot. Glue the tree trunk under the bottom of the treebefore brushing the entire surface, including tree, with Mod Podge again. Be sure to seal edges of tree.

Repeat this process (ModPodging entire surface) after each tree and trunk.

 Lightly press with your finger to seal the edges to the canvas.

If your paper bubbles, no worries! Magically, these disappear once the Mod Podge dries!

 Next, cut the Ric Rac the exact length of the canvas. Glue it to the canvas using Elmer’sglue.

 Glue paper or other”star” embellishment to tops of the trees, using Mod Podge for paperstars or Elmer’s for 3-dimensional ones.

Hang directly onto the wall,


or use a plate stand to display it on a table!

This versatile craft can easily transfer to any Holiday using different paper, shapes, or colors!

Happy Crafting!


Amanda is a mom to three kids and has been married to David for 13 years. She has a passionfor cooking, journaling, blogging, authentic relationships, and making her homea “haven.” You will find creative ideas for your home, recipes, and anauthentic place to be yourself at www.myheartsdesireblog.com.

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Cookie Exchange {Handmade Holiday}

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Cookie Exchange
Written by ARWB Dec. 2011 Blogger of the Month, Stephanie Hamling of Proactive Bridesmaid

I got my annual cookie exchange invitation in the mail today, and, so, the wheels are turning. Have you ever hosted or participated in a cookie exchange? This gathering has become one of my favorite Christmas-time traditions. The effort that goes into both hosting and being a guest can be overwhelming, but it is, without a doubt, always worth it.

One of the members of my cooking club, along with her sister-in-law, hosts the yearly event. After ten years, they have it down to an art. I’ve never hosted an exchange, but I’ve taken mental notes from them every year.

In case you are unfamiliar with the concept, here’s how the exchange works. Each guest and hostess bakes a set number of cookies, which they take to the exchange. During the exchange, each person gets a set number of cookies from each of the other guests. Basically, you end up with however many cookies you brought, but you get a far wider variety.


You can organize the event a number of ways, but I’m fond of the way my girls set it up. Two to three weeks in advance, a cheerful invitation arrives in the mail. We know about when to expect it, but for an inaugural event, a little more notice might be in order. Included on the invitation is the standard when and where, RSVP info, how many cookies to bring, and a listing of prize categories.

Yes, there are prizes, and the more competitive among us take them very seriously. Awards are given for best taste, best presentation, and best overall cookie. The first two categories are chosen by popular vote and the hostesses choose the third winner. The prizes are glory, a year of bragging rights, and a small Christmas-themed treat.

The prize for best taste necessitates tasting, of course. After a round-robin story telling session about the origins of our cookie recipe, we have a tasting. We make the rounds to check out the presentation and have a nibble. Each person’s cookie is assigned a number for voting, and secret ballets are cast. After prizes are awarded, its time for everyone to grab their take-homes.

And, that is how it’s done folks. There are more bells and whistles that can be added as you wish. Our hostesses start the party with appetizers and drinks and we play a few rounds of party games, everything from bingo to a complicated race involving unwrapping a Hershey’s Kiss with mitten-covered hands. They end the night with a handmade party favor for each guest. Seriously, these ladies could write a book.

A cookie exchange is great to find new favorites, to get more bang out of your baking time, and to take care of treats for holiday parties or teacher gifts. If you ever have a chance to attend one, I hope you will. If you are encouraged to start your own, your friends will love you for it!

Tips for the hostess:

  • Tag team with a friend. Split the duties and alternate houses each year.
  • Don’t limit your group to only great bakers. Break-and-bake and even bakery cookies are welcome in our crew.
  • Send the invitations early and have clear instructions.
  • Have a few boxes or plastic bags on hand for folks who forget to bring anything to transport their cookies home.


Tips for the guests:

  • RSVP!
  • Put in some effort, but don’t stress. Some of the worst cookies make the best stories and bring out some great cooking tips.
  • If you know how many cookies each guest gets, prepackaging make things go more smoothly.
  • Thank you cards are never out of fashion. A hostess gift is a nice touch.
  • Bring a copy of your recipe for each guest, so they can recreate their favorite. Try to pick a recipe that travels well and has a good shelf-life.


My name is Stephanie Hamling. Originally from Wonderview, Arkansas, I now live in our state’s capitol, Little Rock. A freelance graphic artist, I also work as a social media liaison and webmaster for a local grocery market. My joys include gardening, cooking, photography, spending time with family, and blogging.  Stephanie is the Arkansas Women Bloggers December 2011 Blogger of the Month.

A Crude Little Star {Handmade Holiday}

Written by Julie Kohl of Eggs and Herbs…where creativity meets the farm

I love everything about Christmas except for commercialism.  I’m not at all into the whole Black Friday thing and I’ve never really been into the “gimme, gimme” attitude that a lot of people have around Christmas.  I do love the magic and the surprise and I love getting gifts as much as the next person but my favorite part of Christmas has always been making things.  Whether cookies and cakes, scarves, toys, or ornaments I love making Christmas special.

2000 was the year that the meaning and importance of a handmade Christmas really rang true with me and it involved an empty toilet paper roll, two paper stars and glitter.

My husband Richie and I had been married for less than five months and were about to celebrate our first Christmas together.  We were both in college full time, neither of us was working and we were BROKE!  Living off “extra” loan money that had long since run out, Christmas looked to be a fairly bleak that season.

Sadly Christmas decorations are expensive and are not really budget worthy in a newly married college couples world.  We did splurge and buy a fresh tree that year but everything else had to be borrowed or made.  We borrowed lights and some old ornaments from Richie’s mother.  My sister bought us candles for our windows and we spent a whole Saturday making ornaments together.  We strung popcorn that we popped on the stove, we made cinnamon ornaments and ornaments out of found popsicle sticks and fabric.  It was fun and romantic and we still use most of the ornaments today.  We got everything hung on the tree and I stepped back only to realize we were missing something.  A TREE TOPPER!  There was no angel, no star, no pretty bauble for the top of the tree.  We had literally spent our last dime and could not purchase anything for the top of the tree.

We began to look around.  Surely we had something we could use. We scrounged around and came up with an empty toilet paper roll, two paper stars and some glitter.  Combined with some glue we were able to fashion a very crude star for the top of our tree.  I remember the sense of peace and joy and accomplishment that came over me when Richie placed that star on the top of the tree.

In the years that have followed we have travelled all over the world (Paris, Rome, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and all over the US) and collected beautiful Christmas ornaments to remember places we have been.  Still, over 90% of the ornaments on our tree are handmade.  But every year the ornament I most look forward to putting up is that crude little star.  It now lives on a smaller, table-top tree but it is so beautiful to me and it wouldn’t be Christmas without that little star!


Julie Kohl is an art teacher by day and loves to write mostly about food and life on the small farm owned by her and her husband on her blog Eggs and Herbs…where creativity meets the farm.  Julie is also the Farm Kitchen writer for The Renegade Farmer and is one of the four founding members of Arkansas Women Bloggers.

Handmade Holiday is the Arkansas Women Bloggers theme of the month.  We would love for you to share your Handmade Holiday story with our readers.  Please visit our Guest Post Guidelines page for information about how to submit a story to ARWB.