Tag Archives: decorating

Last Minute Christmas To-Do’s

19 Dec

It’s Not Too Late!

OK, it is just a week before Christmas and you are not ready.

Where do you start?

What do you do?

busy christmas

Before you throw your hands up and surrender, stop for a minute and evaluate what you CAN get done to make this holiday memorable. Here is a step-by-step guide on guide you through so you get the basics done before the holiday.

santa - xmas list

Make a List and Check it Twice

The first thing you should do is make a list of what you need to do. Let’s face it, you don’t have time to run around like a chicken with your head cut off!  Every minute counts and the more organized you are, the more productive you will be.

I am including a copy of a last minute To-Do list to be sure you get the basics done.

last minute - decor

Last Minute Decor

It’s not too late to make the house look festive

There are just a few simple steps (ok, except the step abut putting up the tree) that can be done in just a few minutes of your time.

Hang Wreath on Door – 5 minutes – tops

Hang Stockings – another 5 minutes

Candles in the Windows – 10-15 minutes – depending on how many windows you have in your house…

Set up Tree – whether real or artificial, this is a ‘must do’ for the holiday! Although this isn’t a 5 minute project, setting up a tree this weekend is a perfect opportunity to spend time with family

Cookies for Santa – don’t forget to put the cookies out for Santa! And a glass of milk! And don’t forget carrots for the reindeer!

Gifts Under the Tree – the final touch to make Christmas morning special

last minute - errands

Last Minute Errands To-Do

The better you are organized when leaving the house, the more effective your errands will be. Before you leave the house, make sure you take with you any coupons or lists you have. One of the biggest time-savers I have found is being able to buy stamps AND gift cards for many retailers right at the grocery store. So you may have to be a bit flexible when it comes to store selections or gift card amounts, but seriously, IT’S JUST A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!

Get Tree – chop one down, get one pre-cut at a lot, buy an artificial one – whatever you prefer

Pick Up Christmas Cards – if you ordered them online, swing by the retailer that is printing them for you

Shop for Gifts – If you live near a Wal-Mart or Target, you can seriously knock off a bunch of your list in these type of department stores…

Shop for Meals (don’t forget cookies for Santa & carrots for reindeer!) – Hmmm, one trip to the grocery store can help you with: food, beverages, items to include in a gift basket for a hostess, gift cards, stamps

last minute - correspondence

Last Minute Correspondence

Last Minute Correspondence For everyone that thought it was just way too later to properly wish your family & friends a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year – it’s not! The US Postal Service is working really hard to help folks spread their holiday cheer, but you need to ACT FAST so your wishes get there in time.

Christmas Cards – If you live near a store that offers a 1 hour photo service (Wal-Mart is my favorite for price, quality and speed) you can easily create a Christmas card in the comfort of your own home on their website. Don’t think you need to go through all the hassles of taking a picture of the kids all dressed up in their Holiday finest to get this card done. Lot’s of folks use family pictures from their vacation, or from when they cut down their tree, or any other time of the year when everyone looked happy. My standby holiday card includes a collage of my son playing basketball, baseball and football…

Facebook/Twitter Post wishing everyone a Merry Christmas – While Christmas cards can be sent to your closest family & friends, a lovely heartfelt post on Facebook or Twitter can reach more distant friends.

Thank you notes to staff – A must-do for this time of year. Taking a few moments to write a heartfelt card expressing the gratitude you have for your staff goes a long way for making them feel appreciated. The key here – handwritten notes. Your staff will know and appreciate that even at this busy time of year you took the time to focus on them.

Thank you notes to customers – Another must-do for this time of year. A heartfelt card expressing the gratitude you have for your customers is necessary to maintain relationships you have taken all year to build. If possible – handwritten notes to your largest customers. For companies with many, many customers, a printed card will have to do – if possible, a handwritten signature perhaps?

last minute - miscellaneous

Last Minute Miscellaneous Tasks

Last Minute Miscellaneous Tasks You could probably write a list of things you want to get done that is a mile long, but there is no sense getting caught up in the miniscule details that won’t let you enjoy your family time this holiday. Focus on the biggest things and be happy! Key words there – FOCUS and HAPPY!!!

Write up a menu and shopping list – remember, the better your list when leaving the house, the more productive your time will be while you are out and about

Wrap gifts – prioritize your gift wrapping by doing the gifts that need to be handed out first – teachers, bus drivers, staff – and then move on to the gifts for your hostesses and finally your family since those gifts will be given out last. And yes, you won’t be alone if you are wrapping gifts after the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve!

Put out cookies for Santa & carrots for reindeer – don’t forget to do this before the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve! You don’t want to give anyone an excuse to get out of bed on Christmas Eve because they realize they forgot to leave a treat for Santa. Especially if the elves are still wrapping gifts!

Follow Santa on a Santa Tracker – There are several apps and online websites that track Santa’s journey around the world on his way to your house. This has proven to be the best way to get kids to bed on Xmas Eve! They have to be asleep so Santa can actually come!!!

last minute - gifts

Last Minute Gifts

Sorry, I had to save the biggest task for last…

Last Minute Gifts Gift buying can actually take the longest time of all the tasks you have left to do. Remember that the most memorable gifts you can give are possibly to most unexpected. A generic gift card is nice for most folks, and I certainly love to get a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, but have you ever thought to give a gift certificate book to the local car wash, or how about the local movie theater? Gas cards are also a nice treat that most folks might not think of.

Keep in mind that people who get gifts from many folks (teachers, bus drivers, hair dressers) might very well appreciate even the ‘generic’ gift card over a tchotchke (aka chachki) item like a Worlds Greatest Teacher mug filled with hot chocolate fixings… although the hot chocolate might be nice, they really don’t need 30 mugs from this Christmas alone….

Here is a list of the people you may want to remember at this time of year:

Hostesses

School Teachers

Religion Teachers

Bus Drivers

Nanny/Babysitters

Cleaning Lady

Postal Worker

Garbage Removal

Hair Dresser

Door Man

Parents

In-Laws

Kids (from parents)

Kids (from Santa)

Friends

Co-Workers/Boss

Grab Bag Gifts (Gift Exchanges)

Don’t forget to have a few extra gifts stashed away for that awkward exchange when someone hands you a gift and you just weren’t prepared to give them something…. some items that you can have ready include – bottle of wine, gift cards, tin of cookies and nice ornaments. Go as far as actually wrapping these gifts (including a bow) and marking them with a post it note with the contents. This will help to disguise the fact that you didn’t think there would be a gift exchange with them this year….

Merry Xmas-Happy New Year from BGP

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!

14 Nov

Between jack-o-lanterns for Halloween and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, it seems like pumpkins are everywhere for the months of October & November…. Growing up I thought they were just for Halloween, but the older, more mature (?) me appreciates so many things about pumpkins…  Here are just a few of those things:

Decorating With Pumpkins

There are SO MANY ways pumpkins can be dressed up for the season.

Here is a link to our post on How to Make a Pumpkin Planter

how to make a pumpkin planter

How about these pretty pumpkins?

pretty pumpkins collage

You can carve your Pumpkins…

carved pumpkins collage

Cooking with Pumpkins

Make a Pumpkin Shake:

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup of milk

3 tablespoons of pumpkin purée

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Tastes just like pumpkin pie in a glass!

pumpkin pie milkshake

Pumpkin Bites – see our previous post for how to make them

IMG_2280

Roast Pumpkin Seeds:

2 cups pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 TBSP butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp c

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Clean and dry to seeds.  Melt butter in saucepan and stir in salt, garlic salt & Worcestershire sauce.  Add seeds and stir to coat.  Spread seeds on a single layer on a large un-greased cookie sheet.  Cook for 60 minutes stirring at the 15, 30, 40 and 50 minute marks.  Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

roasting pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin Soup (courtesy of Allrecipes.com)

Makes 8 to 10 servings6 cups chicken stock1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 cups pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

5 whole black peppercorns

Directions

  1. Heat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
  2. Puree the soup in small batches (1 cup at a time) using a food processor or blender.
  3. Return to pan, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir in heavy cream. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

pumpkin soup

And finally, you can always store your false teeth in them!

pumpkin with teeth collage

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

How to Make a Pumpkin Planter

17 Oct

how to make a pumpkin planter

Some of my favorite things about this time of year are pumpkins – and mums – so I thought it was the cutest thing ever to put them together!!!

Most of the supplies that you will need to make this planter are pretty obvious – a pumpkin, and a plant.  You can certainly use any plant you would like, but I think the mum is the seasonal favorite…  You will also need something to cut the pumpkin with, something to scrape out the pumpkin with (forgot to put this in the pic below), and the supplies to make a bow – or use a pre-made bow.  Instructions for making a bow can be found in last weeks post: https://baptismalgownsplus.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/step-by-step-how-to-make-a-bow/

pumpkin planter - supplies needed

Step 1:  Cut the top off the pumpkin and clean out the guts.  It took me a little while to get the diameter of the circle right so that the pot fit in the pumpkin snugly.  Start a little smaller than you think and gradually make the hole bigger until you’ve got it right.

pumpkin planter - clean the pumpkin

Step 2:  Bleach the inside of the pumpkin to attempt to keep the mold away… and hopefully keep the planter from rotting right away.

One note of caution – to avoid the pumpkin from rotting prematurely, take the pot out of the pumpkin before you water the plant.  Let the excess water drain away for just a few minutes and then replace the flower pot back in the pumpkin.

pumpkin planter - preserve

Step 3:  Put it all together

Once the inside of the pumpkin has dried out a little, and once you made your bow – come on, you can do it – here are the instructions…  https://baptismalgownsplus.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/step-by-step-how-to-make-a-bow/

Put the flowerpot in the pumpkin – add the bow – and put it somewhere where you can enjoy it for the season!

pumpkin planter - put it together

What do you think?  Will you try to make one of your own?  Please share what type of planter you will make and where you will put it in the comments section.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation Apparel for both boys and girls.

Step by Step – How to Make a Bow

10 Oct
Make a bow - step by step guide

Ever wonder how folks make beautiful bows out of ribbon? Turns out, it’s not nearly as hard as you might think. Here is a step by step guide for you to follow so you too can make beautiful ribbon bows for every holiday or occasion.General things to consider before you begin:
• How many ‘loops’ do you want in your bow? When making a bow, you make it from the center outward (and backwards) – the more loops, the fuller the bow
• What kind of ribbon do you want to use? Wired ribbon can be molded and will keep its shape
• Is your ribbon one sided or two? One sided ribbon means that there is a front side (with a pattern or glitter) and a back side (that is plain). Two sided ribbon is the same on both sides. In the instructions below, two sided ribbon doesn’t need to be ‘twisted’ between loops since both sides are the same. 

make a bow - supplies needed

• Spool of ribbon
• Scissors
• Floral wire – green or silver – I prefer to use the wire that blends the best with the ribbon

Make a loop with the ribbon and then twist the one sided ribbon a 1/2 turn so it's ready for the next step.

Depending on how large you want your bow to be, make the center loop by making a circle with the ribbon that will be proportional and hold it with your fingers (front side of ribbon showing). For one sided ribbon, you will need to make sure that the top of the ribbon is facing upward before you start the next step. Where you are holding the ribbon loop together, you need to twist the ribbon a ‘half turn’.

Make the left side of the loop - like when you make the loop when you are tying your shoes...

This first loop will sit on the top of the bow – next to the center loop – so it should be the smallest of all the other loops. Other ‘left side loops’ will be slightly larger than this loop and will sit ‘behind’ this loop. This loop of ribbon is similar to the loop you make while tying your shoe. Hold the loop with your thumb and pointer finger.

If you are using one sided ribbon, you need to twist the ribbon a 1/2 turn so that when you do the next step the pretty side of the ribbon is face up.

On the back side of the bow (the side away from the center loop), twist the ribbon so that the front side of the ribbon is facing upward and ready to make the right side loop. If you are using a double sided ribbon, you can skip this step.

Make the right side of the loop - remember - like tying your shoes...  and don't forget to twist!

From the back side of the bow, make the loop for the right side of the bow – same loop as when you tie your shoe. Hold the loop with your thumb and pointer finger.

Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to add as many loops as you would like to your bow - the more loops, the fuller the bow.

Continue to make as many loops as you want for your bow
Repeat steps 2,3, and 4 as many times as you want (left loop – twist – right loop) for your bow.

Make a large loop with the ribbon which will eventually represent the "tails" of your bow.  The loop will be cut in half so make the loop as large as you'd like so that 1/2 it's length will become one "tail".

To make the part of the ribbon that hangs down, you need to make one larger loop from the back of your bow. This single loop of ribbon will become 2 ‘tails’ that hang from the finished bow, so the length of this loop should be twice as long as a finished ‘tail’. Secure this loop to the rest of the ribbon by using approximately a 5 inch length of floral wire. The floral wire should be thread through the center loop of the bow and twisted several times (10x or so) at the back of the bow. The bow can be cut away from the remaining spool of ribbon. Any excess floral wire can also be cut away.

To separate the ‘tails’ of your bow, stretch the bow, press the bottom of the tail flat, fold in half(so there are 4 layers of ribbon) and cut the ribbon diagonally from the center of ribbon toward the outside edge.  If you are working with a wired ribbon, you are cutting from the plain edge toward the wired edge.  When you unfold the ribbon, you will have 2 tails that have a triangular cutout.

To separate the ‘tails’ of your bow, stretch the bow, press the bottom of the tail flat, fold in half(so there are 4 layers of ribbon) and cut the ribbon diagonally from the center of ribbon toward the outside edge. If you are working with a wired ribbon, you are cutting from the plain edge toward the wired edge. When you unfold the ribbon, you will have 2 tails that have a triangular cutout.

Did we inspire you to get creative and make your own bow for something special?  Please share what type of bow or where you are planning to add one in the comments section.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation Apparel for both boys and girls.