12 days of crafting: paper circle garland

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decorFrom December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 4: Paper Circle Garland

paper circle garland, paper punch garland, diy paper garlandYou can never have too many garlands! This one is quick, easy and fun to make!

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garland


  • paper circle punch (mine is 1″, but you could do any size you want)
  • double-sided cardstock (or do what I did – glue two one-sided papers together! Thank you Joanns $1 section for carrying 12×12 Christmas paper packs!)
  • sewing machine
  • thread

A quick note about the paper circle punch: if you don’t have one, get one! They are SUCH a handy craft tool to have around. When I first learned to make bottle cap magnets, I borrowed a friend’s and fell in love with it. The next time I made the magnets, I bought my own and I use it all.the.time. In fact, there will be two more craft ideas in the 12 days series that use the 1″ punch, so get your Joanns or Michaels coupons and go get one!

Okay, back to our project. It’s so easy. First, punch a bunch of circles – you can decide how many you need based on the size of the punch. There will be about a  1/2 inch gap between each circle, so you can estimate how many circles you’ll need for your desired garland length (with my 1″ circles, it took about 8 to make 1 foot of garland).

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandOnce you’ve punched all your circles and your toddler has dumped the bowl out at least twice – that might just be me – get out your sewing machine and put in whatever color thread you want. I went with white, but a bold, festive color would be cool too.

All you do is feed these puppies through the machine, one at a time. Let the machine run a little bit after each circle – mine seemed to do a certain amount and then stop feeding, about 1/2″, which was perfect. This part is so fun, it comes together so fast! Ian walked by and thought it was pretty crazy (crazy good, I’m assuming).

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandThat’s all there is to it! Isn’t that sweet?

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandThe photo above illustrates two things NOT to do. First, keep the garland away from your coffee. A few of my circles went for a quick dip. Second, see that pile on the upper left? Oh, it’s a happy pile now, but pick that thing up and hastily try to hang the garland while keeping it out of your toddler’s hands? Bad idea. I had the tangled mess of the century. After a few minutes of trying to untangle it while standing on a chair, I decided to go with my original plan of hanging vertical pieces of the garland (thus cutting apart my loooong tangled garland into manageable 2 foot pieces). This mess could have easily been avoided by either being more careful or wrapping the garland around something like a toilet paper tube or water bottle or something that would keep it untangled.

Regardless, I’m happy with the result!

paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garland
paper punch garland, paper circle garland, diy paper garlandI’m even quite fond of how it looks on the tree, and Ian liked it too. So I may be whipping up some more for our tree.

paper circle garland, paper punch garland, diy paper garlandIsn’t it cute? You can use them for so many things – hang them in different ways or cut them apart and wrap them around your gifts.

Don’t have a sewing machine or time to make one? There are lot of fun ones on etsy!

Paper circle garlands. Love them. End of story.

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding

12 days of crafting: iris paper folding

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decorFrom December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 3: Iris Paper Folding

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament

Today’s handmade Christmas craft is brought to you by my good friend Laura! We were roommates in college, and her fun little crafts were always so creative. She’s made me tons of fun stuff over the years, and one of my recent faves is the mobile she made for Luke – you can catch a glimpse of it from afar in this post. Anyways, I loved it so much that I asked her to share her technique in making what I called her “ribbon art” – come to find it actually has an official name! – and so here she is to explain iris paper folding!

“This is a great way to recycle leftover Christmas scraps of ribbon, wrapping paper, or Christmas cards and can be used for a variety of crafts! The official name is iris paper folding. You can find hundreds of templates online, and can also make your own. It is a great way to add a homemade touch to your Christmas decorations or gifts without a large investment of time or money! This project usually takes about 1/2 hour once you have your supplies together.

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament

  • Exacto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Scissors
  • Card stock paper
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Ribbon, wrapping paper, or other lightweight paper

Here are the basics:  Pick a Christmas themed shape such as a Christmas tree or Christmas stocking. Pick your ribbon or wrapping paper that you will use for your craft.  You can do it with one color of ribbon or paper, or pick a couple of colors and alternate. Pick a contrasting color of card stock paper for a backing.

Use a pre-made template, or cut your own out of card stock paper.  Then trace this template onto your card stock and cut out your shape with the knife. You will then flip over the template and work from the back.

Have your template or wrapping paper cut into long strips. You will essentially start in a triangle, taping your strips down. Keep working in concentric triangles towards the center. This is where it is easiest to have a pre drawn template, because it guides you just like working on a paint by number like you did as a kid.


Always remember that you are working from the back, so you want to see the ugly side of everything. When you make it to the middle add some extra tape strips to secure everything.

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament
Then flip over, and voila, you’ve created something new! You can then back your creation on a card for a homemade greeting card, or another piece of card stock for a gift tag, Christmas ornament, or whatever strikes your fancy!”

iris paper folding, recycle wrapping paper, recycle ribbon cardstock, gift tag, paper ornament, ribbon ornament

Thanks Laura! I am super excited to try this – really, when she said it was like “paint by number,” I said “I’m in!” And for reals – I might give this ornament pattern a try for some gift tags and Luke would flip out if I made this dolphin for him. You can totally think beyond seasonal tags and ornaments and make a gift out of your creation – Laura also made me an awesome squirrel a few years ago. She framed it in a picture frame and it was such a fun gift to receive! He still sits happily on my desk. So go get your paper and ribbon scraps and give this craft a try!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea

12 days of crafting: christmas kissing ball

12daysFrom December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball

christmas kissing ball  handmade christmas decor

Tired of hanging mistletoe in your doorway? Give this festive little guy a try!

christmas kissing ball  handmade christmas decor


  • Styrofoam ball (mine is the size of a mandarin orange, but choose whatever size you like)
  • Glue that works well with fuzziness – Fabritac worked great for me.
  • Little pom-pom puff balls – I had some smaller ones on hand and bought another pack from the dollar store. Craft stores have some really fun Christmas ones (with sparklies and such!).
  • Ribbon

Start by putting a few dabs of glue on the ball and wrap your ribbon around it. I went ahead and tied it and made a bow – I later made the bow a little bigger. You may want to wait to tie your bow until you have some little puffs in place, so you can see how big you want it. I think this would look great with a wider ribbon, but I didn’t have enough wide ribbon so I went with tiny!

IMG_5654Next, you just start gluing on your puff balls, one by one. Luke had a lot of fun throwing the puffs around and putting them in and out of his cups, but older kids could definitely help with this part!

christmas kissing ball  handmade christmas decorIt may look a little funny as you’re building it, but just keep going and then you’ll end up with a fun little guy like this:

christmas kissing ball  handmade christmas decorNow tie that little ball of puff up in one of your doorways and call your sweetie over!

Ian says that the color scheme reminds him of the Christmas decor from his childhood (okay, so that might also be because I claimed the small puffs when your mom was cleaning out her crafting stash… thanks, Lynne!). Anyways, you could switch it up by using less primary colors if this kissing ball is too much festivity for your home. It would be pretty to do one in blues and white too. But anytime I can sneak some 70s style decor into our home is a good day for me! ;)

You know what would look super cute with this kissing ball? Some mini bunting! I’m so excited to get my Christmas colors up. There’s still a couple left in my shop if you are interested!

running through the pumpkin patch

We headed over to Bellewood Acres a couple weeks ago to pick out our pumpkin and some apples. Last year Luke fell asleep during this trip, this year he wouldn’t stop running! Bellewood changed its location, which was a little sad to us – now they have a huge market and restaurant area, but the farm just isn’t as homey as their old one. Nevertheless, Luke was super excited to be there and run up and down the rows of pumpkins. Here are some photos from our time there.


Seriously, he ran the entire time.

…with the occasional break to excitedly point to various pumpkins.

Me and my little man. Such a big boy now.

My boys. Love them.

He loved all the colors and textures.

It was a fun family outing.

I’ll be back later this week with some exciting news, stay tuned!

so long, sweet summer

Despite the beautiful sunny days we’ve been having around here, I’m starting to embrace the fact that fall has arrived finally arrived. We had a long, full summer, and I am grateful for every moment.

This past spring, when the sunlight got longer and the weather started to take a turn towards warmth, all my emotions and memories from last summer started to come rushing back. And it was wonderful. Last summer was definitely one of the best seasons of my life.

Not to go all Koine Greek on you, but last summer I felt like I was living in kairos time. Chronos is the word used to describe chronological time, but kairos is a special experience of time – an appointed time, or an experience that is beyond the normal chronos of daily life.

Last summer was such a blessing – Luke entered our family so quickly and seamlessly, a perfect gift from a gracious God. We spent hours snuggling, staring at him, just being together as a family of three. Luke was on a 3 hour schedule, but we still lived beyond that. I was working 15 hours a week, but I was able to take Luke into the office with me – though it often took me 7 hours to get in 5 hours of work, it didn’t matter. We were together and content; it was such a special season where chronological time mattered a lot less than the time we were experiencing.

{And don’t get me wrong – there were days when I prayed for grace, grace and more grace; but God always delivered on that, with the added bonus that Luke was a very content newborn.}

I remember times last summer when I would think about what this summer would be like – would it even compare? The joy and contentment I felt in becoming Luke’s mom was so incredible, it was hard to imagine life beyond that season.

And really? This summer was great. Different, but so great.

Naps in the yard were replaced by lots of play in the kiddie pool and splash table…

It’s funny, because gardening seemed challenging last year – trying to fit it into his 3 hour cycles. I imagined that this summer he would be able to play happily next to us while we worked… that didn’t happen until a couple weeks ago. Finally his quest for dangerous places and gross things to put in his mouth was replaced by a new satisfaction in simply playing in the dirt.

I will say that he and Ian had the cutest little routine all summer. Ian would get him all set up in the stroller and take him out to water the plants and tend to the garden. My energetic, always-moving little boy would sit contentedly and watch his daddy, often for an hour or so. I would look out the window and see Ian explaining something to him and Luke would be watching with such an earnest little face. Freaking adorable. And sometimes dad would let him hold the garden tools.

Last year outings to the park were more for my sake than Luke’s. And it was really only fun if I happened to be babysitting an older kiddo – though I’d never complain about those newborn snuggles.

Luke’s first trip to Boulevard Park.

But this summer Luke was all over trying the slides, climbing up stairs and finding awesome mole hills to destroy.

Adventures and outings were a ton more fun this year. Last year Luke hung out in the ergo when we’d go somewhere, which he absolutely loved.

This year he got to participate in whatever we were doing, and, like any kid, he just loves to be included. Okay, he especially likes to be included when it comes to food…

Luke’s first gyro at the St Sophia Greek Festival.

One thing that people pick up on pretty fast is that Luke is very excitable. When he sees someone or something that makes him excited, he starts making excited grunts and sounds and points to everything in sight. So taking him to new place is a lot of fun because he reacts so much. A trip to the Vancouver Aquarium was a recent favorite.

Again, it was just a really fun summer. There were definitely moments of kairos, and the chance to experience the growing joy of really knowing someone. Last summer we nurtured and cared for a tiny little baby; this summer we watched our baby become a toddler and develop all kinds of new skills and aspects to his personality. It is such a privilege to be his parents, and every season brings new joys and challenges – I am grateful for the past and excited for the future.

Typical family moment captured by Evantide Photography.

it must be spring

That’s my excuse for being absent from this little corner of the internet.

Half of you just want to see photos of Luke, so I’ll get that taken care of right now…

Yep, he’s still a happy camper. Mama is going through a bit of a “he’s growing up so fast!” panic, so baby boy may be getting extra snuggles and cuddles at the slightest whimper.

So for the other half of you that are hoping to hear about my latest crafting endeavors… well, you’ll just have to hold tight. I am on the cusp of finishing this incredibly awesome project for Luke – I’m so happy with how it’s turning out! So stay tuned for the reveal.

And what about the project I mentioned last time? Oh, as predicted, it quickly took a turn and spiraled into a huge undertaking. I’d say I’m about 10% finished. Yay.

What else have we been up to? Dealing with 5 yards of compost (okay, that’s all Ian – I’ve only pulled a few weeds here and there), planting some of our veggies, and getting the yard cleaned up when it’s sunny (or at least not completely soggy). I also took action on my obsession to make crockpot yogurt. More on that later.

Ian and I have also been discussing painting our shed (I know – why would we even think of covering up that pale pinkish awesomeness?!). As often happens with these conversations, it spiraled into trying to find a paint color for the eventual painting of our whole house. Of course this happened after our bedtime, when our judgment isn’t at its peak. The next thing I know, we’re using one of those useless paint preview programs where you upload a photo and play around with different colors. This is the photo we uploaded:

I then spent the next ten minutes snickering about the awkward/creepy Ian in the window. We don’t even know what’s going on with this picture – is he kneeling? sitting right up against the window? We may never know.

On that note, I’ll wrap this up. I hope you are enjoying springtime as much as we are!

eleven things on the eleventh

11 things on my mind today…

1. Jon Foreman’s Spring is my album of the moment.
Your Love is Strong is the song I play over and over and over.

2.  A trip to Value Village secured the goods I needed to begin yet another craft endeavor – hopefully a simple project, but it has the potential to go awry.
{follow up post to come, hopefully as soon as this weekend!}

3. People watching at Costco always amuses me. Fave quote of the day: “Why did you lie to daddy about biting your arm?”

4. All Luke wants to do is be assisted in standing up.

5. When he’s not standing up (okay, and sometimes when he is), he’s eating cheerios. I’m pretty sure he would eat an entire box if given the opportunity.

6. Our church has officially been around for 3 years, and our launch team was meeting together even before that. Crazy! It feels like we’ve been together awhile, but 3 years seems to have flown by!

7. When we decided to adopt, we knew we would be open to a baby of any racial background. What I didn’t expect was that our baby would be translucent. Seriously, who knew you could even be more pale than Ian and I?!

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

8. Did I mention that Luke and I discovered a giant slide at a nearby playground?
I was super pumped, but Luke was very casual about the whole thing. He was more intrigued by the rusty bolt and gravel at the top of the slide. Of course.

9. I’m thankful that we were able to find a rug to go in Lukey’s room! Much better than laminate for a little guy that’s trying to be mobile.

10. Luke is 10 months old. Insane.

11. I can’t stop laughing about this photo. The bunny ears belong to Luke’s older cousin Wes, who is obviously old enough to run away from anyone trying to stick those ears on him.

more light

I have been so surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed “springing ahead” with daylight savings time this year! I love the cozy, winter days and don’t mind the dark evenings. But this year I’m really welcoming the extra light in the later hours. I feel strangely nostalgic and sentimental – the brighter evenings trigger memories of  having Luke last summer, and it makes my heart so happy to remember those early days of falling in love with him.

It also makes me excited for things to come this spring and summer. Baby boy seems to LOVE being outside – in his swing, going for a walk, or inspecting the garden with daddy. I’ve let him play in the hazelnut shell mulch a couple times, and he has been fascinated by them (he’ll actually examine them for a good five minutes before attempting to taste them – that’s a long time for him!).

I’m excited to work in the vegetable garden again, growing yummy sugar snap peas and tons of lettuce.

I’m ready to see our hibernating flowers blossom and bloom again.

I’m looking forward to laundry drying in the breeze.

I am trying to be patient as the weather catches up with the extra light, but it’s not easy.

What about you? Has the added daylight cheered you up?

feeling better

After a few days of a bad cold followed by an ear infection in both ears, baby boy is now on the mend. Still not completely back to his happy, content self, but much closer than the clingy, whiny mess that he was over the last few days. You could tell he wasn’t feeling well at all.

And oh my – carrying 21.5 lbs of that boy around all.the.time sure takes its toll. I’m definitely feeling it in a number of muscles. Thankfully he loved snuggling in the Moby wrap, so at least my arms got a break sometimes.

moby wrap

Yep, super flattering photo of both of us. Hey, he was sick and I was sleep-deprived, what can I say, we were making it work.

Did you all have a good Valentines Day? We did – mostly because Luke was feeling a lot better. It was still super low key (we definitely wore our pajama pants the whole evening) but still special. Ian made our traditional v-day meal of steak, fried potatoes and asparagus (okay, normally we do green beans, but we were craving asparagus this time) and Luke happily joined us at the dinner table while we ate.

After dinner, we put Luke down and enjoyed a glass of wine and nanaimo bars (mmm!) while watching Hitch. I forgot how funny that movie is. Also, it just brings back great memories of the first time we saw it. Ian was visiting me in Montana, and the Kalispell drive-in theater was showing a double feature with Hitch and Sahara. We enjoyed Hitch but both of us fell asleep pretty quickly into Sahara – not because we didn’t like it, but it was late and we were tired. We must have been seriously sound asleep, because we woke up to a guy knocking on our window to wake us up. Ian’s reaction still makes me laugh – he popped his seat up, started the car, and we were on our way within seconds. I think it was just the shock of it all, and the fear that maybe we were holding up a line of cars trying to get out. Good times.

I can’t believe how fast this month is flying by. Did you know Ash Wednesday is next week? Are any of you celebrating Lent – giving something up or setting aside special time for reflection? I’m thinking through what I’d like to do this year – let me know if you’ve done something in the past that’s been helpful in your walk with Jesus, or what you plan to do this year!

diy valentines decor

Thank you, Dollar Tree, for having the exact little sparkly hearts I was envisioning.

Happy February! Every year I forget how busy my job is in January. It is always such a relief when February arrives and I can breathe a little easier (figuratively, but also literally – I had a lame cold the last two weeks of January. I’m still relishing Luke sleeping through the night most nights – ticks me off when a cough keeps waking me up!).

So far, February has started out amazing – the weather has been gorgeous (sunshine, nice to see you again!), Luke got to see both of his grandmothers last week, and I’ve gotten in some small crafting projects. I also like being able to slow down and enjoy the small moments, like peeling carrots for Luke’s food while he played next to me in his jumper this morning. Now he’s watching intently as Ian makes some cookies.

Valentine’s Day is only a week away, so I thought I’d post some pics of my super easy DIY decor.

I made this yarn-wrapped wreath a couple years ago when we were still remodeling our house, so it must have been quick. The foam wreath is the more square variety (that they happen to sell at Dollar Tree). I just wrapped her up in yarn, embroidered a little felt heart and called it good.

yarn wrapped jar valentines diy valentines decor

I just threw together this little ensemble. I had the ideas floating around in my head, and this is what emerged. I’d like to add something more to the mason jar… maybe some flowers from a certain special someone? :) I wrapped the mason jar in yarn awhile ago and figured out the rest a few days ago. Fun fact: the “Love never fails” was stenciled with my Tupperware stencils from my childhood.

diy valentines decor yarn wrapped jar heart garlandIt’s fun coming up with seasonal decorations for the half wall between our dining area and the piano room. I put in some simple scrapbook paper into the photo frame, set out some candle holders and hung a heart garland.

yarn wrapped jar felt heart diy valentine decorSo remember these yarn-wrapped jars from Christmas? Yep, took me about 5 minutes to cut out some felt hearts and tie them to the jar with some yarn. I’ve seen lots of mason jars with doilies and paper hearts tied around them on pinterest and other blogs, which is definitely cute, but I didn’t want to have to buy doilies so this worked for me.

yarn heart garland diy valentines decorThis yarn heart garland was inspired by a mini-version that I pinned here. Again, I didn’t want to have to buy supplies (the thinner yarn and smaller crochet hook) so I just used the heart pattern and used some regular yarn I had on hand. Then I used a yarn needle to thread a piece of yarn through the backs of all the hearts. The hearts crochet up super fast – maybe 5-10 minutes? – and so this was a quick, easy project too.

There you have it! Some little valentines crafts to decorate your home, enjoy!