DIY Branch Holiday Card Holder

12 Days of Christmas DIYs // A Well Crafted Party

This post is the forth in my series of the 12 Days of Christmas DIYs for A Well Crafted Party. Check in each day for the next 12 Days for new DIY posts. There will be LOTS of free printables to boot! (Check out yesterday’s post: “DIY Wood Chargers“)


DIY Holiday Card Display // A Well Crafted Party

I love receiving (and sending) holiday cards. The problem is figuring out where to put said cards each year. Sometimes I display them on a cabinet. Other times of fridge gest covered. This year, I’m displaying them more promenitely… giving them the attention they deserve! This do-it-yourself project is super simple… the hardest part involves finding a branch!

DIY Branch Holiday Photo Holder Supplies:

(Affiliate Links Below)

How to Make a Branch Holiday Card Display // A Well Crafted Party

How to make a Gilded Branch Holiday Photo Display:

1. Find a branch! This might be the hardest and easiest part of this whole ordeal. Before I lived in my house with a gigantic tree out in the yard I wouldn’t have been able to tell you where to find a branch. This branch literally fell into our yard after a big wind storm. Other ways to find a branch besides waiting on mother nature include trimming a tree or finding tree pieces ready to go out with the garbage. Please note that you should either be doing these things with your own trees or asking first… otherwise it might be a little difficult to explain to future employers that you got arrested for trying to make a holiday card display.

2. Trim off small branches and foliage. Our branch fell from a very large and old evergreen tree. It was covered in pine needles. My husband so graciously took the time to take off the offshoots for me, leaving me with a bare branch. (It is completely easy enough to do yourself, I just happen to be allergic!)

3. Sand down stumpy parts and dangerous edges. Don’t want to get splinters when putting up your holiday cards!

4. Spray paint! This is the fun part. You can totally leave your branch bare if you’d like… you can even take the bark off and sand down the branch for a beautiful bare branch look. I wanted my card holder to be gilded though! So, I sprayed the branch with the Copper Metallic spray paint until it had a pretty sheen. After drying I did a layer of clear sealer to try to prevent the paint scuffing off. (I should have probably done two layers as some of the paint scuffed up my friend’s walls during this photoshoot. EEK.)

5. Mount your branch. For this photoshoot we actaully just tied ribbons around the branch and nailed the ribbon to the wall. This is not the most sturdy solution. For day to day use I’d actually suggest mounting curtain brackets and placing the branch in those. You’d have to find brackets large enough to fit your branch, and then secure the branch by tighting the brackets around it. I like using the Ikea brackets on my wall throughout the year and changing out wall hangings for parties!

6. Hang ribbons on the branch to attach your holiday cards. Use a slip knot to tie on your ribbon. That way, at the end of the holiday you can easily pack away your branch. (Check out my ribbon backdrop wall for pictures of ribbons with slipknots!)

7. Hang your cards! As you receive your holiday cards and photos secure them to the backdrop using a paperclip, staple or glue dot!

 More Holiday Goodies:

Do you want to see more from this Holiday Styled Shoot?

Photos from this project was from a recent Holiday Styled Shoot collaboration between myself and Suzannah of Create/Enjoy and Macey from Motormouth Studio. Check out my main post with links to DIY projects & recipes: “Natural Green and White Holiday Party + Free Printables” A big thank you to Orchard Supply Hardware for providing a couple of the supplies to make this DIY happen!

Free Printables: House Guest Welcome

Wifi Sign and House Guest Welcome Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party

I’ve been very happy to have my house taken over by guests most of the Summer. I’ve had so much fun visiting with family and friends that now that everyone is gone the house is WAY too quiet. I always want to make my house guests feel as welcome as possible. For some that means having certain foods in the house, and for others it is having the wifi password accessible and a few midnight snacks available.

My sister and her husband stopped by a few weekends ago for a quick visit from Oklahoma. They visited with the cutest nephew on the planet (sorry to all the other aunts out there, but seriously, he is the cutest) and I wanted them to feel like they were going on a mini vacation amidst the toddler, infant, and busy schedule. So, I created these fun, tongue-in-cheek printables to decorate items in our home and small guest gifts for them. I think they were a hit!

Get your free printables by clicking the link at the bottom of this post. And, if you like them… I’d appreciate it if you Pinned, Tweeted, Instagrammed, or Facebooked them! (Share them easily by clicking on the social network you like to use up on the left of this post!) It really makes my day.

House Guest Welcome Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party Guest Snacks and House Guest Welcome Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party Night Cap and House Guest Welcome Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party House Guest Welcome Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party

Free Printable Guest Welcome Door Hangers  // A Well Crafted Party Free Printable Guest Welcome Signs  // A Well Crafted Party Guest Welcome Wifi Sign // A Well Crafted Party

Free House Guest Welcome Printables

Included:

  • 1 set of Hydrate Printables & 1 set of circles including “Night Cap Kit,” “Midnight Snack Attack Kit,” “Dragon Breath,” and “Break in Case of Shower.”
  • Door Hangers
  • Wifi Name and Password 8X10 Print

Directions:

  1. Click the image above to select your downloads.
  2. Print your selections on cardstock and cut out. I use a 2 inch hole punch for the circles and scissors for the rest. Attach items with ribbon & hole punches, glue dots, tape, or hot glue!

How I used them:

  • Hydrate Printables: I used them as water bottle labels. I attached these with some glue dots. You could also use some double sided tape or cut these into little tags.
  • Night Cap Kit: I used these with some calming hot teas by gluing the circle to a spoon and arranging them in a cup. This would also be a great addition to a small travel bottle of liquor!
  • Midnight Snack Kit: I attached the circle to a box of snack-tastic goodies.
  • Break in Case of Shower: These are fun for your towels, washcloths, or soap!
  • Dragon Breath Printable: I attached this circle to a glass holding new toothbrushes and tooth paste.
  • Door Hangers: Cut out both of the door hangers around the outside, do not cut the center line. Cut out the two door holes and the small line that allows you to widen the opening and put around door handle. Fold the two hangers in half using the thin line as your guide. Use double sided tape or glue dots to secure the fold. Hang on your guest bedroom door!

I hope you like the printables. I’ll be creating a few more sets with different colors and fonts… I’d love to hear requests in the comments!

And remember, please SHARE if you enjoyed these printables!

Ikea Portland Has a Registry!!!

Disclaimer: This post, while something I am completely and genuinely excited about, came through to me as an opportunity for a affiliate program. The link below is an affiliate link—a small portion of the purchases made from registries created with the below link will help support this blog. Creating a registry is no cost to you! So, you can register away and still  help me support fresh content on this blog. Thank you for your support!


Ikea Portland has a registry! // More info on A Well Crafted Party

I’m a huge fan of Ikea. Nearly my entire house is decorated with Ikea products from their Lack side tables all the way to the frames on my wall. I’m a bit addicted. I can’t tell you how awesome it would have been to be able to register at Ikea for my wedding or for the birth of my son, but I’ll try…

IKEA PORTLAND NOW HAS A REGISTRY OPTION!!!!

See!? I’m excited.

Okay, but seriously, how cool would it be to register for the home goods that you know your friends and family can afford, that you’ll like, and already work with your existing home goods?

Ikea Registry for Jenni Bost

Ikea Portland Registry Facts:

  1. This registry option is currently only available in the Ikea in Portland.
  2. Managing your registry is EASY. They’ve made it as convenient as possible to manage the registry so everything can be done in store, through the app or on a computer. Items can be added to the registry in the following ways by scanning the barcode in the store, by typing in the article number using the app or by browsing the entire IKEA catalog in the registry app and/ or on a desktop. (If you’d like to use the affiliate link and support my blog while getting your registry on then please sign up and register on your desktop/laptop computer.)
  3. You can set up the registry for any upcoming event… not just weddings or baby showers! (How awesome would it have been to register for Ikea furniture for your graduation!? Perfect for college dorms!)
  4. Creating a profile is as easy as hooking up your Facebook account OR just entering in your email address and name. I love the Facebook option because it is so much easier for me than remembering a new password… though, I understand why some people prefer to not have Facebook hooked up to everything.
  5. One of the most unique and popular features is the ‘chip-in’ feature. This is beneficial to all sides! Guests can chip in together to split the cost of larger items and couples don’t have to feel limited in terms of which items they can place on their registry.You can even add an entire kitchen to your list! As people chip in the couple is notified and updated so that you can see the progress as it reaches a full purchase.
  6. Once the gifts are purchased the registrant issues a voucher via the registry app. You can pick up your items in the store and check out right away simply by showing their phone. You have full flexibility at that point to change any item for anything else before you redeem your gifts. This is also unique because if for some reason you change your mind about a product you are free to change their minds when they go to pick up your gifts. 
  7. Guests can search for a registry by going to portland.gift-registry.us and search by name, email address, or registry number.

The photos above are Ikea items that are now sitting on my registry!

Click on over and start your registry today! I’d love to know if you’ve set one up and what you’re excited about!

Featured: DIY Sunscreen Station at Today’s Creative Blog

sunscreen-station-guestpost

I’m excited to be sharing my DIY Sunscreen Station with Today’s Creative Blog! It is a totally customizable station that you can put up near the door of your home so that you are reminded to put on your sunscreen before leaving the house!

I would love it if you took a moment to jump on over to see the tutorial and comment/pin/share the post!

 

I’d like to gain as much Skin Cancer Awareness as possible this month. Hopefully, people all over will take some precautions when it comes to sun safety and save a whole generation from going through skin cancer in the future.

Urban Gardening: Prepping Your Soil (What Not To Do)

To grow a plant, all you need is a seed or start, soil, sunlight, and salt-free water (I had to force an s in there somehow). Water is easy; it comes out of the faucet, and I point it at the garden plot until it’s soaked, twice a day. Sunlight’s easy, though I should have planned my plot for a sunnier patch of the yard. I’ll talk about seeds in another post, since first I want to tell you about our soil.

Soil Tips from a Newbie Gardener

Note: Toddler labor is not the most effective way to prep your garden’s soil.

What I should have done

I should have tested the soil to check its pH balance, then correct it to a veggie conducive growing chemistry. I read (flipped through) the chapter in the veggie garden bible, Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, by Steve Solomon, but I didn’t retain much. I remember something about loamy and silty soil being good, I think…but I never found out what category mine fell under. When digging our plot, my brother and I removed all the large rocks, anything bigger than a potato, and that alone filled a bucket. If we tried to get all the rocks smaller than that out, it would have taken days of back-breaking effort. Besides, my mom said a few small rocks help keep the soil wet, or something like that.

I also should have supplemented our poor dirt with some quality soil and compost. I started a compost pile last year, but didn’t really keep up with it (noticing a pattern yet?), so dumping non-decomposed – is it just called composed? – eggshells and coffee grounds wouldn’t do much to engender growth in my veggies. Maybe the pile will be decomposed by next spring’s garden.

What I actually did

Squat. I’m the lazy gardener. Sometimes I put in the minimal amount of effort to get the payoff that minimally satisfies. I am proud of the veggies we’ve eaten so far: a few handfuls of green beans, 3 cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, and basil. They were surprisingly tasty. To supplement the soil, I did buy two bags of organic soil and mixed that into the plot. For a garden the size of mine, I should have used six bags. We’ve gotten some edible veggies so far, but my neighbor’s garden makes me jealous. I guess the saying is true: you reap what you sow. And I’m a shoddy sower.

Luckily, I have amazing neighbors. Four out of the five houses around ours have gardens, and besides sharing their veggies, they’re sharing their tools and expertise. Check out this sharp-bladed contraption:

rototiller

This machine was AWESOME.

With just a few minutes of arm-jarring steering of the bucking rototiller, our plot was plowed. You can rent them cheaply from your local hardware store if you lack generous neighbors. Using the machine got what would have been 2 hours of effort done in 15 minutes. And remember my last post, where I said gardening should mostly be done by hand? Ha! I recommend using at least a gas rototiller to other lazy gardeners out there.

We still use toddler labor when needed.

We still use toddler labor when needed.

What other tools have you used to spruce up your soil? Or if you went the hands-only route, how did you prep your soil?

Urban Gardening: Getting Started

Urban Gardening Mistakes

I do not have a green thumb. I don’t live with a dog or cat, partly because my toddler is enough of a mess to take care of, but mostly because I wouldn’t be a very good pet owner. I’ve always thought I should try and keep plants alive before taking on the responsibility of a dog.

Despite my terrible sense of responsibility, I had a strong urge to learn how to garden, and when my family and I moved into a house with a yard last summer, I decided to risk taking (botanical) life into my hands. I was motivated by seeing friends and coworkers show off their bountiful produce (the size of one coworker’s zucchini was astounding).

I’m a little bit of a scifi nerd, and some post-apocalyptic stories seem more likely than others. And if the grocery stores are all empty, I want to at least know how to grow my own vegetables. Ideally, I’d have a few goats, chickens, bees, and alpacas as well, but I thought I’d start with a veggie garden.

Urban Gardening—Choosing the Plot

I am the epitome of a novice, so this gardening series is not meant to be tutorial, but more “try not to cringe at all Brian’s mistakes.” Perhaps you can learn a little from what I’ve screwed up.

Spring was arriving in Portland, and I was ready to get started. I’d done a little research into how to convert a grass lawn into a vegetable garden. There were different options, like covering the plot with newspaper, letting the darkness kill the grass for a month, and mulching in the newspaper. I had two problems with that option: I didn’t have any newspaper (who doesn’t read their news online? Sorry, print journalists), and I didn’t have a month’s worth of patience. I decided to go with the other option I’d read about – flipping the turf.

We moved to this house from an apartment, so the only tools we had for outdoor work were left behind by the last tenants. I had a sturdy, if dull, shovel, and that was enough for this task. Some people rent a back-hoe for this – I witnessed a neighbor actually tearing up his yard with one – but I’m not that gung-ho, or that full of money. Besides, gardening should be done as much by hand as possible, don’t you think? (I changed my mind later!)

Beginning a Garden Plot

Working Hard on the Garden

Working Hard for the Garden

Finished Plot

As you can see, my brother and I dug a rectangle, about 8 by 10 square feet. No real planning went into the dimensions or the location. It just looked to be the right size, and maybe we got a little worn out. Flipping sod is not for city folk, with flabby city muscles.

My first mistake was choosing the plot location. I didn’t put hardly any thought into the most important element: where sunlight fell in my yard. What a rookie mistake. All I needed to do was spend one day occasionally eyeballing my yard, and marking the extent of sunlight and shadow. The plot I chose is about 40% shady (that’s my very scientific measurement). Shade is okay for some plants, like lettuce, so it wasn’t the worst mistake I could have made. But now I know what I would do differently next time.

In the next post I will tell you about how my laziness and impatience lead to my next mistake. It’s not all bad news – we have successfully harvested spinach, lettuce, and basil, so far, and there is a fat cucumber getting fatter everyday.

Do you garden? If so, what were your mistakes in the beginning?

(Come on… make me feel better!)

{Mommy Monday} Outdoor Cleaning Superstar

Today I’ve got some more great tips from Jill
who recently wrote about the amazing cleaning power of Baking Soda.
He is kissing her because she is full of so many AWESOME tips! Photo Credit: Hibben Photography
This week she gives us tips on cleaning up the outdoors space—
Just in time for SUMMER!
Lawn chairs. The must have of any summer, right? Our outdoor furniture takes a beating in the spring storm season, sometimes developing a moldy looking film. I’ve found the best way to get rid of it is a solution of Borax and water. You’ll hear me tout the benefits of Borax on almost any problem, but I’m telling you, it’s great. Borax can be found in the laundry detergent aisle, generally near the powdered detergent. It’s an oldie but a goodie, but I will admit I haven’t used it for laundry yet. A church member suggested it to me at a previous congregation, and it hasn’t failed me yet. You can scrub a little with the wash rag dampened in the Borax solution and then rinse clean with the water hose.
Photo Credit: 20 MuleTeamLaundry

I usually purchase a window cleanser that hooks on to the water hose. To prepare the house for the summer barbecues, I use the window cleanser on all the windows. Then I rinse the bottle several times with fresh water. After that, I mix fresh Borax/water solution in the bottle and pop it back on the water hose. When you make the solution, you’ll want it to be more Borax than water, so maybe a 70/30 solution.

The bottle I got this summer offers a dial that you can select fresh water or cleanser solution, which is perfect! You can use this to clean the kid’s outdoor toys, swing set, vinyl siding, you name it! The swing set has a rubbery plastic tube covering the swing chains, and they are perpetually mildewed. We also get the moldy looking film on the north side of our home. We use the Borax sprayer to wash most of it off. For stubborn spots, you can wipe with a towel or use your household sponge mop for hard to reach areas of the siding.

My last “summer and Borax” tip is for spiders. After the spring storms have passed, spiders come from all over. We shake powder Borax around the foundation of our home, right up next to the house. We repurpose an empty parmesan cheese container just for this project. My daughter made a construction paper label for it, so we are sure not to think it’s a new container of cheese on spaghetti night. This is a great tip that I promise works; tips from older church ladies always work. Almost always.  We had those Daddy long legs things, the little spiders that look like a ball with whisper thin legs, when our daughter was little. The church member suggested this, and they were gone within the month.

(P.S. Check out 20 Mule Team Laundry‘s website for more Borax cleaning tips!)
Thank you Jill for more great tips!  She is certainly helping me prepare for life with the soon-to-be kiddo!
 
Do you have any outdoor cleaning tricks that you use? 

{Mommy Monday} The Mother of all Fix-it’s: Baking Soda

Today I am excited to have my first GUEST blogger
for my {Mommy Monday} series! 
While I LOVE dishing all about the pregnancy I really have been enjoying getting tips and tidbits from actual “mommies” out there. So, I’ve asked a few friends to step in and add in their own information about pregnancy, motherhood and the like.
Well, with no further ado…. please, let me introduce 
Jill with her “Mother” of all fix-its!
~*~
Image Source: Hibben Photography of Shawnee, OK
Hi there! My name is Jill, and I’ve been friends with Jenni for a long, long time – even helping with her first Well Crafted Parties! If you’ve ever thought those tissue paper flowers look hard to make, well, I will say she makes them look easy because we’ve practiced a lot! I am excited to accept a guest blogger invite for the Mommy Monday posts. I’m a mom of two. My daughter, Ella, is four and my son, Ethan, is 9 months old.
* Read ON for More about JILL’s family and her “Mother” of all Fix-It’s* 

 We have some fun parties, some of which you may see here. We had a surprise Barbie party for my daughter’s fourth birthday party, a fancy tea party to celebrate the end of the dance season, you name it! Ella is about to start Pre-Kindergarten, and it may break this momma’s heart. I’m not ready to welcome this change, but at least I have until August.

Hibben Photography

Ethan is currently farming his second tooth. He doesn’t crawl, but scoots. With both legs out, hands in front of him…yup… you have the right visual. Just like a dog scooting on the carpet! He belly flops down and slides backward like a lizard if he’s scooted too far from his lovie, Mikey the Monkey. I look forward to his walking milestone, but I’m glad we haven’t hit it yet. He keeps me moving! They give me lots of giggles and great stories. 

Hibben Photography

We live in our hometown, about two houses down from your favorite blogger’s childhood home. I can see the spot of that infamous luau from my front porch, and it makes me smile every time. I married my high school sweetheart; we celebrate six years of marriage and 11 ½ years together this June.

Hibben Photography
I have an Associates Degree in Small Business Management, and work in insurance. I’m a firm believer in living for the 5-9, not the 9-5. I like my job, but my kids are a lot more fun! We have a family dog, Buddy or Bud-Bud, depending on what he’s into. He’s an Australian Terrier mix/pound puppy. Mostly, he’ll just love you to death. And my son just wants to pull his fur.
We try to be the best family we can be – make it fun, make it educational, but most of all, make sure they feel loved. It always warms my heart to read an article online about fun things to do as a family, and recognize some of the suggestions as things we already do. My house is currently covered in card board tablet paper strips, with the pre-primer Dolch sight words. It may look messy, but it’s definitely a learning environment.
The biggest challenge for me is dinner time. I’m a type two diabetic, my daughter and husband prefer to live on pizza and chicken nuggets, and my baby will eat anything and everything within his reach. We’re working hard on adding in new flavors and veggies, so hopefully I’ll find a few fun ways to work some in. And if they work, I’ll be sure to pass them on.
~Jill’s Fix-It Tip~

In my not-so-many-years of parenting, I’ve come across some fun party ideas, some fun random mommy ideas, and LOTS of tips. Hopefully you find my contributions something to look forward to, a perfect solution to the most random of questions. Feel free to contact Jenni with questions for me – if it makes a mess, I’ve cleaned it!

So, for my first cleaning tip for this series – repurpose baking soda.
Check out Arm&Hammer’s website for tips, tricks and COUPONS!

Just because you didn’t buy it in the cleanser aisle doesn’t mean it won’t do a fantastic job. Baking soda is a favorite cleanser at my house. Not necessarily for the environmental factor, but because it’s cheap, works great, and if the baby gets into it, he’ll just foam a little 😉 Some of my favorite uses are listed below.

Baking soda – average cost $0.50 per box
Not just for cookies, Baking soda is an amazing abrasive cleanser. Have one of those obnoxious deep fryers? (Remember those chicken nuggets I mentioned before? They have to have fries!) Use a paste of baking soda and water on a towel or old tooth brush. A little time, a little scrubbing, and it will look like new. This is especially great if you have a stainless steel fryer, because it’s not abrasive enough to damage the exterior.
Have a bed wetting accident, but no time to wash the comforter? Did it get into the mattress? This tip usually takes the whole box. I take the comforter and spread it on the dining room table before leaving for work. Shake baking soda on the wet spot. While you’re gone, the baking soda will draw the moisture out of the blanket. Shake some over the wet spot on the mattress for the same result. Then when we get home, my daughter likes to vacuum up the baking soda with the hand vac. It amuses her while I’m cooking dinner, cleans the mess, and she still gets to have a fresh smelling blanket at bedtime. Taadaa! Super Mom! If there’s a stain on the mattress, mix a little baking soda and water to a consistency a little thinner than a paste. Use a brush to rub it over the stain, let it dry and vacuum up the remainder. The stain vanished for me, and even worked on a stain that had been in the mattress for a long time.
Smelly sneakers? Shake a little into your shoes and let sit overnight. I can never remember to pick up the commercial sneaker refresher stuff, and then kick myself once I get home from the store. This works great in ballet slippers too.
Don’t forget my grandma’s trick to make a paste of baking soda and water, then use to brush your teeth. She swears it’s a great whitener. I prefer not to foam at the mouth on purpose, so I’ve never tried this one myself.
Thanks for checking out my guest post. I look forward to getting to know you, and finding great tips together!
Well, back to another Manic Monday!
Jill
 
~*~
Thank you to Jill for her great tips and for introducing us to her beautiful family!
What do you use baking soda for in your home? 
Any cleaning tips you’d like to know about?
Please leave a comment for Jill and let her know!
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