Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I'm Digging ~~ A Handmade Christmas

I can't believe Christmas is only a few days away! I've found so many amazing D.I.Y. projects that I wanted to try. I made a couple, but I ran out of time for most of them. Oh well, there's always next year! Here's some that were/are on my to-do list:

Have you come across any cool tutorials or made any of your own?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fish Scale Christmas Ornament D.I.Y. Tutorial

I was looking at Christmas ornaments at a store a couple of weeks ago and came across a really cool one that was covered in little discs making it look like fish scales. I loved it, but they only had it in silver and I wanted it in a few different colors so I decided to try making it. It ended being really easy!

What I used:
- foam ball
- glue that works on foam - I found this one on clearance at Michael's
- 12 x 12 scrapbook paper
- circle punch (5/8")
- small piece of wire (ornament hanger might work even better)
- paintbrush (optional)

1. I started by cutting out lots and lots of circles, around 100.

2. I used the paintbrush to put the glue on the discs to try to keep it a little cleaner. I started by gluing one circle down, and then glued six circles around it, each one overlapping the previous one as well as the first circle.

3. Each row will end with the last circle being completely uncovered by any other circles, that's where I started each new row.

4. Once I got closed to being finished I put my wire in the top. An ornament hanger would work perfectly for this, I had some extra wire close by so I just twisted that into a loop and used it instead. Before pushing the wire into the ball I fully covered it with glue to help ensure it stays in place.

5. Then I continued with the rows until all of the white was covered.

And there you have it; a little time-consuming, but super easy and so pretty! Let me know if you give it a try!

We have these weird cutouts in our living room wall, I hung the ornaments and used the leftover paper to cut out bigger circles; it filled the space nicely!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting Our Christmas On

Wow, it's been a really, really long time since I've posted anything. It's been pretty crazy around here; we're still trying to get everything unpacked and get the house all pretty-looking, and then Thanksgiving came and snuck up on us, and now all of a sudden it's Christmas!

Actually, I've put a lot of the unpacking/prettifying things on hold to at least get the living room looking like Christmas around here. And we've spent a good amount of time doing Christmas-y stuff like driving around looking at lights, going to see Santa, and watching far too many Christmas movies. We still need to make cookies, but we can't do that too far in advance or they'll all be gone before we can leave any out for Santa.

A couple of things we attempted to do but failed were going to the Holidazzle parade and to Macy's Santaland. I've lived in Minnesota my entire life and I've never done either. The Holidazzle  parade is well, a parade - outside, in Minnesota, in the middle of December. Yes, that is as crazy as it sounds. Regardless, we still (halfheartedly) tried to go this year, but we didn't factor in just how many people would be there, or how hard it would be to find a parking spot. We took this as a sign (maybe just a sign of poor planning, but still a sign that we were not meant to stand outside freezing, watching a parade in the middle of winter!).

Well, since we were already in Minneapolis, and we had eventually found a parking spot somewhat near Macy's, we decided to check out Santaland. I'd love to tell  you more about it, but I can't because I've never seen it.

When we first walked into the store we found a little station where you could write a letter to Santa and put it into the postal box. Super cute and Riley loved it, he wrote a letter for himself and one for Ava. Then we began walking around the store, and walking and walking. Seriously, this store was huge! And all we wanted to do was find Santa! Finally, we figured out that he was on the eight floor.

So, then we had to find the elevators, shouldn't be that hard, right? Apparently Macy's likes to hide their elevators (and bathrooms). Eventually we found the line for the elevators and waited. And waited some more. Then we got on, and then about thirty more people did too. Then we started going up until we got to the fifth floor, then the doors opened and an employee yelled into the elevator that whoever wanted to see Santa had to get off here. We stepped out and saw the longest line I have ever seen in my life. And we were still three floors away from Santaland!

That's when we turned around and left. We were all a little disappointed, but nobody wanted to spend the rest of the night standing in that line.

We have, however visited Santa at other places, three times in fact. The first two times were practice runs to let Ava get used to him, so we could avoid a similar picture to last year's:

This year she did awesome! This is what she does when we ask her to smile, we call it her "Popeye face":

I'm pretty happy with the picture we ended up with. I think we'll do some practice runs next year too.

I'm not sure why this scan looks so weird.

If you have kids, do you do practice runs with them meeting Santa? Have you been to Santaland, is it worth the line?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Another Giveaway!

Thanks everyone for entering, this giveaway is now Closed.

And the winner is.... Carolyn!!!  Congratulations!

A few weeks ago I got a lovely little package in the mail. It was the fourth season of "30 Rock" that I had gotten as a Klout Perk. It seemed pretty serendipitous at the time since I had also just started reading "Bossypants" and was feeling pretty dang excited about being surrounded by so much Tina Fey greatness.

Then I remembered something. I never watch dvds. I have a shelf full of them, I just never seem to watch any of them. I honestly don't know why. I'll get really excited about a favorite movie being on tv, even if I have the dvd and could watch it anytime I wanted to. I realize this makes me weird, or maybe just too lazy to put the dvd in the player? I don't know, but the point is the awesomeness that is "30 Rock" deserves to be appreciated in a way that sitting unwatched on my shelf would not provide.

And so I have decided to offer up this little gem as a giveaway to one of you lucky readers!

This giveaway is open to all Averly Gets Creative subscribers. Please take a moment and subscribe using Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin before entering the giveaway. Thanks!

To enter all you need to do is  leave a comment telling me what your favorite tv show is. Please make sure there is a way to contact you if you win!
For additional entries, please do the following (and leave a separate comment for each entry):
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Tweet about this giveaway. Be sure to mention @AverlyCreatives in the tweet and link back to this post. 
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook, Tumblr or your own blog. (Make sure to leave a link so I can come visit you!)
This giveaway will end Monday, November 28th at 10PM Central Time.
Winner will be randomly chosen and announced shortly after.

I was given a free product or sample because I'm a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Totally Made... er ... Wrote That....It's Nanowrimo Time!!

Have you heard of Nanowrimo yet? In English that means National Novel Writing Month, and that month happens to be November! The goal is to write an entire novel of at least 50,000 words in one month... yep that sounds completely crazy, and it is, but it's also a lot of fun. I found out about this two years ago and have done it the last two Novembers, but I have yet to win. The first year I found out about it right before it started and gave up pretty early on. Last year I was doing okay, I got to about 30,000 words, but then life got all crazy and I just didn't have time to finish. This will be my year though! Actually I hadn't even thought about it until a couple of days ago, but it's sucked me in again, and this time I'm determined to win.

They've already explained the whole thing on their website a lot better than I ever could:

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2010, we had over 200,000 participants. More than 30,000 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To give yourself permission to write without obsessing over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To stop being one of those people who say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” and become one of those people who can say, “Oh, a novel? It’s such a funny story–I’ve written three.”

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins 12:00:01 November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at 11:59:59. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

This is a completely free, fun way to challenge yourself. If you find this intriguing at all you should definitely check out the website, there's a bunch of forums, videos, pep talks etc. You can also check out the calender for your region to see where the write-ins are if you want to get together with other wrimos.

Let me know if you decide to take on the challenge, I'd love to hear how your month goes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Did You Get Your Halloween On?

I can't believe Halloween is already over! Did you have a good one?

Apparently painting and carving pumpkins is serious business that takes a lot of concentration.

A certain little munchkin refused to sit down so we could get a nice picture of the kids with the pumpkins.

I still have no idea who is Riley is, someone from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I guess. And Miss Ava was going to be a puppy until we stopped at the store to get Riley's costume and she saw Elmo up on the wall. She didn't seem to care that Elmo only came in size 12-18 months, she was going to be "Mo" and that was that. Oh well, they still look pretty darn cute!

Did you go trick-or-treating this year, or hand out candy, or just hide in your home with the lights turned off?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

We're Pumpkin Pickers

Last Saturday we decided we needed to get away from all of the painting, unpacking, and general chaos of moving, and get out of the house for awhile. So, we hopped in the car and drove down to Belle Plaine to go to Emma Krumbee's. It was such a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun playing outside.

Is it sad that this is the first time I've ever not gotten my pumpkin from the grocery store? Yeah, you don't need to answer that.

My baby's got mad pony-riding skills.

This one does too.

Somebody was very excited to see "Mo."

It was a great day, exactly what we needed to de-stress and recharge. Have you gotten out and played in a pile of hay lately?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I'm Digging -- Halloween Decorations

I love Halloween. I think it might be my favourite holiday, well I love Christmas too, so I guess it's a toss up between the two. Anyway, I love everything about Halloween; the costumes (although I rarely dress up), the trick-or-treating, the haunted houses, the candy, the pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies with orange icing and black sprinkles and... okay I got a little distracted there.

I also love Halloween decorations, and I thought this year I'd get a chance to really go nuts decorating. Of course that was before we went and moved two weeks ago, and now our house is decorated with lots and lots of boxes. I guess my plans will have to wait until next year. So, what I'm digging right now is some crazy cool Halloween decorations. From the simple to the over-the-top, I love them all.

1. Hostess Blog   2. Better Homes and Gardens   3. Made   4. Country Living   5. Hostess Blog
 6. Reddit   7. Apartment Therapy   8. Carina Gardner   9. Country Living   10. Craft

Pretty awesome, right?

Are you a big lover of Halloween? Do you go crazy decorating or do you prefer to keep it simple and understated?