Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic

So it turns out that our first visit to the zoo here wasn’t to see the animals, but for their holiday light display! I loved going to Zoolights at the Phoenix Zoo when I was a kid, and we took Penny there when she was a baby. Since she doesn’t remember that, and I like to start new holiday traditions whenever we move someplace new (hopefully we’re done with that for a while), I thought we’d check out the Brookfield Zoo.

The lights were beautiful, and we even got to see some animals! We went through the reptile exhibit, and we even saw a snow leopard, a tiger, and a lion! I didn’t get pictures of them because it was too dark for my camera, but I did get some good pictures of the lights:

What did you do this weekend?

Christmas Around the House

I have more Christmas for you! Can you tell I love this time of year? Here are a few photos from my Instagram of things we’ve done around the house to make things a little more festive.

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My mom sent Penny a bunch of pinecones from Northern Arizona, and I’m sure they’ll eventually turn into craft projects, but we wanted to display them right away. So we put some of them in a little rattan basket and added a few cinnamon sticks that I got at the grocery store. One-minute Christmas project!

This was another one-minute (ok, maybe two-minute) project. I always love seeing the hot chocolate stations on other crafty blogs, and even though we don’t have a lot of room in the kitchen to dedicate to a big station, I’m pretty happy with this mini one. A cute Christmas dish holds the hot chocolate cups, a Santa jar (that I’ve had for years and never found a use for until now) holds the marshmallows, and the mason jar from this craft has been repurposed and now holds the paper straws.

And here is a picture of the aforementioned hot chocolate being enjoyed on a particularly cold and cloudy day, with our Christmas tree and pine-scented candle in the background (and I probably had Christmas music playing, too).

We don’t have a fireplace, so we picked up an inexpensive fireplace DVD to really get that warm and fuzzy feeling. Penny likes putting it on so we can play “campout.” :)

What little touches do you add to your home to get ready for the holidays?

Holiday Walk

I feel like this has turned into a holiday blog instead of a jewelry blog. I haven’t made jewelry in almost three weeks because my craft table is full of gifts, wrapping paper, and Christmas craft projects (which, of course, I plan to share with you). So, on this new theme, I’ll share with you what we did this weekend.

The village we live in (or technically, live next to), had a Holiday Walk on Saturday night, which included Santa’s arrival by firetruck, a tree lighting, ice sculptures, kids’ activities, and holiday open houses in the shops and boutiques. We braved the cold and set off to have a fun Christmas-y evening.

Penny was sooooo excited to see Santa, and this was the first year she was willing to sit with him and have her picture taken! I think the fact that Mrs. Claus was also there kind of helped her not feel so shy. After barely making our dinner reservation, we enjoyed walking around looking at the ice sculptures, the lights, and visiting the animals at the petting zoo and pony ride. Penny even got a light-up Rudolph nose to wear! And she’s still wearing it. :)

Here are some pics of our evening:

Christmastime is definitely my favorite time of year, mostly because of the fun things I get to do with my family. What do you like best about the holidays?

Favorite Friday: Sweater Mittens

As many of you know, this is going to be our first winter in Chicago, and for Penny and I, our first “real” winter (my husband is from Indiana, and went to the North Pole four times in the Navy, so he wins). Penny is already equipped with snow boots, snow pants, a nice puffy jacket, and numerous hats and gloves, but it occurred to me that I don’t really have any decent mittens or gloves. I have lots of fingerless gloves that I love, but I would kind of like to keep my fingers. So off to Etsy I went to find some nice, warm mittens.

I decided on a pair from SweaterScrapyard. As the shop name suggests, these mittens are made from recycled sweaters. Even the fleece lining is recycled from fleece tops! And the best part? They have cute little felt owls on them!

They are very cozy and warm; the layers of sweater and fleece really protect my hands from the cold. And it’s great that they are eco-friendly!

SweaterScrapyard makes more than just mittens; they also have coasters, coffee cozies, and hand warmers, all made from recycled materials! So you can stay warm this winter and feel good about going green!

Washi Tape Gift Tags

It’s gift-wrapping time! I don’t know about you, but I love putting on some Christmas music and wrapping presents. It makes for some pretty good “me-time,” since I have to kick everyone out of the room so they don’t see their gifts! Something new that I’m doing this year is making my own gift tags. I’ve never been a big fan of the store-bought stickers because they never really match the wrapping paper, and there’s hardly ever enough room to write anything! So here is a simple DIY idea that will fancy up your gifts and add a nice personal touch.

Washi Tape Gift Tags - make your plain gift tags a little fancier!

You only need two items: brown cardstock tags and Christmas washi tape. The twine was already attached to my tags, but you might need to add twine to your list if your tags don’t have any. Oh, and a pen to write your message. So, like four things.

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All you have to do is add strip of washi tape to the bottom of the tag, then write your message.

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And now you have some cute, handmade tags for your gifts! How easy was that?

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Last Chance!

Today’s the last day you can save 25% in my Etsy shop! Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY25 when you check out.

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You can check out my previous post for more info about the sale and gift packaging options.

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Black Friday Sale

I’m having a Black Friday sale! For a whole week! From now through Monday, December 1, you can save 25% in my Etsy shop by using coupon code BLACKFRIDAY25. As you know, my main goal with this shop is making unique jewelry that is affordable, so you’ll be saving 25% on already great prices!

Click the photo to go directly to my shop!

Click the photo to go directly to my shop!

This is a great time to stock up on gifts for female family members and friends, whether you need a small stocking stuffer or a one of a kind gift for that impossible-to-shop-for person on your list.

Want to send something directly to the recipient? No problem. Just let me know in the Notes section when you check out that it’s a gift, and I’ll make sure to print a gift receipt instead of a regular one (no price will be listed). And if you’d like me to attach a gift tag with a “To:_____ From:_____,” or a note card, I’d be happy to do that as well!

So take advantage of this great sale and get some of your holiday shopping done!