An Easy Way to Make Budget Christmas Cards Look Expensive

Looking for a super easy way to dress up your budget Christmas cards?  Emboss the envelopes!  We bought this Embosser on Amazon over seven years ago for our wedding and it’s definitely earned it’s keep. 

The best part is it’s under $20!  This would make a great wedding or engagement gift too.

SHOP: Monogram Embosser (affiliate link)

An Easy Way to Make Budget Christmas Cards Look Expensive
An Easy Way to Make Budget Christmas Cards Look Expensive

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Getting Ahead on Our Christmas Cards with Basic Invite

Typically I am such a procrastinator when it comes to ordering our Christmas cards. I always have good intentions on getting a jump start on them but things always get busier and busier as November comes along. — But not this year! This year I’m happy to say I got them done early - and perfectly - with some help from Basic Invite.
| This is a sponsored post with my honest feedback of Basic Invite |

Our Christmas Card!

^ Our Christmas Cards 2018 !

This was my first time using Basic Invite and I can honestly say that I was very impressed! Basic Invite has tons (over 500 actually) of Christmas and holiday card designs to choose from so the hardest part was picking my favorite design! I decided to go with a cute elf design for our unique holiday photo cards to compliment our own little elves.

But what really blew me away with Basic Invite’s designs? You can customize just about every single detail! Want to make the elves’ shoes purple? You can do that, and choose from many shades of purple to boot. The ability to change all the colors on their card designs - from the background, to the text, to the details - is just incredible with over 180 color options to choose from. This feature is incredibly useful, especially for something like wedding invitations since you can customize all the colors to your exact theme. They also offer over 40 colors of self-seal envelopes to choose from too, so even your envelopes can be on-point.

Basic Invite is also one of the few websites that gives customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation - that way you can see exactly how it will print as well as feel the paper quality before placing your final order. And when it comes time to place your final order, you can order exactly how many you need - that way you don’t get stuck purchasing card sets in wasteful large lots (a huge pet peeve of mine).

Basic Invite also offers lots of great holiday cards buisness to choose from too! Sending out cards from your business is a smart marketing move and can help boost sales and repeat business in the coming year.

Right now Basic Invite is offering 30% off with the coupon code “HOLI30” - order now and get ahead on your Holiday cards too!

Here are some great holiday card examples from Basic Invite:

Keep up with Basic Invite

- This post was sponsored by Basic Invite but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please see our full Disclosure Policy for more information -   

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DIY Wooden Teal Pumpkin | Teal Pumpkin Project

Every Halloween we participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project to promote awareness and inclusion of all trick-or-treaters, no matter their dietary restrictions.  Unfortunately a lot of kids have food allergies, ranging from mild to potentially very dangerous.  These allergies can include dairy, chocolate, nuts, soy, gluten, artificial dyes, and more.  These kids either can't participate in trick-or-treat or have to throw out most of what they get - and when you're a kid that's really rough.  
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DIY Wooden Teal Pumpkin | Teal Pumpkin Project

By having a teal pumpkin out, you're letting kids and their parents know that your house is a safe place to trick-or-treat and you have non-food items available. These can be things like novelty pencils, erasers, stickers, bubbles, crayons, small toys, etc.  You can still give out the usual candy, but it's a good idea to keep the non-food items separate.  This is a great project to allow all kids a chance to feel included in trick-or-treat on Halloween. 

We usually paint a real pumpkin teal each year, but this year the squirrels and chipmunks have been eating all the decorations we put out on our porch (*shakes fist*). So yesterday afternoon during nap time I whipped up a Wooden Teal Pumpkin that can be used for many years to come. And the best part? It cost me NOTHING! I made it all with scraps from our wood bin and paint we already had.

Materials:

How to:

1. Cut your wood scraps down to size if necessary. You need one larger piece for the face, one small piece for the stem, and a piece for the support at the back (the support piece does not have to be triangular, that’s what I happened to have though).

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2. Next attach the support piece of wood to the back of the large piece with a screw or nail.

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3. After that, give it at least two coats of teal paint. Paint it all over, including the sides and back.

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4. Once that’s dry, use black paint to paint a jack-o-lantern face on it and paint the stem piece black as well.

5. Once everything is dry use wood glue to attach the stem to the top of the pumpkin and give a good spray of clear sealer if you’ll be putting it out not under the cover of a porch, etc.

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to put your teal pumpkin out to welcome all kids for Halloween. Happy Halloween!

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FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) has some wonderful resources on their website - including crowdsourcing maps to identify participating houses, printables you can use to proudly show your support and educate others, and fundraising opportunities to help fund food allergy research and awareness.

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Christmas in July Sale!

Christmas in July Sale!  Everything in the Etsy shop (except signs) is 15% off through August 1st. Get a jump start on your Christmas shopping and stock up on ornaments now!  

Just use the Coupon Code "JULY2018" to get 15% off! 

Christmas in July Sale!

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Heirloom Clothing

A week ago our youngest got Baptized.  She wore the same Baptism Dress I did and big sister did, which is so special!  ...However I did have to cut a slit in the slip to get it over her head that morning (she's a big baby!).  So now I’m hemming that, and the dress will be cleaned and put away for their own kids someday. 

Family Tradition:  the Baptism Dress, worn by me and our two daughters.

Do you have any heirloom clothing in your family?  We also have my Grandmother's wedding veil/crown from the 1940's that both my sister and I wore for our First Communions - so very special.   

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Gold-Dipped Birch Egg How-To {As seen in Food Network Magazine!}

A few months ago, Food Network Magazine emailed me and asked if I'd be interested in designing a New Hampshire-themed egg for their Easter issue!  I was completely blown away and honored for the opportunity.  My New Hampshire egg design was a gold-dipped, faux birch bark egg - gold-dipped to represent our State House with it's golden dome, and the birch bark paint finish to represent our our state tree, the white birch. 
Fun Fact:  My great-grandfather was a steeplejack and did the gold leaf on the New Hampshire capitol dome back in the 1920's!  
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Gold-Dipped Birch Egg How-To | As seen in Food Network Magazine!  New Hampshire-Inspired Easter Egg

Creating one of these gold-dipped birch eggs for yourself is pretty simple!  Here's the full how-to:  

Materials:  

Eggnot ready to be painted
  • faux egg (for the Food Network Magazine example and most of the photos in this how-to, I used an Eggnot, a fake ceramic egg - but you could also use a wooden egg. If you use real hardboiled eggs I would not recommend eating them after painting)
  • gold acrylic paint
  • black acrylic paint
  • white acrylic paint (if your fake egg isn't already white to begin with)
  • paper cup
  • thin paintbrush
  • tinfoil to make a stand for the egg to dry on

How-to:  

Adding the gold-dip to the egg.

1.  First, make a tinfoil ring to hold your egg while it dries between steps.  Then if your egg isn't already white, paint white and allow to dry between coats.  It may need several coats of paint.  

2.  Next shake the gold acrylic paint well and pour about half an inch of it into a small paper cup.  Dip the top of the egg carefully into the cup.  (I found it best to to do the gold-dip first, then paint the bark pattern after since sometimes the black lines were visible under the gold-dip.) 
Gold paint tends to be thick and you may have some swirling or thick drips after dipping.  You can try to smooth these out a bit with a paintbrush but it usually looks cleaner if you just leave it as-is, even if you end up with a thick spot within the dip.  After the gold dip, carefully place the egg in the tinfoil ring to dry.  

3.  Once the gold-dip is dry, use a thin paint brush to paint horizontal black lines on the egg, all the way around.  Vary the placement and thickness of the lines a bit to mimic the look of birch bark.  
You may have to carefully hold the egg for a few minutes to let it air dry a bit before carefully setting it, gold top down, into the tinfoil ring to finish drying.  

Hand-painting a birch bark design to the egg.
Gold Dipped Birch Egg drying in a tinfoil holder.

And that's it!  While making them can be tedious with the drying time between steps, it's really quite easy.  And in the event you don't feel like tackling this project yourself,  I have a limited supply of painted Wooden Gold-Dipped Birch Eggs in my Etsy Shop!  

Gold-Dipped Birch Egg How-To | As seen in Food Network Magazine!
As seen in the April, 2018 issue of  Food Network Magazine !  

As seen in the April, 2018 issue of Food Network Magazine!  

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Honored to Say: “As Seen in Food Network Magazine!”

Incredibly honored and excited to say that I designed and painted the New Hampshire egg for the latest issue of Food Network Magazine!  I was completely blown away when they sent me an email last November, asking if I wanted to be a contributor for this piece (um, YES!) and it’s so exciting to finally see it in print!  Thank you, Food Network Magazine! 

If you want to make your own NH-inspired egg, please check out my full tutorial HERE.  

Birch Landing Home - as seen in Food Network Magazine!  New Hampshire-Inspired Easter Egg
Birch Landing Home - as seen in Food Network Magazine!  New Hampshire-Inspired Easter Egg

PS - Make sure to pick up a copy, so many creative eggs from every state - not to mention all the yummy recipes!

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Inheriting a Piece of Family History

My Great Aunt Stefie passed away a few months ago at 100 years old. I was lucky enough to inherit some of her recipe cards which is so very special. Cooking and taking care of everyone was such a huge part of her life. I’m looking forward to trying some of these recipes myself, though she never used recipes for all her best cooking - it always came from the heart.

Inheriting a Piece of Family History
Inheriting a Piece of Family History

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