Wednesday, December 21, 2016

DIY CHRISTMAS CARD DISPLAY

Kevin & I spent this past weekend in Raleigh, NC. On Saturday we caught a Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) game, visited the coolest arcade bar known to man, made pasta in a cast iron skillet at 3am and crashed (hard) at 5am Sunday morning. We also scored some awesome center court tickets to the NC State Basketball game at 2pm on Sunday, but I don't think my eyes were even open for most of it.

I'm so, so, sorry, liver. I'm detoxing all week.





I'll spare you more complaining and just skip to the part where I say being home and in my own bed is the best feeling in the whole world after a night of drinking. 

Actually, being home in general is just my favorite. Not being at our HOUSE, but being HOME. There's a difference.

Which is why I wanted to share this DIY Christmas Card holder because right now our HOME is featuring a ton of cards and pictures of our favorite people and I think yours should too.




This is a really simple project that took me all of five minutes. Okay, it was 10 minutes because apparently I don't tie knots well and the whole thing fell down. #Re-do

First things first, make a dollar store run. You might already have these things on hand but, for once, I didn't. Pick up a pack of clothespins, a red & white rope, some foam paint brushes and a couple jingle-belled sparkly reindeer ... because, well, jingle-belled sparkly reindeer.

Does anyone else always seem to have random command strips around? Like, I can't actually remember buying any but definitely found a baggie of 2 and knew they'd work perfectly for this project. 



Begin by attaching one of the command strips horizontally (instead of the normal vertical hook hang) to the top of the door so that the open part of the hook is facing toward the middle of the door.

Take one end of the rope and tie a simple knot to form a loop. Take the loop and put it onto the command hook.




Start wrapping your rope around the door in any pattern you choose (Hint: It helps if you leave the door cracked so you can feed the rope in between the door and the door frame).

Once you're done wrapping, secure the end of the rope to a second command strip and rope loop combination towards the bottom of the door.

The fun part about this project is that it doesn't have to be perfect! I made ours completely abstract by crossing the rope over itself, putting two strings close to each other and others further apart. You can experiment with the layout as much as you want before you attach the second command strip. 



Optional: Before attaching your cards to the rope with the clothespins, paint them fun Christmas colors! I used the foam brushes you can pick up at the dollar store and craft smart acrylic paint I had on hand in Red, Silver and Gold. Easy spruce up!

I chose to use our pantry door in the kitchen for this project because 1) I'm always in the kitchen and 2) I'm always in the kitchen. I literally get to see these smiling, joyous faces every day and I just love adding more and more cards (since I took these pictures we've now added an additional 8).

We accept cards from strangers too... just in case you have any extras from this year's order :)

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DIY CHRISTMAS CARD DISPLAY



Materials 


1 50ft Poly Rope
1 package of Clothespins (36 count)
Miscellaneous Decorations 
Command Strips 
Foam Brush (optional)
Red, Green, Silver, Gold Paint (optional)

Instructions


First, attach one of the command strips horizontally to the top of the door, hook facing towards the middle.

Tie a simple knot on one end of the rope to form a loop. Take the loop and put it onto the command hook.

Wrap the rope around the door in a design you like and when you're done wrapping, secure the end of the rope to a second command strip and rope loop combination towards the bottom of the door. 

Optional: Before attaching your cards to the rope with the clothespins, paint them fun Christmas colors.

Hang cards using clothespins and enjoy!

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My Materials

Paint; craft smart │ Foam Brush; ArtMinds 

Clothespins; Essentials │ Poly Rope; Tool Bench Hardware



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It really made me smile going to friends/family's houses and seeing our Christmas card on their fridge or displayed somewhere in their house. But then I second guessed myself and wondered why I even paid for a stamp in the first place if we were going to be in their house before Christmas anyway.  That was really my deep thought of the day and probably the deepest thought I'll have all week since I'm officially in the Christmas spirit. T-minus 4 days!


Friday, December 09, 2016

CREATIVE WAY TO ADDRESS CHRISTMAS CARDS


When I was little, one of my favorite Christmas traditions was rushing out to the mailbox and seeing cards with everyone's pictures and then hanging them on this wire card hanger off the pantry door at my parent's house. It would be so stuffed that cards would randomly pop out and land on the floor and it was nearly a puzzle trying to fit them back in. We have relatives as far as Alaska and I loved seeing/hearing what everyone had been up to, even from an early age.

Since then I have literally dreamed about "one day" doing Christmas cards of my own and that "one day" has finally come. I couldn't think of a better time to start this tradition with Kevin than moving into our first home together.

Although the more traditional route for cards is 'as a married couple', Kevin and I have never done things the traditional way. We both agree that our life together doesn't need a structured timeline, "after you're married", "after you're engaged", "after you've been dating more than 2 years" but rather when we feel the time is right. Like taking family photos after living together for less than 6 months and only dating for one calendar year. But we did it anyway and I can't help but smile knowing we'll be able to look at these cards 20 years from now with a million memories running through our minds.





On another note, I'm super frugal, let's just get it out there. And I'll still be frugal when I'm reflecting at that 20 year mark. Christmas can be a really expensive time of the year and I'm all about finding ways to save money without sacrificing quality. I have no shame in buying things from Groupon, Living Social or other discount websites and using coupons and promo codes. In fact, I look at it as a challenge like, "I wonder how much money I can save on this" ... which I then immediately go and brag to my Mom & Kevin about, "Guys, guess how much I saved?" It's a fun game... for me at least.

I came across a Groupon for 70 cards from Photo Affections for $20 and started researching the company/product. I wanted to make sure our cards weren't going to look cheap and that there weren't a million hidden fees (ie: processing, envelopes extra, etc) lurking in the background. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Groupon covered envelopes, single-sided glossy cardstock prints and shipping was the only additional cost. 

After playing around with a million template options and the 159 pictures (yes, 159) our super talented friend Alex (follow her @FollyGirlPhotography) took, we decided on both the Peaceful Branches template for a staged goofy picture and the Gilded Speckles template for a candid photo.


Peaceful Branches & Gilded Speckles templates on photoaffections.com




Cards + Envelopes from Photo Affections: $101.26
Actual Paid with Groupon: $20.00
+ Shipping: $8.75
+ Stamps: $50.00
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Total Spent: $78.75



Our cards came SUPER quickly; I placed the order Sunday night and received them Tuesday evening. I could not be happier with the quality either, Photo Affections did such an awesome job! 

Now onto addressing all 55 of them...

I wanted something creative but not overly time consuming. I think it's so fun when I get mail (that's something other than bills) and hoped for our recipients to feel the same after receiving their cards. 





  1. Add your return address label (I used a custom ink stamp on the backside of the envelope)
  2. Create stencil using scissors and cardboard
  3. Trace stencil with black pen
  4. Draw a circle and the dotted design for tag ribbon with black pen
  5. Grab a foam brush, a cup for water and your watercolor tray (I used Crayola, green)
  6. Carefully paint inside your tag outline (I intentionally went slightly outside the lines for character)
  7. Allow to dry 20 minutes and label!



DISCLAIMER
I refuse to share my cards before anyone actually gets them, so instead I'll 
give you a peak of our favorite photos that we didn't end up choosing. 
Enjoy!











If you're one of the lucky 55 that received our card(s) this year, thank you for being such a special part of our lives! For those of you that didn't, we're still thankful for you & you'll get a look at the final card when I share it after the holidays!