DIY Paper Star Garland

To me Thanksgiving is such a nice primer to usher in the Holiday Season.  Right away you get to start off your Christmas decorating with a clean house (if you hosted), and all the leftover pumpkin pie is yours to nibble on while you dig through your box of goodies.

I like to add at least one new decoration to my holiday collection every year.  It is too expensive to buy it all at once!  This year I made a Paper Star Garland and I’d love to share this cute little DIY decoration with you today.

First you’ll need the template!  I cut these out with my Silhouette, but they could easily be cut out by hand.

Grab this template and scale it to the size you want.  I used a 4″ star and a 2″ star.  Cut along the solid lines and score along the dotted lines.  Cut out 2 for each finished star and glue them together with the tabs.  Once they’re glued you can push them together to get the 3-d shape.  You should end up with a pile of stars like this.

I made 8 large stars and 4 smaller stars for a 6′ length of garland.  Next measure the length of intended span and add a few inches for slack.  For instance, my window is approximately 5′-6″ so I added another 6″ to allow for a bit of slack in my garland.  Now cut out double that length for the rope or twine, I cut 12′ of twine.  Tie the two loose ends together so you end up with a doubled over 6′ length of twine with a loop on each end.  I hang mine by looping each end over a thumbtack, preferably the same color as your molding or clear to not draw attention to them.

Hang up your twine at this stage to make sure the length is right and make any adjustments necessary.  Trust me you want to do this now before the stars are added.  Now back to the stars!  I cut out 6″ of twine for the larger stars and 18″ for the smaller ones, but make this your own, keeping 6″ as a minimum.

 

 

Once you have them all stung through (broaden the hole on the little stars if need be), tie them off where you would like them to meet the rope.  Don’t tie them too close to the star because you want it to dangle.  For the larger stars I tied them off roughly in the middle and for the smaller stars I tied them off closer to the loose ends so they would hang farther down.

Now take your long length of twine down and lay it out on a table or the floor.  Take your stars and space them out along your twine.

Now keep an eye on your helper.  They might steal one of your cute stars or try to run off with the string entirely.  SO very helpful!

Now once your helper is wrangled, and your stars are arranged as you like them it’s time to tie them off!

Finish with a little bow or just a knot, it’s up to you!  Once you’re done tying them all to the twine you can hang and enjoy your beautiful work!

A Thanksgiving Treat: Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

I wanted to post this earlier today, but I have been a baking machine!  Seriously, I have put my Kitchenaid through its paces today.  Right now I have a salt crust dough settling, challah dough rising, and cookie dough chilling.  Yum!  Not to mention piles of bread chucks drying out for the stuffing tomorrow.

Anyways, yesterday I did a trail run of these Pumpkin Dinner Rolls for my book club (aka dinner club) and they were a huge hit!

While I got several requests for the recipe, these bad boys can be made using your favorite dinner roll recipe.  Heck, did you buy unbaked dinner rolls from the store?  You could fancy them up in a jiffy!

Simply roll your dough into small balls, flatten a bit, and cut 8 slices into them being careful not to cut the center.  Lay them out on a greased or lined baking sheet and using your pinky poke a hole in the centers.  Let them rise for another 20 minutes or so and re-poke the centers with your pinky.  Brush with egg wash and bake as your recipe directs.  Once removed from the oven brush them with butter to make them shiny!  Now don’t forget the stems.  Place a sliced pecan into the centers and viola pumpkin shaped dinner rolls!

These were 2 year-old tested and approved by the way!  The little boy at dinner last night used the “stem” as a handle and happily munched away.  He ate more of that roll then he did anything else on his plate. :D

Looking for gorgeous step-by-step pictures, I got the directions here.   The recipe for the actual pumpkin rolls (yes they have pumpkin in them) are here.  While these were good, I opted to make tomorrow’s batch from Challah which can be found here.

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!!!

Friday Reflection: The Christmas List

 

Making a Christmas list is a new thing for me.  I know every year you get asked what would you like and maybe, if your lucky, you have one or two things in mind; but to make a whole list?!  It wasn’t until I started celebrating Christmas with my husband’s family that making a list was even something I needed to think about.

In my family we don’t make lists.  My dad writes us a check every year, period.  After spending all that money on gifts for others, we’re always grateful for Dad’s check.  My mom, well she starts shopping or making presents as early as January.  Heck, it’s not unlike her to go take advantage of the after Christmas sales and hoard those goodies for next year.  Basically giving her a list in November or December is pretty pointless, her shopping is usually done.  Now there a four kids in my family, what about giving them a list?  Growing up my father would take us to the mall in December, give us each a set amount of money and let us run free until our shopping spree was done.  You could let another sibling know what you wanted as long as it was $20 or less and available at the mall we were going to.  So really these things got decided on the fly, at the mall.  Even now as we’re older, our incomes and states of employment vary so much it’s hard to ask for things from them.

Given these family traditions, I really value a good, thoughtful gift.  (See my last post about Quilts!)  Each year under the tree there’s a lot of OK things, some really horrendous things, but always a couple of spot on gifts.  And each year my siblings and I gather around our piles of open gifts and laugh (especially over the horrendous things) then swap gifts as needed.  I’m laughing now just thinking about some of those gifts.  One year I got an early ’90′s style mid-drift baring sweater, covered with huge sunflowers.  Oh it was bad, sweaters should not bare mid-drifts!  My mom has since turned it into the cutest armrest covers.  The thing is, I now value the humor the bad gifts bring to Christmas, almost as much as the Ok gifts.  ;)

My husband’s family brought a whole different set of traditions into my life.  Being a much smaller family of 4, they make each other lists and then divide the list between themselves.  My in-laws also go to the mall with their kids, but instead of everyone roaming free they shop together and when they see something they want someone buys it.  Of course my Mother-in-Law buys a few surprises for them as well, things she thinks they’ll like, but mostly there aren’t too many unknowns under their tree.  It was a bit of culture shock for me to enter into these traditions.

The first year we went Christmas shopping with the In-Laws, she kept asking if I would like that when I picked something up.  She followed me and in every store she would find a way to ask me if I wanted something.  I got uncomfortable very quickly.  I was suddenly in the spotlight of her generosity and had no idea what to do to get out of it.  Mr. Pea finally had to tell her I was uncomfortable, and at the end of the trip I let her buy me a small $10 item I was going to buy for myself anyways.

Now, my mother-in-law is a very sweet woman!  She certainly didn’t mean to make me uncomfortable, this is just how she shops with her children, and I am now one of her children.  It just took some adjusting on both our parts.  The next year I gave in and made them a Christmas list.  Having never made a Christmas list, I approached it like I do a shopping trip.  I gather up all the things I like in the store bring it into the dressing room and probably buy one of those thing.  So I made a huge list of things that caught my eye, but didn’t necessarily want, in hopes it would give them ideas of the kinds of things I like.  Not only was this too much, but I had sent it to my family as well, so there was no hope of coordinating.  Epic fail!  Last year was by far the easiest, we still had items left on our wedding registry to be purchased.  There was no need to stress over my lack of Christmas list etiquette.

Based on how nicely things went last year, I have a new approach this year, the Amazon wish list!  With the wonder of the internet I can even add items from other websites to this list, and once it’s purchased it’s removed from the list, just like a registry.  So I can send it to my family and his as suggestions, without all those people needing to coordinate.  Plus much like pinterest, I can use it to bookmark larger items I want for the house or to buy my husband.  Thank you Amazon for this handy tool!  Hopefully, this year will go as smoothly as last year.

At least I just had to learn to ask for things, Mr. Pea had to learn to find the humor in the random assortment of gifts from my family.  :D

Here’s to the Quilt

I typically end the week with a Friday Reflection post and in a sense this is partly a reflection.  For my High School graduation I was given a quilt.  It was made just for me by a family friend who sadly passed away not so long ago.  At first I wasn’t quiet sure what I would do with it, but I was touched she would go to the trouble to make this for me.  So it came with me to college and immediately became my favorite thing to curl up under.

Here is the quilt in my college suite, I pray my younger brother will forgive me for posting a picture of him sleeping.

This quilt has graced every couch, in every apartment I have ever lived in since I was 18.  Today it is still the blanket on my couch that my husband and I cuddle up under almost every night.  For nearly half of my life and ALL of my adult life (outside my parent’s home) this quilt has been with me.  It holds memories of late night gab sessions with roommates, days of being sick as a dog, days of being sad or happy, but mostly it has taken the chill out of any room and kept me and those I love warm.

So it was a great honor when Mr. Pea’s family friends, Denise Konicek & her husband Richard, wanted to make us a quilt for our wedding.  Knowing how significant the gift of a quilt is, I was deeply touched.  Denise brought preliminary sketches and fabric to the rehearsal dinner.  She emailed us for personal preferences here and there on some of the design details throughout the year.  In honor of our first anniversary (and their thirtieth) she had us all over for a lavish brunch and unveiled the quilt.  We were floored to say the least at how beautiful, how detailed this quilt is!

Here we are being presented with our wedding quilt

The quilt incorporates several traditional tiles including, true lover’s knot, steps to the altar, wedding rings, and finally their wish to us, peace & plenty.  These tiles all wrap around our intertwined initials.   How incredible is this quilt?!  To top it off each square has its own unique stitching pattern.

 

True Lover’s Knot

This quilt is an instant family heirloom!  It graces our bed and keeps us warm while being light and cozy.  It changed what was once just a bed into our marriage bed.

Thank you Theodore for the beautiful quilt that holds so many memories for me, and thank you Denise for this treasured family heirloom!  I know this quilt will hold generations of memories for our family to come.

You can find out more about Denise and her quilting at deelightfulquilts.com, or her incredible tiling at www.denisekonicektiling.com

Theodora & my mother created several children’s books together before Theo’s passing, you can find them at www.barnesandnoble.com/c/theodora-choffel

 

Happy Friday!

Rock the Vote

 

Mr. Pea and I just returned from our local polling station.  He was sure there wouldn’t be a line, but I made sure we each had a thermos of hot coffee (just in case).  I mean, the radio was just talking about people standing in lines for hours down in Florida, and we’ve never voted for a President at this particular polling station.  Sure enough there was a line stretching down the block.  Even though it’s pretty cold out this morning we stood in that line for a little under an hour.

It felt good to vote, not just at a national level, but to have a voice on local issues as well.  So I would strongly urge ALL of you to get there and vote today!  I don’t care what party you endorse, just VOTE!

 

Ready or Not The Holidays are Here!

I don’t know about you, but I am still in shock it is November already.  I started focusing my attention on holiday items for the shop back in September, but the holidays still felt ages away.  Well today I showed up to a mall all decked out for Christmas!  Starbucks has switched over to their red holiday cups, and well I’m finding myself pulling out Christmas decorations too.  Ok, they’re for photo props, but still I just strung holiday lighting around a Christmas tree!  There’s no avoiding it, the Holiday season is here.

For this holiday season I didn’t want to make cards.  I was ready to try something different, so I started playing around with folded paper boxes.  I instantly loved them, but it wasn’t enough.  Anyone can fold a box, heck I’ll even give you the instructions!  There are a ton of tutorials on the web, but I had great success with these instructions from Homemade Gifts made easy.  Now that I had a cute box I needed to make it mine, something worth buying.  I ended up with these Poinsettia boxes and they are stunning in person!

Hand cut pedals, painted leaves, and beaded centers make these paper poinsettia on top of a hand folded paper box something worth buying (and keeping)!  I made a version of this box for a friend’s baby shower and everyone loved the idea!  You can expect to see more of these types of boxes in my shop this spring.

I enjoyed sculpting those flowers so much I decided I’d start working on larger, frame-able pieces of art.  I am not going to reveal just yet what I am working on, but in my research for my first piece I discovered a beautiful pattern just perfect for the holidays.  Yup, just worked out that way.

This leaf pattern is found in French Gothic architecture.  If you look closely you can see the Fleur-de-lis at the ends of the leaves.  It was a pattern designed for a King and it makes a bold, beautiful statement.  I have had so much fun playing with different ways to use this pattern for the holidays.   It becomes so whimsical in the colored patterned paper, and then so regal in the gold and silver.  My holiday decorating usually includes a bit of both humor and tradition, so I am pleased to have found a pattern that works for both.

If you’d like to incorporate any of these holiday items into your decor or gift wrapping, they are now available in my Etsy shop: Mrs. Pea’s Papers.  Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Holidays (already)!!

Mrs. Pea’s Goes High Tech

Over the past few months I have put my focus back onto Mrs. Pea’s Papers.  I reduced my hours at Starbucks, which helped tremendously!  I am now done with work most days before noon.  Imagine that, getting out of work before lunch and having the afternoons to yourself!  My spare bedroom is now a more functional studio too.  It is now my favorite place in the house.  I also invested in an incredible machine, the Silhouette Cameo!

The Cameo opens up a whole new world to me.  It is basically a printer that cuts your designs, and comes with an illustrator type software that’s easy to use.  Unlike some other craft cutters out there this one will cut your own designs, and as an added bonus you can even switch out the knife for a pen!  It even has the ability to cut out your printed images.  I can’t say enough good things about this machine.  Check out my first real project with the Cameo:

I was able to cut out the vinyl lettering for the window of my stepmother’s new business using the font of my choosing.  It’s amazing to be able to do something so professional from home!  Did I mention it cuts a range of materials?!  You could use this machine to cut paper, card stock, vinyl, fabric, magnetic paper, rhinestone templates, and more.  You really get a lot for your money.  Next I made a card for a friend’s wedding:

This card actually gave me a lot of trouble and showed me the limitations of the machine.  It does not like a thick card stock paired with a thin font.  You also need to watch what is behind the machine that the adhesive mat could stick too.  At one point the exposed adhesive edge grabbed the stapler on my desk and dragged it back while ruining the cut.  Mostly, this card was my trial and error process with the Cameo.  Due to time constraints, I almost gave up on it completely but I stuck with it and figured it out.  I was very proud of myself when it was finished!

For my Etsy shop I am still developing items for Christmas but I was able to design these patterns with the Silhouette software and use the machine to cut out the tags.

It has been a fun process learning the best way to use the Cameo and it’s software.  Working with the pen features is next on my list, so be sure to look out for calligraphic holiday tags soon!