Easy Peasy Christmas gifts

This Christmas I decided "home-crafted, home-made with love gifts" would be my thing.  And with the help of the amazing and awesome Pintrest, I found all kinds of ideas!  However--I only did about 3 of my intended crafts!!! 

So many crafts, so little time!! 

I found this super-duper easy project, that I think is practical, cheap (not that I'm trying to being cheap--but you know what I mean) and has a cuteness factor of a 7!!! 

AND it uses Mod Podge!  Which is always a bonus in my book!

So easy, here it goes:

Holiday Coasters

Supplies Needed:
16 cent tiles from Home Depot
Clear spray paint (I used both satin and flat...I can't tell which one I like best)
Cork (Home Depot has it in rolls with stick back--PERFECT!)
Mod Podge
Paint brush
Scraps of Scrap-booking paper (I suppose you could use cloth also)

Cut your cork and scrapbook paper into 4" squares.
 Mod Podge! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this stuff!  I don't know what it is...but it's fun--and you can use it for anything!  I have heard that "glittery" Mod Podge exists!  I haven't seen it or used it, but when I do--oh boy!!!!
Liberally apply your Mod Podge to the top of your tile.  (one at a time...you don't want it to dry to fast!)
 Then:  More Mod Podge!  Fun!  Right over the top of the scrapbook paper!
 Don't worry about brush strokes, they disappear.  However if your paper "bubbles" press it out with your finger tip and reapply Mod Podge over the top. The brush strokes won't show up,  but your finger smears will.
 Here it is mid-way.  i had lots of sets of coaster I was going to do!
 After the Modge Podge dries, which took about an hour (depending on how thick you cake on the top coat).  Take them outside and spray them down with some clear spray paint. 

Give it several good coats.  It takes about 10 minutes in between coats.  This will keep the Mod Podge from coming off and your coasters will actually be USEFUL for placing drinks on.
Once the paint is dry (which would probably be about 4 hours) you can move on to the last step of applying the cork.  I had other things to do, so I didn't do the last step until the next day which was fine and probably better.

(This is one of the matte finish ones...I like it because it looks more professional....but the gloss is an added bling--you know--shiny!)

 Not too shabby, huh? 
Stacks of 2 or 4 make a nice gift!  And they are useful--which I said.  These coasters can be made for any season, or occassion.  I saw ones on the lovely Pintrest with initials on them. 

 Go for it! It's easy--the kids even helped me!  It's that easy!  

They were a big hit at Christmas...well, at least i think they were...maybe people were just being polite!   I liked making them, and that's what is important.  (I'm kidding!)



Breaking away from a tradition

Every year for as long as we've had kids, we have gone to U-Village on Thanksgiving weekend to get into the Christmas spirit, see Santa, shop and have some fun.  When we moved to the Kitsap Peninsula away from Seattle, I really started treasuring our day in Seattle.  It always involves some fun stuff.

Christmas sights and sounds of downtown Seattle!
The carousel at Westlake
Visiting Rookie's work place and eating at the Spaghetti Factory.

But the thing that I have always loved the most was dinking around University Village. 

That place is magical! 

However, this year we were flying the Red-Eye back from Hawaii on Thanksgiving weekend and we needed the whole weekend recover!

WHEN oh when would I fit in my our favorite tradition??  How would I EVER get into the Christmas spirit with this tan and still smelling like suntan lotion if we didn't go to U-Village to kick off the season????

Dec. 17th!  Rookie had bought the family tickets for the Battle in Seattle college basketball game!  Gonzaga vs. Arizona. (Totally NEW tradition!)  Well I GRACIOUSLY gave up my ticket so Rookie's dad could go in my place.  The game was at 1pm and I dropped the guys off and went to U-Village by myself. 

It felt ALL wrong. 

I was missing my photo ops with my guys! 

We weren't there at night when it's all lit up and pretty with Christmas lights!

And ---HEY, wait a minute!  I don't have my family tagging along with me at my favorite stores!

So I actually got to spend a long time looking and re-looking and looking some more in my favorite stores!  (Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Restoration Hardware--what have they done with that place?--Ravenna Gardens, Anthropologie, Aveda, Frans, Land of Nod, the list goes on!)  

I really enjoyed it, however, it did kind of suck that I had to carry my own bags because Rookie wasn't there to be my pack mule.  So I didn't do as much damage as I wanted to do!!!

3:15--race back to pick up the guys and drop Opa off at the ferry! 

With our usual family outing to U-Village shot, we had to re-evaluate the "traditions"!  We went to Pacific Place to see Santa (new place this year for us)  And I thought the line would be a mile long --Saturday afternoon...Downtown Seattle!  But alas--there was NO line!  Sweet!

From there we took to streets and made our way to the carousel at Westlake!  (Ah-ha--here's the line--it was like 400 people long--NO WAY were we waiting in line for that!)

The streets were PACKED---like nothing I've ever seen before!  And SOOOO many beggars and street performers!  AND--100's of people dressed at Santa!  It was almost like there was a Santa invasion and we didn't get the memo to dress like Santa! It was pretty fun!
Once we saw the line of 400 to ride around in a circle, we decided to get mini-donuts from a street vendor instead!  Mmmmmm....fried dough--delicious!

It was a beautiful, cold, clear, crisp night in Seattle--i.e. not raining!  So we had to take advantage.  I gave the boys the choice of riding the "Duck Boats" Christmas version or going to the Zoo Lights.  They picked the Duck Boat!  (Totally NEW tradition)

We weren't going to be able to get on for 2 hours, so we went back to Pacific Place, had dinner at Johnny Rockets, and watched the "Snow" inside.  We were up on the 4th floor, and it looked like all the people standing in line at the Carousel came running over to watch the snow!  Rookie and I were hoping for a "Flash Mob" to break out down below--but it didn't happen! 

 Waiting in line for the Duck Boat--when we wait--we take pictures!

 The Duck Boats were fun---our tour guide was named "Mitchell Toe"  (get it...like Mistletoe?)  We had a great time singing Christmas songs and yelling Merry Christmas to folks on the sidewalks all throughout downtown Seattle.  And you know what--everyone smiled and waved back--Seattle really is a friendly little town!
 We got these handy-dandy jingle bells we got to shake, shake, shake out the window too! 
It wasn't our "normal" Christmas day in Seattle, but it was pretty darn fun!