Christmas Kids Crafts and Block Party

This week the kids get out of school and winter break officially starts! Are you ready for it? It is always crazy chaos at my house because the kids are so excited about Christmas and school being out. Well this year I am going to be prepared and have some awesome Christmas kids crafts for them to do during break! Here are some great ideas to do this week with the kids!

Christmas-Kids-Crafts-printables tutorials DIY and activities for families

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Gift Giving Hacks for Readers, Geeks and More

I kind of pride myself on being a really GREAT gift giver but this year I am drawing blanks. Thankfully Barnes & Noble has a ton of really cool tools that make gift giving super easy whether you’re looking to give a book or other great gift.

what to read next great tools for picking what book to read for all readers

I personally always believe books are one of the best gifts that you can get anyone regardless of age or interests. But, sometimes deciding WHICH book can be a bit tricky. Last week I was browsing the Barnes & Noble website and got giddy when I tried out the Book Graph for the first time. This little tool is brand new this holiday season and I’m keeping my fingers crossed they’ll keep it year around. It’s a little hidden but to find it click on “books” on the top of and “Book Graph” is the first option.

Basically you click on a book cover and it leads you down a trail of related books that you can follow to find something new and awesome. With every step there are tons of options and you can click on each image to learn more about the different titles. It was so fun seeing books that I love recommended in this way. They have combined all the knowledge from their book sellers and the wealth of data on which books people tend to buy with other and well, you can see how that would make for a power recommendation tool. I could see this being super addicting. Plus this would be great when shopping for someone who reads a ton or who reads different types of content than what you might be familiar with!

super hero gifts and books for boys girls and kids of all ages

Not only is there the Book Graph, -but there are TONS awesome curated book lists and gift guides.  I love how the guides are more than just gender and age based. Of course you can start there if you want, -but, there are really interesting list themes which you might not think to search for, but lead to some pretty fun present ideas. There’s a whole selection of Super Gifts for Superheroes (a peek at that above), gifts for Game of Thrones Fans, Creative Gifts for Scientist and Makers,  Gifts to Inspire Unstoppable Girls and more.

awesome tips and tools for buying gifts for readers and geeks. books and non-book present tricks and ideas

This my friends is how you get a unique and meaningful gift your love ones will be really excited to get! In addition to lists with both non-book gift ideas as well as fresh reading material there are tons of straight up book lists to guide your gift giving (even if it’s for yourself, I won’t judge) like “Thrilling Books for Teen Readers“. 

And as fun as it is to shop from the convenience of your own home in your jammies, you might want to throw on some clothes because I’m not sure if you are aware, -but in most Barnes & Noble locations this holiday season they have a super special Harry Potter aisle!

Tons of Harry POtter gifts from Barnes and Noble

It is jammed packed FULL of goodies, books, and tons of gift ideas all inspired by the J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s got great goodies from the original series as well as from the Fantastic Beast movie and the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Screenplay. You guys I wanted it all, scarves, wands, games of all sorts, stuffies, DVDs, there’s so many fun things!

I’m not sure if you’ve ever just wandered the non-book isles at Barnes & Noble, but they always have the most fun gifts for kiddos, geeks, and really anyone! I’m actually drooling over the FAO Schwarz Christmas decoration I saw there earlier this week.

star wars at barnes & noble

I’ll be doing a live walk through on Facebook this week if you want a little peek around and for you Star Wars fans they have a Star Wars aisle too!!!

So if you’re at a loss of what to give the special people in your life head over to Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble whether in person or online and you’re sure to find plenty of fun options!










DIY Nativity Ideas and Block Party

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Christmas Tree Crafts Recipes and Block Party

I love seeing Christmas trees decked out everywhere it’s such a fun part of the holiday season. I find it fun and totally geeky that now Christmas trees have become a symbol in and of themselves.

tons of awesome christmas tree crafts diy decorations recipes and more

So here are a bunch of fun Christmas tree crafts, recipes and more to celebrate this treasured symbol that brings so much joy this time of year!

Washi Tape Tree Card | Pinecone Tree Craft | Tree Quilt with Tutorial

Paper Gift Pouches | Christmas tree serving tray | Christmas Tree Taco Bake

Tree Terrarium  | 3D Christmas Tree Sugar cookies  | felt tree advent calendar

faux stained glass tree ornament  | tree card | Easy Christmas Hair Clips

Rae Gun guest posting picture

Hope your December is off to a great start! Marissa here from Rae Gun Ramblings. If you love all things Christmas make sure to check out all my awesome Christmas Crafts and Recipes (there are hundreds)!

christmas crafts and recipes great easy tutorials and party ideas

Now let’s see what YOU have been up to. Link up to the Block Party and be featured on all our blogs! Rae Gun Ramblings | Keeping it Simple CraftsPieces By Polly | Housewife EclecticBe sure to read over the guidelines…

  • We’d love it if you pinned the Christmas Tree Round Up!
  • Link to a specific post, not your home page.
  • Don’t add links to promote giveaways, other link parties or your shops.
  • Visit and comment on at least 2 other links in the party.
  • Don’t link posts you’ve linked before.
  • This party starts Sunday @ 9pm EST and ends Friday @ midnight.
  • By entering a link, you give us permission to feature an image on our blogs. Proper credit and links will always be given.
  • Please link back to whatever blog you are linking from and let your readers know you joined the block party and invite them to do the same!

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Homemade Christmas Ornaments Tutorial and Block Party

It is officially Christmas season and now is the time to get crafting for decor and presents! We have pulled together some of our very favorite homemade Christmas Ornaments to give you inspiration for this upcoming holiday!

Handmade-Christmas-Ornaments diy tutorials

Book Page Ornaments

Quilted Monogram Ornament

Stick Tree Ornaments

Rustic Winter Truck Ornament

No Sew Quilted Ornament

Thumbprint Ornament

Scented Christmas Ornaments

DIY Minion Ornament

Custom Wood Ornaments

Mickey and Minnie Ornaments

Starfish Santa Ornament

Chalkboard Wood Slice Ornament

Paw Print Snowflake Ornament

Glitter Dinosaur Ornaments

Melted Candy Ornaments

Wood Grain Leather Ornaments

It’s time for another Block Party hosted by Rae Gun Ramblings | Keeping It Simple Crafts | Pieces By Polly| Housewife Eclectic! Be sure to check out all of our blogs, because we’ve been up to some fun things lately.
It’s Debra again from Housewife Eclectic. I have been creating like crazy for my Harry Potter Christmas tree. You can check out all of my Harry Potter DIY Ornaments below.
  • We’d love it if you pinned the Ornament image above!
  • Link to a specific post, not your home page.
  • Don’t add links to promote giveaways, other link parties or your shops.
  • Visit and comment on at least 2 other links in the party.
  • Don’t link posts you’ve linked before.
  • This party starts Sunday @ 9pm EST and ends Friday @ midnight.
  • By entering a link, you give us permission to feature an image on our blogs. Proper credit and links will always be given.
  • Please link back to whatever blog you are linking from and let your readers know you joined the block party on any of your social media channels and invite them to do the same!
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Cookie Recipes and Block Party

Fall is coming and that means that baking season is coming soon too!  Who else is excited for the cooler temperatures and all the warm and gooey foods that come with it?!? I sure am!  So I rounded up some super yummy cookie recipes for all of us to enjoy this fall :). 

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DIY Elf Dolls Tutorial

Remember those giant dolls? Well they aren’t pirates any more, I made them the cutest (and easiest) Elves Costumes!

Adorable Elf Dolls tutorial with free patterns

I apologize for the super long video. I’ve been sick and now the little one is sick so I didn’t have a chance to edit it down and I thought eep Christmas is SOOON I just need to share this. But I hope to come back and replace this FB LIVE replay with a bare bones tutorial version!

Speaking of FB live if you don’t already know I go live twice a week usually sharing some kind of sewing or crafting project and every once in a while cooking :) You can catch me on the Rae Gun Ramblings page Mondays at 4 PM EST and Tuesday at 1 PM EST.


The pattern is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD to my newsletter subscribers. You can download the pattern here along with many other free patterns and templates.

  • The password is in every newsletter so if you’re already a subscriber check your last newsletter near the bottom the go to this page to access the patterns.
  • Or if you’re not already a subscriber sign up right here and when you confirm your email it should give you a welcome page with the password for my downloads page.

What to Do

  • Sew the Dolls according to the directions on the fabric panel. You can watch me sew the girl one in the video above or the boy in this video.
  • Cut the pattern pieces out. I used woven for the stripes but in retrospect I could have easily used the knit version and wouldn’t have to worry about fraying. But I think the fraying adds to the pirate feel.
  • Note I’m not doing any finishing work since they are doll costume but if you want to finish your seams, edge stitches the pointy edges, press and all that feel free too!
  • I used 1/4 inch seam allowances

Boy Elf Doll Costume

  1. With right sides together sew the straight sides of the short pieces together (this will make the center seams).
  2. Open up and sew along the curve of the inseam.
  3. Iron the top edge under 1/2 inch and sew down to form a casing making sure to leave an opening for the elastic.
  4. Insert elastic. Sew ends of elastic together and close up the hole in the casing. The shorts are now done
  5. Make the vest by sewing the front vest pieces to the back vest piece at the top edge.
  6. Then sew the side seams from the markings making sure to leave holes for the arms.
  7. Top stitch the ric rac onto the right side of the vest along the front edge and neck. Now your vest should be done.
  8. Cut a length of ribbon for the sash. And attach a Holly Shoe Jingle Bell.

How to make holly shoe bells. Cute DIY Christmas craft tutorial

Girl Elf Doll Costume

  1. With right sides together sew the side seams of the dress.
  2. Fold the arm holes under 1/4 inch and sew down.
  3. Fold the top edges under 1/2 inch and sew down.
  4. Thread the green ribbon through the neck casings you have just made. I like to use a loop turner for this. You will tie a bow to close the dress on the doll. Now your dress is done.
  5. Wrap a Holly Shoe Bell around one of her pony tails and you’re good to go.

Sew the cutest elf dolls and shoe jingle bells

20+ Neighbor and Teacher Gift Ideas and Block Party

There is one week until Christmas and it’s crunch time!  If you’re like me at all, you’re probably scrambling to figure out if your are going to do neighbor and teacher gifts.  Well if you are, here are 20+ ideas that will please anyone!
neighbor and teacher gift ideas DIY tutorials

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Cake Mix Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

I love a good Christmas cookie exchange but this time of year is so busy that I’m thankful for recipes like this Cake Mix Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies recipe.

Hands down our favorite cookies. Easy cake mix peanut butter cookie recipe so so good.

This recipe is crazy easy and the cookies are super yummy. These are perfect for those December weeks when you want fresh baked cookies but have one billion activities and responsibilities to take care of.

That said these would be super yummy any time of year. I made a batched today at the same time that I made dinner. They are as fast and easy as making a box of brownies but definitely with a little special touch

Perfect cookie for peanut butter chocolate lovers. This cake mix cookie recipe is so easy and delicious.


  • 1 Box Devil Food Cake Mix (I used this one)
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 C Butterscotch Chips
  • 40 (ish) Peanut Butter Cups


  1. Mix together everything except the butterscotch chips and mints.
  2. Once combined stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Drop onto a cookie sheet in 1 inch scoops. Keep it small these spread a lot!
  4. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and immediately top each with an unwrapped peanut butter cup.
  6. The heat from the cookie should melt the chocolate and when it does take a knife and smoosh it down to make the marbled look. If your cups don’t get spreadable you can pop the cookie sheet back in the oven for a minute.

Everyone loves this easy cake mix cookie recipe. Peanut butter chocolate fans will love this quick dessert.

What are your favorite cookies?

You also might like:

My new favorite party recipe. This spinach artichoke dip recipe is SO good and easy. Perfect appetizer or snack.

Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe

this is how I always do chocolate covered strawberries!

How to make the best chocolate covered strawberries.

Peace on Earth Marbled Painted Ornaments Tutorial

These marble painted ornaments are so easy to make and if you add they are easy to personalize with a quote, date, or any other memory.

10 minute marble painted ornaments tutorial. Darling Peace on earth globe ornament

These Marble ornaments can be done with either glass or plastic ball ornaments. If you look at the pictures and video the white and gold ornament is made with plastic and the others are with glass.

Make a glass ornament that looks like a globe with easy marbled painting. Peace on Earth ornament tutorial.

That makes it a really easy project to do with kids. Depending on your control freak/clean freak level some of the older kids might even be able to do the project completely on their own.

kid friendly marble painted ornament tutorial

What You Need

What to Do

  1. Remove metal hanging top.
  2. Pour in different colors of paint.
  3. Tape top closed.
  4. Roll in box or tap ornament and roll in your hands.
  5. Allow to dry.
  6. Remove masking tape and replace hanging metal.
  7. Tie with a ribbon.
  8. Cut out vinyl with your favorite customization or the PEACE ON EARTH design (download here).
  9. Weed the vinyl and use transfer tape to apply to the ornament.

How to make gorgeous Peach on Earth hand painted marble class ornaments. Easy tutorial great for kids.

I made these as a part of a fun Ornament Challenge from Expressions Vinyl. Check out all these other AWESOME DIY ornament ideas, vote for your favorite, ahem mine #14 just kidding ;) and enter the $100 Expressions Vinyl giveaway!

Lots of easy DIY christmas ornament tutorials