Easy Upcycled Canvas Holiday Tote

Easy Upcycled Holiday Tote
I really didn’t know if this holiday tote was going to be a craft fail or not. I had this canvas grocery bag, that had been given to me at some point, somewhere. I love reusable shopping bags, mostly because the plastic ones pile up and it’s a pain to recycle them (around here you have to return them to the store.) But I always forget to take them in the store. Plus, I know some are cute, but I really try to avoid flashing brand logos all over the place. It always feels a little awkward taking your Fresh & Easy bag into Trader Joe’s.

So with this lovely canvas shopping bag, I wanted to make it cute for the holidays. Oh and since my craft supply room is overflowing, I wanted to use supplies that I already owned. Errr, except for the stencil, I bought that a couple weeks ago because I had a coupon. (I’m trying not to buy more craft stuff! It’s hard!)

It’s really easy to make, it has held up well and I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it!

Supplies – canvas tote, Americana Chalky Finish Paint in CarbonAmericana Decor Varnish, in Light Satin, two foam brush (3 inch), antler stencil, foam pouncer, liquid gold leaf, Black Acrylic Paint, fabric medium

Upcycled Holiday Tote

Start by painting your whole bag with the Chalky Finish Paint (except the handles). I painted the inside as well, so that you can’t see any white canvas when it’s open. With the handles I mixed the acrylic paint with fabric medium and painted them. I used fabric medium on the handles since they were not getting covered with varnish. Let it completely dry.

Upcycled Holiday Tote

Double check that the paint has gotten in your seams, otherwise you’ll have little hints of canvas showing through.

Upcycled Holiday Tote

Once dry, figure out placement for the stencil. Use the pouncers and the liquid gold leaf to stencil the antlers. Remember to pounce lightly with the gold leaf so that you don’t get too much seepage under the stencil. Oh and do this in a well ventilated area.

Upcycled Holiday Tote

Once the stencil is dry, use the varnish on the painted canvas. I did the bottom first, let it dry, then did the rest.  I hung it to dry in a well ventilated area.

Easy Upcycled Holiday Tote

Let it dry. Now it’s time to use it for all your important purchases!


Holiday Shopping with Higgle

higgle pinHey guys! Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? I have. It may be the first time in history that actually have gifts in hand before Thanksgiving. I feel like I have to start earlier because the time just seems to fly by. I’m afraid I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will be New Year’s Day. Yikes!

I’m such a fan of online shopping. If I can avoid having to deal with crowds, traffic, parking, spilt coffee (I always end up spilling something) then I will. Plus, if you can get free shipping, it’s actually cheaper to shop online. No spending on gas, wear and tear on your car, no stops at the coffee shops.


Well, my friends, let me introduce you to Higgle. Higgle is a name-your-own price marketplace, where shoppers can discover amazing products, name their price, get others to join in, and buy amazing stuff, all in one place. The name Higgle is a play on the word “haggle,” except you don’t have to haggle with merchants, because Higgle does it for you.

How it works –  Basically you see an item you want. The MSRP is listed and you type in a price that you would like to pay for it. It it’s too low, Higgle will tell you to be fair. If your offer is reasonable then there’s a three-day window to get others to join. Higgle will share it with other people on their site and you can share it with your social network (if you want). If enough people join, the deal is done and everyone wins. If not, everyone will get a counteroffer from the merchant and you can accept individually.

I tried it – So I tried my own Higgle. I found an item (not telling what, since the recipient is most likely reading this) and made an offer. At first I lowballed it and was told to be fair. Okay, so I put in a higher number, that was still a good price. At that point my offer was accepted, and I waited. I did not share on social networks, because the recipient would see it. A couple days later, I received an email that my offer was accepted. Yay! Did I mention that shipping is free?!



Here are a few of my favorite things from Higgle’s Holiday Gift Guide



Geoelectric Print, Happy Cloud Dress, Artichoke Dish Towels, Domingo Deluxe City BikeHerb Garden Bundle KitPost Shave Tonic, , Gisella Porcelain Vase

Cute, right?! I highly suggest checking Higgle out. And if you want an even better deal use this promo code for 10% off: 2fb339. The promo code is valid through December 10, 2014.

Check it out and then let me know what you want. Maybe I’ll just join in and Higgle with you!





This post is sponsored. All thoughts and opinions are my own. So is the terrible humor. 

Adorable Personalized Holiday Shirts for Kids

I really love dressing the girls over the holidays. It may be the only time of year where the we all can agree on what they are wearing. So when Bright Star Kids offered to send me shirts to review, I jumped at the chance. The girls and I sat at the computer and they each got to pick out a design from a great selection of holiday images. We added their names in and ordered.

They arrived quickly and are so adorable. Both shirts have the feminine puffy sleeves and the designs are so sweet. They are perfect for holiday get-togethers, since people always seem to get the girls confused with each other.

In fact, I would love to order these for all the kids who attend my annual Christmas party. That way we know who is who!

And, the clothes aren’t just for girls! I love the dinosaur and the alligator (this family so needs a little boy!)

Additionally, Bright Star Kids has wall decals, which can also be personalized. They are super fun for for the kids’ room and are 100% removable and won’t harm your paint. And they have more than just holiday themes too…

The wall stickers provide a unique and personalized gift for the kiddos in your life.

Love me some Bright Star Kids!


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bright Star Kids. The opinions and text are all mine.


Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bright Star Kids. The opinions and text are all mine.

Make Sculpted Clay Poinsettia Ornaments

Sculpted Clay Poinsettia

Hello all! I think this is my first official 100% Christmas post of the season. The Homemade Clay Olive Wreath was almost Christmasy, but I plan on keeping that up all the time, so I guess it doesn’t count. So YAY! Happy Christmastime! The best part is that this post is part of a blog hop. I love blog hops because you and I get to see so many other great projects from amazing bloggers!

We have a rule in this house that the tree doesn’t go up until after Thanksgiving. No exceptions! I am in total agreement with this one because I love Christmas, but you have to keep the Christmas season in the the Christmas season. This is only the second year that we’ve had an artificial tree, so it is super tempting to put it up. But I can’t, and won’t. If I did for pictures I’d end up taking it down. And that would be WAY too much work. So that is why you won’t see these poinsettias on my tree…yet.

Aren’t poinsettias fantastic? Aside from being poisonous, they are gorgeous and they come in all sizes. So I usually buy the big bushy ones at Costco, but this year we have the fluffy goldendoodle, Henri, who eats things he shouldn’t. He eats socks and washcloths and underwear. I’m at the point of watching the girls take off their socks and putting them directly in the laundry basket, with the lid on, to prevent the eating of the socks.  I don’t want Henri to eat the poisonous poinsettias. So, I decided to make clay ones to tie to the tree. I bought a silk poinsettia pick at the craft store, to model my poinsettias after.

Scuplted Clay Poinsettia

What you will need to make these gorgeous flowers ~ Sculpey III Polymer Clay, a rolling pin, craft knife,  small gauged wire, toothpick,  Elmer’s e Advanced ProBond Advanced Glue (my favorite glue), aluminum foil, Glass Glitter

Scuplted Clay Poinsettia

Roll out a dollar coin pinch of clay until it is less than 1/4 inch thick. With the craft knife, cut out a variety of sizes of leaf shapes. After studying the poinsettia, I realized that the shapes and sizes of the leaves aren’t uniform (that makes this project way easier!)  Once you have your leaves cut out, lightly trace the vein markings with a toothpick. Then pinch the base of the leaf and scrunch the sides.

Scuplted Clay Poinsettia

I used the plastic veins on my silk model leaf to make the veins in the clay.

Scuplted Clay Poinsettia

When you have 5 or 6 of the same size, put them together like the photo above.

Scuplted Clay Poinsettia

Cut about 6-inches of wire and lay it across the two joined leaves (like the photo above.) Join together the rest of the leaves for the first layer.

Cut out smaller leaves and layer them on top of the bottom layer of leaves. Squeeze them down in the middle. You can use pieces of squished up foil in between the layers to separate the leaves and to give them elevation.

Scuplted Clay Poinsettia

Once you have three layers or so, transfer to a baking pan and bake the clay according to the package directions. Keep an eye on it. This (below) is what happens when you bake the clay too long. Crispy brown at the edges. Still pretty, but not Christmasy. I will either paint those ones, or glitter the brown parts.

Scuplted Clay Poinsettia

Once the flower is cooled, grab your glue and spread it in the middle. For the center of the flower I used a mixture of glass glitter and some left over plastic crystals from one of those Makit & Bakit ornament crafts (see here.)

Let the glue dry, then tie them to the tree!

Polymer Clay Poinsettias

So I want to write a epilogue to this post. Can I even write a epilogue if this post hasn’t been posted yet?? Anyhow, Henri and Jonesy, the doodles, decided to have a party while the parents were away one night (we were at work.) Out of 13 poinsettias I had made, 4 survived. The rest were in pieces and/or in the bellies of the two beasts. Additionally, they had eaten packs of Sculpey III clay (green to be precise, don’t ask how I know), some glitter, glue, the kids’ homework, library books and part of the sofa. I cried. Both dogs are okay. It’s been over a week and there has been no health issues. But I still want to cry. I may make more to put on my tree. But I may not.

Now the Trim The Tree Blog Hop!
Trim the Tree this Christmas with more than 35 ideas to inspire from your favorite bloggers! #trimthetree

Have you started decorating for the Holidays?  Over 35 of your favorite bloggers have come together to share their fun and festive ideas.  From Ornaments to Tree Skirts,  you are sure to be inspired by all of these amazing homemade ideas to Trim the Tree! 

Trim The Tree 1

1. Advent Calendar Pocket 

2. Polymer Clay Poinsettia

3. Yarn Wrapped Ornament 

4.  Vintage Green Paper Ornament

5. Trim the Tree Garland

6. Ribbon Stuffed Ornaments

7.  Wooden Star Ornament

8. Melted Snowman Ornament

9. Felt Christmas Tree

10.  Santa Star Ornament


Trim the Tree 2

1. Vintage Map Ornament

2. Yarn Joy Ornament

3.  Embossed Wood Bird Ornament

4. Snow Man Wood Slice Ornament

5. Christmas Garland

6. Tree Skirt for under $20

7.  Star Painted Ornament

8. Neon Christmas Tree Topper

9. Wooden Spool Christmas Tree


Trim The Tree 3

1. Gingerbread Cookie Ornament

2.  Wood Etched Cork Garland

3. Bow Christmas Tree Garland

4. Travel Map Ornaments

5. Homemade Glitter Ornaments

6. Felt Candy Ornaments

7. Make Love Ornament

8. How to Decorate your Tree like a Pro

9.  Joy Ornament

10. Glitter Pinecone Ornament


Trim The Tree 4

1. Scented Gingerbread Ornament

2. Diy Tree Skirt

3. Pinecone Decorative Tree

4.  Wood Slice Ornament

5. Wood Slice Child Silhouette Ornament

6. Tips for Decorating the Christmas Tree

7. Mason Jar Lid Ornament

8. Gold Basket Weave Ornament

9. Rustic Christmas Tree Garland

10. Starfish Christmas Ornaments


Linked to: Link Party Palooza




Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

I know you are planning an elaborate Thanksgiving meal. You have everything planned out to the nth degree. Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you want easy peasy dishes to make it seem like you are the “Modern Martha.” Well, I have you covered in the potato department. Honestly, I’ve been making and tweaking this potato recipe for years.

I said tweaking, not tweaking. Weirdo.

Anyhoo… I think the recipe is finally perfected! Eureka!!

So why is this so easy? Well, you can make it in 30 minutes. Or if you like great flavor, make it the night before, then throw it into a crock pot during the day to heat it. Leave your stovetop and/or oven for the turkey and other edible nonsense.

Oh and no peeling…All the good stuff is in the peel.

Amazing and Easy Mashed Potatoes

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
Make this a day ahead and refrigerate overnight. Heat up in the oven or over a long period in a crock pot.
  • 5 lb bag of Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 or 2 - 32 ounce boxes of chicken broth
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ¾ cups butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • onion salt to taste
  1. Rinse the potatoes and cut them in half. There's no need to peel them. Place in a large pot.
  2. Pour the chicken broth over the potatoes, ensured that they are covered enough to boil. If not, add water until there is enough for boiling.
  3. Boil potatoes until they are soft enough to easily break apart with a fork.
  4. In a large bowl, place butter and cream cheese.
  5. Add potatoes. They should easily mash with a fork.
  6. Add sour cream. Blend into the potatoes.
  7. Add onion salt to taste and blend thoroughly.
  8. Reserve some of the chicken broth to add to the potatoes if needed.
  9. Refrigerate overnight. Add more chicken broth, onion salt and butter upon reheating if necessary.

Need more quick Thanksgiving ideas? Check out these other recipes and crafts from some of my favorite blogger friends!

Thanksgiving Blog Hop


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Black Friday Survival Kit with Shopular

Hey there! Have you started your Christmas shopping yet or are you waiting for Black Friday? Usually I’m a last minute Christmas shopper. In the past I have spent upwards of $80 shipping Christmas gifts last minute. What a waste! So this year I started early.

I have never gone out shopping on Black Friday. Word is that the deals are amazing, but the crowds are horrendous and it’s quite the battle for the best deals. Word is that you have to be pretty organized and study your ads to know when and where the best deals are. Well, I think I found a Black Friday helper…

Have you heard of the app for your phone called Shopular? It’s really awesome. Basically Shopular is an app that is like the Sunday paper in your phone. It has listings for the sales and discounts for all your favorite stores and you can organize these listings according to your favorite stores or by the malls that you shop at. Shopular is perfect for Black Friday, if you’re one of those who brave the crowd.


Shopular also allows you to access store coupons. I dread getting in line at Michaels and am trying to pull up a coupon from Michaels website on my phone, it takes so long. But via Shopular I was able to pull the coupon up quickly. It was a total timesaver! (Seriously folks, I’ve saved over $100 in the last two weeks I’ve had this app on my phone!)

Black Friday Survival Kit

Shopular was kind enough to send me a Black Friday Survival Kit, complete with everything I will need to survive the craziest shopping day of the year.


It was like Christmas…but before Christmas…for Christmas. Whatever, it was a fun surprise to get in the mail! And everything inside the box is to help me survive Black Friday.

Black Friday Essentials

1. Foot Petals-  These little babies have saved my feet one more than one occasion that required me to wear heels. The extra cushioning is going to prevent blisters and save your feet while you are dashing from store-to-store. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)

2. Tote- You are going to need a foldable yet durable shopping tote to carry your goods. Shopular provided me with a great one. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)

3. Crazy Rumors Lip Balm-  All that running around in the cold weather is bound to chap your gorgeous lips. Don’t let that happen! This peppermint flavored lip balm is bound to keep you in the holiday spirit. Your lips will taste like a candy cane, but softer! Oh and there’s a promo code for this vegan lip balm. Type in SHOPULAR at checkout for 20% off! Oh and while you’re there, if you want to get some to put in my Christmas stocking I won’t object. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

4. QuestBar-  Have you tried one of these things? They are delish. I know I plan on gorging myself with turkey and all the fixings on Thanksgiving, and I also plan on eating right immediately the next day. Don’t give in to mall food! The lines will be way too long and this 3 carb energy bar is going to give you more lasting energy than that nasty buttery pretzel will. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

5. Stress squeeze ball- Shopular provided me with a stress ball. I’ll need it, since I hate crowds. Or maybe I can just throw it at someone to distract them when they are trying to get the last $100 88-inch flat screen TV (my TV!) It’s soft, so it won’t really hurt them. (Disclaimer- Seriously, don’t throw your stress ball, or anything else, at someone. You’ll end up in the slammer, and then no good deals for you.)

6. Vermints- No stinky breath! If you’re like me, you probably started drinking coffee the night before to get read for the early morning Black Friday sales. Don’t let halitosis get in the way of your Christmas shopping. Vermints are organic, non-GMO, and really tasty. Eat them! Here’s a promo code: A07MGX0M1D6B. The code is for 25% off until December 31, 2014  (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus)

7. Simbi Haiti Hair Ties- You’re going to get to a point in the Black Friday madness that your luscious locks are going to irritate the crap out of you. This is competitive shopping friends and now it’s tie to pull your back. Let ‘em know you mean business. And Simbi supports a great cause. Each hair-bracelet sold keeps Haitians employed and helps raise money to install water filtration systems throughout the country, saving lives. A portion of the proceeds is dedicated to this cause. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)

8. Cosmetic Boulevard Coffee Scrub- You made it! You’re home. The gifts are stashed in your closet (like the kids don’t know to look there!) and the adrenaline high is wearing off. Oh and you stink. It’s the perfect time for a long hot bath and to rub some coffee grounds on yourself.  Yep,  this coffee scrub specifically formulated to actively target cellulite, stretch marks, acne and eczema with caffeine from only the best Robusta beans. Blended together with highly moisturizing, regenerating & exfoliating oils & salts. I can’t get enough coffee. (Instagram)

Shopular Dearfoam Slippers

9. Dearfoams slippers- What can I say? I haven’t taken them off since they arrived. There was no way I could wait until Black Friday to put these babies on my tired feet. Oh and they have memory foam in them. That makes them awesome. AND the sequins make them even MORE awesome. (I like sparkles.)

So after Black Friday, sip an adult beverage, put on your Dearfoams and rest your feet on a fluffy dog. You did some major shopping, congrats! (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)

But I won’t fault you if you still just want to take a hot bath, use that lip balm, put on those slippers and shop online. You can still use the Shopular App. You can kiss me later!

I was totally provided with free merchandise for this post, BUT all ideas and opinions are my own. And the silly little jokes, those are mine too.