Gift Wrapping Idea: A Paper Flower!

Happy Monday, friends! Hope you all had a great start to your week - I am finally starting to feel better and Winter Break is in sight so I'm pretty excited :) Here is a little project I did to dress up the gift I got for our Secret Santa gift swap at work. Last year I made lots of little tags like this to put on all of my gifts, so I will hopefully be back later this week with a couple more ideas for you!

To make the flower, first cut out five petals (make sure they are wider at the top like the ones below). Next, make the little ripples in each of the petals - I used the end of one of my smallest makeup brushes (while you are doing this start heating up your hot glue gun!). Skewers also work well (better, actually). It helps if you have two. Put one on each side of the paper and shape the petal around the skewers. It's confusing at first, but you'll figure it out! Next, cut a slit at the bottom of the petal, and overlap the two sides so your petal becomes 3D...glue it together with a little dot of hot glue! (Look at the picture and it will all make sense). Now, glue each of the petals together.

To create the middle of the flower, cut two small circles. One should be a bit bigger than the other. Cut the edges of each of them like I did in the picture above. Then use your fingers to curl the edges in. Glue them to the middle of your flower (little one on top of bigger one). Cut out a couple of leaves and glue them to the bottom of the flower.

For this one I created a band of white paper to wrap around my present, and glued the flower to this and used it as my label. In the past I have also made smaller flowers and cut out little labels to attach them to. It's up to you!
Do you have any creative ways you like to embellish your presents? Or do you like to keep it simple? Today I just wrapped a present in craft paper and tied it up with neon string - sometimes simple is great too. I love coming up with different ways to wrap presents, so I'm excited to finish wrapping everything once I get to my parent's house for Christmas!

Photo Friday//White Balance

Welp, seems I'm already failing at staying on track with this Photo Friday thing! My excuse is that I've been sick...Good enough? This week I'm going to be sharing what I've learned about White Balance! But first, I'm going to share a couple photos I took over the last couple of weeks, using what I learned about the Manual Setting. As you will see from the photos, I didn't do anything all that exciting...on our way out on Friday night my car broke down. So that was the extent of our weekend excitement! (I tried to get a photo of this, but frozen hands + the inside of a tow truck does not equal a nice photo).

If you're just here to learn about White Balance you can just scroll to the bottom to see the lesson!
 leaves on a crisp sunny day//a hot mug of cocoa//working from bed//snuggles from my puppy at home//brainstorming by the fire//cleaning out my closet 
Photo Friday, Part 2: White Balance

What is White Balance? Basically, light has a color temperature - it can be warm (red) or cool (blue)...White balance allows us to balance the temperature of the light in our pictures. Our eyes do this for us, and DSLRs have an auto mode that tries its best to do it, but it doesn't always work perfectly. The Auto White Balance mode works best when there is a good contrast of dark and light.

Now that we know what White Balance is...did you know that there are different presets on your camera for White Balance? Mine has Incandescent, Cool-White Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, and then a Preset Manual setting. Using these depending on the setting can help get rid of the nasty yellow glow of indoor lights, or the depressing grey light cast by clouds. Here are some links to helpful posts that talk about (and show) each setting and what it does: It's OverflowingMy 3 BoybariansLaid Off Mom.

You can also set your own White Balance if none of these presets will do the trick. These two posts talk a bit about how to do this: PhotoxelsMy 3 Boybarians. I doubt I will be doing much of this for my everyday photography, but I might give it a try in the coming weeks...seems like a good skill to have under my belt, just in case.

Also, I just wanted to share this tutorial about photographing your christmas tree - I used it as a guide when I was taking the photos for this post...everything I learned in my last Photo Friday also really helped.

Remember to share any of your photos or photography tips in the comments! I would love to hear from you :)

Christmas/Winter Mix 2013

I always forget how much I love the holiday season. The first month or so of cold weather feels so magical...bundling up in fuzzy scarves and hats, drinking hot cocoa, cuddling up under piles of blankets. I love all the twinkling lights, the smell of Christmas trees, sitting in front of the fire at my parents' house, the excitement for the fresh start that comes with a new year, and of course, Christmas music. I found all of the local Christmas music channels and programmed them into my car's radio as soon as I got home from Thanksgiving (much to Taylor's dismay)! Even if they aren't the best songs in the world, so many Christmas songs have sweet memories attached to them...I love the classics but I've also discovered some different songs that are a little less corny :) Here is a mix I put together of some of my favorites...there are some classics, some alternative versions of the classics, and a few Winter songs for those of you who hate Christmas music!

Christmas/Winter Mix 2013 by Ella Nimmo on Grooveshark

This week I am hoping to check lots of things off my to do list, do a little Christmas shopping/crafting, and squeeze in some holiday movies and coffee dates. It has been freezing in Portland and it is hard to motivate to do anything but cuddle up in bed. We even got a little dusting of snow last week! made me so excited for a real snowfall when I'm visiting the East Coast for the holidays. Crossing my fingers for a white Christmas! Hope you all had a great weekend!

(original photo found here)

Twinkle Light Christmas Tree

Raise your hand if there is a dead tomato/basil/blueberry plant freezing in your yard! Mine has a nice little plant cemetery going...The other day as I was admiring my collection of plant skeletons, I realized that the cages that used to hold up my plants were the perfect shape to use for a Christmas tree craft project! I have been brainstorming ways to create a tree/something that could stand in for a real Christmas tree for our house. There isn't a lot of room in this itsy bitsy house, and none of us will actually be home for Christmas, so it just didn't make sense to get a tree...but I still wanted something that felt festive and cozy. 
To make this little tree light I started by attaching lights to the cage vertically, securing them with washi tape as I went. This fills in the gaps so you can wrap the next string of lights around the cage horizontally. Mess around with the lights until you like they way they are distributed. Just make sure all plugs are in the back. Next, attach decorations! We don't have any tree decorations so I just made some gold and white stars and taped them to the cage. That's it! My house mate just came home with pine scented cleaning supplies and we may or may not be considering spraying the tree with them to trick our senses into thinking it's real...
I'm excited to curl up on the couch next to our little tree and watch Christmas movies this weekend :) It's not quite a real tree, but it'll do! (it case you're wondering, the tree is about 3 ft tall)

Embroidery Hoop Wall Art

Evening, friends! I finally made it home to PDX late last night after a long, eventful day of travel. Today has been quiet and relaxing. I stole my boyfriend's softest sweater, made a hot cup of tea and did work in bed all day! Oh, and I may have plugged in the twinkle lights and listened to a little Otis Redding Christmas Pandora channel...

Here is a little DIY I finished today that I have been meaning to do for a long time...filling this embroidery hoop has been one failed DIY after another. After using transfer paper to print a photo on fabric didn't work, I resorted to just washi taping a little feather in the middle of the hoop and calling it a day. Today that feather inspired me to try something else!

To do this I used a regular ink pad (since I won't be washing it or anything), a feather (needs to be one that isn't too fluffy - I cut mine down a little so there wasn't too much fluff and it was a shape I liked), letter stamps, white fabric, and of course the embroidery hoop.
I carefully stamped on the phrase I wanted. Then I used this tutorial to print the feather below the writing. I used a wine cork instead of a roller since I didn't have one, and it worked just fine!

I'm really happy with the way it turned out - I love that the stamp letters are a little bit imperfect. If you don't have letter stamps, you could also hand write a short phrase using a paint pen, or you could just do a feather! I'm excited to try a few more projects using my newly learned skill of feather printing :) 
Hope you're having a great Sunday! xx