Organizing Holiday Cards: Christmas Card Book

Holiday Card Storage Book

Every year as I take down my holiday decorations, I take down the display of Christmas Cards, put them in a pile, and want to DO something with them. I love getting Christmas Cards each year (and I love sending them out, too), but after the season is over, I have no way to store them… until now! Several years ago I saw a similar idea to bind Christmas Cards into a book that can be enjoyed for years… and thanks to the inspiration brought on by this week of cleaning and organizing that I’m hosting with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage and Gina from the Shabby Creek Cottage, I have my First Annual* Christmas Card Book!

Holiday Cards

chipboard book coversTo make your own Christmas Card Book you need:
Chipboard Covers (with rings)
Mod Podge Hard Coat
Washi Tape (optional)
Scissors
Paintbrush
Hole Punch
Pen or Pencil
Ribbons (optional)
All your Holiday cards from this year
The Card you sent out this year
Your holiday letter (optional) shrunk down to size

I started by Mod Podging my card to the front cover. It was a little bigger than the cover size I chose. I could always go with a bigger cover, but I liked this size. After Mod Podging the card on, I just trimmed off the excess.

Mod Podge onto Chipboard

I had some of the chipboard showing over on the side where the holes were. I could have just left that part plain, but it felt… well… too plain. So I covered it up with some Washi Tape. Then I put Mod Podge over the washi tape to really secure it – Washi Tape has a habit of becoming un-stuck over time, and I want this book to really last.

Washi Tape and Mod Podge

I used the back cover as a template to mark where the holes needed to go on the cards.

Use cover as template

Then punched holes in the cards. I had fun with this part. I knew some of the cards were going to stick out – so I embraced it. I let cards stick out on the top, bottom, and right. Not all the cards are perfectly centered. I think it adds to the fun.

punch holes in card

I always think it is a shame that I don’t store a copy of our holiday letter somewhere. Sure, I could look it up on the computer, but what fun is that? I shrunk down our holiday letter to 60% so that it would fit on the back cover, then Mod Podged it in place. I used Mod Podge Hard Coat because I find it dries less tacky, and that will keep it from sticking to the cards as it goes into storage for the next 11 months or so.

Christmas Letter shrunk down

Once my covers were dry, I put it all together. For a little extra flair, I tied ribbons to the rings.

Store and Organize Christmas Cards in a cute book

I’m looking forward to keeping up this tradition each year, creating volumes of Christmas Cards from all of our family and friends that we can look back at.

 

*Yes, I know “First Annual” isn’t an actual “thing”. But I’m ok with that.

Holiday Home Tour

Well hello there! I thought I’d take you on a little tour of the front room, decked out for the holidays. Not the entire house… because you don’t want to see my disaster of a wrapping station, or the front room that’s looking particularly lived-in after the entire family has come down with the flu (it was a rough weekend). But I’ll give you a little peek into the mostly-un-photoshopped parts of the house that have been decorated for the holidays.

If you want to see some other bloggers’ Holiday spaces, check out this post over at Denise Designed for details on the holiday home tour.

First, our front door. I made the Ornament Bricks this year. The wreath I made years and years ago – just a simple store-bought garland wreath that I wrapped with a string of bells. I love that it jingles whenever we open the door!

The Santa mat was a gift… I love that it adds a little extra holiday ho-ho-ho!

Holiday Doorway

view of the front room

Inside the door is our Christmas tree. We move around the couches at Christmastime to fit the tree. The two rockers belong to my kiddos – they were first birthday gifts from my in-laws. My MIL also made the Santa that stands to the right of the tree. Behind Santa is an Advent Calendar that I stitched up from a fabric panel years ago – but we’ve never actually used it to count down the days to Christmas! On the back of the door is the wreath I made this year.

tree and ornaments

At the top of the tree is a simple star (my 5-year old was super excited to put the star on top of the tree this year), and just below the star are my two turtle doves. I love my doves, I’ve had them as part of my holiday decor for years.

two turtle doves

You can also see the ornaments that hang from the valences. I have ornaments from all the downstairs valences. A simple way to add decor throughout the house.

holiday decor

Hanging from the mirror is the elongated wreath I made last year, and next to it a fun sign…

small table runner

On the coffee table between the tree and the sofa is a table runner that I made back in 2010. It is a simple quilt-as-you-go runner made with strips of holiday fabric. On the runner are my Santa Candlesticks.

dancing snowglobes

Also on the coffee table are my little dancing Hallmark snowless snowglobes. I’m not sure what these are called, but Hallmark sold them years ago, with a new one coming out every week or so. I wasn’t dedicated enough to get the whole collection, but someday need to go on Ebay to get more of the set. I love these guys, and so do my kids.

You can see on the couch is a Christmas Quilt, this one made by my husband’s Auntie. She’s an avid quilter, and made this flannel quilt for us years ago. I love snuggling under it during the holidays.

end table

Between the sofas is a little endtable. I have a beaded mat, some holiday coasters, my Mason Jar with Light-up tree, and this year’s photo of the kiddos with Santa. I’m loving Viv from the V Spot’s holiday tradition of framed holiday photos that come out every year, and want to start that tradition with my boys. Although I doubt I’ll be re-painting the frames each year.

living room

Next is the china hutch. We don’t have a fireplace, so the china hutch is where we hang our stockings. Before we had the hutch, we hung our stockings from the banister.

stockings on the china hutch

I hung my simple silver ball garland between the stockings.

stockings hanging

I made the stockings 4 years ago. The names are cross-stitched by hand. The snowman image and the cross-stiched name are machine appliqued onto the stocking, which has a furry cuff.

mom and dad stocking

Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie have stockings that match ours, because they joined us for Christmas that year. The baby’s stocking was made last year to match. The fabric is a white-on-white print that doesn’t show up in the photos, but gives some subtle contrast on the fabric.

banister

Past the dining room is the banister and a snowflake hanging from the stairs that holds Christmas cards. I have decor up in the rest of the house, but I’ll save that for another day… or maybe another year.

Most of the decor in the house is up-high, or very kid friendly. With two little guys, I want them to feel like they can touch, play with, and be part of the holiday decorations. Christmas is for the kids, after all, and they shouldn’t be afraid of interacting with it… right?

Make sure you check out Denise Designed for the list of home tours, and you can also check out the Everything Christmas Pinterest Board for more inspiration!

Christmas Home Tour 2013

Gilded Holly Holiday Wreath

Gilded Holly Wreath on Always Expect Moore

Wreaths are a great way to spruce up any part of the house that has a door… but especially the front door. I love having a wreath on my front door. I think it makes it welcoming and inviting… before my guest even crosses the threshold. For the last 10 years or so I’ve used my jingle bell wreath… so this year I thought it was time for a new wreath. I whipped up this Gilded Holly Wreath in about an hour… it was simple to make, and has just the right amount of shimmer and glam, while still being simple. Totally my style – and a great way to welcome guests at my front door!

gilded holly leaf wreath suppliesTo make your own wreath you need:
Grapevine Wreath
Holly Leaves (I got mine at Consumer Crafts .com)
Martha Stewart Gilding adhesive & Gilding
Martha Stewart Decoupage in Opal
Paint brushes
Hot Glue
Ribbon

 

 

 

Start by laying out the Holly Leaves – they stick together, so make sure you get them individually laid out. Then run a line of gilding adhesive down one side of the leaf.

paint edges with gilding adhesive

Once the glue goes clear, press the leaves to the gliding sheets.

press leaves to gilding

When you lift up the leaf, if there are any bald spots, just press it back onto the gilding sheet. Once all the bald spots are covered, rub the leaf between your fingers to rub away any extra gilding.

rub off gilding

Once you have all your leaves gilded, put a light coat of decoupage over the leaves. This seals in the gilding and adds a little extra sparkle.

Decoupage over the leaves

While the decoupage dries, which won’t take that long, tie the ribbon around one side of the wreath.

tie bow

Then start gluing the leaves into place.

Hot glue on the back of leaves

I start with the leaves closest to the bow, and then move out, lifting the leaves and adding others underneath.

place leaves

To give the wreath some balance, I added some leaves on other parts of the wreath.

glue extra holly wreaths

And it was that easy!

all holly leaves in place

Sugar Cookie House Decorating Party

When I was a child, we got cookie cutters for making gingerbread houses. And every year, I’d bake gingerbread, cut out the pieces, and we’d make entire villages of cookie houses. It was one of my favorite Christmas memories.

After I moved out on my own, I found my own set of gingerbread house cookie cutters, but I started substituting a firm sugar cookie dough for the gingerbread. Because although I love the smell of gingerbread, I find that most people prefer the taste of sugar cookie. Myself included.

I want my sons to grow up with the tradition of making cookie houses. Last year we built them with cousins. This year, we invited friends over to come build with us.

I sent out e-vites to the parents, inviting them to come over. They were asked to each bring a bag of candy, and I’d provide the houses.

I headed out to Smart & Final to pick up what I would need: plates to use as the house bases, ingredients for the sugar cookies, ingredients for the icing, and some candies to get the party started (and add variety). You’ll find each recipe I used for the party at the end of the post. I also used plastic tablecloth on the roll from Smart & Final on the table – makes clean up so much easier! Smart & Final is a great place to shop when hosting a party – they have everything from plates to chafing dishes to to-go boxes so that your guests can take home their leftovers!

The day before, I made the cookie parts, let them set, and that night I used Royal Icing to put them together, and secure them to the plate.

The next morning I made Buttercream frosting for the kids to use. I find that Royal Icing is too tough for most kids to squeeze out, so I used Buttercream for the kids instead. Royal Icing is great to keep candy on securely, since it dries candy-hard, but the sugar cookie houses for the kids didn’t need to get that hard, so Buttercream frosting worked just fine. I put a couple tablespoons into each zip-top bag, and snipped off a corner of the bag to make multiple icing bags without multiple couplers and fancy cake tips… and also with less mess! The sipper side of the bag prevents the frosting from accidentally coming out the back.

All the candy was put in bowls in the middle of the table. This way kids could easily get what they needed.

The kids had a blast creating their houses!

Firm Sugar Cookie Dough
2 1/3 c flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
1/2c butter
1c granulated sugar
1 egg
Mix egg butter, and sugar. Beat until well mixed. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Put in fridge for at least 20 minutes. Roll out onto a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin, and cut to size. Bake for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Royal Icing
3tbsp Meringue Powder (find in the baking section of your craft store)
4c sifted powdered sugar
6 tablespoons water (a little more or less as needed)
Put all ingredients in bowl and mix well. BE CAREFUL, if the icing gets too thick, it can and will break your mixer… it is like food cement. If the mix is still to heavy, SLOWLY add water 1tsp at a time and keep mixing until done.

Buttercream Frosting
1/2c shortening
1/2c softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
4c powdered sugar
2 tbs milk

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a mixer until fully incorporated and creamy.

Get more great holiday ideas below or at the Smart and Final Social Circular. You can also check out Smart & Final on Twitter and on Facebook.


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