Homemade Limoncello

As some of you might remember, I have an extraordinarily prolific lemon tree in my backyard.

So just for kicks I decided to try out a little something I had pinned awhile back: homemade Limoncello.

A friend of mine (who also has a prolific lemon tree) had pinned/made the same recipe, and after she told me how easy it was I decided to give it a go.

The end result is below.  I gave them out as Christmas gifts to a few close friends.   If I ever make it again I think I'll bottle it in a container that makes it look a little less like a urine sample ;)

It was super-easy to do.  Now I'm just waiting to hear if my friends liked it since I myself don't drink.

If you'd like to make your own, you can find the recipe HERE.  I didn't use 160 proof vodka so perhaps mine was a bit wishy-washy.  I'll let you know once I get some feedback.  



Unique Ideas for Holiday Gift Wrap

Last week I hosted my second annual gift wrapping party (read about last year's party HERE) and I swear it has changed the way I think about wrapping gifts.

What was once a miserable (and lonely) chore has now become an opportunity to create something beautiful in the company of good friends.

But it also means that I need to step up my game.  In order to ensure that my party doesn't become stale I need to bring fresh ideas to the table with each new season.

Thank goodness there are bloggers-galore who are more than willing to share their gift wrapping ideas with the world.

Today I am thrilled to be sharing sixteen of these great ideas over at Looksi with my newest curated collection.

Click HERE to get to the collection.  All relevant entries are labeled:
{Elena's Holiday Gift Wrap Collection}

Looking for additional holiday posts?  Click on the links below:



Holiday Popcorn Buckets

When my older daughter was attending preschool in Chicago, she went to school with a little girl whose mother was a well-known event planner.

And while I was certainly aware of what she did, I never really gave it a lot of thought.  To me she was simply a fellow mom engaging in the same joys and struggles that I was experiencing.

There was, however, one time when I got a teensy glimpse into her world.

It was very pretty.

And very fun.

You see, on this particular occasion she was involved in planning the preschool's holiday fair.  In her world this was probably just tiny blip on the radar, but to me it was incredibly inspiring.

One of the many little details that intrigued me was a table filled with holiday buckets containing a mixture of candy & popcorn.  It was such a simple idea, but executed so brilliantly that I've kept it in the back of my mind all of these years.

She simply bought up a bunch of metal Christmas buckets in Target's Dollar Section.  (They have them there every year.)  Then she mixed red and green candies with popcorn and served them up in the buckets.

It was festive and simple--the perfect idea for a holiday gathering.

Well, being the hoarder, um, savvy shopper that I am, I quickly realized that these buckets go on sale after the holidays.  Every year I scoop a bunch up, usually at about 75% off.  (That's right, for about twenty-five cents apiece.)

This year the girls and I decided to use them for their holiday gift offerings.  (Read about last year's gifts HERE.)

 I'm not going to lie.  I shamelessly stole my friend's entire idea. And it was so darned easy, and turned out so stinking cute, that I'm now I'm going to share it with you:
  1. Buy a big bag (or two) of Kettle Corn.  (I got mine at Whole Foods.)
  2. Buy some red and green candy.  (I used mint M&M's, dark chocolate M&M's and red hots.  We wanted Jelly Bellies but couldn't find them in red and green.)  
  3. Mix candy and popcorn in a big bowl.
  4. Scoop into bread bag-lined buckets.  (<-- I used bread bags because I had them and didn't want the mixture falling out of the buckets as we transported them to school.)
  5. Tie with baker's twine.
  6. Label.  (I used my Silhouette, but you could also just attach cute gift tags.)
The whole process took about an-hour-and-a-half and cost under $25.  That's not bad when you consider that we now have 21 gifts to hand out to the girls' friends on the last day of school.

Feel free to jump in on this action--but just be sure to leave a few buckets for me at Target's after Christmas sale.  I think I'm going to need to restock! 



Mason Jar Gift Card Holder

Looking for a cute way to present a gift card?

First, get yourself a mason jar and hot glue some cute bottle brush trees to the lid.

Then grab your gift card...

...wrap it in tissue and insert it in the jar.  (It will fit in a standard mouth jar if the card isn't in a paper holder.)

Add a cute tag and, voila!  Your gift just went from drab to fab!



Chalk Board Wrapping Paper

Next week I'm hosting my second annual Holiday Wrapping Party.

In an effort to keep things fresh, I'm trying to come up with new and interesting gift wrap ideas.

For this reason I've decided to take my love of black kraft paper to the next level.

Using a roll of black Kraft (or bulletin board) paper and a white chalk marker from the $1 Spot at Target, I've created this fun "chalkboard" wrapping paper.

Check back for more holiday wrapping ideas when I debut my curated collection of DIY gift wrap on Looksi later this month.



Photo Props for Christmas Cards

So, I don't want to brag or anything, but get this:

My Christmas cards are DONE.  

That's right, done-zo!

As in complete, finished, and ready to be mailed.

(Dont hate me; I'm not always this with it.)

In fact, there's actually a downside to this year's with-it-ness...

It's that I didn't think to make these fun photo props until after I had ordered my cards.

Bummer for me, but possibly not for you.

To make your own you'll need a Silhouette, a few pieces of cardstock, a little hot glue, and some lollipop sticks.  (Buy yours HERE.)

Don't have a Silhouette?

No problem!  Below are links to free printables I found on the internet.  Simply print them from your computer and cut them out.

Oh Happy Day
Talk Crafty to Me
Simple Simon & Co.
Cora Mae Design
Melinda's Musings
Online Labels

...and then you can be with it just like me!

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