Friday, July 31, 2009

Creative Christmas Wrappings

I love Christmas presents (are you surprised?)!

I really like to be creative with wrapping although I don't get many chances to with the things my family puts on their Christmas list these days!

My friend Robyn once sent me the most darling gift for my daughter in a tin paint can that she had decorated with a Christmas theme. It was so much fun we saved it and used it for a decoration for years.

Once I put undies and socks into one sock, then used the other sock to tie around the top which made it look like a bow! The present was cute but the recipient didn't think the packaging was enough to take away the fact that the gift was undies.

Of course we did the cute thing of wrapping a small gift into graduated sizes of boxes so that it took forever to get the gift. It wasn't necessarily unique, but it was a lot of fun!

For a really big gift, like the biggest gift you are giving, I think it is way fun to do a scavenger hunt for it. After all, it is a BIG gift and a scavenger hunt is a great way to draw out the suspense!

I have wrapped gifts in holiday towels (that I picked up for a song the day after Christmas!) and made a cute "bow" from a washcloth. If I remember correctly, I did this for one of my niece's after she was married.

Another thing we like to do is to use silver, gold and berry for the gifts that go under the main tree. Downstairs we use more traditional papers, Walt Disney for MY family and Santa Claus for Mr. CTL's family. It is very easy to sort our gifts once we know which paper goes where!

Again, looking for ideas, share them with us all!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Christmas Cards

I absolutely love sending and receiving Christmas cards. In fact, I like it so much that I have a special tree in my foyer to hang them on after I read them! Photo cards are my all time favorite along with those special handmade cards I talked about yesterday.

In fact, here are a close up of the cards I used yesterday...

These were made by my friends Michelle, Linda and Carolann. Aren't they lovely...

Each year I haul my family somewhere to get a photo taken for the Christmas card and this year will be no exception. When we are on vacation I plan to pick the site and brazenly ask a stranger to take our photo and keep asking until I get the perfect one. It drives my family crazy but they are usually happy in the end.

I send to everyone in my family, whether they reciprocate or not... to my local friends (who ALL reciprocate) and to my friends out of state. Some send, some don't. It doesn't matter to me. I know they all like getting them, they tell me so!

How do you do your cards? I would love to know!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Christmas Banners

When I say Christmas banners what I am speaking of are those adorable banners you hang on a fireplace or a bookshelf, not the ones that go onto a blog! I want to show you how to make one of these lovely decorating pieces the easy peasy way!

Does this ever happen to you: while I was looking and gathering the materials for the banner, I stopped and cleaned out my craft closet. Yep, that's right, I took over a large closet for my craft room. Not enough room to do many projects at once, but just enough to do a few things! So anyway....

I found a cute piece of ribbon several feet long. You will want it to be 12-24 inches longer than the width of where you plan to place it, so you can have a dip effect. (why am I suddenly thinking of ice cream?? oh yea, I said dip. It takes so little to distract me sometimes.)

I cut a cute end and knotted it about 2" from the end, to create a small visual effect (and to allow you to slip the knots over nails if you are so lucky to already have them in place.)

Now the easy peasy part. Use the handmade cards you receive in the mail to be the actual banners. You can put letters on the cards if you wish... or, just let the cards be the banner part.

I am going to use painted clothespins to hold the cards, but I am sure many of you will leave your ideas when you leave a comment about the banners! I sure hope so! The picture shows using a clip and just a few cards but I hope you get the idea. I have always wanted a special place for those handmade cards and tags people make for me. Now I do!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't forget the giveway!

Don't forget to sign up for the giveway ... HERE!

Some cute craft sites to share!

I am a collector of craft sites. I get these from my friends at Girlfriends Forever and Girls Like Us sites, as there are some fabulous girls there who really know how to do an internet search. Here are some of my faves:

Feel free to add your favorites to our comment box. I would be happy to post them on my sidebar for quick and easy access!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Frugal Gifts for the Office

I love where I work! I am so lucky to work in an office where everyone loves to eat! This year we all decided to cut back on the gift giving and concentrate on the ways we can make everyone's life easier during the month. That doesn't mean there won't be some fun things coming their way, however! Here is one treat I plan to make:

Reindeer Munch

1 10 oz pkg round small pretzels
3 c cheerios
3 c rice chex mix
2 c salted peanuts
1 lb red and green M and M candies
2 pkgs white chocolate chips
3 T vegetable oil

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a LARGE bowl. Microwave chips and oil together 1 minute, stir and continue to microwave in 30 sec. increments until melted. Pour over the dry ingredients, then spread on a long sheet of waxed paper, about 2 ft. long. Cool, and break into pieces.

The container is important! I used recyled tins which makes this an even more frugal gift, but stamping some white or brown paper lunch bags with a cute reindeer stamp is even more fun! I found these cute aluminum containers for this year!

Handmade ornaments are always a thoughtful gift. I take photos throughout the year and transform them into cute ornaments. I use cardstock to make a back, then glue a photo on top of the cardstock and then decorate with ribbons and stickers. We usually hang these cuties on our company tree first, then take them home for the holidays when the office is closed.

What is your favorite frugal office gift? We all need (and collect!) new ideas!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Christmas Notebooks

I know that Christmas Notebooks have been around a long time... I started mine in 1977 when I got married! I have always loved Christmas and I have always wanted to preserve the best of what I have done. My dear husband, Mr. CTL (Christmas Tree Lane) has always encouraged me to do so.

My notebook has evolved several times in 32 years! I started out with a red spiral notebook that lasted a few years. As you might have suspected, it began to fall apart and get dingy. I switched to a red plastic one inch three ring notebook that lasted much longer but eventually needed to be switched because it wasn't big enough!! I have another plastic notebook, with these cute pockets for displaying photos. I love it!

My notebook has several sections:

Holiday Letters

Home Tours



Cleaning Schedule

Gifts Received and Given

Holiday Decor over the Years

*new* Crafts to Make

My notebook is about three inches thick and probably needs to be divided, as having a larger notebook would become cumbersome. My Holiday Letter section has our holiday letters we have sent out over the years and a sample of the card we sent. The Homes Tours is a section devoted to the Home Tour our house was on several years ago, Parties has the work list and grocery list for the large party we have for Mr. CTL's staff at Christmas, Recipes, yep, the recipes we use, Cleaning Schedule, developed over the years from various places, Gifts Received and Given, lists of gifts we have given and received, Holiday Decor over the Years are photographs of how we decorated, and the new section, Crafts, is because I need a place to organize all those cute things to do out there!

I always learn new things out in blogland, so let me know if you have a notebook and have posted on it. I would love to come and read it!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christmas in July Tablescape Party!

What would Christmas be without a lovely tablesetting? To see even more, go check out the sites on Playing Dishes . The following photos are from my tablesettings in 2006 and 2007. I am already planning what will be new and different in 2009. Isn't planning-what's-next the best part??

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2006

Christmas 2006

I hope you enjoyed these scenes of our home!

Welcome to Christmas Tree Lane!

Family Room Christmas tree 2008

I love Christmas so much!

This blog is to share that excitement with others who feel Christmas in their bones all year around. Please feel free to share the site with friends and others who may be like us and want ideas for Christmas the year through. I have a giveaway in the post so check it out and sign up!

I am partying with other Christmas folks, too! Click on the button below to take you to Christmas parties all around blogland! If the button isn't working, go to Just Add Glitter and Stir.

Christmas Tree Lane Giveaway for Our Christmas in July Party!

To launch my new blog in the true spirit of giving... I am hosting this July 25 giveaway of Christmas items I have been collecting since Christmas! Please check in with Just Add Glitter and Stir for other Christmas parties!

Here are the "rules"...

1. Leave a comment and your name is entered for each comment you leave.

2. Become a follower of this site and your name is entered three more times!

3. Recommend someone to the site, and if that person mentions you, your name will be entered again!

4. I will accept entries through midnight, CST, on July 31, 2009.


The giveaway consists of....

A vintage apron, a cute tin to fill with holly or other goodies and hang on the wall or a door, two Yankee Candle tarts, a set of eight holiday cookie cutters and a cute quilted red and green stocking!

I will use random number generator to pick the winner and will notify them on August 1. You will have until August 3rd to make contact with me or I will choose another winner. I will mail the package no later than August 10.

I am truly excited about this giveaway!