Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Sponsored: Symbols of Christmas Printable Book


Disclaimer: I don’t pretend to think that all of you are Christians or even like religion. If you are a Christian, you might really enjoy this post and sharing this printable with friends and family. And I sincerely hope you do! If not, please don’t take offense. This is simply a project that I feel in my heart I’ve needed to make and share here in case others may find it impactful for their holiday celebrations.

If celebrating Christ’s birth at this time of year is not your thing, I would love to hear more about your personal beliefs and traditions for this time of year in the comments below*.

This month has been insane. So many things to do and so little time. I’ve actually had this project completed for weeks, but I haven’t had a chance to photograph and write about it until now. I figure Sunday is the perfect time to publish, since this takes a more spiritual tone.

Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to do my annual candy box. This project ended up taking its place. I have so many ideas for the candy box, though. I may have to publish a New Year’s or Valentine’s candy box. :)


At church I’m in charge of the activities for our women’s group. We meet at least quarterly for spiritual, service-oriented, social or creative activities. When we were planning I knew I wanted to make a little keepsake/quiet book for adults and children alike to be reminded of the true purpose in Christmas: Christ’s birth. I’m glad I worked on this project. It’s been a busy time of year with a lot of work (a fabulous problem to have, for that I’m humbly grateful!), so carving out time to research symbols of Christmas and coordinating scripture was a great way to get in the spirit.

This printable by no means includes all of the symbols of Christmas (I realized I left out the wreath – oops), the 7 included simply serve as a prompt for discussion and pondering on the other things around us that remind us of Christ and God.

I wanted it to be something that could be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, so I made little calligraphed illustrations that could be colored and kept the design simple to appeal to adults. It’s all small enough that it can easily fit in a purse to be toted around all season long (even though it’s almost at it’s end).

I printed off a few and plan to give them to my grandparents and parents this year. The ones we made for our women’s group activity were a huge hit. We prepped 30 kits and even though we didn’t have 30 in attendance, all were spoken for! It was a thrill to see women take extras to share with others.


The book includes symbols on: The evergreen tree, the star of Bethlehem, the candle, the poinsettia, the candy cane, the stocking and holly berries. At the end there are a couple of pages for thoughts so you could use it as a holiday journal or as a way to write your personal thoughts on the season to give to someone else. Or write in some of your favorite holiday traditions/memories.


Each symbol has a brief explanation and a scripture. Each scripture is taken from the King James version of the Bible. Mostly from the New Testament.


To assemble, you will need:

  • printed sheets
  • hole punch
  • needle
  • thick thread
  • bone folder
  • 6×9 inch piece of leather or felt**

Download the printable (link at bottom of the post) and print. Print double-sided and DO NOT fit to page (print at 100%). 

Cut the paper in half width-wise so that you have 8.5 x 5.5 sheets. Rearrange your papers so they are in order. I like to go by the odd numbers on the bottom right hand side. Use the blank half sheet on the outside of the title page.

Punch holes in the guides on pages 10-11. Center your pages over the leather, mark the holes on the leather and punch.

Thread your needle and sew the book: Start on the outside front cover in the middle hole. Go to the inside of the book and leave a 4 inch tail. Go through the bottom hole, then thread through the top hole and then back through to the middle hole. Your tails will be coming out of the middle of the book. Tie a knot around the string running up the spine and finish with a bow. Fold in half and crease with a bone folder.

Now you’re finished! If you batch these, you can make 10-20 books in about half an hour. They’re great for gift giving! Enjoy!


This post is sponsored by | check out their video “He Is the Gift“. It so beautifully conveys the nativity with song. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*This blog is a positive, creative space. Comments that attack any religious faction will not be tolerated or published. 

**Leather provided by Leather Hide Store.

Sponsored: 6+ Ways to Address an Envelope


This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. They provide excellent quality printing and amazing printing options to make your holiday cards stand out this year.

I’ve got 6+ easy ways to embellish your envelopes this year. Don’t get stuck with boring print labels or chicken scratch! Make your snail mail pop with a few tips that require little to no technique. :)

If you want to get some technique under your belt, check out 5 Easy Steps for Improving Your Handwriting, or take my calligraphy class!


Getting fun snail mail is possibly one of my favorite aspects of this time of year. I love getting something other than business offers and bills! Colored envelopes will certainly help make those invites pop.

I went through Tiny Prints for my Christmas cards this year and got one of their laser-cut designs (See all of their offerings here). It’s unique, well designed and I didn’t have to spend a million hours getting it squared away. Major win! I’m dedicated to having enough time to enjoy the holidays this year. No chicken with her head cut off over here, please!

I’m incredibly partial to Kraft envelopes (greengrocer kraft is fabulous). They work well with both light and dark pens and they stand out in a pile of mail. The envelopes featured in this tutorial are from Tiny Prints. I’ve been incredibly impressed how well they handle ink and how easily I can write on them with my super sharp calligraphy nibs.


Next up, gather all random scrapbook supplies you own. Heck, head over to Walmart and browse their crafty section. You’ll find some great stuff for next to nothing.


To do the techniques seen above, you’ll want to collect a few things:

You’ll want a few different patterns of washi tape, and perhaps a few different widths, too. When in doubt, collect all the black, white, gold and silver washi tape you can get your hands on. It goes with practically everything and every season.

You can use any kind of pen for these techniques. I used dip pen and ink for many of these samples, but just use any kind of pen you have. Ballpoint pens, however? NO. Throw all of those out of your house right now. They’re terrible. Shame on you for having them around. :)

Learn how to use a pointed pen with my online calligraphy class: I’m happy to teach you! Side note: our kit makes for the perfect gift. 

So let’s get going, shall we?


When doing your addresses on a straight line, use the chalk pencil and the clear ruler to mark out those lines. Otherwise:


Use washi tape as a decorative way to keep your lines straight.

Tape a vertical and horizontal strip and write in the bottom right section OR use it to slant your baseline. Layer multiple strips of tape for more depth.



Use alphabet stickers to draw attention to different letters.

For a cursive style, use block letter stickers for the first letter of each name. For block style writing, replace a random letter with a sticker.

I found these stickers at Walmart for about $1-2 each. I’m sure you can find them at just about any craft supply store as well.



Use circular sticker labels (I used Avery 2 1/2″ labels) to structure your envelope’s layout.

Print or letter just the address within the label (this is great if you want a hand-lettered touch, but you have LOADS of addresses to do) and write the name outside the sticker.

In the top version, I used the border of the label as a baseline and wrote the name around the diameter. It looked a little empty so I drew a little holly berry illustration on there. You could draw something there, or keep it simple and stick the circle in the center of the envelope.

Wrap the label around the back and write the name on a large scale all the way across the envelope.



Glitter glue is my best friend. It’s all the sparkle of glitter without the mess of loose glitter everywhere (I swear that stuff multiplies). My favorite brand is Stickles. Sparkliest of them all.

Pipe out a wavy line in glitter glue. Use that line as your guide for the baseline of the recipient’s name.

Or Letter out your address and use glitter glue to add accents on hairlines and at the terminals of each line.




Grab a marker and go to town! Write out the first name as large as the envelope will allow. Cursive styles work best. I used a Tombow dual brush marker here. You can use a casual, grungy style nicely. Then letter the rest of the address in a normal style, save for the ZIP. Make the ZIP huge.


Letter the address as you would prefer then stick some rhinestones on it. Yup. Simple. But it’s so fun go get in the mail! I like to use PVA glue to fasten them on. It’s a strong glue that dries clear.


I hope you have some fun sending out mail this year!

*This DIY is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!


Learn calligraphy online at You’ll learn the basics of pointed pen, flourishing, addressing envelopes and developing your own style. The course comes complete with a beginner kit of supplies and personal coaching from calligraphy experts Melissa Esplin and Erika Paulsen. Click here to find out more.

Sewing Stockings With Leather & Chambray


This Christmas threw me for a loop. It fell so close to Thanksgiving (apparently it’s the last time in a million something years it will happen that way). I felt rushed.


I also got sick. The state of Utah has all been passing around some miserable intestinal bug. And I caught it. I was in bed for two days. Leaving Christmas to the last minute. Literally.

I had the fabric laid out and the patterns all cut, but it wasn’t until 1am Christmas morning that I was able to sew these babies up.


Instead of embroidering the names on the stockings, I just made quick calligraphed tags and tied them on with baker’s twine. It was simple, but created a really fun, simple Christmas feel.

I was channeling a more traditional style after watching The Polar Express. Has anyone else noticed the calligraphy in the note from Santa at the end? Maybe that’s just a me thing to do? I decided that Santa likes traditional Copperplate stylings.


I drafted the stocking pattern by hand. I wanted to get as many stockings out of the 3/4 yard of chambray I got from Michael Levine as possible. I used this mocha chambray, courtesy of Michael Levine.

So this was the size I settled on. It’s something like 7 inches by 20 inches. Plenty big for candy bars and art supplies (my ideal stocking stuffers).


The top of the stocking is made out of an interlock knit, kind of a-typical, but softer and fluffier than cotton but not felt. I didn’t want to do fleece or felt. I feel like sometimes felt doesn’t age well (unless you get the nice stuff, and I didn’t have any around at 1am). If I were to do it again, I might go for a minky or faux fur. But the interlock is soft and simple.

The interior is a simple white cotton poplin.


I also used a bright red leather for the tabs at the top. It’s a fun little detail that screams “Melissa made this”. Maybe next year I’ll have a mantle to hang these stockings from! We already have the fireplace, I just want some kind of shelf or mantle above!

I hope your Christmas was fun and family-filled! Also, anyone else leave Holiday decor or gifts to the last minute like me? I’d love some solidarity here.

Sponsored: Have I Done Any Good?

Inspired by this month’s give-back theme for the Fiesta Movement, what do you plan on giving this year? I love this idea of paying it backward! I’ve been a lucky recipient of in years past (way before blogs were ever a thing). It’s great how such a small gesture can brighten someone’s day.



Growing up we did sub-for-santa almost every year. There were some years when we gave to strangers and others to families in our immediate neighborhood. I have such fond memories of door bell ditching presents. I remember the panic I felt when my brother’s pants got caught on a chain link fence. Not panic for my brother’s behalf (or behind), but panic that the unsuspecting family may find out our plans. Good times.


The most memorable was my first Christmas at college for one of the girls in our complex:

For nearly two years, Hanni’s only contact with her Germany-based family had been email and Instant Messenger. Two guys in our building knew how much she missed her family and saw the most beautiful opportunity. For about a week they canvased the complex for any donations, each of us giving as much as we could.

I remember sitting in my apartment, hearing audible shrieks and sobs coming from the hallway the night those guys ditched the plane ticket on her front door step. I can’t express the joy that filled my heart, knowing that she would be able to have her family near during Christmas break.

After the break she told us about her surprise trip. She didn’t inform her parents about her upcoming arrival. It was Hanni’s sister who picked her up from the airport, wrapped her in a large box and delivered her to her parents on Christmas Eve. For a while, Hanni’s parents insisted they wait until Christmas Day to open the large gift. It didn’t wait.


I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall at the moment Hanni’s parents realized their whole family would be together at Christmas. For a moment, our complex wasn’t about selfish desires and school finals. Through serving, we were in sync with the real Christmas spirit.

Perhaps one of the most important ways I can “give back” this year is to teach my children that Christmas is not about gifts. It’s about something more. For our family it’s about remembering Christ and about being just a little more patient, kind, loving and giving. All things I’ve been terrible at lately. Holidays stress me out. It’s my goal this week to get out of our house and do something kind for someone else.

What are your favorite ways to give back during the Christmas season? 

This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own.


Sponsored: 2013 Christmas Candy Box Freebie

Inspired by this month’s give-back theme for the Fiesta Movement, what do you plan on giving this year? I love this idea of paying it backward! I’ve been a lucky recipient of in years past (way before blogs were ever a thing). It’s great how such a small gesture can brighten someone’s day.
Ford Fiesta is teaming up with What’s Trending for a Tube-A-Thon benefit for Covenant house. Click here to participate and find out more.


It’s that time of year when my family comes in town and we make caramels! My mom will be in town in about a week so I thought I would get the ball rolling a little earlier on this year’s candy/gift box. Introducing the 7th Annual Christmas Candy Box!


Last year we were in such a rush I ended up doorbell ditching most of my candy boxes on our way out of town. This year I look forward to getting these babies done in plenty of time to spare. And this year’s design is so easy, I’ll have a load of these boxes made up in no time.


Each year, I’m limited to the constrains of the print margins of an 8×10 piece of paper. It’s really not much room when it comes to making boxes. I’ve found that pillow boxes are great, but they can be a pain in the rear to score and fold.

Regular boxes can be easier, but there are too many sides to cut and glue. However, a three-sided box is just the trick! I can make it nice and roomy, it’s easy to cut and fold, and the triangles are fun. I was able to cut the whole template with regular scissors and fold with just a bone folder (a credit card would do just fine).


The box is 5.75 x 2.5 x 2.5. It’s the right size for a small assortment of candies, jewelry, baby clothes (a onesie would fit perfectly in here) and gift cards. I designed the box very much like this year’s thank you printable. They match! Looking for more shapes and designs? Check out previous years:

2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012

I’ve got two versions of the little gift box, one with a label and one without. Download the free* printable below.


 This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own.


*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!
mobile site