The Prettiest Packages under the Tree

This weekend is the last chance to put the finishing touches on Christmas, which is just around the corner! Today Cody and I baked cookies, I shopped for stocking stuffers with my dad and continuous snow all but guaranteed a white Christmas.

Pretty Presents | Wood Ornament Tutorial

Last night I finished wrapping my gifts, which didn’t take long at all thanks to the number of family and friends who decided not to exchange gifts this year. Instead, we’ll be attending events together, and saving for vacation and long weekend trips later this year.

I wouldn’t want to skip gifts altogether though, because choosing my wrapping paper, ribbon and gift toppers is my favorite part of Christmas. This year I wanted something simple and not too Christmasy. My first choice was matte black paper, but I couldn’t find any in a local store. If anyone knows of a specialty store in Buffalo (or an online shop with free shipping) let me know!

Pretty Presents | Wood Ornament Tutorial

Pretty Presents | Wood Ornament Tutorial

Instead, I went with two-toned silver paper in both stripes and a floral pattern. It’s a Hallmark paper that I found in the bridal section of Walmart. I paired it with a bright blue in 2 widths to keep things wintery. Each package got a white tag and a wooden ornament to finish things off.

Make Your Own Wooden Ornaments

The wooden ornaments not only add a natural element to these packages, they make a nice homemade stocking stuffer as well!

To make your own, start with a decent sized branch. I chose pine to keep things Christmasy, but birch would be really pretty as well! Dad helped me slice them about 1/2 inch thick with the table saw and I sanded them down to make them smooth enough to write on. Some of the bark was loose, so I snuck hot glue under it to keep everything together.

Pretty Presents | Wood Ornament Tutorial

At this point you can either paint or leave the wood natural, which is what I chose to do.

I found really cute Christmas lettering on Pinterest (they’re all saved on my Christmas Crafting board) to use on the ornaments. Just print them the approximate size of the wood slices and use chalk to transfer the design. To do this, color the side of the paper without the lettering with a thick layer of chalk. Trace the lettering using a ballpoint pen with the paper’s chalk side towards the wood and then go over the chalk lines with a Sharpie.

Once I found a few designs I liked and that weren’t too hard to transfer I stuck with those for all the ornaments. There were more than a few flat-out ugly ornaments that didn’t make it past this step.

Pretty Presents | Wood Ornament Tutorial

I added a couple of coats of Minwax Polycrylic and drilled a small hole to thread a ribbon through. Overall, I’m pretty excited about how these turned out and they didn’t take too long, besides the sanding. If I were to do these again, I’d dry out the slices before sanding them by putting them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 200°.

Pretty Presents | Wood Ornament Tutorial

Are you all ready for the holiday? There were lots of last minute shoppers out today, so I’m guessing some of you will be wrapping tonight and tomorrow!

It’s Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I’m not one to rush Christmas shopping, decor or celebrating.

But now, the second weekend in December, it really is starting to look and feel a lot like Christmas. Last night, I got to see In a DC Minute‘s beautiful Fox Cross Farm decorated in Christmas glory. Afterwards, I joined Shannon and Morgan for a night of baking cookies and Christmas movies.

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It's Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas Decor

Today, the Bills are on TV, playing in an actual snowstorm while flurries go past our kitchen window. My cinnamon tea is hot and dinner is in the Crock-Pot. (If this post didn’t sound just like my mom in the first few paragraphs, it now sounds as if she’s writing my blogs.)

With the general cheer of this weekend, I wanted to share how Cody and I are getting our little home ready for our first Christmas here. Last Saturday, we found a beautiful tree at Jurek Plantations. We both brought our favorite ornaments from home before finding a few store-bought additions.

It's Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas Decor

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It's Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas Decor

In other spaces, we switched out throw pillows and added twinkling lights, pine boughs, a framed thank you card Paige made a few years ago, Willow Tree angels and a few handmade decorations from Filomena’s Favorites in Medina. I’ll definitely be shopping some post-holiday sales to pick up a few more items to decorate with next year!

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It's Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas Decor

The Perfect Farmhouse Table for Your Tiny Apartment Kitchen

When Cody and I moved into our apartment, we realized the 5 person dining table from his great grandpa wasn’t going to fit in our eat-in kitchen. And neither was anything we could buy for a reasonable price. So we made our own, without too many missteps.

Keep scrolling for our entire shopping and cut lists!

This project took us the better part of 3 weeks, but it could easily be finished in a weekend if you don’t have as many distractions as we did. I wasn’t planning on posting about this project, so I don’t have step-by-step photos – but it turned out too good not to share! I love how simple it is, which makes it easy to decorate no matter the season.

Farmhouse Kitchen Table for Small Apartment | Shopping List and Cut List

Farmhouse Kitchen Table for Small Apartment | Shopping List and Cut List

As always, measure twice and cut once! We found that after cutting our five short pieces for the table top, the width was slightly more than what we estimated; it all depends on the cut of the boards. After cutting and sanding everything individually, we assembled the legs, aprons and support bar. The apron is set in a quarter inch from the outside of the legs. We measured at both the top and the bottom of the apron, then put on wood glue before attaching the pieces with screws.

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Farmhouse Kitchen Table for Small Apartment | Shopping List and Cut List

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Farmhouse Kitchen Table for Small Apartment | Shopping List and Cut List

For the top, we assembled everything on the ground before attaching that to the base. Once everything was together, we sanded the top again to knock down some of the less than perfect seams. We could have planed either the pieces individually or the table top as a whole, but that would have slowed us down even more, so we chose to love the imperfections on the top.

If you have the space, it would be easier to stain and paint before attaching the two pieces, but we did not do this. Painter’s tape worked just fine to keep the stain and paint separate.

We chose a dark wood stain for the table top, to make up for the fact that we used pine (which was wayyy less expensive than hardwood) and painted the legs a creamy white.

To get the finished look, we used just 1 coat of Minwax’s Wood Finish Penetrating Stain in Espresso 273 and 3 coats of Mixwax’s water based Polycrylic protective finish. The only downside is that this finish is not super heat-resistant. For the legs, I used this tutorial on color washing with Behr’s Heavy Cream. It’s very easy and takes almost no paint, which is nice.

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Farmhouse Kitchen Table for Small Apartment | Shopping List and Cut List

Eventually, I’d like to find chairs that are a little more farmhouse style, but we’re using the chairs from Cody’s grandpa’s table and they work just fine!

Shopping List

2 4″x4″x8′ fir boards
2 1″x8″x8′ pine boards
2 1″x4″x6′ pine boards
8 oz Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish
8 oz Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain
8 oz Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior Matte
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig Kit
Kreg 100 Count 1-1/4 inch Screws
4 oz Elmer’s Carpenter Wood Glue
Paintbrush
Fine Sandpaper (for between coats of Polycrylic)

Materials We Already Had

5″ Orbital Sander
5″ Orbital Sandpaper (a medium grit works fine)

Cut List

For the Top

5 21.75″ from the 1x8s (Four of these will come from 1 board and 1 from the 2nd board)
2 36.25″ from the 1x8s (This may change slightly, depending on the exact width of your 1x8s.)

For the Aprons and Support

4 26.25″ from the 1x6s
1 31.25 from the 1x6s

For the Legs

4 identical cuts from the 4x4s (The height will depend on what chairs you’re using; it really doesn’t matter as long as they’re all the same!)