Cut the felt into squares or rectangles. You don’t have to be exact. I just cut each sheet in half, then in half again, and kept going until I had rectangles that were about one inch by two inches.
Fold each piece in half, then in half again, and place the pin through the folded corner and into the wreath form.
Keep putting the folded felt onto the wreath, alternating colors. I wasn’t careful about which direction the folded side was facing, so they were pointing in all directions.
Keep going until the wreath looks full, fluffing as you go.
I put the wreath above my hutch (I need to move the nail from my other wreath, that’s why it’s just leaning against the wall) and added some other Valentine’s Day decor to make it a little more festive. I painted a mason jar a dusty pink and put some faux baby’s breath in it, added the metal ‘love’ sign, and made this super easy burlap banner.
This method is super easy, super cheap, and easily customized with different fabrics or colors. I have another, more neutral wreath that I made with drop cloth scraps, that usually hangs above the hutch. See it here.
Give this easy Valentine’s Day rag wreath a try and let me know how it goes!
Hi friends! I can’t believe this is the last day of 2016! My 2016 was filled with so much love, joy, family, and friends and I am oh so grateful for all of it.
With the new year come new year’s resolutions. I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions. I’ve never even really had a new year’s resolution, really. More power to those of you who make resolutions, but it has always been so hard for me to narrow down my goals for the upcoming year to just one resolution. I want to do so much! Blog! Be a better mom! Be more organized! Exercise! Make time for myself! Paint the deck! Bake more! Etc. etc. etc.
So when I saw the idea of a single word to represent the upcoming year, it sounded like just the thing for me. It feels more inclusive, and gives me more freedom. I can choose one word to focus on, to inspire me as I tackle all of my goals and projects throughout the year. One trait, or characteristic, or emotion, or whatever, that will guide me. And Lord knows I need some guidance! As a high school English teacher, I deal in words, so to use a word to symbolize a year’s worth of goals, challenges, attitudes, and accomplishments just feels right.
Without further ado, my word for 2017 is . . .
Here is how I hope to grow in 2017:
I’ve been blogging casually for about 6 months, but I really want to grow my blog, my readership, my social media channels, and my income this year. I have already started doing this by planning out my posts for January and learning about blog growth through tutorials, books, and classes. I hope to implement all that I’m learning and become a better blogger! My goal is to grow Sweet Maple Lane to be able to connect with more mamas!
Teachers Pay Teachers
You might not know this, but my day job is teaching high school English. I also create and sell secondary ELA products on Teachers Pay Teachers through my store, A to Z English. In 2017 I hope to add more products to my site, including some for high school theater, which I also teach. I have a lot of ideas for products to help other teachers and expand my offerings on Teachers Pay Teachers.
This is ongoing for us mamas, is it not? I always feel like I can grow and be a better mom to my two wonderful kiddos. This year my twins are 3. If you have/had kids this age, you know it is both awesome and challenging (like all ages, I guess!). This year I hope that I can learn from my mistakes, listen to my children, help them learn, and grow as a mother.
I have been tracking our finances since we’ve been married, but this year I really want to get down to basics with our budget. We are running pretty tight each month, so my goal is to keep close track of our spending to see where we might save some money. I’m trying a new website/app to track our monthly budget, so look out for a review here on the blog sometime in January.
I grew up in the Catholic faith, but my family stopped going to church when I was in middle school. In recent years I’ve been wanting to start exploring my faith and attending church, so I checked out a few local churches and started going to one regularly in September. In the new year, I hope to grow in both my faith and as a member of the church. There are a lot of outreach programs for local charities and organizations that I’d like to get involved in, so I hope to make the time to do that in 2017.
And More . . .
Of course, there will be more as the year goes on, but that’s where I’m at right now. And that’s what’s nice about a new year’s word. I can add to my goals as I need to, all the while keeping the word ‘growth’ in mind. I think my favorite thing about this new year’s word idea is that, because it’s not a resolution, it can’t be broken. I will live, I will learn, and I will grow, with no resolutions to keep or break.
If you’re interested in choosing a word to inspire your 2017, check out the list below. I hope you find just the right word to guide you through your next journey around the sun!
I’d love to know what your word is (or resolution, if that’s your thing) for 2017! Let me know in the comments!
I am so very blessed this Christmas! Thank you for reading, for commenting, and for coming with me on this journey! I hope your Christmas is filled with love, laughter, and joy. Embrace it with a joyful heart. Remember how lucky you are. Kiss your kids and hug your friends.
Have a holiday party coming up and need a last minute hostess gift? Read on, friends!
Whenever I’m invited to a party, formal or casual, I always like to bring a little something. Sometimes it’s food or drink, sometimes just a little something to say thanks.
During the holidays there are so many parties that sometimes they sneak up on me! It’s nice to have a few ideas at the ready so you can grab a gift and show your gratitude to whomever is throwing the party. I put together this list of last minute hostess gift ideas to help you out this holiday season!
Pin the image below to save it for your next party!
This is such an easy one, but always appreciated! Grab a bottle of red, white, or sparkling on your way to the party, some fancy beer, or a bottle of something a little stiffer. If you have a bow or some ribbon on hand, use it to dress up the bottle a little. If no one drinks it at the party, the host can drink it herself or keep it on hand for next time!
If you’re like me you’re baking Christmas goodies the whole month of December, so package some up in a cute little tin and bring them to the party! Just like wine, the host can either set them out at the party or save them for herself!
Pick up something on the way or on your weekly grocery trip for everyone to enjoy at the party. I’m always appreciative when guests bring a yummy appetizer to munch on! Try:
cheese and crackers
chips and dip
veggie or fruit plate
Pick a candle with a holiday or seasonal scent to show your gratitude toward the host. You can pick up scented candles at your local grocery store or pharmacy, so this is an easy one to grab on the way to the party! This is my absolute favorite holiday scent!
Stop by the grocery store or local flower shop on the way, and pick out some fresh flowers or a small potted plant for your host. My sister came to Thanksgiving at my house with a pretty little potted succulent, so cute!
Wine stoppers with little figurines on the top are everywhere this time of year. This is a great hostess gift, because it can be used at the party and then reused again and again. I always see these for super cheap in TJ Maxx, or this Christmas Vacation themed one is hilarious! Love that movie!
Like wine stoppers, wine charms can be used over and over! I’ve seen these at TJ Maxx and Target, or order them ahead of time from Amazon. I love these cute Christmas ones!
Homemade Jam or Salsa
If you’re someone who cans or does jam or preserves, save some to give as hostess gifts! Slap a cute label and a bow on it, and you’re good to go! Easy and so appreciated. Everyone loves homemade!
A nice box of chocolates can be bought at any pharmacy or grocery store, but feels special and decadent. The hostess can choose to share at the party or keep it for herself!
Pick up a really good bag of ground coffee (or beans if you know the hostess has a grinder) to bring to the party. This is another one that can be served at the party or saved for later.
I’d love to hear your ideas for hostess gifts! What do you bring when you go to holiday parties?
Oh the magic of Christmas! I’ve always loved the Christmas season: the lights, the carols, the treats, the decorations!
And then there’s the shopping, the planning, the cleaning, the wrapping, the money, the stress, the guilt. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed this time of year. I know I feel the pressure of having to do Christmas right. For my kids, myself, society.
Do you ever feel that way?
It’s so important to stop, to breathe, and to remember that there is no ‘right’ way or perfect way to do Christmas. Every family does it a little differently, and we can even do it differently year to year. And that’s ok.
Last year you got professional photos for your Christmas card, but this year you don’t have the money or the time? Totally fine.
Your sister makes 15 different kinds of cookies and gives cookie platters to everyone? Good for her. (And yum!)
You wish you could decorate your house from top to bottom, but your kids are babies/toddlers and it’s a disaster/nuisance/safety hazard? Don’t worry!
Do what you have time for, what you can afford, and what makes you happy.
These traditions make me happy, and so I keep doing them, year after year. They aren’t fancy, or expensive, or elaborate, but they bring the magic of Christmas to my family.
Some of these traditions I did with my family growing up, some my husband did with his family, and some we started when we got married and had our kids. Each one of these traditions is simple, and some I’ve altered to fit better in this season of our lives. Each one brings me joy, so I’ll keep doing them as long as they do!
Cutting Down a Christmas Tree
This was a tradition that I did with my family growing up. Here in New Hampshire, and next door in Vermont, there are a ton of amazing farms that have Christmas tree cutting in December. I have such fond memories of getting all bundled up with my siblings and trudging through the snow to pick out the perfect tree. My dad would cut it down, we’d strap it on the car, and we’d all head home to set it up and decorate.
With my husband and kids, we’ve been going to this great Christmas tree farm in Vermont for a couple of years. They have hot cider or cocoa and Christmas cookies in the farm store, and the kids have fun running through the trees in the field. It’s just a beautiful spot and a fun day.
Decorating the Inside of the House
We always cut down the tree and decorate the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We get the tree, bring down the bins of decorations, play Christmas music, and get festive! I decorate the main spaces of the house: the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It’s fun to put away all of the pumpkins and fall decorations and spread a little Christmas cheer throughout the house!
I store the Christmas childrens books in with our Christmas decorations. This way, when we bring everything down Thanksgiving weekend to decorate, we rediscover our favorite Christmas books! I leave them out mixed in with all the kids’ books for the season, and then pack them away with the decorations after the New Year.
I use the same advent calendar with my kids as I used as a kid growing up. My mom generously gave it to me when I had my twins, and it’s one of my favorite Christmas items! It is a cloth advent calendar with little pockets for each day. There is a Christmas scene on the top part of the calendar and a little mouse that you move into the pockets to count down the days. Because my kids are 3, the mouse is almost never on the right day, but just seeing it hanging in my house reminds me of my childhood Christmases and brings me so much joy.
Christmas Cookies and Treats
During the Christmas season, I try to bake as many cookies and treats as I have time for. Some of my favorites are sugar cookies with icing, peanut butter kiss cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies, fudge, and pretzel turtles. I bake one treat on a Saturday or Sunday and am able to indulge in the yummy festive desserts of the season without too much time or energy spent.
Eggnog in Coffee
I start buying eggnog after Thanksgiving, and use it as creamer in my coffee until New Years. Is that weird? Who knows, but it’s yummy! It’s such an easy thing, but really make me feel festive and Christmas-y!
Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas Morning
This is a tradition from my husband’s side of the family. His grandparents, then mother, would bake homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast every Christmas morning. I admit I don’t make them homemade, but I do continue this tradition with store bought cinnamon rolls (the kind that come in a can and you bake). It’s an easy breakfast and makes the whole house smell amazing!
An Orange in your Stocking
This is something I got growing up, and I know of a lot of families do this as well. Everyone gets and orange in the bottom of their stocking. It always made me feel like I was in the book Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Does anyone remember? An orange and a peppermint stick? It’s such a simple tradition, and it’s also a great addition to breakfast!