Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Simple Advent Calendar

Thank you all for the really heart felt comments about my Etsy shop!
You made my day:).

We have already started Advent, but today I thought I would share a quick and easy Advent calendar.
I believe I saw the idea in Better Homes and Gardens magazine and thought it was a quick way to put one up, as I didn't find the time to sew anything....like I wanted.

You need:
24 envelopes
a pen
cotton twine
hole punch


Just number each envelope {I chose to write by hand}....you could use stickers, too.

Punch a hole near the edge of the flap on the backside, near the edge of the envelope.


Cut about 5 feet of string and thread through your envelopes.



Hang up in a convenient place and fill with little things like stickers or small candies. 






It is a fun, easy calendar and a quick solution!
I bought my envelopes at the local office supply store where they usually have many colors to choose from.
Of course, in a pinch you could use everyday white envelopes that most of us have on hand:).


Don't forget to download Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree Advent Celebration...
We are loving it and her writing is simply beautiful.


~Julia

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Opening of My Etsy Shop {The Field Barn}

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!!
I thought today, Cyber Monday, was the perfect day to announce the grand opening of my Etsy shop...
It has been an ongoing idea that finally came to fruition!
Never mind that it says I opened Nov. 16th, 2010...
it took me a while to get going, and good things come to those who wait...right?

I am excited to have such a fun and creative outlet, as I am always up to something:).
There is a wide variety of merchandise all with a vintage, farm inspired flare.
 I'll be adding regularly to the shop and hope you have fun browsing.
Here is just a sample of what you will find...

Vintage Wool Christmas Stocking
Damask Border Tea Towel
Damask Border Tea Towel with a little pom pom fringe.

Sweet Little Bird Gift Tags
Sweet Little Bird Tags to adorn your gifts.


This week only, I am offering 20% off to Blissfully Content readers!
Just enter the code CHRISTMAS2011 to receive the discount.

And because I just LOVE to support Mom's working from home... here are a couple of my favorite Etsy shops from some blog friends:).


Home Grown and Beeyoutiful
Levi's Lye Soaps
Holiday Spice
This Christmas inspired soap would make a wonderful hostess gift:).

Shop 24 has so many cute Christmas goodies!!

girlInspired... oh my, Stef is ultra talented and has the most beautiful things in her shop!
Just look at this dress...
The Addison Dress in Pink and Blue - custom size 12 months- 4T

Merry Christmas!
~Julia


Saturday, November 26, 2011

{Advent} Celebrating God's Gift to Us

Advent is something that we look forward to each year.
 It is such an important part of the Christmas season for us and I love that each night we slow down to focus on Christ.
We try to keep our traditions each year and hope that as the kids age, we will still gather together for Advent celebration.
This year, I designed our wreath around little silver pails, mossy greens, and sprigs of pine and lavender from our yard.



I numbered each little pail with a permanent marker.
I thought it would be easy for Jack to see what week we are celebrating.


I filled each pail with barley and inserted the candles. Dry beans would work just as well.


Don't you love cake stands?
I use them for practically everything and Advent is no exception!


We light a candle each night at dinner, pray together, and talk about one thing that we are most thankful for that day. Then we eat by candlelight.

After dinner, we clear the table and read a devotion.
This year, we are using Ann Voskamp's lovely "A Jesse Tree Advent Celebration."
What a beautiful FREE book of family devotions!
I am excited to go through it with the kids.
We also try and read a Christmas story from this book...

Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book

My Aunt used to read it after lighting the Advent candle each night and she gifted to me the first Christmas Darren and I spent together. I just love it!

I hope and pray that this Christmas season opens your heart to contentment and happiness with your loved ones. 
Advent is a time of peace and focus on Christ and what He came for.
He didn't come for the presents, or the rush, or the hustle and bustle of trying to out-do another.
He came for us...
He came to serve those who were "the least of these..."
What will you do this Advent to seek out those who need love, food, help, or prayers?
Showing who Christ is speaks louder than any word.

~Julia



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to Make Gift Tags on Your Printer


I have had a few people ask me how I make printed tags.
I am almost a little embarrassed to share because my method is probably lacking in technical form!
But I know there are others out there like me...I like SIMPLE and easy...so here we go!

The tags are a great way to personalize any gift.
Remember these from last year?
 The possibilities are endless.
This year, I am making monogrammed tags and using numbers...they are so fun.

The tags are really easy to make. 

You will need:
Manila tags {you can find them at an office supply store for under 10 cents}
Mine are a bigger size {2"x4"} but a smaller size is fine.
paper
cellophane tape
AND
your printer:)

Using any basic Word program, design your tag.
Make sure to center the picture and move it down at least a couple of spaces from the top...you need to leave room for the tag hole.
Also...measure your tag. You don't want to create a HUGE design that isn't going to fit.
Usually in the lower right corner of any Word program you can see how many inches wide/long your design is shaping to be.

Next, print out a sample.

Now you will need to see if everything will fit on your tag perfectly...so here is my high tech way of figuring that out.

Grab your tag and sample print...


place the tag in the back and hold it up to the light.
Everything look OK?
You are ready to print!

Here is where I get really tricky:).
Take a piece of computer paper and fold it in half length wise.
You will use the crease to mark the center of the paper.

Now, place your tag just about 1/2 cm down from the top and use the little hole at the top to center it. 
The crease should be directly in the middle of the tag hole:).
Take four small pieces of cellophane tape and just press your fingers on them to decrease the stickiness. 
Yes...I am so technical!
Tape down all four edges with a very small part of the tape, like so...


To print, lay the paper in the feeder FACE DOWN and TAG SIDE first.
Print away and whalaa...you have a beautiful tag for next to nothing!!
To remove, gently peel away the tape.


I printed this tag up for a Thanksgiving gift for my cousins, Aunt, and Uncle.



The little container is from Target and I filled it with delicious Ginger Molasses Cookies.
Recipe HERE from Gumbo Lily.
They are the best cookies EVER!


Wishing you all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

~Julia





Friday, November 18, 2011

Good Winter Books for Kids

I promised myself that this year I would not decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving... but I am still thinking of gifts!
I LOVE books and thought I would share a list of lovely and charming kids books perfect for curling up with on a winter's day. 
Books are one of my favorite things to give and these would make great stocking stuffers:)!

Most of these are on my list to buy and some are on our bookshelf .
Just click on the picture for more information.

Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Yellow Sled
Snip, Snap, Snurr and the Yellow Sled by Maj Lindman.
Sweet stories that promote working together as a family.

The Biggest Bear
The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward. 
A fun and exciting story about a boy who wants a bear. The illustrations are captivating!

The Big Snow
The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader.
A classic and probably all one that we read and loved!

Winter Days in the Big Woods (My First Little House Books)
Winter Days in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I love thsi picture book series that bring Laura's adventures to life.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Susan Jeffers.
One of my favorite poems with beautiful illustrations.

 Owl Moon
Owl Moon  by Jane Yolen.
An endearing tale of a winter's night search for an owl.
 One of our favorites.

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston.

The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler's Sons (Picture Puffins)
The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler's Sons by Ruth Sawyer.

Advent Storybook: 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas
The Advent Storybook by Antonie Schneider.

The Snowy Day: 50th Anniversary Edition
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.
A true winter classic.

Stranger in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasy: Snowflake Edition
Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick.

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the New Dotted Dresses
The Flicka, Ricka, Dicka books by Maj Lindman.
I want all of these sweet stories for Lily.

Katy and the Big Snow Book & CD
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton.

Christmas Farm
Christmas Farm by Mary Lynn Ray
My Aunt Barbara gifted this book to us a few years ago and it is one of our favorites! 
It is a sweet story about a growing tree farm and all of the fun and work it entails.

Billy And Blaze: A Boy And His Horse
Billy and Blaze books by C.W. Anderson are one of our all time favorites.
The stories are fun and filled with adventure.

The Crippled Lamb
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado.
A tender story of two unlikely friends who witness Christ's birth.

Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect
Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by Richard H. Schneider.
This darling story will make you look at your Christmas tree in a whole new way!

Gingerbread Friends
Gingerbread Friends bu Jan Brett.
I love Jan's illustrations!

Draw Write Now, Book 1: On the Farm-Kids and Critters-Storybook Characters (Draw-Write-Now)

Draw Write Now series by Marie Hablitzel.
OK...this isn't a book to read for pleasure, but this series is a GREAT gift!
My kids have spent endless hours learning how to draw from these books.

The American Boy's Handy Book: What to Do and How to Do It, Centennial Edition
The American Boy's Handy Book by Daniel Carter Beard.
My boys devoured this book and all of its projects!

American Girls Handy Book [AMER GIRLS HANDY BK]

The American Girl's Handy Book 
Yes...so much old fashioned fun packed into this book!

The Mary Frances Books by Jane Eyre Fryer.
Mrs. Fryer was a pastor's wife who wrote these charming books for girls in the early 1900's.
Some of the topics include sewing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, cleaning, etc. and there are even sweet patterns included.
We have fallen in LOVE with this series:)!

Hardy Boys Complete Series Set, Books 1-66
The Hardy Boys collection by Franklin W. Dixon.
Tons of captivating and exciting stories that really helped my boys like to read.


And thanks to JODY for the tip on Ralph Moody books.
They look to be a great read!
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody.

The Long Winter (Little House)
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Any book from the Little House Series is a fun treat!

There you have it.
 I could include so many more books, but these are a few of our favorites and some on our wish list!

Have a wonderful day!

~Julia








Blogging tips