Simple-to-Make Valentine Banners, Buntings & Garlands

Chase away those winter blues with a few easy-to-make Valentine decorations for your home or classroom!  You don't need to spend alot of money or be extravagant to bring smiles to your space!  I love making garlands to hang on my mantle, over my doors, from the ceiling, or really anywhere to want to make a statement!

Here are some easy-to-make bunting ideas that don't require a ton of supplies!


I do this all the time for parties, showers and birthdays using my 2"circle punch and printed card stock.  Now I'm going to try using a heart punch instead!
 valentine heart garland
Heart garland from I Heart Naptime

Try hanging some this way....
Valentine Garland by The Little Things EV on Etsy


I have designed alot of ready-to-print and cut banners in my Etsy shop that would work great for your party!  You just print on bright white card stock or photo paper, cut with scissors, and string together!  This one is has the entire alphabet on heart-themed pennants so you can spell whatever you wish.  Try "Happy Valentine's Day"  or "I love you"!

Printable Valentine Pennant Banner

Or you can just use the plain pennants with no letters.  I like to string them together with ribbon.  Punch holes in the corners and weave them side by side, or just staple them at the top to wide ribbon.

Printable Valentine Bunting


This one sold out but she has lots of other cute garlands in her Etsy shop!

Valentine Garland from Playing Cards by Country Chic

This card banner is super cute, too!

Happiness is Homemade Valentine Garland


If you saved your kids' Valentine cards from last year, why not put them on a wreath form?  If not, be sure and save the ones they get this year!  You could also print out various Valentines and use those, or buy some inexpensive boxed Valentines from the Dollar Store!  Love the way she cut the squares into hearts!

Valentine Card Wreath from Creative Breathing


If you really want some easy "pink bling" just print and cut this Pink Glitter chalkboard banner.  Spell whatever phrase you wish with the full alphabet!

Pink Glitter Printable Chalkboard Valentines Garland


I'm not very good at making the tissue pom poms...I seem to tear them I can't wait to try these TULLE poms!! String them as garlands (click photo for tutorial)......
How to make tulle pom poms!
.....Or make some giant pom poms to hang from the ceiling.
Here's a video tutorial for really large tulle pom poms!

Here is a super simple paper Doily garland from the Dollar Store.

Paper Doily Garland from Eat, Drink and Save Money

Lets your imagination go wild!  Look around your home and I bet you can find alot of other things to make garlands with.  Let me know what you come up with!

Happy garland stringing,

I Love Valentine's Day!

It's coming! And it's my favorite!!

I know alot of people don't like Valentine's Day and I can understand.  Society places so much emphasis on RECEIVING Valentines from a sweetheart that if you don't have one, it's disappointing.
But Valentine's Day for me is more about GIVING Valentine's to my loved ones AND the incredibly fun art and crafts that go with the season!

So you will be seeing alot of posts from me about all things Valen-tiney!

PUN-ny Valentines and word-play Valentines are my favorite!  They are so corny and make me giggle (or groan)!

Vintage Valentines have REALLY fun puns.  Here's a darling one with a double word play!

When I was a kid, you didn't want to let your secret crush know they were your secret crush.  Corny pun Valentines were the perfect disguise!  If too embarrassed, you just say, "it's just a joke!

Food and kitchen items are especially fun for these corny vintage Valentines:

Here is one of my "pun-y" food Valentine Card designs, Pizza?

Pizza Valentine Cards

Food Valentines and "Perfect Pairs" are still very popular today.  Here are some vintage versions:
Vintage "perfect pair" Valentines:  Donut & Coffee, Hot Dog & Relish, Honey & Bee, Salt & Pepper

I thought I would try my hand at some "perfect pair" Valentines.  It's not my original artwork, but I had alot of fun with the bright, happy colors and graphics.

What goes together better than peanut butter and jelly?  Cookies and milk? Mac and cheese?  Hamburger and fries?  Ice cream and cake?

You're welcome!

 I'll be posting more of my Valentines this month!  There are so many to choose from!

What is your favorite kind of Valentine?  Silly?  Romantic? Funny?
Let me know in the comments below!


Getting those Memories Organized!

Does the new year inspire you to "get organized"?
What's the #1 thing you want to get a handle on this year?

Mine is to catch up with start my scrap books! I know, I know, I waited so long and now everything is digital.  It's going to be a nightmare to either make the books or get the items scanned into digital format.

I have cabinets FULL of scrapbook papers, doo-dads, empty albums...just WAITING for me to create magic with them (or give it all away!).  I don't know how far I will actually get before switching to digital, but I'm going to try!

Now, I'm a saver and very sentimental.  I have BIG PLANS for all this stuff.   I have LARGE BOXES of artwork, photos, and "special" papers I saved from my children's school days.   Honestly, I have boxes saved from MY school days!!

 I wish I would have done something like this from the very start...but I didn't.

Dandee Designs

NOTE TO ALL NEW MOMS OUT THERE....STOP and set this up now!  You'll thank me in 10 years!!

And with the digital photos I have, I LOVE the idea of doing a "family yearbook"!  My cousin does this each year and they are so fun to look at!

Skinny Mom posted this one

But before I can do anything, I'm going to have to go through the BOXES and BOXES of printed photos I have from before everything went digital.  I love the suggestions for organizing and editing.  That's what I need....a great PLAN!

Modern Parents Messy kids

Also, my kids were PROLIFIC artists all the way through high school.  Recently, I did sort through all the boxes and let go of alot of them (I was SOOO hard!)  I hope to have them made into printed books with a company like Shutterfly.  I'm not sure where this photo originated, but something like this would be great!

I DID turn some of their art into fridge magnets like these, but I would love to make some more.
Not only can we enjoy them everyday, but they don't take up as much space as the full sized drawings AND they won't get damaged!  Of course, I've already framed my favorites and they are on the family room walls.  But I love a good fridge magnet!

This tutorial for making magnets out of artwork by Amy Vowles is fantastic!

I'll let you know how my journey goes throughout the year!!
Stay tuned!

What are some of your favorite ways to organize your photos and memorabilia?  I'd love your suggestions!

Happy New Year!

It happens every January....New Year's Day comes in with a magical flurry of confetti, champagne and fireworks!  We make a list of things we want to change or do or become.

There's just something about the first day of the first month of a new year that inspires us to change or do something hopeful!  It's like a freshly washed chalkboard that no one has marked on yet....
it can be anything you want it to be and say whatever you want to write.

My "list" almost always looks like this:

  • Get in shape.
  • Spend more time studying the Bible.
  • Control my tongue and attitude.
  • Be kind and cherish others.

Let me be clear...I don't call these  "resolutions" because by the end of the year, they are usually not "resolved" and wind back up on my next list.   Really?
It gets frustrating.  You'd think after all these years some of these items could be retired!

Maybe the problem is not the list.   Maybe it's the chalk.

It would make sense that to get a new result, you would not only have to use a clean slate, but new chalk.  But I'm a broken person.  I'm dirty.  I'm chipped. and I don't look like, think like, or reason like I did when I was first out of the box.  So how can I expect a different outcome when using the same tools?

Hold on a minute....have you ever tried to write on a chalkboard with a brand new piece of chalk?  Oh, it looks perfect and feels nice and slick in your fingers, but it's doesn't write very well.  The line is thin and harsh and skips.  You have to scrub it around on the board to dull the edge before you can make a good mark.

And new chalk is very screechy, and it doesn't really know what it's talking about.

Brand new is not necessarily better.  Sooner than later, those long slick sticks snap. Then you can't tell the difference anymore between the old and the new.

So what's the point of our New Year's lists?  True, it's a great feeling to turn a new page, to write on a fresh board, to erase all of the negative things from the past and have a clean slate.
But I'm still the same person  and no matter how much I want to be brand new chalk....I'm cracked and uneven.

So now what?  Give up self-improvement lists? Doubtful.  Maybe it's changing how you look at your edges.  I mean, you can see them as flaws or you can see them as wisdom.  You can call them "used parts" or "earned income."

With every New Year you become more and more valuable.  You build up experience and joy and memories that are uniquely yours.  You are history!!  You don't need to start completely just build  new layers!  Draw new pictures for your portfolio!  Rejoice in who you are and focus instead on the joy of writing on the chalkboard!

You know, my spiritual life is like that, too. I am constantly taking inventory of my shortcomings and wishing I could be brand-new-out-of-the-box again.  Year after year I beat myself up for falling short of His Glory and try to wipe the slate clean and start over.

Why?  Wasn't the slate already washed clean by Jesus at the cross?  Doesn't God see us as He sees Jesus?  We are His redeemed children.  Yes, we sin and we screw things up every year. YES, we are constantly failing and constantly repenting and trying to do "better" to please Him.

We like to make lists because then WE are in control.  But we aren't and we can't.  We don't need to write a new story on a board every year because we are ALREADY and ALWAYS forgiven.  It never depends on conquering the list.

It never depends on the chalk.

It's a story that is already written.  It's a promise that is already kept.  Jesus Christ saved us.  We are baptized into Christ and born again.  And every year of our lives are a refining process until He calls us home.

But fear not, for God has already taken control.  My hope is not in what I accomplish, but in Him who goes on the journey with me.

Happy New Year!

Have a "Happy Birthday Jesus" Party for your Sunday School Children!

Christmas is a great time for a Sunday School party! The birthday of our King is the Best. Day. Ever!  There are so many fun crafts and games you can do with your children starting in Advent all the way through Epiphany!  OR have one grand party!  Here are some of the ideas I've used with my class which is mixed age group of Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  You can certainly adapt any of them to your age group.

First, you might want an invitation to share the details of your party  I made this sweet little postcard I can customize for you to print:

Jesus Birthday Party Invite

Next, you will need to decorate!  Here is a darling printable Christmas banner in two sizes to hang in your classroom or hallway.
Christmas Nativity Banner Garland
Mix and match with some gold star paper garlands like the ones here

Paper Star Garland from HoopsyDaisies

Of course, you will need a Birthday cake!  I adore this one!  While the children eat their cake, be sure and read the Nativity Story in Luke 2!
Happy Birthday Jesus Cake from Little Pumpkin Grace

Don't forget games for your party.  I LOVE Nativity Picture Bingo because it's good for ALL ages to play together!  Even the youngest children can participate with the help of an older child.  Older children can help lead the activity, too!  Be sure to have on hand some fun little prizes for the winners, like stickers, religious coloring books, even little sweet treats!

Nativity Bingo Game

You can also set up some activity tables with smaller group games and individual activites.  This set of nativity playing cards can be used for games like Matching, Old Maid & Go Fish!  Each card has a Bible verse.

Christmas Card Game

For a more active game with lots of laughs and rowdiness, this Candy Cane Race looks like great fun!!  You  have to move candy canes from the pile to a bowl using only a candy cane in your mouth! 
Candy Cane Game from Ministry to Children

Children love to wear costumes at parties, and these felt wise men crowns are perfection!
Felt wise man crowns from Little Folks Lane

Or make your own from paper plates!
Paper Plate Crown from DLTK's

Of course, you won't forget craft time!  I like to have a group craft and also set out coloring sheets to for children who are finished with other things and need to be kept busy.  Coloring pages are also great for early arrivals!

Nativity coloring pages

Nativity ornament keepsakes ALWAYS win at a Christmas party.  We made an ornament similar to this one last year that turned out so cute! Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture it ..but I didn't use a blue background.  For Jesus we wrapped a wooden peg with a painted face in a little piece of flannel for  and cradled it in a pinch of Spanish moss.  Instead of the paper that says "the greatest Gift of all" we wrote  a Bible verse around the bottom edge of the cup with a gold sharpie.

Lastly, you might want to send the children home with a little goodie bag! You can fill it with sweets or non-candy treats like these Nativity play dough cans:

Christmas play doh cans

Top your bags with these matching toppers.  Just print on cardstock, cut, fold over the bag and staple in place.
Christmas Treat Bag toppers

Another favorite "take home" treat is the M & M poem.  We used it one year and attached it to a plastic candy filled candy cane like this instead of a glass jar like the picture below.
You can get a free printable for the poem like this here:

M & M poem download 

There are so many other adorable things you can do for your nativity party, but I hope these will get you started!

What are some of YOUR favorite Nativity or Sunday School Christmas activities?  I'd love to try them!  Please comment below!

Have a blessed Birthday party!

Weekend Workshop--Nativity Playset Mini Lunchbox

Several years ago, I wrote a blog tutorial for the digital art website, Aimee Asher that showed you how to turn a little dollar store lunchbox into a cute nativity play set for children.

Nativity Lunchbox Printable in my Etsy store

We made them with all of our Sunday School children and it was one of my most popular posts ever! Unfortunately, that blog is no longer online, so I've decided to repost it here. 

It truly is a very inexpensive gift that is fun for the children to help make!

Here's what it looks like inside and on the back:

Of course, if your lunchbox is a different size than mine, you will need to change the size of the background pieces or use it for a pattern for your own papers. You can do this by changing your printer settings OR you can print then enlarge or reduce on a copy machine for personal use.

SUPPLIES NEEDED (see photos below)
  • Nativity Lunchbox Printable available in my Etsy Store (click here)
  • Tin lunchbox approx. 5" x 4", any color available at dollar stores and craft stores
  • Spray Paint--only if you want to change the color of your lunchbox.
  • 12+  items to glue to the backs of the figures to make them stand up.  I used a plastic chess set from the dollar store.  Or you can use a pony bead glued on a button.  You could even use paper clips.  (See photos below.)
  • hot glue gun, scissors, corner rounder punch (optional)
  • Ribbons and Tag to embellish

Prepare Lunchbox
I liked the dark blue on this box, so I left it alone.  You can use spray paint to get any color you wish! 
My lunchbox "lid" has a bevel (indentation) on it, but the back doesn't so I had to make the background pieces to fit both. 

Prepare Nativity Printable 
  • Print figures on a bright white, high quality card stock or thick photo paper. You could also laminate the figures for durability, but keep in mind the glue won't stick as well to lamination.
  • Print background pieces on bright white, high quality photo paper.  You could laminate these, but ONLY one side because they won't stay on the lunchbox if they are double laminated.
  • Round the corners of the background pieces to better fit the lunchbox.  You can do this with a corner round punch or scissors.  Glue to lunchbox with hotglue.

corner rounder punch
  • Cut out figures.  To make cutting easier, leave a white border around them.  Also on pieces like the camel, you will need to leave enough white area for the stand to be glued to on the back.

  • Assemble the figures by hot gluing whatever items you choose to make your pieces stand up.  Here are some examples:

Pony bead and button.

Dollar store chess pieces

Plastic coated paper clips

  • Embellish lunchbox as desired.  We tied ribbons and a hang tag with the child's name on it to the handle.

I hope you feel inspired to create this set for your little ones to play with!

And now that that's done, would you like me to start publishing more Weekend Workshops? 
Let me know what you would like to see instructions for!

Feliz Navidad!