I’m dreaming of a white sandy beach for Christmas

seashell tree

We live only a few hours from the beach so we go frequently and every time we go we come home with a load of new seashells. We have them in bowls, mason jars and on shelves through out the house. Last year we actually decided to celebrate Christmas at the beach and I instantly thought a beach/seashell tree would be fantastic. The kids and I sat down one day and painted them all with blue, blue glitter and white glitter. Then I cut all the jute for the loops and just hot glued them on the inside. The kids were able to hang them all their selves and even remembered picking some of them. I used a mini tree we already had with a fishing net as the tree skirt and just some blue mesh ribbon from the craft store for decoration. It was very easy, cheap and yet so meaningful.

Sandcastle Cake

While planning my daughter’s 3rd birthday I decided upon a mermaid theme. I immediately knew I wanted to make a sandcastle cake. Browsing around online I found some really cute pictures and only one had instructions. (http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/06/12/how-to-make-a-sandcastle-cake-tutorial/) I liked her ideas but I also tweaked them a bit. See below:

the cake

I made a large batch of sand for the cake, sand pudding, cupcakes, and I used it on the plates to sit the cookies on. I made up my own sand recipe because I found that graham crackers alone tasted like cardboard. I don’t own a food processor but my blender has a “crumb” button and that worked pretty well.

Sand Recipe
2 boxes Graham Crackers
2 boxes Nilla Wafers
2 cups toasted cocounut
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cookie part of the oreo

I used a 10″ well greased square pan for the bottom layer. My tips are I always use Wilton brand bake even strips and tap the cake pan a few times before baking. Once it’s cooked let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then tap it out onto a cooling rack, wait another 20 minutes. Then I transfer it to the freezer for 20 more minutes. (This helps the cake stay together. Ever iced a cake and it falls apart? Not anymore.) Then I put it directly on to my cake server. The other two layers are 8″ & 6″ circles. I stacked all 3 levels before I iced them because I wanted the icing to be “tacky” so it would hold the “sand”. Once they were stacked and iced I applied the sand. I found this was probably the most difficult task and it really wasn’t that hard. I sprinkled it on, threw it on and tapped it on. They all worked! I used sugar cones and marshmallows as embellishments also done the same way. I cut the tips off the cones and put in the straws. They helped the cones stay on a lot better too. I also added “flags” to the straws that matched our theme. At Michael’s I found blue rock candy and sprinkled some around the base mixed with sand so it looked like sea glass. Also about a week before I made chocolate shells with a mold also from Michael’s. They were pretty easy and I refrigerated them until needed. I made all the rest the day before and wrapped it in saran wrap overnight. It truly was the highlight of the party. Nobody wanted to cut into it because it was so beautiful.

Just another Burlap Wreath.

Burlapwreath

I LOVE Burlap. There are just so many things it can be used for. It’s rustic and yet beautiful. For a while now I have been planning on making a wreath with it and a few months ago I went to Joanne’s craft store and they were running it on sale by the yard. So with a coupon I bought 2 1/2 yards for about $7. That night I sat down to make a wreath but everything I found on Pinterest involved using the burlap rolls. (They are $6 a piece) I decided to do more research and finally found one that works for burlap by the yard.

Here’s what you will need:
2 1/2 yards of Burlap
Scissors
Hot glue & gun
Styrofoam wreath
Circle Template 5-6″ (I used a scrapbook circle cutter for template)

Lay your burlap out flat. You can either trace out every circle then cut or hold the template and cut around it. (That’s what I did) I recommend cutting at least 2 yards before hand. That way if you need more you can cut it and won’t waste any if you don’t need it.

Plug in your glue gun and put the wreath down flat in front of you. Once your glue is warm take your circles and fold in half and then again. Place glue at the bottom of circle and attach. (So that the loose ends of the circle are sticking out) From then on just work your way around the wreath. They do not have to be right beside each other. You can do 1/4″ or 1/2″ between. If you need to go back in fill in you can or you can wrap the wreath in burlap before you place circles. I did not do that but I might next time. Note: You will need more burlap for that.

The fun part is you can add whatever you want. Fabric flowers, a brooch, starfish etc. I plan to make more burlap crafts using the same method. Stay tuned!