Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Ornament Exchange & Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2017 Ornament Exchange & Blog Hop! This year, there are 47 amazing bloggers participating in the exchange. The rules of the challenge were simple: be partnered with a fellow blogger, create a handmade ornament for $15 or under, create a tutorial, and ship the ornament off to a new home!

For the christmas ornament exchange, I was paired with Chelsea from Love Paper Crafts. After we were partnered, Chelsea and I connected through email 
and I then went to visit her blog. 
Her blog is amazing and she shares a great story about how she taught herself Calligraphy and is now running a successful business! 
Please stop by and visit her! 

Chelsea's christmas style is traditional and she decorates with white, silver and red. Since she lives across the country from me in Las Vegas. I thought it would be nice to use greenery from the east coast in her ornament. 

For my tutorial, I made Chelsea a scented wax ornament with evergreens, cranberries, cloves and star anise. I played around with other looks incorporating snowflake decorations, but I stuck to the natural elements for Chelsea.

2017 Ornament Exchange and Blog Hop

Meet the 2017 Ornament Exchange Hosts

Erlene ⋅ My Pinterventures Kim · Made In A Day Pili ⋅ My Sweet Things
Michelle · Our Crafty Mom Beverly · Across the Blvd. Cindy ⋅ DIY Beautify
Christene · Key to Inspiration Nicki · Sweet Parrish Place Katrin ⋅ Kreativ K
Debra · Shoppe No. 5 Trisha · Rosewood and Grace Jeanie · Create and Babble
Lorelai Life with Lorelai Debbie ⋅ Tweak and Style Stephanie ⋅ Swoodson Says
Vicki and Jenn ⋅ 2 Bees in a Pod Joanne ⋅ Our Unschooling Journey
Tylynn ⋅ Bitterroot DIY Sam ⋅ Raggedity Bits Mary ⋅ The Boondocks Blog
Chelsea ⋅ Love Paper Crafts Evija ⋅ From Evija with Love Anne ⋅ Orange Bettie

I love how these wax christmas ornaments turned out! 

To start this project, gather the following supplies:

silicone candy mold 
empty soup can
wood stir stick
vanilla scent
any assortment of greenery, spices, dried fruit, or little decorations
I used evergreens from my yard, cloves, star anise, dried cranberries
 and decorative snowflakes.

(Please note affiliate links listed)

Since my wax came in bricks, I chopped them up a bit so they could fit in the soup can. You can also buy wax that comes as beads and then you would not have to do this step.

Gather the wax and place it in the soup can. 
Then heat about 3 inches of water on medium heat in a small pot. 
You will be making a double boiler to melt the wax.

Once the water comes to a low boil, Place your soup can with the wax in the pot. 

Stir off and on continuously until the wax melts. This will take about 20 minutes.

While you are melting the wax you can begin to organize your decorative ingredients. I experimented with a lot of looks and what I liked best was having the natural elements visible from both sides. 
To get this look, start by adding some elements in the empty molds.
 This side of the mold will come out very smooth and only give a glimpse of elements. 
(I only did four samples for this tutorial
as I had done other batches and was getting low on wax.)

Once your wax is melt, turn your heat off and add a couple drops of essential oils if you like.
 I added vanilla.

Then using tongs or an oven mitt, slowly pour the wax into each mold and fill about 3/4 full.

Wait about 1 minute so wax is gelling just a little and add more elements. Lay them gently on top so they don't get buried in the wax and let some extent out. Get creative here and experiment here with different looks and elements

Then, drizzle more wax on top.
 Do not completely bury your elements under wax because once the wax dries it will become almost obscured.

Now, let the molds sit at room temperature and let the wax dry. After about 30 minutes, your wax ornament should easily pop out. To create a hole in the ornament I originally tried it with a straw but it did not work easily. So I found that heating a metal skewer, or in my case a metal tipped temperature gage I no longer used, over the heat and gently inserting into the wax worked best. I worked it through one side and slowing pushed it through.

Once your hole is set, simply add some pretty twine and hang!

FIND ALL 47 HANDMADE ORNAMENT TUTORIALS BELOW AND SHARE YOURS TOO! Use Hashtag #2017OrnamentExchange so we can see your creations on social media.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Visiting Furman University - Greenville SC Fall Weekend Getaway

As first time empty nesters, we have been pacing the halls of much quieter home for weeks. So, when it came time to visit our son at Furman University in Greenville SC where he is a freshman, we were beyond excited! The Lacrosse team was holding their Alumni Weekend and this was a great opportunity to enjoy all the planned events for families and...get a hug in from our boy!!

The alumni event was held the last weekend of October, which couldn’t be a more scenic time to set out on a road trip to South Carloina. Our drive to Furman would take us from Maryland west through West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina, and then to the western mountains of South Carolina. The drive is 8 hours, but is gorgeous.

Now before my son looked at Furman, I didn’t know much about Furman or Greenville. But, let me tell you, they are both gems!  Furman is one of the most beautiful campuses I have laid eyes on, in fact Southern Living and Forbes ranked it as one of the South’s prettiest Colleges.  And to top off the amazing campus, outside its gates is Greenville, the most charming and stunning southern city I have ever been to.  

As I get the wonderful opportunity to explore this town over the next couple years, I want to share some of the experiences we have in this little slice of the south. For this visit, I put together a weekend itinerary perfect for the fall.

If you have questions or have a child considering Furman, let me know!

Fall Weekend Itinerary - Furman and Greenville SC

Friday Night Arrival
Grab a bite of some awesome southern bbq at Smoke on the Water. Located at 1 Augusta Street, this restaurant serves up big portions of southern comfort food. They are known for their smoked meats, so our crowd went with the combo plates which offered a selection of ribs, chicken, brisket, and pulled pork. They also deliver to each table four bottles of bbq sauces to experiment with and they are amazing!

Wake up early and head down to Main Street at McBee Avenue for Greenville’s Farmers Market called the Saturday Market. Grab a sandwich and coffee from one of the local vendors and don’t forget to grab a loaf of banana bread or an artisan bread to take back home.

Check out all the great vendors at the market, then head down to picturesque Falls Park. A sprawling park with amazing landscaping and winding paths. Walk some of the Swamp Rabbit Trail which can actually take you into Furman University.

After the walk, clean up and head over to visit Furman’s campus to cheer on the Palladins Football team and take in all the school spirit and lots of purple.

When your done cheering on the team, head back into town and start the night at Passerelle Bistro, a French inspired restaurant offering small bites and an amazing view of the Liberty Bridge and falls of Falls Park.

From the menu, we recommend the Today’s Cheese Tasting and the Charcuterie Assortment. Pair it with a bottle of Belllula Cabernet Sauvignon. And don’t forget to purchase some blueberry jam on your way out to take home.

Start the morning early again. Grab a granola bar, throw on your hiking boots, pack a light backpack with water and head over to Paris Mountain State Park.

We hiked the Sulphur Springs Trail which is a 3.6 mile loop. The terrain goes up hill and is a bit rocky at parts, so you get a bit of a workout. This trail is listed as strenuous, so if your looking for something a little less difficult, check out the website where they list a variety of easier trails.

Wrap up your workout and visit with breakfast at Tupelo Honey back downtown.  Try the Appalachian Breakfast and feast on the biscuits and jam that come with every order.

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