How to Build a Crate

Thanks so much for your sweet comments on this Christmas Crate that I shared with you the other day.  I always appreciate hearing from you.  As promised, I am sharing with you HOW I made this DIY Crate so that you can learn how to build a crate too.


Like I mentioned in a previous post, if you are not inclined to using power tools and building your own crate, you can buy a crate at Michael’s.  They are unfinished so you could paint it a color of your choice or stain it.  OR…you can make one!


If you make one you will need some wood.  I found this wood in an old pasture and the owner gave it to me for FREE! I LOVE the color of aged wood so I personally did not do anything special with the wood.  If you don’t have old wood, you can always use new lumbar and then paint or stain it, or you can google how to age new wood.  I have never done it…but have heard you can do it with good results.


You will need the following to build your own crate:

  • a 24 x 14 inch piece of base material (we used left over MDF board)
  • Six 1×4 boards 24 inches in length (this was the size of the boards we used)
  • Six 1×4 boards about 15 inches in length
  • Six 1×2 boards  9.5 inches tall which is about 1 inch shorter than the height of the crate (we cut 1×4’s in half)
  • nail gun (or hammer and nails)
  • wood glue
  • drill
  • jigsaw


1.  Attach the front and back bottom boards to the base with some wood glue and nails.

2.  Attach the vertical support board to both ends of the bottom board and then in the middle with wood glue and nails.

3.  Attach the side bottom boards in the same manner.


4.  Attach the middle boards in the same manner.

5.  Take your top side boards and cut out some handles using a jigsaw.  We cut them into an oval shape.  This is totally optional though.

6.  Now attach your front, back, and side boards.

That. Is. It!  Viola!!  Your very own crate!  Now you can make it your own and add a fun stencil to make it look like a vintage shipping crate…in this case, add a North Pole Freight Co. Stamp for some fun Christmas Décor.


To make my stencil, I simply designed it in my Silhouette program and then cut it out in some vinyl.  I then pulled the lettering out of the stencil and created my own stencil so I could paint it onto my crate with some black paint.


Simply attach the vinyl to the crate and then take a brush and stencil right onto the crate.  When the paint has dried simply peel away the vinyl.


Since the paint looked to “new” to look aged, I simply took a lightweight piece of sandpaper and gently scuffed up the lettering to give it an aged feel and look.


Fill the crate with some pine boughs, Christmas lights and some wrapped presents…in this case some empty boxes.  I simply wrapped them with some brown paper and some linen grain sack gift bags.  I actually made the linen grain sack bags and will be sharing that tutorial with you here soon as well!


And, because I like to share…I have provided the stencil for you to use as well.  I have it as a svg Silhouette file or a pdf for you to download based on what will work best for you.

You can download the free printable here:

*If you are not a fan of The Idea Room on Facebook, you will need to click like first and become a fan. After you become a fan you will need to click on “Get your free gift” in the upper right hand corner of the Idea Room FB page and then click on “Previous Downloads”.

{North Pole Crate Stamp}


Looking for a slightly different style of “vintage” crate?  Check out this crate I made last year which is now perched in my family room!

DIY Vintage Crate Tutorial

DIY-crate a

Christmas Crate | Christmas Decor

Last week I revealed the Christmas Tree I decorated as part of Michael’s Dream Tree Challenge.  As part of the challenge, we were also challenged to create some Christmas Décor as well!  I actually did a couple of different Christmas Decor items.


I decided to build a crate after spying some old wood out in a pasture while we were at the Pumpkin Patch.  {Insert squeals of joy and excitement from yours truly and rolling of eyes by certain offspring}.


The aged wood was BEAUTIFUL!!!  We found out who it belonged to and asked them if we could buy it from them…and they let us take it for FREE!!! Ummm…HELLO!  So awesome!


I will share how we made the crate later.  You can wait for that tutorial, or you can pick up a wooden crate at Michael’s.  I did nothing to the wood, but if you use one of Michael’s unfinished crates, you could stain it or paint it before adding the stencil.


Then fill the crate with some pine boughs, which I picked up from Michael’s.  I also added some battery powered Christmas lights and these fun Christmas Light Balls.  Add some wrapped presents and you have a fun Christmas Crate delivered from the North Pole ;).


The other little project I did was to paint these reindeer I picked up from Michael’s white.  I simply spray painted them and then painted the antlers of one silver and the other gold.  Then of course sprinkled the antlers with a little bit of glitter to give them a little bit of sparkle.


I added a wreath around one of the reindeer’s neck.  The wreath did not fit over the head and antlers, but all you need to do is cut the wire with some wire cutters and than put it around the reindeer and then put the wreath back in a circle by running another piece of new wire around the ends of the cut wreath to hold the wreath back together.


I love it! I have been a bit obsessed with vintage crates and wooden boxes…which I am sure you guys have surely noticed…especially if you have been following along for a while.  Ha!  I LOVE this one!  I also love that when Christmas is over, and the Christmas Decorations come down, I can simply turn the crate around and fill it with some blankets, pillows or wood for the fireplace.

I would love to know if you make one a crate or pick up some of the reindeer!  And, if you are going to be heading to Michael’s this weekend…don’t forget to use a coupon!

{Michael’s Coupons}

Hostess Gift | Hand Stamped Wooden Utensils

Yesterday I shared with you these fun Hand Stamped Wooden Spoons as part of our monthly free printable blog hop.  Today I am going to show you how you can make some too.  I love these!  I think they would make a great Thanksgiving Hostess Gift or a Christmas gift…don’t you?


I picked up a set of wooden utensils from Home Goods.  And used my metal stamping set to stamp letters into each handle.


I picked up my stamping set from Harbor Freight and used the 1/4 inch size.


Then to make sure that the words were spaced evenly and I didn’t run out of room when I started stamping, I wrote the word on the handle (in pencil) so that I would know about where place the letters.


Be sure to stamp them on a flat concrete surface.  Then I erased the pencil marks.  To make the words dark simply fill in the impression with a thin Black Sharpie marker.


That is it! The fun part is that you can really personalize the utensils with your own special words!  Isn’t this such a simple gift idea?  Loving them!



Michael’s Christmas Tree–Dream Tree Challenge


*This is a sponsored post for Michael’s.

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Michael’s and asked if I was interested in participating in the Michael’s Dream Tree Challenge…ummm…yes please!  Of course I said yes!  Christmas is one of my favorite Holidays and our current Christmas tree was in sad shape.  We had already re-strung the lights twice over it’s 10 year lifetime.


We were sent this lovely 7 foot tree and given the challenge to decorate it using items from Michael’s.  I decided to go with a gold, silver and white tree…which really isn’t that big of a surprise to you probably.  Have you noticed my inability to boldly decorate with a lot of color?  I realize this is a problem…but I am not sure how to fix this about myself!


I also decided to forego the traditional tree skirt and used a tin bucket instead…and you know what?  I kind of LOVE it!  I was going to build a crate for the tree to stand in but decided to take the crate in different direction which I will share with you a bit later.


Here are some close-ups of little details on the tree and some of the different items I used.  Don’t you just love the sparkly gold and silver next to each other?


I picked up some twigs and flowers in the floral section and added them to the tree as well.  I am loving the extra dimension and texture it gives to the overall tree.



I also wrapped this lovely and classy burlap ribbon (found in the wedding aisle) around the tree from top to bottom.  I love that it gives it a bit of a natural element along with the shimmery glitter.


And since I put the tree up before Halloween, I thought…why take this and run with it…might as well deck out the entire room for Christmas!!  My kids were slightly confused when they came home from school last week!


I love the ambiance of Christmas lights and candles…don’t you?

If you are interested in the Vintage Crate and the gift bags you can find the tutorials for them here:

DIY Vintage Crate

Creative Gift Bags


I love how it turned out…but perhaps my favorite part is that most of my Christmas decorating is finished now.  Did I get a few strange looks from Trick-Or-Treaters who spied it in the other room when they came to our door? You bet!


My kids then insisted that we turn the lights off…at least for Halloween night!  Stay tuned for a project that I have made for the Michael’s Dream Tree Challenge!  I am really excited to share it with you!



  • Michaels has a large selection of pre-lit high-tip count artificial trees ranging in size from 4 ft. to 7.5 ft. and all the way up to 9 ft. They even come in different shapes, from skinny to full and in-between with some smaller trees coming in different color options
  • Each tree purchased at Michaels comes with a 5 year tree warranty and a 2 year warranty on the lights
  • Stop by your local Michaels November 3 through November 9 for a special tree event

*This is a sponsored post for Michael’s.  I did receive a tree and a gift card to cover my expenses.  However all opinions and statements are mine.


Chalkboard art gift label

**If you are new here and are visiting from The Ellen Show, we are glad you stopped by!  I hope you like what you see here.  Looking for the Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub Recipe that was shared on Ellen’s site?  You can find that by clicking on this link:  Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub!  You will find a full tutorial with step by step photos and instructions.   I also offer a free download for the fun labels!  Thanks for stopping by!

I was hoping to share this with you earlier,but it ended up being a “last minute” project.  With the events of the last weekend, I found myself wanting to distance myself from the computer and the internet…so this years Teacher Gifts sat undone.

Chalk Board Art Tags-07


I always like to give the kids teachers a practical gift that they will actually use.  I have made a few different versions of these unique and personalized Hand Sanitizer Bottles and this year was no exception.  The kids teachers have always “claimed” to love them so we continue to give them out.  I always add a fun gift card for the local Movie Theater or a Restaurant for them to enjoy, along with the Hand Sanitizer.

Chalk Board Art Tags cover

If you are new here, you might want to check out some of the other Hand Sanitizer Bottles I have shared:

Hand in Hand Sanitizer Bottle

Monogrammed Hand Sanitizer

Christmas Joy Hand Sanitizer

Thanksgiving Hand Sanitizer

Chalk Board Art Tags-09

This year I decided to show you an example of putting the label INSIDE the bottle, which is the same as I have done for all our past versions of this along with putting the label on the OUTSIDE of the bottle.  My personal preference is for the label to be on the inside, which is printed on a sheet of Transparency Paper (film).  And the label on the outside of the bottle is simply just printed on a laser printer onto some white cardstock.

Chalk Board Art Tags-13

For complete, step-by-step instructions, please refer to this hand sanitizer tutorial.  If you are going to make labels to go inside the bottle you will need to print onto your transparency with a laser printer.  This is a CRUCIAL step.  Every year I get emails from people who use an ink jet printer and wonder why their ink slides off into the bottle.

If you don’t have a Laser printer or copier, or your printer is not made to print on transparencies (check your owners manual), then you can simply have your local copy center print it onto a transparency for you.  They usually charge a small fee but in the scope of things, this turns out to be a very affordable gift!

Chalk Board Art Tags-15

I have provided you with a free download of this fun Chalkboard Art Christmas Label. Simply click on the link or the image below to download the labels for your own use. You will need to re-size the labels to fit into the bottles you end up using. I made them a bit larger so you could use larger bottles if you would like too. Just re-size the image in your printing program before printing.

I printed mine out so that the width measured 2.75 inches (if my memory serves me right).

 Merry&Bright Chalkboard Art Label

*If you are not a fan of The Idea Room on Facebook, you will need to click like first and become a fan. After you become a fan you will need to click on “Get your free gift” in the upper right hand corner of the Idea Room FB page and then click on “Previous Downloads”.

Merry and Bright

*As always please remember to link back to this post and send others here rather than sharing them on your own sites.  These are for your own personal use and are not for resale or redistribution.

Chalk Board Art Tags-01

I am really enjoying this trendy Chalkboard Art…so of course I had to put my own little twist on it.  Aren’t they so much fun?  And, if you don’t want to make the hand sanitizer bottles (or soap bottles) you can simply print these out and use them as a gift tag or frame it for your desk!

Holiday Projects with 3M

I was recently asked by 3M, the makers of Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape (Visit for more information. ), to come up with a fun and festive project using Scotch Blue Tape.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I LOVE glass jars.  Do you?  I love to use them around the house as part of your Christmas Decor and for all sorts of other things.  One can never have too many decorative jars.


So, I thought it would be fun to use some Scotch Blue Tape to dress up a couple of jars that I could then use as part of my Holiday Christmas Décor.  I wanted to make the jar fairly classic in design and color, so that I could use it year round for several different holidays and purposes.


I love how clean and simple the end product came out.  I can already see several ways to be able to use the jar.  Throw some a berry garland and some battery powered Christmas lights in the jar and set in the middle of a Pine Wreath to make a sparkly table centerpiece for your Holiday Table, or drop a candle inside (carefully) to create a festive mood in your home.  (I light my candle with a piece of spaghetti…true story!)

Painted Jars-02  Painted Jars-04

The jar was really easy to make.  I simply took a nice glass jar and then used some Scotch Blue Tape to mark off areas that I did not want to be covered with paint.  Be sure to thoroughly clean the jar so that the tape and paint stick.

Painted Jars-07  Painted Jars-08

Feel free to get creative here. Now, my personality likes clean and simple lines…but you could do a chevron pattern, plaid or skewed lines…or, punch some circles out of your tape with a round circle pattern and make polka-dots. You can also get creative with punch letters and other punch patterns.  There are so many ways you could use Scotch Blue Tape to dress up your jars.

Painted Jars-09  Painted Jars-10

Be sure to cover all areas of the jar you do not want to be painted. Then take your favorite spray paint and spray your jar. Frosted glass spray would also be fun to use to! Let your jar sit for a few minutes (till it is no longer tacky) but not fully dry and then remove the tape. If you remove the tape when the paint is still damp, the paint will not pull up off of the jar.




The possibilities are endless.  I want to make another jar and fill it up with some red and white Christmas Candy for me to eat use as decor.

Painted Jars-25

Another fun idea would be to pretty up some jars and gift them filled with some Holiday goodness.  This is such an easy way to add some festive fun to the Holidays.  Be sure to stop back by The Idea Room later this week for a free printable for some Oatmeal Cookies in a Jar!

Neighbor-gift-ideasscotchblue, scotchblue painter's tape, painter's tape Disclosure:  This post is a collaboration with ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape. To join the creative community, visit the ScotchBlue Facebook Page.

You can also find out more about Scotch Blue here:

ScotchBlue Facebook Page

ScotchBlue Tape’s Twitter Page

Red Velvet Swirl Pancakes

Do you serve a special breakfast for Christmas morning? Or do you fill up on your stocking stuffers and candy canes? Honestly, we tend do do a little bit of both.  I usually try to get around to making a late breakfast for my family.  Something that is a “little” bit healthier than Christmas Candy.  This year I think I am going to be making these Red Velvet Pancakes with a “candy cane” swirl.


I decided to glam up the traditional Red Velvet Pancakes and add a festive Holiday swirl.  I know Red Velvet is not for everyone…but these tasted pretty amazing.  My kids LOVED them.  And I love how pretty they are!


And here is the thing, I love eating a hot breakfast in the morning…but don’t always love getting up extra early in the morning to make it.  So I have a little trick that works pretty well for us.  I will make up a big batch of pancakes and then pop them into the freezer.


I put them into a Freezer Ziploc Baggie and separate each pancake with a small square of parchment or wax paper.  Then in the morning we pull them out and pop them into the toaster.  Bingo!  A quick…no mess…hot breakfast for the kids.  They also make great on the go snacks to.

Red Velvet Swirl Pancakes-17

I whipped up a quick and easy Vanilla Cream Cheese Syrup that was the perfect touch of sweetness to the Red Velvet Pancakes.  Or…top it with some whipped cream and some frozen raspberries!  Yum!

Red Velvet Swirl Pancakes-22

Here is the recipe:

Red Velvet Swirl Pancakes

Red Velvet Swirl Pancakes


  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 4 Tablespoon Butter, melted
  • red food coloring
  • Vanilla Cream Cheese Syrup
  • 3 Tablespoon Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ¼ to ½ cup milk


  1. Sift together dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add eggs, Buttermilk, and butter.
  3. Stir together, but don't over-mix. There will be a few lumps in your batter.
  4. Pull out about 1/2 cup of the batter and set aside in a squeeze bottle. This will be your white swirl batter.
  5. Add food coloring to the rest of the pancake batter.
  6. Let sit for about 10 minutes so the batter can rise a bit.
  7. Pour batter onto griddle and then take your white batter and squeeze a thin swirl onto the top of your pancake.
  8. Cook on medium to medium high heat until bubbles form on the top of your pancake.
  9. Flip and cook on the other side.
  10. To prevent your pancakes from browning and hiding your white swirl, the key is to cooking them slower over a lower heat.
  11. Mix together your syrup and add just enough milk to get the desired consistency for your syrup by adding a couple of Tablespoons of milk at a time.


Believe Sign

Hey guys! We have had a busy week around here.  My son is on the high school swim team and we are right in the middle of the swim season.  So my mom duties have pushed aside this blog thingy ;)…as it should!  But I found  some time to finally share with you this BELIEVE sign.  It, along with this Vintage Crate, are my favorite DIY Christmas decorations that I have made so far.


I actually bought this board over two years ago with the idea of this project in mind but I never actually found the time to get around to making it.  So it sat in my attic waiting patiently for me ;).  I picked the board up from my local Bennion Crafts and it was already this fabulous red color with the fun edging.


I cut out the word BELIEVE on my Silhouette CAMEO and then drew little circles where I wanted the Christmas lights to go.  Make sure they are evenly spaced to get the best overall look.  Take a hole punch and punch out the dots where the lights will be.

BELIEVE sign-25

*IMPORTANT–Be sure to count the number of lights you have on your string of Christmas lights.  You want to be sure you have enough lights for each hole.  AND…make sure that the lights will fit from one hole to the next.  There were a couple of spots that I had to skip a light so the wire was long enough to reach the next hole.  Does that make sense?  Check and double check.  And for best results it would be nice to make sure you have a few leftover lights and the end…just in case.  You can always hide those lights behind your finished sign.

BELIEVE sign-27

I traced the letters onto the wood and then painted the letters white.  I chose not to spray paint my sign since it was snowing the day I made it ;).  Then after the sign has dried, you can put your punched letter “stencil” on the board and use a pencil to mark where the holes should be drilled.

BELIEVE sign-29

Take a drill bit that is the same size of your Christmas lights and drill holes where each light will be.


Then comes the fun part…Place the lights so that the plug is on the end where you need it to be as far as where you will be plugging it in.  Then insert the lights into each hole.  You will want to use some duct tape to securely hold the light in place so that they don’t fall out of the hole.  My kids LOVED helping with this part.  You can see what a great job they did on the back of the sign!  But no worries, no one will be the wiser once the sign is turned around.


I LOVE how it turned out!  And I love it even more at night!  Don’t you just love this time of year?  I love Christmas lights and I love how cozy they make your home feel.


Grandma’s Fudge Recipe and {Kitchen Aid Giveaway}

I love the holidays for many reasons.  But I think the most compelling reason is the time we are able to spend with my family and friends making memories.  On a typical holiday, my family tends to gather together in the kitchen sharing our favorite memories and enjoying our favorite family recipes.

Mom 3

Christmas would not be the same without my Grandma’s Famous Fudge recipe.  My mom makes it every year and pulls it out for us to share on Christmas Eve.  It reminds me of my Grandmother and my childhood Christmases.  Do you have memories and recipes that have been in your family for generations?


Want to know how to make Grandma’s Fudge? You won’t regret it…but your hips may! {Isn’t my Grandma, holding my mother, the cutest?} Here is the recipe:

Grandma’s Fudge Recipe and {Kitchen Aid Giveaway}

Grandma’s Fudge Recipe and {Kitchen Aid Giveaway}


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 (12 oz.) can unsweetened evaporated milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 (7 oz.) bottles Marshmallow Creme
  • 2 1/2 (4.4 oz.) Hershey Bars (without nuts)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
  2. Stir in sugar, evaporated milk and salt.
  3. Boil on med. high heat for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.
  4. After 5 minutes, remove pan from heat..
  5. Immediately stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Continue stirring until the fudge becomes really hard to stir and is beginning to set.
  7. This may take several minutes.
  8. Spread into greased 9x13 inch pan.
  9. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  10. Store in an air tight container.

Today, I am teaming up with Just Ask! and Today’s Momma and we are giving away:

1 Kitchen Aid 5-qt. Artisan Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer

In addition, Just Ask! is getting the word out about Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer.  They are encouraging us women to just ask our family members about their health history as we are gathered together this year during the holidays.  This is actually something that hits close to home for me as I have a paternal grandmother and paternal aunt who are both Ovarian Cancer Survivors.  Just knowing this information gives me motivation to keep up on my annual health checks.  You can take this quick and simple quiz to see if you have an elevated hereditary risk for Breast and Ovarian Cancer.

There are several ways to enter and earn more entries for increasing your chances of winning this Kitchen Aid Mixer…

*You must enter the contest by completing the steps on The Idea Room Facebook Tab (liking our Facebook page, signing up with your email, sharing the giveaway on your Facebook page, liking Just Ask, and taking the quiz.)

**Giveaway ends 12/13/2012 at 11:59 MST. The winner will be chosen via and will be notified via email on 12/14/2012. The winner must respond by 12/15/2012  so the mixer can be shipped out before Christmas.

You might also want to check out Today’sMama for 10 more chances to win a KitchenAid (part of the blog tour) and to enter to win the Grand Prize!

The Grand Prize (enter over at Today’sMama):


1 KitchenAid 5-Qt Artisan Series Tilt-Head Stand mixer

4-pack of Kindle devices for the family – 2 Kindle Fire HD + 2 Kindle Paperwhites

$100 Amazon GIft Card

$50 Gift Card from Skip To My Lou’s “Sweet” Shop

17-piece KitchenAid Tool & Gadget Set

12-piece Wusthof Gourmet Knift Set with block

4 personalized aprons for family-time in the kitchen

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post on behalf of Just Ask! and Today’s Momma.  However all statements and opinions are my own.  You must be 18 years of age to enter.  Giveaway ends December 13, 2012 at 11:59 MST. The winner will be chosen via and will be notified via email on December 14, 2012. The winner must respond by December 15, 2012 so the mixer can be shipped out before Christmas.

Letter To Santa

Another one of our family traditions is to let the kids write a letter to Santa.  We usually just write it out on some plain lined school paper, but I thought it would be fun to come up with a more “official” looking Letter To Santa.


In our city, the post office has an “official” mailbox set aside for all the letters headed to Santa at the North Pole.  When the kids drop the letter off they get a candy cane from the post master.  Then a couple of weeks later, they get a letter delivered back to our house from one of Santa’s helpers.


The kids LOVE it!  I have heard that if you don’t have a post office that does this, you can still put a letter in the mailbox and it will make it’s way to the North Pole!

Santa-Letters 1-3

My kids got theirs all filled out.  Some had ONE very specific item they were wishing for…and a couple had a list that stretched out onto the back of the letter…OY!  Santa has strict instructions to be pretty conservative at our house this year since we took a big family trip back in October.


But the kids can always dream! :)

Want to print out some Santa Letters for your family?  Simply click on the image below for your free printable.
*As always please remember to send your friends and family back here to my site to get their own copies.  These are not intended for resale or redistribution and should be for personal use only.  If you have any question as to how you may use these, please feel free to drop me an email and ask.


our sponsors: