DIY Pocket Handwarmers

DIY Handwarmers | The Urban Pig

Yeah, yeah, another month has passed by since my last post. But you know what? I have really been getting focused for the new year trying to accomplish some projects which have been laying around for far too long. I have talked about them before — my genealogy research/book and my cookbook! Connor has been helping me a lot too, and we are making some serious progress! It has felt really great and I feel like so far the New Year has been treating me well. Along with these big projects of mine, I have a whole box full of small crafts I have wanted to get around to as well. One of them was finishing my re-usable handwarmers. I bought the fabric for them quite a long time ago, and I wanted to finish them before winter was over! I found this idea on Pinterest and just thought it was really handy, and not as wasteful as the disposable ones. I already made my own rice bag for muscles aches and cramps, and these handwarmers are basically the same concept, but small enough to fit in your pockets to keep your hands warm on those bitter-cold days. It took me less than an hour to do!

I started by cutting down my fabric into rectangles. I folded them in half (one less side to sew), and I made sure to do this so when I sewed it, it would be inside out. (It looks nicer and leaves a cleaner seam when you pull the fabric out the right way). I then stitched the remaining three sides, leaving a small gap so I could fill them with the rice.

DIY Handwarmers | The Urban Pig

DIY Handwarmers | The Urban Pig

DIY Handwarmers | The Urban Pig

DIY Handwarmers | The Urban Pig

^^ I then had to pull the fabric through the small hole so it would no longer be inside out. It then looked like this (notice the little wing on the top right? it is the hole to put the rice through):

DIY Handwarmers | The Urban Pig

DIY Handwarmers | The Urban Pig

^^ All full of rice and now ready to stitch up the hole!DIY Handwarmers | The Urban Pig

^^ And finally, complete! I made two sets, a pair for Connor and a pair for me!

To use, just throw in the microwave for a minute or two. I have found with my rice bag that if I do it for a shorter amount of time, it feels hot at first but quickly releases the heat. If I warm it for a bit longer, it holds the heat for much, much longer (although it is way too hot in the beginning!). Test out times to see what works best for you. Enjoy, and stay warm out there!

A New Beginning

A New Beginning | The Urban Pig

Happy New Year! Is it really 2014? I think it is true that time flies as you get older, or maybe it is just slow when you are young. 2014 will mark five years since I have graduated high school, two years since Connor and I have been married, and one year since graduating college and moving to Colorado. That is crazy to me, especially because all of these things feel like they happened just yesterday.

There is always something exhilarating about the new year. Perhaps it is because when we feel like time is flying and we find ourselves reminiscing over memories from the past, we realize the new year is the gateway to the future. A new beginning, a fresh start, clean slate, and a refreshing opportunity to make the changes you are dreaming of. Even if those changes are things you have wanted for a while, or tried once before and maybe even failed. The new year has a way of erasing those negative thoughts from your head and giving you the courage to try again. To me, that is what makes the new year so special.

The new year also comes at a special time. When everything is frozen outside, the new year brings a spark of warmth and hope. Wishing you a happy new year, and hoping you will find your spark to make it a good one!

Countdown to Christmas

The Urban PigSome days it feels like winter is here, and some days it feels like Spring. The weather has been soo nice, and Connor and I are fighting back to keep the Christmas spirit alive. We have been doing little things, like wandering the malls to look at lights. Last weekend, we went to a mall nearby for the first time, because we heard of an ice rink they had. Although we weren’t prepared to go skating, we had fun watching the little kids go around the rink. The mall was fully decorated with lights, and even had a large outdoor fireplace to keep our noses warm. It was a great place.

We have also been continuing to decorate here and there, as well as watch lots of Christmas movies while drinking hot cocoa. And of course, plenty of shopping and work to be done around here to get our home set up for my parents to visit in a week. So excited for them to see our house!

The Urban Pig

Last, enjoying the winter sunrises as we commute to work each morning. They are absolutely beautiful, and every morning, I find myself telling Connor to hurry and take a picture. It comes and goes quickly.

The Urban Pig

The Urban Pig

I hope you have a fantastic week while the countdown to Christmas continues!

DIY Christmas Ornaments (And Other Classy Decor Ideas)

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

It took me a while before I finally realized this is the second Christmas Connor and I have had together in a place of our own (last year at our apartment while I was in school), but it will be the first Christmas where we actually have a tree and some decent decorations! I am not a big fan of all the crazy, and often times cheesy, decor for the holidays. I wanted ours to be special and unique, which is why I decided to make our own ornaments for the tree. We were at the craft store when I found some fabric ribbon that had a sort of vintage stamped appearance. I fell in love with them and luckily they were on sale because we bought like 20 spools. It was more than enough to cover all of our ornaments and fill the tree. Today, I am sharing some of the pictures from the long, tedious process of gluing fabric to ornaments, but all the while being patient to get a unique, “rustic-glam” Christmas tree.

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

For those of you wanting to do this project, consider waiting for a sale or after-Christmas clearance on ornaments. You can even buy the ugliest ones in the store, because you are just going to cover them up anyway. We got clear glass ones because they were on sale, and we wanted to keep a few unwrapped so we could still get some sparkle on our tree. They didn’t come with ornament hooks, so we made our own out of hemp/twine, which seemed to work better than hooks, anyway.

A few tips: Find a ribbon that is very flexible (don’t use ribbon with wire inside — we tried and it made it bulky). We used a hot glue gun and made sure to get all the edges glued down. Glue your ribbon starting from the cap of the ornament, wrapped around, and ending at the other side of the cap. Make a cross on the bottom, then work your way through the in-between areas. We used 6 pieces for each ornament, the length will vary depending on your ornament size. We thought the standard size was perfect, but make sure to get a smooth ornament (not textured or oddly shaped).

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

Hang with care, and enjoy! Want to see more of my favorite  holiday decoration projects? Check out this pinecone garland, burlap and lace tree skirt, stick monogram, and simple hanging wreaths. You better believe that I have done, or plan on doing, most of these!

Kicking off Winter with Advent Activities

advent

[photo and diy advent via oh happy day]

Today, what they are calling a “Siberian arctic cold front” is moving into town and staying for longer than it is welcome. Temperatures are dropping to under 15 degrees and even into the negatives! Winter is definitely on it’s way. This last weekend Connor and I started putting up Christmas decorations and making some of our own decor, which I will share  throughout the month as we complete them. But today, I wanted to share a list that my friend and I came up with, along with activities we compiled from around the web, looking for ideas for winter activities. I hope to make an advent calendar, but that might be a project for next Christmas. Either way, I know advent calendars are popular and it is tough to come up with ideas, so I wanted to share. Even if you aren’t into advent calendars, they are great occasional activities to get you and your family into the holiday spirit! It’s never too late to start the list!

Make a snowman

Take a drive to look at Christmas lights

Visit Santa Claus

Write a letter to Santa

Go ice skating

Bake a treat and give them to a friend

Mail Christmas cards

Take Christmas photos in the snow

Have an evening by the fire

Drink hot cocoa

Watch a favorite Christmas movie, or two!

Host a Christmas Sweater party

Make a gingerbread house and decorate it

Read a Christmas story

Plan a service activity

Sing or listen to favorite Christmas songs

Make cookies and reindeer food for Santa’s visit

Decorate the Christmas tree

Arrange Christmas decorations

Have a slumber party next to the Christmas tree

Gather up old toys to donate

Go sledding

Make homemade caramel corn

Make homemade ornaments that represent your child’s age

Cut out paper snowflakes

Go snowshoeing

Go skiing

Go Christmas present shopping

Help little ones wrap their special presents

Make red and green play dough

Write a list of five to ten things you are thankful for

Go for a walk in the snow

Have a snowball fight

Make snow angels

Make an igloo or snow fort

Watch the snow fall

Have a big breakfast with favorite foods

See the nutcracker ballet

Have a family game night

Pull out old coats and donate them to local coat drive

Shovel the snow for the neighbors

Make gingerbread men cookies and decorate

Go on a train ride

Stay in a mountain cabin for a night

Have a fondue night

Celebrate another religious or cultural holiday by trying new foods, learning songs, etc.

Sing Christmas carols

Go to the library and pick out Christmas books to read

Attend a local lighting festival or holiday concert

Read the Christmas story from the bible (Luke 1:26-2:40)

Hang stockings by the fire

Paint wrapping paper to wrap gifts

Play Christmas bingo

Make a wreath for the front door

Decorate your room with Christmas lights

Write “nice notes” for your family members and put them by their pillows

Have a bake day — bake all of your favorite treats, share with friends and family

Hang the mistletoe in a special spot!

Buy a candle or two in a warm, holiday scent.

Time to program your radio with a holiday music station! Listen to it on your commute.

Have a candle-lit holiday feast with your favorite foods and friends.

Go to a shopping center, grab a snack and warm drink, and people-watch during the holiday bustle.

Do a random act of kindness for someone you know, or even better, someone you don’t know!

I love ideas for the service activities, especially around the holidays. Today, as the radio announcers talk about the quickly filling up homeless shelters before the winter freeze, I think of the many people without a warm place to stay. I am always inspired by my grandma who lives in Seattle, and knits gloves, hats, and scarves and takes them to the homeless. There is always something we can do, and even the smallest acts of kindness can mean so much to someone in need.

What is your favorite holiday tradition or activity? I would love to keep this list going, so please share!

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