Top Ten Tips: How to say I Love You

Contributor post by Amy of BeadsAndThreadsbyAmy

Valentine’s Day is the perfect way to share your “I Love You’s” with all of those you truly care about.  Our Christmas in July Team on Etsy share some ways to extend that I Love You into the rest of the year.

10) My daughter loves the jewelry I make. A jewelry gift is always a way to show someone they are special. Place it in a beautiful box with a handmade card or note. We always think of red, but it can be a color she loves. My daughter loves purple. –candy frizzell from TrueEarthDesigns

9) My husband and I have been together for over 30 years, and my top tip would be don’t forget “special occasions” like Valentine’s day. It actually becomes more important, as the years together grow longer, to show you’ve made an effort to pick out a gift just for your sweetheart!  – Valerie Brown from FirepanJewellery

8) I believe we should show others we care for them EVERYDAY!! I love putting together gift baskets for my loved ones. The items don’t have to be expensive, just thoughtful. For example, manicure supplies, DVDs with popcorn and candle or a nice book, assorted teas and a nice sturdy mug. Thoughtful always trumps expensive. –Jo Ann’s Angels from JoAnnsAngels
7) For me loving someone is all about surprise. Making life fun by making gifts all the more because there is no official occasion. –oppning from oppning
6) I believe in telling those that you love that “you love them”. I have always lived what I believe but I do understand that many have a hard time doing just that. I have created a send a heart in a cascade of fabrics that can be sent for any occasion. It can be scented and mailed to the person you want to send a message to. –Myrna Neal from ShopOfCraftsByMyrna
5) I want to give EVERYONE handmade gifts, but realistically, that doesn’t always happen. For teachers, sisters, mom, I like making zipper pouches. They’re useful and can’t have enough of them. I also give animal pillows to adults as well as kids. They’re kind of a nice travel size and still fit in my useful/handmade category. Happy Valentine’s Day! –Lucy from MyFunnyBuddy
4)  I am a giver so I think the best way is to tell someone you love him with words, hugs and kisses, my husband and my daughter at least they appreciate it. For all the other parts of my life, a handmade gift is my way to saw them that I love them, a piece of me!  Happy Valentines day to everyone!! –Ifigeneia tsiltikli from fifirixtra
3) The sweetest thing I’ve heard at a craft show was about these mini book necklaces. A man bought one and was going to write something on each page that he loved about his wife. He planned on giving it to her as a special token, filled with his words of love! Aw!!! So sweet! –Carolyn Eady from SproutsPressDesigns
2) I love to give gifts to the one’s I love to show them I care. A gift doesn’t have to cost a lot either. One year my husband gave me coupons to redeem and it is such a fun, romantic, and inexpensive gift you can give. I chose to create a card for Valentine’s Day that includes coupons to give to a special someone. –Sarah Johnson from BellaBoutique23
1) I’m married for many years and in this kind of relations often wife and husband take everything for granted.

I think it would be very nice to me to be invited by my husband go visiting one of the beautiful Italian towns: Naples, Venice, Rome, just like tourists!  Will it occur?  Perhaps if I show him my last Valentine’s Day decor, he will understand! –Lia Russo from Ghirlandiamo

Alas, our Ten Tips is at an end.  How better to say “I Love You” than a poem…

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

….and a few gifts from our Top Ten Contributors and other members of our CIJ Family.

To shop for any of these stunning, thoughtful gifts, just click on the collection!  Happy Valentine's Day from the Christmas in July Team!

To shop for any of these stunning, thoughtful gifts, just click on the collection! Happy Valentine’s Day from the Christmas in July Team!

Top Ten Tips: Handmade Gifts Under $10

Contributor post by Amy of BeadsAndThreadsbyAmy

Looking for that perfect little something for someone special this Christmas.  Needing the perfect “Thank You” gift for a teacher, mailman, or beautician?  Look no further than the Christmas in July team to give you stunning, handmade gifts with a small price tag.  Simply click on the collection to be swept into our CIJ World of Wonder this holiday season.

Click on this lovely collection to be swept into the shopping world of Etsy.  Read the item's stories below to make shopping even more memorable this Holiday Season!  Season's Greetings from the Christmas In July Team!

Click on this lovely collection to be swept into the shopping world of Etsy. Read the item’s stories below to make shopping even more memorable this Holiday Season! Season’s Greetings from the Christmas In July Team!

10) charlene c from CeeCeeandBee says

I’ve chosen my Simplee Irresistible Luxe Body Soap in Rosemary Mint. This handmade soap is minty to the max made with extra strong peppermint tea and essential oils combined with Rosemary for a bit of an herbal punch. Great gift for the mint lover in your life!

9) Jennifer from DtailsULike says

Delicate holiday earrings made for the petite woman or a minimalist lover. They are also hypoallergenic. It can be a great secret Santa gift for teen, teacher, co worker or a family member.

8) Sherry from treasuresRtimeless says

Most everyone little girl loves pink! This vintage jewelry box has been restored with just a few pink touches. It is a wonderful idea to help organize a young girls jewelry!

7) Nautico Creations from NauticoCreations says

 This set of three Santa ornaments was created because I wanted to have something in my shop that anyone could afford for the holidays. I love homemade gifts and these just bring a smile to my face. Hopefully they will find their way into someone’s home.
6) Cindy R from PlethoraGifts says

These owl earrings have been one of my most popular items! I started making them because they are my oldest daughter’s favorite animal. Not only are owls a popular owl in fashion and home decor, but they’re absolutely adorable. Perfect for a teenager or young women who likes fun accessories with a bit of personality!
5) Bhanumathy Sankaran from SunMoonJewels says

This sun catcher or  tree ornament is a perfect gift for anybody. After X mas you can hang it on a window to brighten up the room.

4) Bee Macneil and Caroline Pinnington from PaintedSongbird says

This cute little blackboard is great for a kids room. This duck egg paint is perfect for any room so even grown ups can use it for leaving notes or reminders. Leave a message for Santa or practice your homework. Its uses are endless. Such great value and a really durable gift. All of our blackboards have been upcycled from unwanted picture frames so they have been given a new lease of life.
3) Jessi K from WillowandQuail says

I love the “saltbox” house design of the brick, east coast houses. They just remind me of coooold, cozy winters! Plus they have so much history, and living out here on the west coast, we just don’t have the same kind of historic houses that have been up for so long!
2) Ifigeneia tsiltikli from fifirixtra says

I made these tree ornaments as a tribute to my daughter who loves pink, the white-red is for my husband!  This year my Nsyfsika is almost 2 and she understands everything, so I want to make this Chrismas unforgetable for her, starting from now!
The price is for 2 candy bars and it a great gift for everyone because it can be made in so many colors… You can use it not only as a tree ornament, but also as Christmas spirit at your presents this year!
1) And our Top Tip is a Tie!

A Christmas Tree Ornament is a perfect Hostess gift, gift exchange, stocking stuffer, or to tie on a Christmas present. This particular ornament is a vintage decoupage one!

Key chains and key rings make great little gifts for that woman you need to buy a gift for but just aren’t sure. They don’t have a size or need to match anything in particular and can just be fun! Great idea for co-workers, teachers or the office grab bag or, as we say around here, “Yankee Swap”!

Top Ten Tips: Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

Contributor post by Amy of BeadsAndThreadsbyAmy

Nothing stretches the wallet quite like the stretch from Halloween to New Years Eve.  Don’t let that be daunting…the CIJ team to the rescue!  Our members share their Top Ten Tips for saving money while entertaining those you hold dear this Holiday Season.

10) Wezz from cyberwezz says

 I really like all the little tiny lights at Christmas! Since candles are not always the safest to use, especially with little ones around, you can get these tiny lights for very cheap and they make a world of difference in the season feel of your decorations.

One of my favs is to take a large glass vase (I love the tube style or square/rectangular ones) and fill it with christmassy stuff: use baubles, pine cones, holly, whatever, and wrap those tiny lights around. I also like to wrap them around a bunch of holly branches and other greens from the garden. You can even find these lights in small sets of 10 or 20 lights with batteries, which I so love to put a decoration like this in the middle of the table.
oh, and put a bunch of cloves in a fresh orange and enjoy the smell!

9) Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio says

 A Thanksgiving ice breaker or way to pass the time while the turkey is basting:

Cut out large leaves of various shapes and colors. Have guests write what they are thankful for one one side of each leaf. Then gather them up and before the meal or during dessert, read the leaves out loud. We have a large basket of “Thanksgiving leaves” that we have saved up over the years and add to every year. We still love reading them.

8) Marjorie Scenna from mscenna says

Hosting a tree trimming party is lots of fun and a great way to show off your ornaments to your friends and family. Making ornaments from recycled materials such as buttons and beads, or nature materials such as pinecones or acorns, is fun and can be a great activity idea for children or adults! I love to make my own ornaments.

7) Sue and Misty from shabbyshopgirls says

A fun way to entertain with vintage items this Christmas Holiday is to set up a beverage station with vintage paper goods, cocktail napkins and coasters.

6) Another tip from Lia Russo from Ghirlandiamo

A very easy way to decorate and let kids helping is this:
From a felt red piece and from a white one, cut the different parts of Santa Klaus dress ( pants, jacket, bell, and so on).
But previously design them on a piece of paper.
Then glue all the pieces on a rope, like Santa Klaus’ laundry.

5) Kelly from ColourscapeStudios says

In Australia,  Christmas happens right in the middle of summer, so while we can dream of a white Christmas, it’s usually around 100F!  Christmas on a budget is a simple thing here, collecting shells, driftwood and the like, adding a bit of tinsel and the all important bonbons to the table and it’s a gorgeous Aussie Christmas!

4) Nautico Creations from NauticoCreations says

 One of my favorite things for a party is to have a small gift for guests to take home so they remember the party. I have had a tiny ornament for years that was given to me by a friend at their party. Ornaments are inexpensive to make or buy and make a nice keepsake. Handing them out is a great way to end the evening.

3) jennifer mccarthy from artsix says

I love incorporating vintage and new decor,especially for the holidays. Vintage items make great gifts, too!

2) Courtney from courtneyannabanana says

My favorite easy finger food for the holidays are meat and cream cheese roll ups! The kids can even help make them. Purchase large tortillas (I like the spinach and tomato ones), spread cream cheese thinly over them, roll up an entire pickle wrapped in a slice of lunch meat, slice, insert a toothpick to hold in place and eat! They can be layed out in cute shapes or stacked to make a tree! Always a crowd pleaser in my home!
And a tie for Tip Number One….
1) Rose LAbbate from rosepetalsjewelry says

A real crowd pleaser. Savoy saltine crackers.

Tip. 1 pk savoy saltine seasoning. 4 slevers saltine crackers ( I use the mini ones.1 box), 1 c canola oil, (1) 2 gal. zip lock. Mix oil and seasoning to bag. Mix well, add crackers toss until seasoning is absorbed. Let rest overnight.

Susan Fowler from SSFDesigns says

 My tip for entertaining on a budget for decorations and arragments I take evergreens, pinecones, sticks, berries and holly things I can find outside in the yard and spray them with fake snow, put them into fun ontainers.  This gives the house a festive feel without spending too much.
Visit these shops for great deals on Holiday Entertaining!  Just click on the image to be taken to the world of Etsy!

Visit these shops for great deals on Holiday Entertaining! Just click on the image to be taken to the world of Etsy!

Top Tips for Cooking Light (Even during the Holidays)

Contributor post by Amy of BeadsAndThreadsbyAmy

The Holidays are all about indulgence, opulence, and spending time with the ones you love.  Our Team has come together to offer you suggestions for shaving off a few calories so that indulgence doesn’t go all to our hips!

1) Tisha from quiltytherapy says

 In an effort to get more fiber and heart healthy fats into our diet we almost always have avocado on Taco Tuesdays. We sub out the sour cream and cheese and use avocado to provide that creamy texture. We don’t miss the salt and excess fat.  Make sure to have napkins handy on Taco Tuesday, it can get really messy.
Napkins for Taco Night!

Napkins for Taco Night!

2) Angie from SucculentBathAndBody says

 Each year we have a large garden, and that alone inspires healthier eating with fresh veggies grown in our own soil, not over-farmed land depleted of minerals. It starts in the spring with homegrown lettuce for salads, and continues into late summer with tomatoes and peppers. I love to combine a 15 oz. can of chickpeas with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and a little onion for a quick salad that is low in calories and high in protein, vitamins and minerals. Simply dress the salad with 4 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar and salt & pepper to taste. And, if you like to garden (or just know that fall yard and garden clean-up are coming up soon), you’ll need Succulent Bath & Body’s “Johna’s Garden” gardener’s soap, made with organic essential oils, activated charcoal for extra cleaning power, and magnesium-rich Epsom salts for scrubbing.
Great idea for gardeners!

Great idea for gardeners!

3) Sandra crochet from Ankleknits says

 I was born in Europe. And when I was a child we had our own fruit and vegetable garden, so my mom always used fresh produce from garden all year long. And now I have 3 children and I am growing my own vegetables and strawberries so my kids would know how they grow and tastes. We often drink peppermint tea from our little garden and I always use coasters under the tea cups.
Coasters under healthy tea is a great idea for those cold winter evenings!

Coasters under healthy tea is a great idea for those cold winter evenings!

4) Elizabeth Wellburn from ElizabethLovesGlass says
A “build it yourself” salad is always fun and healthy at family gatherings. A big bowl of greens, then smaller dishes of sliced tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, etc. so guests can choose what they want. We tend to keep the dressings simple – often just a pair of shaker bottles for oil and balsamic vinegar. Goes with almost any meal!These crystal serving utensils could be a great part of such a mini salad bar.
Salad Bars are a great idea for holiday gatherings!

Salad Bars are a great idea for holiday gatherings!

5) Angie Fitzpatrick from CraftyMom75 says

 WE love pureeing and “hiding” veggies in our meals so our little guys will eat their veggies. For example, pumpkin puree blends magically into spaghetti sauce and no one knows it! Plus, always have a great helper to keep you on your toes!
Nothing says cooking like potholders!

Nothing says cooking like potholders!

6) Kelly from ColourscapeStudios says

Growing my own herbs and veg has become one of the smartest things I decided to do. I have pots full of goodness, ranging from basil to strawberries, red onions to thyme! Our two year old thinks it’s awesome that we can go into the backyard and pick our food, and it’s really made her more interested in eating more, so it’s a win/win!
Great gift for the chef with everything!

Great gift for the chef with everything!

7) Megha Silvano from byTheArtBug says

Instead of buying ready-made Jams from the store why not make your own!

This way you can control and know the ingredients that go in. Here is a simple 3 ingredient home-made Strawberry Jam Recipe.
Ingredients:
1 Cup chopped Strawberries.
3/4 Cup Sugar.(or you can add more if needed)
1 Tsp Lemon Juice.
*both sugar and lemon juice act as natural preservatives.

Method:
Mix everything together and cook in a non stick pan till the mixture thickens and leaves the edges of the pan.
Cool and Store in an airtight glass container and refrigerate.
It would be good for 2-3 months. (Unless you like eating spoonfuls like me)

Warm jam and biscuits on Christmas morning sounds just lovely!

Warm jam and biscuits on Christmas morning sounds just lovely!

8) Amy Spock from BeadsandThreadsbyAmy says

I love substituting oil or butter in cookie recipes with applesauce. My husband loves my applesauce raisin oatmeal cookies made this way. It takes some playing around with the amount, but it is well worth the effort! Any time I bake, I love my apron! Saves me laundry and stains on my clothes, and wearing it always reminds me of my grandmother.

Aprons are great holiday gifts for the health-conscious chef.

Aprons are great holiday gifts for the health-conscious chef.

Top Ten Tips for Busy Moms

Contributor post by Amy of BeadsAndThreadsbyAmy

Welcome to our first “Top Ten Tips” blog entry! Each month, we will offer our readers ten tips and products to make a task easier, less expensive, or just more fun. This month’s Top Ten Tips is for all busy moms. We hope you walk away with some tips and products to save time and money and really maximize your time with your kids.

10) Sherry from treasuresRtimeless says “Get Organized”

School time is now upon us and mom’s will even be busier than before! They will have all those wonderful “after school activities ” to do, adding an even more hectic schedule! I thought perhaps, this listing article that I am presenting to you could be used two fold to help a busy mom get organized!

This wonderful lazy susan can be used as a quick supper station! The compartments can handle a quick supper before or after a school function. It could also be used to organize, keys, kids usv drives for school, pens, pencils, notes that needs to be returned to school, almost anything, just a little imagination is all that is needed! What do you think?

Get organized with this lovely Lazy Susan.  Add fun to a Taco Dinner or organize all those Back to School supplies.

Get organized with this lovely Lazy Susan. Add fun to a Taco Dinner or organize all those Back to School supplies.

 

9) UnexpectedTreasure says “Keep it Simple”

I think this 3-piece accessory set is perfect for the busy mom on the go. Key chain coin purse wristlet can replace a large purse or handbag so mom can carry just the essentials few folded dollar bills or twenties along with her credit cards or ATM cards.

Fill up the business card holder with your cards and have them at the ready to pass out to prospective customers.

The tea wallet carries four tea bags, sweetener and lemon juice. All mom needs to do is add the cup and hot water! She can sip a nice soothing beverage while she waits for the kids to come out the school building.

This three piece accessory kit has so many uses... First Aid Kit, Snack, or organization.  Great for a mom on the go!

This three piece accessory kit has so many uses… First Aid Kit, Snack, or organization. Great for a mom on the go!

8)  Jennifer Loftfield from CaffeinatedPapercuts says “Keep your memories close”.

For those of us who are crafty moms trying to fit in some scrapbooking time during naps or when the kiddos are at school, I’m busy playing “catch up” by using scrapbook layout kits! I can get one done in about an hour, so not only did I accomplish something crafty and fun but also relaxing.

Keep all those photos organized and turn them into a family keepsake with this adorable scrapbook page!

Keep all those photos organized and turn them into a family keepsake with this adorable scrapbook page!

7) Bar Shiff from kukiness says”Keep the Diaper Bag fully stocked and organized”.

 This stylish and functional accessory is the perfect solution for parents who are tired of losing pacifiers at the depth of their diaper bag.
This adorable pouch is perfect for keeping your baby's pacifier clean and easy to find in the diaper bag.

This adorable pouch is perfect for keeping your baby’s pacifier clean and easy to find in the diaper bag.

6) Rachel Palmer from 910woolgathering says “Take a little time for yourself…and when you can’t: Wear a hat!”

 My favorite time saver when I am on the go and in a hurry, a hat. Look good with out having to fuss with your hair. No one will ever know you didn’t take time to fix it . Just tuck it up or quick pony tails, and you look perfectly polished.
Pull your hair up under this darling hat for a great look when you are in a hurry to get the kids!

Pull your hair up under this darling hat for a great look when you are in a hurry to get the kids!

5)  Kelly from ColourscapeStudios says “Always be Thankful…no matter how busy you are”.

 As Mum’s/Mom’s, we’re all running around crazy and frantic getting everything sorted, people to places, meals cooked, the endless mountain of washing… and we sometimes forget to just sit down with our kids and just watch/play and interact. I have this print on my wall at home near my front door as a reminder each day to think of something I’m thankful of, and a lot of the time it ends up revolving around my daughter.
Lovely sign to remember to be thankful for the love and laughter in our life no matter how hectic our life becomes.

Lovely sign to remember to be thankful for the love and laughter in our life no matter how hectic our life becomes.

4) charlene c from CeeCeeandBee says “Always remember…wash your hands!”

 Back to school, or starting school for the first time… means coming home with germs and getting sick. I should know, I’m a single mom of two elementary school aged kids! Make sure everyone washes their hands when they get home – and all the other regular times.

I’ve made this non-toxic hand soap perfect for killing germs and bacteria without any of the crazy chemicals in other products. Stay well my friends!

Be sure to keep germs at bay so you can give your best to the people who depend on you.

Be sure to keep germs at bay so you can give your best to the people who depend on you.

3) Sheila and Shannon from BeadyEyedBird says “Always remember…you are beautiful, too”.

 I think Mom’s on the go need a little magic in their lives (what this cool star Quartz crystal pendulum represents). Just something in their pocket to remind them remember to stay calm and hug the kids, because nothing else matters more.
A magical pendant to remind you how special you are to everyone around you.

A magical pendant to remind you how special you are to everyone around you.

2) Ifigeneia tsiltikli from fifirixtra says “Always remember the baby wipes”.

My tip ( as a new mam) is to have ALWAYS in your bag baby wipes! You can use all the time to clean any kind of mess that a baby can make! In my house i have 1 pack in every room!!!!

Keep your daughter's hairclips (or your clothespins) organized with this adorable holder.

Keep your daughter’s hairclips (or your clothespins) organized with this adorable holder.

1) Angie Fitzpatrick from CraftyMom75 says “Stay on track with an organized calendar and some treats for the toddler”.

Keep one calendar with separate colors of ink for each person to keep items all in one place.

Also, keeping a few small treats with you while running errands always can keep a toddler calm. Dollar store toys, crayons, goldfish all work well!

Keep goodies, toys, or other small items organized and within easy reach with this zipper bag.

Keep goodies, toys, or other small items organized and within easy reach with this zipper bag.

We look forward to more Top Ten Tips articles with advice and time savers from our Christmas in July Team.  Thank you, Busy Mom, for taking the time out of your day to read our Tips for You!