The Pin Junkie: November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!  We're hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year and I'll be cooking for eight.  We're having the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn bread dressing, homemade rolls, and one of my all time favorites - green bean casserole!  People seem to have very strong opinions about green bean casserole.  They either love it or hate it.  I love it and I think it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it!  For desert I'm also making two recipes I found last year on Pinterest:

chocolate cream pie

It sounds terrible, but it's really good!
low fat pumpkin pie

While I'm cooking in the kitchen, I'll be spending the day with family and thinking of all the things I'm thankful for.  I'm so thankful to you for reading this blog and I'm thankful for all the supportive comments!  I'd like to  wish you a very happy Thanksgiving full of good food, good company, and thankful hearts!

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday
small business Saturday

Do you start your holiday shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving?  November 30th is Small Business Saturday and it's all about supporting small businesses.  It's a great way to do some holiday shopping and support small business owners.  This weekend, instead of shopping at big box stores and fighting the crowds at large retailers, think about shopping at locally and independently owned stores in your neighborhood.  I've found that it's often easier to find unique and personalized gifts at small, individually owned shops.  You can also support small business owners online.  Cheryl of Hooked on Crochet Mom has been crocheting for thirty years and has some really cute and affordable items in her Etsy store that would make great gifts.  Here are some things that caught my eye:

crocheted headband ear warmer

crocheted ruffle scarf
ruffled scarf

crocheted owl boot cuffs
 owl boot cuffs

Cheryl is giving one lucky reader this beautiful beige 
circle infinity scarf that will go with just about anything!
crocheted infinity scarf

Soft and cozy, this versatile scarf can be worn as an accessory scarf or a snugly cowl to keep you warm.  You can also fold it over and wear it as a hood over your head to keep your ears warm and also wear it as a cowl at the same time.  Add your own jewelry for any occasion.

 Enter below.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to stop by Cheryl's Etsy store Hooked On Crochet Mom
Hooked On Crochet Mom

Tips For Sending The Best Christmas Letter Ever!

Christmas Letter Tips This post contains affiliate links. 

Tips for sending the best Christmas letter EVER!

Do you write an annual Christmas letter or send Christmas cards?  I know that for some people, writing a family Christmas letter feels like a chore and others feel like sending a letter at Christmas is just too old fashioned especially with the use of social media and instant updates.  However, I LOVE sending and receiving Christmas letters and cards!  I've even kept many of the Christmas cards and letters that I've received from family and friends from Christmases past.  Whether you're new to sending Christmas letters or are looking for ways to rejuvenate that same old Christmas letter that goes out every year, here are some tips for sending memorable Christmas letters and cards.

Tips for letters

1.  Take the pressure off of yourself to send the perfect card and letter.  It doesn't have to be fancy or elaborate.  The receiver will appreciate that you thought of them.

2.  Edit, edit, edit!  It's not necessary to mention every single thing you and your family did during the year.  Stick to the highlights, otherwise your letter will sound more like a list or a monologue.  Keep the letter to one page and highlight the main points of the year rather than giving detailed accounts.  Edit your letter for correct spelling and grammar.  Have someone else read it if needed.

3.  Keep it positive.  Keep things light and fun.  Avoid mentioning sensitive topics such as political views.  (Yes, I've received Christmas letters that have included political views and opinions!)

4.  Avoid cliches like "This year has certainly flown by!" or "I can't believe it's this time of year already!" 

5.  Don't use a small or very elaborate font and don't try to squeeze everything onto one page.  Doing so makes the letter difficult to read.  Use an easy to read font in size 12, certainly no smaller than size 10 and edit your letter so that it fits comfortably on one page without being too wordy.

6.  If your letter still has a lot of text, break up the text with pictures.  Use pictures sparingly and make them big enough to see.

This format works well when you want to 
highlight individual family members. 
Tips for sending the best Christmas letter EVER!

7. Be creative with the style of your letter.  Make it look like a real newsletter by creating a title, headlines, and articles about things that have happened during the year.

This format works well if you want to 
highlight specific events.
Tips for sending the best Christmas letter EVER!

8.  Think outside the box.  Your letter doesn't have to be a letter at all.  One of my favorite letters I sent one year was a multiple choice quiz about our family for that year with questions on one side and answers on the back.  You could also do a list format such as "Top Ten Places Traveled" or "Top Ten Best Moments of the Year."  Consider writing from a different perspective.  How would your pet or a new baby describe the year?

9. If writing just isn't your thing, send a few well chosen pictures with a short caption under each one.  You could also send a poem.  Here's one of my favorite Christmas poems:

Tips for sending the best Christmas letter EVER!

10.  Be sure to sign your letter to add a personal touch.

Tips for cards

1. Sending a personalized Christmas card can enhance your letter.  Consider personalizing your card with a favorite travel or family photo.

2.  When taking a family photo, you don't have to spend a lot of time or money on pictures taken at a professional photographer's studio.  You can take pictures of your family at home.  If you have a friend who's good at photography, ask them to help you out.  You can also use favorite pictures that were taken during the year.

3.  Use your pictures to customize your holiday cards at CafePress.  CafePress makes it really easy to send unique and personalized holiday cards. Quickly and easily change color theme, event info and photos on thousands of holiday invitations! Only at CafePress.  Not only does CafePress have custom Christmas cards, they also have party invitations and custom Christmas invitations.  Be sure to check out their personalized gifts that make great holiday presents!

CafePress wants to give one lucky winner a $30.00 gift certificate to spend on  holiday invitations, birthday invitations or anything in their store or on something unique that you design.  Enter below to win.  Winner will be announced in one week.  Good luck!

Make Unique Products by Designing Your Own at!

Friday Link Party #44

Welcome to The Pin Junkie!  
 I'm on a mission to do the things I pin on Pinterest and try something new every day!
 I'm so glad you're here to party with us!

I'm setting up my button swaps for next month.  Let me know if you're intersted in swapping blog buttons for December.  Contact me at with BUTTON SWAP in the subject line.  Hurry - spots usually go fast!

Here's what I've been up to this week:
DIY felt Santa Christmas ornaments

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Open to U.S. residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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In December, I will be doing separate features in addition to the weekly party features.  For the next few parties, share the DIY projects, crafts and recipes that you normally share each week.  In addition, you may also share posts that fit the weekly theme.  You can even share something you did last year, as long as it fits the theme.  So link 'em up and your project could be featured!
*please note – if your project has already been featured in a previous party, it won’t be featured a second time. 
fall autumn crafts

This week's party theme - Christmas decorating
This week share your best Christmas decorating ideas for a chance to be featured next week.
tablescapes, vignettes, mantels, Christmas trees, etc.

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There were so many great projects shared at last week's party!  Thanks to everyone for sharing your projects, recipes and tips.  I can't wait to see what you will share this week!  But first, take a look at some features from last week's party.

top ten teacher Christmas gifts
Top Ten Teacher Christmas Gifts

Christmas money saving tips
Christmas Money Saving Tips

DIY snowman ornament
Snowman ornaments

DIY burlap Christmas tree
Burlap tree 
by Cindy at DIY Beautify

tween boy bedroom
Tween Boy Bedroom

boy's vintage car bedroom
Boy's Vintage Car Room

Felt Santa Christmas Ornaments

DIY Felt Santa Ornament
DIY Felt Santa Christmas Ornament

Here's a super cute and easy to make felt ornament that can be made in just a few minutes.  The idea for this ornament and the pattern are pinned to my Christmas craft board where you'll find lots of other ideas for simple and inexpensive DIY ornaments.

In the original picture, the pieces are stitched and the ornament is stuffed.  I was lazy and just glued the pieces together and it lays flat.  It's still pretty darn cute.  No step by step instructions for this project because it's pretty straight forward.  Just trace the pattern, cut out the pieces of felt, and glue together.  It doesn't take long to make a whole set of these cute Santa ornaments.  Keep for yourself, give as gifts, or use to decorate presents and packages.

DIY Felt Santa Christmas Ornament

If you like these Santa ornaments, you might also like the felt snowman and gingerbread ornaments that I made last year

DIY Felt Snowman Christmas Ornaments

DIY Felt Gingerbread Men Christmas Ornaments

post signature

Inspired by this pin for felt Santa Christmas ornament.

Fall Crafts Roundup

Fall Crafts
Fall Autumn Craft Ideas

Are you hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year?  If so, here are some great last minute craft ideas you can put together in no time to get ready for the big day.  Whether it's a pumpkin topiary or welcoming wreath at the front door, a centerpiece for the table or specially made place cards, or fun activities to entertain the kids, everything you need for fall crafting is here in this great collection of fall craft projects.  All of these projects were linked up at last week's Pin Junkie Link Party and were not previously featured.  Come on over on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. MST if you'd like to join the party!

fall pumpkin topiary
Pumpkin Topiaries
by Denyse at Glitter Glue & Paint

Thanksgiving place card holders
Thanksgiving place card holders
by Meredith at Unoriginal Mom

Thanksgiving place card greeting card
Thanksgiving place card

Fall Thanksgiving leaf place card
Leaf place cards 
by Kim at Made In A Day

diy fall centerpiece
Fall centerpiece 
by Katie Addicted 2 DIY

fall autumn pumpkin candles
Pumpkin tea lights
by Andrew & Dennis at the Crafty Lumberjacks

fall autumn banner picture
Fall picture
by Cindy at DIY Beautify

Thanksgiving thankful leaf banner
Thankful leaf banner
by Lauren at Mom Home Guide

fall wreath pinecone craft
Fall wreath

fall candle vase
Fall candle vase
by Evelyn at My Turn For Us

DIY leaf table runner
Leaf table runner
by by Andrew & Dennis at the Crafty Lumberjacks

how to make a thankful tree
Thankful tree 
by Cindy at DIY Beautify

DIY fall leaf tree
Fall leaf tree
by Kim at Made In A Day 

thanksgiving printables
Free Thanksgiving Printables
by Amber at My Personal Accent

DIY paper gratitude turkey
Gratitude turkey
by Michele at Neat Little Nest

Thanksgiving crafts snacks and activities for kids
Great collection of kids crafts
by Amber at From ABC's to ACT's

kids Thanksgiving crafts
15 kids Thanksgiving crafts
by Parrish at Life With The Crust Cut Off

fall autumn crafts