Joanna Anastasia

festive

Last minute DIY gifts

 3 Last minute DIY gift ideas that take less than 5 minutes to to make each

If you feel like you don’t have time for DIY gifts, but you would love to make something hand-made for a family member that has everything, then I actually have an answer for you: these three super simple last-minute DIY gift ideas that each take less than 5 minutes to make!

Every year I try to make at least one simple DIY gift because we all like to receive mindful gifts right? But since I’m a busy working from home mom, well you won’t see me embedding anytime soon! Instead, I have made a simple coffee mug cozy, an all natural pink grapefruit sugar scrub, and a festive holiday chocolate bark!

First off, the coffee ( or tea) mug cozy: all you need is a pair of scissors, and an old sweater !

Simply cut out the sleeve, pull it on the mug, roll on top and wrap with a pretty festive string.

If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can cut out a ‘pocket” for a tea bag!

My second easy last-minute DIY gift idea is chocolate bark!

I’m, sure you have some leftover chocolate chips in your pantry – why won’t you put them in the good use? I do however suggest you using the best quality chocolate, since this is main ingredient. Melt it in batches, pour on the parchment paper, and top with whatever you have on hands!

  • Here’s what I’ve used:milk chocolate chips
  • dark chocolate chips
  • white chocolate chips
  • dulce de leche chips
  • popkorn
  • sprinkles
  • crushed candy cane

last minute DIY gifts

After pouring the chocolate on the parchment paper I’ve let my kids to take care of the rest – aka sprinkle half of toppings on the chocolate bark and eat half.

last minute DIY gifts

last minute DIY gifts

last minute DIY gifts

Once it’s all set and hardened simply pack it in festive christmas cookie cans and offer as a thoughtful gift!

And the last of my ultimate easy DIY gifts, is sugar scrub. I’ve been making them for year now, and they make for a great gift to any lady in your life!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
  • an essential oil ( I used grapefruit oil)
  • couple of drops of beet juice for the pink colour

last minute DIY gifts

Mix it all together, and pack up in a metal tin or a mason jar.

last minute DIY gifts

And that’s it, your last minte DIY gifts are al done! Now you can sit down with a mug of hot chocolate and rest !

No bake chocolate cheesecake

No bake chocolate cheesecake , with pecan crust and peppermint topping, amazing and so easy to make festive dessert!

Festive gatherings call for delicious desserts, and what’s better than a rich chocolate cheesecake with a pecan crust, a dollop of whipped cream, and a topping of chocolate fudge cookie and a peppermint candy? I can’t imagine anything better than this!

And, you’ll love the fact that this treat is actuality an easy to put together, no bake chocolate cheesecake! So you don’t really need to worry about your oven space while preparing the holiday roast! And you can even prepare it a day ahead!

I guarantee you that everyone will love these treats! My family can’t get enough of them!

No bake chocolate cheesecake , with peppermint topping and pecan crust, amazing simple holiday treat!

Also, you can get all of the indigence at Giant Tiger , at store or on-line, and turn this recipe in to a budget-friendly one! Now that’s what I call a win-win!

No bake chocolate cheesecake

What you’ll need:

For the pecan crust:

– 1 cup graham crumbs

– 1 table-spoon soft butter or margarine

– 1/2 cup of pecans

– 1 teaspoon honey

For the chocolate cheesecake filling:

– 1 1/2 packages of cream cheese ( softened)

– 1 1/2 cups of melted chocolate chips

– 1 table-spoon of honey

– 2/3 cup sugar

For the topping:

– 1 cup whipping cream

– 1 tablespoon sugar

– crushed peppermint candy

– chocolate fudge cookies

Start by mixing together graham crumbs with soft butter, and then add crushed pecans. Press to the bottom of your serving bowls, and set aside.

Now mix together softened cream cheese with sugar. Melt chocolate and pour in and mix together slowly. Add honey, mix until it’s all smooth, and pour on to the pecan graham crust.

No bake chocolate cheesecake

For the topping:

Whip the cream, and add a dollop of it on top of the chocolate cheesecake filling. You can make bigger and smaller serving options like I did, and in the bigger ones you can add a chocolate fudge cookie on top of the chocolate filing and just then top it with the whipped cream layer.

Crush peppermint candy, and sparkle a bit. Or a lot. Oh and add a peppermint candy cane too, it’ll feel even more festive !

Now cut chocolate fudge cookies in half, and add them on top. And here it is, your no bake chocolate cheesecake is all ready to serve! You can devour it right away, or chill a bit before serving.

No bake chocolate cheesecake , with peppermint topping and pecan crust, amazing simple holiday treat!

No bake chocolate cheesecake , with peppermint topping and pecan crust, amazing simple holiday treat!

No bake chocolate cheesecake , with peppermint topping and pecan crust, amazing simple holiday treat!

This dessert is a holiday favorite of mine, and I’m so exited to share it with you too! Enjoy!

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Giant Tiger all opinions remain my own.

Winter gallery wall

winter gallery wall

I strongly believe that Christmas decorating doesn’t have to be over the top expensive nor difficult! And I think that one of the easiest ways to add interest to any room, is by simply adding some new and fresh prints to the gallery wall and transforming it in to a winter gallery wall! And I really love it when not only the textures, pillows and accessories change with seasons, but also these visuals, prints and wall decorations. And so for me Christmas decorating means not only dressing up our small Christmas tree, but also updating my gallery wall.

Honestly, visuals in the room are almost as important for me as the furniture themselves, since they can add the vibe and the atmosphere to the space like nothing else really. They can transform a boring and uninteresting wall in to a stunning and inspiring one, and best part, is that it’s so much cheaper to change prints then furniture!

But of course, since I don’t poses unlimited decorating funds, I had to find a way to make these gallery wall changes affordable, and easy.

winter gallery wall

winter gallery wall

So I came up with some simple, and mostly free ways to change your gallery wall and make a winter gallery wall like I did! Including a free to download, calligraphy style printable, ” Baby it’s cold outside” ( do you know this Christmas classic song? It’s one of my favorites!). And there’s even one surprise print in french!

You can read my step by step guide and get the printables by visiting your Hello Holiday Christmas guide! Just click on the “free printable” on the page 10! It’ll take you directly to it!

And if you’re looking for more festive ideas, simple DIY projects and decor inspirations, I’m sure you’ll find them all you need in our guide! Happy festive preparations!

DIY wrapping paper

diy wrapping paper

While I’m not always a DIY busy bee, I usually tend to get more crafty for the holidays! Of course I know that Christmas can be very busy , but for me it’s the excuse to actually slow down and craft a little more with my daughters. Because I really enjoy starting the preparation early, keeping things simple and listening to  Christmas music while doing so!

And when my daughter Lili was two years old, we started making wrapping paper together. It’s not perfect, shiny and detailed like the store-bought one. Honestly it’s a bit messy and rather imperfect. But we have so much fun making it! And now, when Lili is almost five, and Rose is approaching three, I have not one, but two little helpers to help me with my Christmas preparations!

diy wrapping paper

DIY wrapping paper

Also, I really love the Scandinavian Xmas vibes, with its nature inspired simplicity. So every year I make these simple stamps that we use to stamp white paper with. I find the result adorable, and my kids have a blast stamping along!

And I think that making a hand-made wrapping paper teaches kids a lot about the real joy of giving! I think that thanks to our little craft they actually look forward to give their gifts to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and they can’t wait to see the looks on their faces and to tell that it’s not only them who helped wrapping the gifts, but it’s also them who made the wrapping paper itself!

This potato stamp wrapping paper is a great and simple winter activity for kids, while the effect is both practical and festive! And now you can wrap all your gifts without spending extra money on wrapping paper!

You can find the full tutorial here, in our Hello Holiday Guide, among other simple festive DIY ideas!

Happy wrapping!

<em>Photos of me in this post where captured by <a href=”http://www.donnagriffith.com/&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Donna Griffith</a>.</em>

Holiday soft sugar cookies

Easy and puffy soft sugar cookies recipe , so delicious and uncomplicated! And once frosted with this vanilla cream cheese frosting, they simply melt in your mouth!

What I love the most about winter weekends, is that we can stay in our pajamas all day and bake cookies together. And one of my favorite recipes is this one here, for perfectly puffy and delicious holiday soft sugar cookies!

These cookies are melting in your mouth, so easy to make, and frosted with delicious and simple vanilla cream cheese frosting! Pure winter perfection, if you ask me!

And, I really find that cold mornings are meant to be spent in comfy and cozy onesies while making a mess in the kitchen with kids. And my both daughters, they just love helping me with baking! I let them mix all the dry ingredients together, and then they choose their cookie cutters. And let me tell you, we have a real collection of cookie cutters now : forest animals, Xmas trees and snowman, little hearts and geometric shapes! But for little hands it’s easier to operate smaller cookie cutters, so we stick to these mostly.

And while the weather outside might be dreadful and cold, I make sure we’re cozy and warm, in our winter fleece pajamas, onesies and cozy winter slippers from Giant Tiger. Actually my girls love their onesies so much they want to wear theirs all day, and not only in the morning! ( And they might have been wearing their onesies to groceries the other day.. But I don’t blame them, they’re so cozy and soft!) While me, I love to have some soft flannel pyjama pants and micro polar on me, and yes, I love winter prints too! Having some nice pj’s and slippers make getting up early on weekends a bit easier! ( because #momlife! )

Holiday soft sugar cookies

Holiday soft sugar cookies

Holiday soft sugar cookies

Holiday soft sugar cookies

Holiday soft sugar cookies

Holiday soft sugar cookies

So while we’re all cozy and warm, we make cookies and listen to Xmas songs, because that really makes everything more cheerful!

And here’s what you’ll need to make your soft sugar cookies:

For the Holiday Soft Sugar Cookies:

– 2 cups sugar
– 1 cup softened butter
– 3 eggs
– 9 teaspoons of milk
– pinch of salt
– 5 cups flour
-5 teaspoons baking powder

For the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

– cream cheese package
– 1 1/4 cup sugar
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– drop of food coloring

Preparation:

Mix the dry ingredients separately in a bowl. In a mixer, combine softened butter, eggs sugar and milk. Once all is well blended, add dry ingredients. Mix slowly together. Divide the dough in two. ( Since it’s a recipe for at least two big sheets of cookies, I usually work with first batch while the other half of my dough refrigerates. You can keep in a fridge for up two 2 days, if you feel like finishing your cookies a bit later.)

Roll and cut! Have fun with shapes, or use a glass to cut out simple circles like my grandmother used to do!

Once they are ready bake, set your oven for 350F and bake for around 10 minutes. If you want them to be really soft and puffy they can’t get brown! Not even a little!

Prepare vanilla cream cheese frosting: Mix all the ingredients in a mixer, and blend well together. Add a drop of food coloring.

Let them cool down completely before frosting.

Frosting hack: use a small zip bag, fill it with frosting, cut a tiny hole, and then frost!

vanilla cream cheese frosting

Holiday soft sugar cookies

Holiday soft sugar cookies

Holiday soft sugar cookies with vanilla cream cheese frosting

holiday soft sugar cookies

And so even though I’m not the biggest fan of cold winter months, I think that as long as we have someone to snuggle and make cookies with, then these Canadian winters of ours are not that bad after all!

Disclosure: this recipe was brought to you by Giant Tiger, all opinions remain my own.