window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-54570621-1'); Keeping it Real: December 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Posts of 2015

The year end is usually a time to reflect on everything we did, didn't do or should have done in the prior 12 months. So, I went back and checked every single post on this blog during 2015. 

While re-reading older posts always brings to mind little (and sometimes not so little) details that could have been a bit more polished, it also made me realize all the work that went into the blog during the year. 


So, I decided to round up the best posts of 2015. Some are the most clicked ones in the blog, but others are here just because I really enjoyed writing them. They all make me happy and I want to share that happiness with you. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - fog

This is what we woke up to this morning. And no, the photos are not out of focus, the fog was really dense...

fog photos


fog photos

fog photos

We've been having a lot of foggy days this winter, though now that it started raining again maybe the skies will open up a bit. Maybe.

Foggy or not, happy last Wednesday of 2015!

keeping it real, craft blog

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holidays Celebration Link Party #6 - the features!

I hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful Christmas. We spent a lovely Christmas day surrounded by family, the weather cooperated and everyone enjoyed their gifts.

To close off the Holidays season, welcome to the features of the sixth (and last) Holidays Celebration Link Party. While I'm sad to see the party go, this is not really an end, but a new beginning, because come January I'll be launching a totally new weekly link party (more details to come in due time).

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the six editions of the Holidays Celebration Link Party. We've had some pretty amazing links, which will all be saved for posterity in the party's Pinterest board.
Holidays Celebration Link Party features

And now, without further delay, check below the featured posts of the final edition of the Holidays! Celebration Link Party: 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

5 steps to get your house ready for the new year

5 steps to get your house ready for the new year


Popular wisdom says that the way you start a year is an indication of how the year is going to go. So, if you start the year with a messy home, you'll be dealing with that mess for the next 12 months. While I will most likely be dealing with messes anyway, I prefer not to jinx it.



So here is a small list of tasks that you can still do this week and that will help you start the year on the right foot.  Tasks that go a little beyond the obvious everyday cleaning and that therefore, are more likely to be forgotten. Of course there were a million other chores that could have gone on this list, but realistically, neither you nor I would have the time for them, so lets just focus on the essential.




1. Declutter



This has been my motto in 2015. I started the year with decluttering in mind, so it's only fair that finish it the same way.  But really, the year end is the perfect opportunity to declutter. Actually, in Portugal, there's a tradition of gathering a bunch of old stuff to put in the trash in the night of December 31st. It symbolises the "out with the old, in with the new" and it's a way to help us all to get rid of things that we planned to toss before and never did until now.

Besides, if you received a lot of new things for Christmas, odds are you can replace some older items instead of just accumulating (toys and clothes immediately come to mind, but this works for lots of other things too).






2. Clean your fridge



After the Holiday madness, we all have tons of leftovers in our fridge. During the rest of 2015 try to use up all those leftovers (be creative, check online for recipes using leftovers if you need) and once they're gone, deep clean your fridge This way you'll start the year with a clean fridge and fresh food.


3. Clean your oven

I didn't have time for a lot of Holiday baking, but my oven was still a mess by December 26. So, while cleaning the oven is one of my less favourite tasks around the house, I decided I couldn't let it pass. It was a lot of work, but now it looks like new and I'm really proud of my work. While it may not seem as obvious as cleaning the stovetop or the counters, it's definitely something you should not postpone until next year.

4. Put away Christmas gifts

Find places for all those new things you and your family received for Christmas. While we are often proud to show off all our gifts (kids in particular seem to enjoy to do this), it's been a few days already, and it's time for things to start returning to normal.

Set aside gifts that need to be exchanged, those that you do not want to keep (we all get some every year), and find space at home for the rest.

5. Clean your closets


While it seems a bit odd to put this at the same level as cleaning the oven or the fridge, it is the perfect task for this week (or what's left of it), because it will actually help you with points 1 and 4 above. While cleaning our closets we always find a few items to get rid of, and that will, in turn, provide you with room to store the Christmas gifts.


There are only a few days left of 2015, so it's time to get ready to welcome 2016! And what better way to start the year than with a clean, uncluttered home?

Enjoy the last week of 2015!

keeping it real, craft blog


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday 23/December

My first attempt at cake decorating...

cake decorating


cake decorating

cake decorating

It's nothing fancy for now, but it's something I certainly want to pursue in the future. Cake recipe to be shared later...

Happy Wednesday and Happy Holidays,

keeping it real, craft blog

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Last minute Christmas decor: pom pom ornaments

Today I'm back sharing a few more ornaments that we made at our house, the pom pom ornaments. The kids loved to help make these ones, and now they are proudly hanging on our tree!

pom pom Christmas ornaments

The pom pom ornaments are very easy to make. I happen to have two pom pom makers but, to be honest, I can't figure out how to use them (or, rather, I know how to use them, I just can't get the pom poms to look good when I use them...), so, when I need, I just use a bit or cardboard to make the pom poms. There are lots of tutorials online, but if you want an easy one, click here

I used two colors, red and white, and picked a yarn with bits of metallic thread in it to make the pom poms extra shiny.  I took a picture of it next to the pom pom maker which, again, ended up not being used...

pom pom Christmas ornaments

Anyway, you make the pom pom in any way you prefer, but then tie the yarn with a bit of ribbon instead. 

pom pom Christmas ornaments




Then tie a knot joining both ends of the ribbon and trim to equal length: 

pom pom Christmas ornaments

You can leave the ornament as is, or add a bit more of flair. I decided to add a bow, made with the same ribbon: 

pom pom Christmas ornaments

pom pom Christmas ornaments

pom pom Christmas ornaments


Easy, right? Now make as many as you want...

pom pom Christmas ornaments

pom pom Christmas ornaments





...and hang them on your Christmas tree! There's always room for a few more fluffy, shiny ornaments!

pom pom Christmas ornaments

Happy Holidays,




Monday, December 21, 2015

Holidays! Celebration Link Party #6

Welcome to the sixth, and last edition of the Holidays Celebration Link Party.

I'm sad to reach the end of this party, but since the beginning this weekly linky was created just to last through the Holidays. Still, you have one more chance this week to share your Holidays posts, crafts and recipes, check out what others have been up to and find lots of inspiration!

Missed last week's party features? Find them here

This is a time for celebration, so come and share with us your crafts, special recipes, printables, tips & tricks and whatever else you're planning for Christmas! Add old posts, new posts, anything goes, but remember, ONLY Holiday related links will get a chance to be featured.

Because this is the last party and we have Christmas in between, it will run for a few days longer, until next Monday (December 28th), to give you time to link up all those last minute ideas! I will then post the features on Tuesday, the 29th. In the meantime, all posts added to the linkup will be pinned to the Holidays! Celebration Pinterest board here!
  Holidays Celebration Link Party

I'm not big on link party rules, so I've set just a few guidelines:
  • Link to a specific post, not your home page
  • There are no thumbnails in the party, so make sure you add an interesting title/description to your link 
  • Don't link and run! Please visit other links, make friends, get inspired
  • Consider adding the Holidays Celebration Link Party button (below) to your parties page or your post and share that you linked up to this party on social media so that other can join us too. The more the merrier! If you follow me via any social media (icons in the side bar) leave me a comment and I'll make sure to follow you back!
  • By linking up to the Holidays Celebration Link Party you give us permission to use your photos in features or round-us, and to share your posts on social media (always with a link back to you for proper credit)

Holidays Celebration Link Party

Now onto the party!







Thank you for linking up and making this party a success!

keeping it real, craft blog

Mini Felt Ornaments

Can you believe that Christmas is right around the corner? I've been busy with a lot of last minute gifts, but I'm now proud to say that I've finished all my Christmas shopping!

Anyway, today I wanted to share one quick and easy craft that will add a bit more flair to your Christmas decor: the mini felt ornaments.

mini felt Christmas ornaments

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Reminder: the last edition of the Holidays Celebration Link Party starts tomorrow!

Christmas is almost here! Don't forget, the sixth, and last, edition of the Holidays Celebration Link Party will be live tomorrow!

Holidays Celebration link party

The party is focused on Holiday celebrations, so the idea is for you to link up your Holidays related posts. Old or new, crafts, printables, home decor, recipes, whatever you want to share, I want to see them all!

Missed last week's features? Find them here

Get your posts ready and enjoy the rest of your weekend,

keeping it real, craft blog

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holidays Celebration Link Party #5 - the features!

Once again we're back for the Holidays Link Party features! As usual, there were lots of amazing links, so a big thank you to everyone who participated and supported this party throughout the week!

Check out below the featured posts of the fifth edition of the Holidays! Celebration Link Party: 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Winter Sky

Ok, so Winter officially starts only next Monday the 21st here on the Northern Hemisphere, but the sky has already changed for the season...

winter sky photos

winter sky photos

winter sky photos

winter sky photos




Happy Wednesday!

keeping it real, craft blog

Monday, December 14, 2015

Holidays! Celebration Link Party #5

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Holidays Celebration Link Party – a seasonal weekly link party where bloggers can share their Holidays posts, crafts and recipes, check out what others have been up to and find lots of inspiration!


Missed last week's party features? Find them here

This is a time for celebration, so come and share with us your crafts, special recipes, printables, tips & tricks and whatever else you're planning for Christmas! Add old posts, new posts, anything goes, but remember, ONLY Holiday related links will get a chance to be featured.

The party will run from Monday to Thursday and I will post the features next Friday, the 18th December. In the meantime, all posts added to the linkup will be pinned to the Holidays! Celebration Pinterest board here!
  Holidays Celebration Link Party

I'm not big on link party rules, so I've set just a few guidelines:
  • Link to a specific post, not your home page
  • There are no thumbnails in the party, so make sure you add an interesting title/description to your link 
  • Don't link and run! Please visit other links, make friends, get inspired
  • Consider adding the Holidays Celebration Link Party button (below) to your parties page or your post and share that you linked up to this party on social media so that other can join us too. The more the merrier! If you follow me via any social media (icons in the side bar) leave me a comment and I'll make sure to follow you back!
  • By linking up to the Holidays Celebration Link Party you give us permission to use your photos in features or round-us, and to share your posts on social media (always with a link back to you for proper credit)

Holidays Celebration Link Party

Now onto the party!







Thank you for linking up and making this party a success!

keeping it real, craft blog

DIY Play Food: Felt Christmas Cookies

Welcome to the latest addition to the DIY Play Food Series!

This time I'm back to sweets, but with a Holidays theme. Because Christmas is to be celebrated in play kitchens too, and dolls, stuffed animals and even imaginary friends are more than entitled to celebrate with season appropriate treats.

DIY Play Food: Felt Christmas Cookies

Most of us have been busy baking Christmas cookies lately, and with this tutorial you can "bake" some lovely cookies for your kids to play with too!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Reminder: The Holidays Celebration Link Party #5 starts tomorrow!

Only one and a half more weeks until Christmas, only two more parties to go!

Don't forget, the fifth edition of the Holidays Celebration Link Party will be live tomorrow!

Holidays Celebration link party

The party is focused on Holiday celebrations, so the idea is for you to link up your Holidays related posts. Old or new, crafts, printables, home decor, recipes, whatever you want to share, I want to see it all!

Missed last week's features? Find them here!

Get your posts ready and enjoy the rest of your weekend,

keeping it real, craft blog

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holidays Celebration Link Party #4 - the features!

Sorry, I'm a little late in posting the features today, but better late than never!

This week we had our most active party so far. Lots of amazing links, from which I had the hard task of having to pick three features!

A big thank you to everyone who participated and supported this party throughout the week.

Without further delay, let's check out the featured posts of the fourth edition of the Holidays! Celebration Link Party: 

Christmas gift tags - free printable

I love Christmas printables. I love discovering them, and I love making them.
 
Christmas gift tags, free printable


This year I created a set of gift tags in silver and golden (or as close as I can get my printer to go on these colors) to add to our Christmas gifts.  

Christmas gift tags, free printable

I you want to use these tags, just download the file here and print those that you prefer (or print them all), punch holes where indicated and you're done!

Christmas gift tags, free printable

Did you create any Christmas printables too this year? 

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend, 

keeping it real, craft blog






Fearlessly Creative Mammas
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