Whether you’re ready or not the holidays are happening! I’m looking forward to checking out the local art + craft markets this weekend and next. I’m hoping to find the perfect gifts for our family members (and maybe a gift for myself too if we’re being honest). Have a happy weekend, friends!
This week I’m loving…
This photo tree would be perfect in places where you couldn’t fit a real tree.
I cannot believe this year is already coming to a close. It almost feels too early to be Christmas, right? I’ve created a festive wallpaper of cookies and candy to help get you in the holiday spirit. All you need is a glass of eggnog and an ugly sweater and you’re set. Get it for all your devices below!
Find more holiday inspired wallpapers I’ve created over on the wallpaper page. And if you just adore the Christmas cookie illustrations, you can purchase the vector and hi-resolution JPF files for use in your own designs over on my Creative Market shop!
I know it seems like Thanksgiving just ended but the holidays are now upon us and before we know it, it will be Christmas! In an effort to help slow things down a bit and savor the season, I’ve created a customizable Christmas advent calendar for you.
Each day features a tiny card that you can customize in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15. I’ve created the template so all you need to do is place your favorite photos in it and print it out. The photos can be of your family, friends, or adventures you’ve had throughout the year. My advent calendar is full of little adventures Kevin and I can take this season like getting donuts for breakfast or going on a bike ride. I’ve used photos I snapped of donuts from our favorite shop and of my bike at the farmers market and hand wrote a note inside each card.
Watch the video below to see how to make your own display board!
DIY Advent CalendarEvery year I always say I’m going to make an advent calendar and never get around to it, so this year I got a head start on the holidays and made this fun Christmas tree version! You can make it at home and join in on the tradition!
Gather 25 photos you want to use and open them in the Adobe Elements Organizer 15. I’m using some of my favorite iPhone photos I’ve taken this year.
Edit your photos. Don’t let this intimidate you, the built-in Guided Edits (found in the top center menu bar) walk you through editing your photos one step at a time. I used the Guided Edits to adjust the colors of the photos and remove some small blemishes. My favorite ones to use are Brightness & Contrast, Enhance Colors, and Scratches and Blemishes. The last one is really cool—in just one click you can remove things from your photos!
Open the Photoshop Elements template and enter Expert mode (found in the top center menu bar).
Select one Advent Calendar number. In the layers palette, click the eye next to the advent calendar number you want to print. Make sure all other number layers are hidden; this is indicated by a red diagonal line through the eye icon.
Place your own photo on the card. Grab one of the photos you added to the Elements Organizer from the Photo Bin at the bottom and then switch the dropdown menu from Show Open Files to Show Files Selected in Organizer. From there, you can drag and drop the photo you want to place. Rotate or make it smaller if necessary.
Update clipping mask. In the layers palette, click on your new photo and drag it between the layer titled, “PLACE NEW PHOTO BELOW” and “Photo Template”. Hide the old photo by clicking on the eye icon next to that layer in the layers palette.
Print out the advent calendar card on white copy paper or matte presentation paper. Cut it out using scissors or a paper cutter. Fold it in half length wise and then in half again keeping the number on the front side. Write your own advent message inside and clip onto the advent calendar tree. Repeat this with the other numbers.
Before I printed my advent calendar, I saved each number as a separate Photoshop file. Then I used the Picture Package feature to print 8 per sheet on an 11” x 17” page. You can use this same feature to print them out on a standard 8.5” x 11” page. Just be sure to change the individual image size to 3” x 4.5”.
Use a ruler to find the center of the board and mark with a pencil.
Apply painter’s tape on the wood board in the shape of a large triangle, leaving a few inches on the bottom for a tree trunk. Use your hands to press down on the inside edge of the tape to make sure it’s firmly adhered to the board.
Paint inside the triangle and remove the tape immediately after you’re done painting. Allow it to dry.
Apply tape on the lower part of the tree to create a tree trunk. Press the tape into place and paint inside. Remove the tape again while the paint is wet, and allow it to dry.
Arrange all the clips on the tree. Use super glue to glue them down one at a time, pressing them down for a couple seconds to bond the clip onto the wood surface. I found a ruler to be really helpful aligning each clip.
Once you’re done, add your advent cards and you’re ready for the season!
I’m all about taking classic holiday traditions and giving them a refresh. Today I’m sharing my mom’s cranberry salsa recipe. It’s the perfect remake of traditional cranberry sauce—it’s sweet and savory all in one bite and equally perfect as an appetizer as it is on top of turkey.
Everyone loves Thanksgiving and Christmas staples like sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie but every year I like to do a few classic dishes with a twist (hello pumpkin flan!). Several years ago my mom started making this cranberry salsa as a holiday appetizer and now it’s a staple in our family holiday dinners. You can serve it with your favorite crudités, mine being Harvest Snaps! Not only are they perfect for dipping the bright green color makes this snack oh-so-festive.
Watch the video below to see how to make fresh cranberry salsa!
Fresh Cranberry Salsa
Makes 2 cups
1 – 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
2 limes, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 large jalapeño pepper seeded and finely diced
2 scallions (white & green parts) finely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste Lightly Salted Harvest Snaps
Wash and dry all the produce. Place the cranberries in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until cranberries begin to float to the surface and pop. Drain the berries in a fine mesh strainer.
In a medium glass mixing bowl, combine the sugar and lime juice. Add the drained cranberries, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño and scallions. Season with salt & pepper and let cool for 30 minutes. Serve with Harvest Snaps and enjoy! Hand wash the trays when you’re done using them.
Since oil from your fingers will make the paint pens not stick, I recommend wiping them down each side with a clean cotton rag before drawing on them. And if you mess up when drawing, no need to worry, just wipe away the paint with nail polish remover before it dries. Just be sure the outside surface is completely dry before drawing on it again.
You can get a head start on your holiday cooking by making this salsa a day ahead. In fact, the flavors have time to mesh and get extra tasty when it’s made ahead. Just refrigerate in an air-tight container after the salsa cools. It can be served at room temperature or cold, whichever you prefer (both ways are delicious).
Since a holiday meal is a good reason to use fancy dishes, I’ve created my own fun serving containers that are perfect for this salsa and snap combo. I used paint markers to doodle on clear acrylic trays to create my own holiday-ready serving pieces.
Hand wash each tray in warm water and dry completely. Use the paint markers to doodle on the outside of each tray. Allow each side to dry before rotating it and drawing on another side.
Allow the paint to dry completely before using, this only takes about 5-10 minutes. Then they are ready to be used at your holiday party!
These acrylic serving dishes (and this recipe) are definitely all-occiason goods and can be used well after the holidays. I also think the trays would be fun on a dresser or desk for storing jewelry, paper clips and more.
What traditional holiday foods do you like to refresh? Leave a comment and let me know!