DIY Christmas Word Banners

 

What you will need:

Scissors

1 hole punch

glue stick

pencil

yarn or jewelry cord (we used a metallic stretch cord from a dollar store)

black bristol board

Banner template

 

Step 1: Download the template and print. Cut out banners and letters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Trace the banner flag  on to the black bristol board (this will be your guide). Repeat for the number of letters you need.

 

Step 3: Cut the banner flag outline.

Step 4: Glue on the letters to each banner flag.

Step 5: Punch holes on the top left and top right corners of the flag.

Step 6: String through the cord.

 

Step 7: Complete your word banners

 

Step 8: Hang on your tree as desired

What they really want for Christmas

A couple of years ago I came across this IKEA commercial video which really spoke to me.
It’s called the ‘The Other Letter’. They did an experiment asking children of different ages to write to The Three Kings for what they’d like for Christmas. They quickly scribbled down things like a Wii®, a unicorn, a soccer ball etc. After collecting the letters, they were then asked to write another letter, this time they are writing to their parents of what they really want for Christmas. The responses would amaze you; they just wanted their ‘time’.

Time to laugh together, time to play together and just be there. The parents were lost for words, the thing is, they actually knew deep down this is what their children would want, they were in tears.

Then one final question for the kids; “If you could send one of the two letters, which one would you send? The one to the Three Kings or the one to Mom and Dad?” Difficult question but at the end they went with the letter to mom and dad. What does that say to us?

Coming up with presents for our own children every year is so much fun, but this video clip has taught me that no matter what we give there is nothing more dear to them than the quality time we spend. The simplest toy becomes the favourite when it’s been associated with ‘the time mama played with me’ or ‘when daddy helped me with my puzzle’. We have a laundry basket at home that seems to be the best thing in the world because each of our kids have been pushed around in it up and down the hall.

Fun with the laundry basket.

Camryn still asks me to put a blanket over my head and pretend to be the enchantress because one time I made them hunt for treasure as hidden by the enchantress. Julia will take out her tea set because it means special guests (mama or daddy) can join. As for my husband, he can tell you the many times that the kids just want to be carried to their beds, begged for bike rides or to shoot the basketball in our little living room…they aren’t NBA obsessed but they know it makes daddy light up and the delight in their voices will send you soaring.

Julia riding her bike, daddy dribbling his basketball.

Let’s hold our loved ones and make this season memorable, not with the material things but by the things that will forever be cherished, our gift of self. There really are some wishes that are within our capability to fulfill, and it’s free. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!

Love,

Lorena and family

Looking for a unique Christmas photo card this year? Check these out!

Don’t you love receiving Christmas Cards from family and friends that are personal and thoughtful! Don’t you feel more connected when you see their photos and noteworthy moments?! This year, I’ve designed a few new looks that you can select from, including some with modern scripts and hand-painted watercolors. With all that, please allow me to direct you to one design in particular, the Holiday, Photo, Newsletter-style card.

A Newsletter-style Christmas photo card Easily Customizable

I especially like this card since you can have more than one photo, it shows off your year-in-review a.k.a. “Top Highlights”, it allows you to share updates and special news (a baby announcement maybe ;)). Also, since I enjoy the Christmas artwork my children bring home, I’ve added an extra area inside so you can add one too. If you decide you’d rather use this area for another beautiful family photo, please feel free to do so. Be creative and have fun!

Here is a video to show you how simple and enjoyable it is to use the Zazzle mobile online tool.

 

To view the video from YouTube, please click here.

With Black Friday deals and other sales coming up, we wanted you to know this is available. Zazzle has many promotions going on right before Christmas, hopefully this helps and we’ve given you a new option for your Christmas card this year…one thing off your list. 🙂

If you’re ready to try it out yourself, click and personalize your Christmas card now!

Room To Share

Childhood memories built here.

(Create personalized wall art. – encourage sisterhood)

As I stood outside my two daughters’ shared bedroom I was excited that I’ve finally finished reorganizing their space. I suppose I can tell you that the cute little things were gifts from generous family and friends purchased from Potterybarn Kids, HomeSense and the likes, but the room has a different story to share. It reminded me of something a lot more significant. I’m the middle child and the only daughter, I loved growing up with brothers. I knew about comic books, sports, wrestling, superheroes and Nintendo but a part of me still really enjoy playing with dolls, dressing up and girly things. I remembered a time when we stayed over at a family friend’s place.

It was memorable because they had two daughters and they had the most spectacular room from what I remember. It had everything I ever dreamed of, a kitchen, a dollhouse, a pretend play area, books etc. But what made it even more incredible was how excited the two girls were to share everything with me. We had a sleepover and I watched Disney’s Sleeping Beauty for the first time there. It wasn’t about the stuff, it was the warmth and generosity that I remembered. I felt sisterly love and I share this story with our own daughters to strengthen their big hearts — to help them be humble, grateful and kind. As they grow older I want them to know the importance of sisterhood, to be generous of what they have to all the other women they will meet. We as women need to know we can trust each other, to feel we belong.

personalized wall art

A fun little project to personalize her room.

P.S. I painted feathers for the girls and added quotes, on one of them it says “I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.” – all things come from above and we are humbled by love, let us share it freely. (You can also find these designs at our shop, visit us here)

thanksgiving gratitude place cards

A grateful heart is a happy heart!

FREE! Thanksgiving place-setting ‘gratitude card’ template

The other day I was on Twitter  and came across @garyhgoodridge and he tweets “Remember the days you prayed for the things you have now.”  This absolutely stuck a chord and got me thinking. Why do I feel like I’m on fast-forward mode most of the time, I’m so guilty of missing moments, how about you?
This tweet got me thinking in so many levels, starting with our home. How could I forget how my husband and I prayed and hoped for it; the timing had to be right because we had other family obligations and a wedding to plan. Now I find myself screaming at the mess and all the work that comes with it, forgetting how grateful  we were the day we signed the papers — to say it was ours. Forgetting the amazing time we have had gathering with family and friends, how our children giggle and play hide-and-seek within it.
We can be transformed, the instant we acknowledge that we have so much to be thankful for. I’m hoping this free gratitude cards can be used at your thanksgiving dinner, it would be wonderful to encourage gratitude in this fast-paced world. Pass on kindness and goodness.
I got this idea when a friend shared that her children left special messages for their guests one thanksgiving dinner. The warm smiles and positive conversation, was something  she was proud to share. Imagine setting this tone at your dinner party.
Once you’ve downloaded the Word template, simply type in your guests names on each, print on cardstock and cut them out (colour would  be best).
Delight your guests by writing a special messages on each, leave room for others to add too. I suggest placing these in a high-traffic area after dinner (by the desserts would work =D) and encourage your other guests to write in them too. Everyone can take theirs home and read it after the party while enjoying leftovers. :). Just my suggestions,  I’m  sure you’ll come up with wonderful ways this would work for your guests.

Here are some sample messages to help you along: Happy Thanksgiving. I’m grateful for how…

 

  1. You always know what to say.
  2. You always save me the last piece of pie.
  3. Even if we don’t see each other, we can pick up right where we left off.
  4. You are so thoughtful and kind
  5. You help out your brother and sister.

Have Fun! A grateful heart is a happy heart!

To download this free template, just enter your email address below so we can send it to you and stay connected. Thank you!


I loved creating this for you! If you’re not a do-it-yourself type though our shop has you covered. Check out the tags, invitations and other extras too. Discover this collection.

This could be the start of a love for writing.

In grade 6 I had the most wonderful teacher, her name was Mrs. Stewart. One thing I recall was how she got us writing in our own journals.  She wrote back encouraging fun notes, and rewarded us with cool unique stickers.  Bubble gum scented, glittery and even fuzzy animal ones too. Stickers are LIFE don't you know!

As a teenager I came across that grade 6 journal and started writing for myself this time. I found it brought dreams and goals to life, it helped me visualize reflections and insights that I never knew I had. Believe me when I say writing has power! 

With summer break just starting I thought this would be a fun way to get my school-age girls to enjoy writing too. I found their paintings the other day, scanned them and created their personalized journals — in hopes it will add to the excitement (If you'd like to do these for your children too, you can visit our shop here). I told them about my teacher and how writing can do wonders. They were so excited to get them and I'm pleased to say that journaling has started.

My beloved Mrs. Stewart passed away a few years ago, I had no idea that we were one of her last students before she had to go through chemotherapy. She taught from the heart and gave us the most wonderful school experiences. I learned so much from her creative approach, and how simply listening can harness love for learning.

I hope this inspires you out there to find creative ways to encourage greatness in others. To ask them to dream and live big lives.

As my favourite teacher would say "You have real talent... keep up the good work!"

 

Our first entry

 

 

5 Tips to party planning – a NEW perspective

Less Stress, More Party!

I remember the day I planned a party at home for my first born. I felt so exhausted and overwhelmed. Being new to hosting parties at the time I recall the anxiety to please everyone, the worry of making everything perfect. Then on the day of the party, my daughter got the stomach flu, she was miserable and it really put things into perspective for me. ‘What was this for again?’ I look back at that event now and learned that it didn’t have to feel that way.

It’s really just my approach that has shifted and if you can get anything out of this post I hope it’s this – remember that ‘It’s a blessing to be able to celebrate’. We’ve had to skip some parties because of hospital stays and emergencies in the past. So when we party now, it really is about celebrating that life.
Over the years as our family has grown (We now have 4 children) I’d like to think I picked up a few tips along the way.
I wish for your event planning to be enjoyable, memorable, less stressful and you have more time for the fun.
Let’s begin.
1. Dream it up early –

You don’t have to physically get started but go ahead and dream. ‘Why not?!’. I love this one because it’s free :). Go to Pinterest, scroll through and create boards that inspire you. Chances are you’ll gravitate to a theme that you’ll love and get excited about. This excitement will usually fuel you to get started early with the actual physical planning. Early is always best.

2. The theme that motivates.

It doesn’t have to be complicated but you’d be surprised how a theme can put things together for you and organize your thoughts. It can be a colour motif, your child’s favourite hobby, the celebrant’s unique character (We just celebrated my little ‘fashionista’s 5th birthday party and made a collection’). Pin the theme down and creatively own it. Don’t you just love hearing people say, ‘That party had YOU all over it” or “That was so her style”, “On-point”. In the world of design and marketing your theme acts as your ‘branding’, being consistent adds a polished look.

3. Don’t forget the dollar dollar bills –

Hey, I said less stress not no stress. I’m sure budget is that piece that can give you the heebie-jeebies. But take a deep breathe and relax, you’ve got this. Depending on the celebration, you decide your budget, different cultures and families give certain life events importance. Say a quinceañera for the latin culture is a large event, but for others they save for the 18th birthday called the debut. Personally, we put a lot of importance on baptisms and first birthdays – the mustache theme was a fun one. So I know cultural expectation plays a big part in your decisions but your savings and realistic budget should be honoured.

If most of your budget goes toward the venue opt for DIY invitations or ask for help from your talented friends and relatives for entertainment, photography or food options. We have been fortunate to find The Cakebooth to create our cakes and some giveaways.  That’s the nice thing about cultural events, since others see it as being big, for the most part they are also willing to lend a hand. And if your event is more low-key, have fun using creative ideas that relate to your theme (i.e. use blue KoolAid in an aquarium as a punch bowl for an undersea party, add cute names to your food dishes related to the theme, personalized gift tags with your event details). No matter what, don’t forget to spend your money on what makes sense to you and your family.

4. Ask for help …even from the world.

Brings me to the next point, don’t forget that help comes in many forms. Some of you might say “I don’t know people who can help” or “they are too busy”…”too much drama”…so you might even be thinking I’m talking about immediate people in your lives, of course there’s that but I also suggest help in the not-so immediate. Jump on social, I learned how to create DIY Mickey Mouse Oreo cookie sticks from Youtube, you can even ask your Facebook friends if anyone knows of cool and affordable venues.

The great thing about social media is that so many people are eager to share and help because they know a time will come when they will need your help too. You know for yourself how excited you get when you’ve had a good experience with something. There are tons of freebies you can find online, and we personally love sharing, so just for visiting we created these “Thank you” tags for you.

(Customizable DIY black and white Thank you cards. Use them as tags or print them on label sheets to cut out and use as stickers.)

Don’t forget to check out reviews of vendors too, it’s a huge thing when you have a lot of money invested in an event, especially for weddings. Point is, ask the world!

5. Smile…let’s celebrate!

Things aren’t always going to go as planned but the saying holds true that ‘when you’re having fun, your guests will too.’ All will become a distant memory so don’t forget to enjoy the moment, the photos will help you reminisce and the smiles will make all the difference. Focus on the celebrant, and let them get involved. Play, play, play. Remember what I said earlier ‘It’s a blessing to be able to celebrate’.

Here are a few photos from some of our events and our online store. You can even follow us on Pinterest for more ideas. We hope you like this article, feel free to share with us below and don’t forget to subscribe to our FREE email list so we can keep you updated. All the best!

Committed to a theme much…it’s just part of the fun. Click here to visit our store and personalize this specific design.

“Mustache” you to take one and have some fun.

This three tiered cake has three flavours, mocha, yema cheese and red velvet. The chocolate moustache sticks was a hysterical giveaway.

Fashionista collection

DIY photo booth with props

Script hand cutout with polkadots

Baskin Robin’s Very Berry Strawberry Ice cream purse cake was a hit.

undersea decor

Under the sea decor for a home party.

Colourful Mermaid cake to compliment the undersea theme.

DIY ceiling octopus lantern and streamers. Undersea home party.

Ballerina butter cream, red velvet cake. Name script lettering decor overhead.

home made white chocolate for ballet theme party.

Unique giveaways, bookmark with removable cross seedlings. The captioning instructs guests to plant the seeds in celebration of the child’s baptism, symbolic of their growing faith.

All white baptism cake

DIY gummy candy kabobs.

Daddy and Baby boy’s matching shoes cake.

Mickey Mouse DIY Chocolate covered Oreo pops

Black and white, photo reel, retirement cake.

Travel and fishing themed cookies for these retirees.

blue cake with train and blocks

The art of gift giving

I don’t think I can be a shop that shares unique gift ideas without telling you this personal holiday story. I was a witness to such a heart warming gift-giving experience for my own girls over Christmas.

See when I started my LD Design Loft designs my eldest girl Julia started drawing sketches right beside me; talk about a personal cheerleader. She even called her imaginary shop ‘JD Shop’. Julia loves to sketch and one visit to her cousins’ place she left some of her dress sketches there. We had no idea that Lola Nanay (their grandmother) got hold of the sketches. Eighty-five year old Nanay is an experienced seamstress, I think she can know your measurements by just simply hugging you…I doubt that’s an exaggeration. She sewed dresses and uniforms for years until her arthritis started bothering her. So how delighted was Julia to open her presents on Christmas day from this thoughtful lady. She created two of Julia’s dresses from her sketches, this wonderful gift spoke to our hearts, it encourages creativity and the belief in a child’s talents. How amazing what crayons, paper, a few yards of fabric, imagination and love can do. We will look back on this forever and know we learned from a master. The art of gift-giving is not in the material but in the time, love and thought. What a wonderful lesson for all of us.

Homemade Goodness! Sweet Traditions

We really enjoy receiving homemade treats during the holidays in our family. We’ve also been known to give out a few ourselves. We once got almond roca bars and my husband was hoping to get some this year…so I said “Why not just make some ourselves?!”. Needless to say, he was way too excited over the idea…ha.
Our girls really loved helping with these, and it is officially on our list for traditional recipes during this time of year — what’s more, this year our second child has outgrown her allergy to hazelnuts and almonds =D. ..so thrilled she can enjoy these with us. Gifts of homemade goodness are awesome! Who doesn’t love the warmth and goodness of memories, especially when it is made tangible through delicious foods and gifts?!
We hope you have fun making, sharing and scarfing them down.
Thank you to The Food Charlatan and The Girl Who Ate Everything for sharing their take on this recipe. I used both blogs to help with ours.
Almond Roca Bars
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter (at room temperature is best, I use the guide on the package when measuring)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the white and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add egg, almond extract and salt and mix to combine. Add in the flour and mix well some more. Spread mixture into the prepared pan, it will be like cookie dough in consistency so have fun pressing down with your clean hands. (Wet your fingers a bit to help with this part).
  2. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Spread the chocolate chips immediately after baking and let them sit to melt, we put it back into the oven for 5 minutes to speed this up (the chocolate chips won’t look like they melted from sight, spread a part to check if they has softened). Spread the chocolate evenly on top and sprinkle with sliced almonds. I suggest you cut the bars while it’s warm so it’s easier to lift once cooled to avoid cracking.