Homemade chocolate coins

Make homemade chocolate coins super fast and easy!
These are sooo much faster and easier than you are thinking right now. Truly. And they taste much better then the cheap-o version you pick up in the store. Frankly, these chocolate coins can taste as good as YOU want them to. You are the one controlling the quality of the chocolate.  So, if they taste gross it’s all your own fault. Don’t you love being in control of all the ingredients! For my purposes, candy melt works just great. And believe it or not, the candy melt STILL tastes better than the cheap-o gold coins. Imagine what good quality chocolate would taste like?

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Heart Clay Bookmarks

easy heart clay bookmarks. These are made with air-dry clay found at your local store. They are easy to make and great to personalize for Valentine's day with your child's thumbprint! Great idea for gifts.
This heart clay bookmark is just charming, charming, charming! I love how easy it was to make and how sweet it looks!

I used easy to find air-dry clay for this clay bookmark, a ribbon, and craft paint. None of these supplies are hard to find or difficult to work with. Just the opposite. Air-dry clay if easily found among the children’s art supplies at any large chain store. Bonus: this is a project that children would love making!

Tip: Instead of making hearts have children use small cookie cutters to cut out a variety of shapes.

easy clay heart bookmarks. These are made with air-dry clay found at your local store. They are easy to make and great to personalize for Valentine's day with your child's thumbprint! Great idea for gifts. clay-bookmarks-step2 clay-bookmarks-step3 clay-bookmarks-step5

Tip: Keep your clay bookmark at least 1/4 of an inch thick so it doesn’t break when used.

easy clay heart bookmarks. These are made with air-dry clay found at your local store. They are easy to make and great to personalize for Valentine's day with your child's thumbprint! Great idea for gifts.easy clay heart bookmarks. These are made with air-dry clay found at your local store. They are easy to make and great to personalize for Valentine's day with your child's thumbprint! Great idea for gifts.

Use a straw or chopstick to cut a hole in the heart for your ribbon to slide through. Keep that hole a fair distance from the edge of the heart otherwise you risk breaking. And that is just sad.

easy clay heart bookmarks. These are made with air-dry clay found at your local store. They are easy to make and great to personalize for Valentine's day with your child's thumbprint! Great idea for gifts.
Follow the directions on your air-dry clay (usually you need 48 hours of dry time. Nothing fancy about that…just sitting on the table to dry.) and let your clay bookmark dry and harden properly before painting or adding ribbon.

There is absolutely no right way to paint your heart and attach your ribbon. Just be sure your ribbon is long enough to go from one end of a book to the other OR to run the length of two pages (like mine). If your ribbon is too thick it will be difficult to thread through the hole, so be mindful of that.

Tip: Allow your child to press a painted finger on to one of the painted hearts for an adorable, personalized gift idea.

How adorable is this clay bookmark? Although these would be darling for Valentine’s Day, I’m also thinking these are fantastic as a gift idea for most any time of the year. Heck, I made one for myself…just because.

For more quick crafts, try:

pencil toppers
cupcake holders
How to make custom beads
leather pushpins
matchbook notebooks

Free Printable: Love Nutrition facts

A free printable for you to celebrate…Monday! Yes, that’s it…love Monday’s! Okay, maybe it’s more that we need a reminder to love on Mondays.  So, I made this love nutrition facts printable for you! It is an 8 by 10 size. Print on regular size paper and throw that baby in a frame (or not…mine’s on my wall with washi tape)!  These love nutrition facts are great for everyone in your home to remember and have in front of them.

Free printable with love nutrition facts.  Great for Valentine's Day!

 CLICK RIGHT ABOUT HERE  to open the picture. Then save to your computer and print. Woo  ha!  It’s that easy!  And might we recommend using cardstock to make this an even fancier thing?

 Happy Monday!

Other free printables for Valentine’s Day on NellieBellie…
Cupid’s Cocoa printable
“You are the Tea” printable

Quick & Easy Cupid’s Cocoa (free printable)

Cupids Cocoa with a free printable. from http://nelliebellie.com #Valentine's #valentinesday #craft #printable

This Cupid’s Cocoa Valentine is adorable, sweet, and easy!! I even have the printable made for you. All you have to do is throw a cocoa mix and some pink and white marshmallows in a bag. Then staple that printable on top. Seriously, they should pay me for this stuff.

This is a super cute, incredibly simple idea for any number of Valentine’s needs.  It works for young kids, teachers, friends, and tons of other people.  Versatility is good!

But, before we get all gushy and ooooh and aaaaah’s and “Nellie, you are soo clever” we need to have a reality check…

I printed that printable 5 times before I got it right.
I’m dead serious. The first time…the wrong images were upside down. The second, upside down…the other way (don’t ask). Then I realized I had spelled COCOA without the second O…COCA. I think I needed a cola. So, I redid the image and printed it a third time. And realized I had copied and pasted the OLD image on that print. Fourth time…upside down. Finally, on the fifth try…I got it.

So, let’s not get ourselves too impressed. Apparently direction is hard for me. And spelling beyond the first grade. And, I realize that I missed glittering a corner. I give up. Perfect is as perfect does.

Oh yes, the printable can be found at this link…

Cupid’s Coca Free Printable
(this makes 2… fold the top over and staple)

For more Valentine’s ideas, try:

Orbit Valentine
Love is a Battlefield Valentine
You are the “TEA” valentine

Quick & Easy You are the TEA in my Valentine! (free printable)


"You are the TEA in my Valentine's Day". Free Printable. From NellieBellie"You are the TEA in my Valentine's Day". Free Printable. From NellieBellie

Cute. Adorable. Just a couple of adjectives you can use to describe this cute tea Valentine craft.

I’m not going to give you a full tutorial, simply because this tea valentine is so easy to make!  

And yes, these pictures aren’t so great.  This Valentine idea was created YEARS ago, so the photography happened when I was first learning.  You can tell.  Don’t judge.  You can still tell how cute these are going to be when you make them, and that is the main point.  Right?

The tins are Altoid tins with a coat of white paint. I do believe you can find tins at craft stores as well, if you want to skip the painting step! We go through a lot of Altoids in this house, though, so it’s nice to have a use for the left over tins.  You could also put the tea bags in a number of different containers.  We just liked the tins.

Washi tape makes decorating them easy! Insert a couple bags of tea (in your favorite flavor), add a fabulous saying to the container, and you are the coolest cat around!

"You are the TEA in my Valentine's Day". Free Printable. From NellieBellie

For the printable tea valentines, I inserted the tea bag into a plastic treat bag, punched a hole in the corner of the bag and printable and used a ribbon to tie a bow. A bit of washi tape again for decoration. Easy Peasy!  Nothing too fancy, but definitely something that is cute and fun to make.  

For the printable that I used click HERE. I give it to you for free. I’m nice that way :).

If you’ve never made homemade tea bags then be sure to watch the tutorial: DIY Coffee filter Tea bags.

More Valentine’s you might like:

Orbit: Out of this World
Love is A Battlefield
Cupid’s Cocoa
Love Nutrition Facts
Give Extra: Get Extra

Quick & Easy Valentines

In case you lot are anything like us, and left your Valentine’s Day plans ’til the last minute, we’ve got you covered.  (Head over to our Craft gallery for a full list of other great ideas.) Today we’ve got the perfect Valentines to make it look like you worked really hard and planned in advance.  You can let people think you thought them up.  We can deal with that.

Our “into Orbit” Valentines are pretty darn cheesy, if I don’t say so myself. Cheese Louise.  But they are simple, fast, and great!  See, procrastination is only a problem if you aren’t smart enough to find solutions.

orbit valentine

I know, I know–you can say it–the CUTEST, cheesiest Valentine you ever did see. Gosh.

And to make your life even easier as you scramble, we’ve included a free printable.  Now you just need to run out to the store and get paper, ink, double sided tape, and gum.  Dang it anyway.  Well, we tried to make this easier for you, at least.  Too bad you still have to do some work!

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How to host family without going crazy |holiday hosting tips and tricks

tips and tricks for holiday hosting

Before I get too far along let me tell you why I can even open my big ol’ mouth about the topic of holiday hosting.

Let’s just say I have a bit of experience in the world of hosting family. I am the oldest of 10. My husband of 16 years is one of 6. Between us we have 14 siblings. And during our 16 years of marriage our house has hosted most every. single. holiday. for one side or the other or BOTH.


Sometimes it has only been for a few hours. Sometimes for weeks. We’ve done it all. All sizes, all kinds, all drama, all the time.

So…I thought I would dispense on you the wisdom I’ve learned over the years. And some of my tips and tricks that I’ve gathered. With the hopes that you find a nugget of value that will help YOU this year as you host family once again. Or help YOU as you host family for the first time. Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how many times you have hosted family for the holidays, each year brings a new and different challenge.

Tip 1: Understand the expectations people have of you. 

Tip 1 seems fairly obvious. But, really it isn’t.

If your family is thinking having you host means something specific…you should know! And what if what they are thinking isn’t what YOU are thinking?? That would be horrible. And stressful.
Be sure that you know the expectations they have. And the expectations you have of yourself.

Tip 2: Understand the expectations you have of others.

Tip 2 also seems obvious. Just humor me.

So, your family promises to be well behaved this year. They promise to bring their designated dishes. But…they said that the year before. And the year before that. And didn’t

You have a realism problem.

See here’s the thing…you have to make sure your expectations of others match what they are willing to deliver. If your family won’t stop drinking beer and watching football chances are your plan for a nice sit down dinner won’t happen. Be sure your family understands what you want. Make sure they really, really can deliver. If not…be sure you are willing to deal.

Tip 3: Be flexible

This is a horrible word. The f-word. Yes, it is that bad.
Being flexible means you don’t need to have everything you want exactly the way you want it. Gasp! But, you’re a drama queen and love having your own way? Well, girlie, unless your family is okay with that … you’re in for a long day.
Be willing to let go of the vision in your head of what perfect holiday hosting looks like and shoot for a happy day. A happy day can probably be achieved with a simple menu, paper plates, and water.

Tip 4: Be firm

So,  you know what is expected. Your family knows what’s expected. You’ve been flexible and adjusted to suit what works for your family. Now it’s time to hold firm to what was agreed to. Make sure you and your family aren’t taken advantage of. Be sure that it is a good experience for everyone!

Tip 5: Have fun

you worked hard…darn it!! Go have fun! Be sure that your day is set up in such a way as to free you up to enjoy it. If you are cooking and cleaning all day…you did something wrong. That is NOT what your family wants from you (or do they??? well then, you probably shouldn’t do holiday hosting). Go play!

Tip 6: Expect Help

“I like it a certain way”. I hear that so often from women to explain why they don’t accept help in the kitchen. Are you kidding?? Okay, that’s fine…If you truly would prefer to spend your day in the kitchen.  That’s your choice.  If that is more important to you than other things, just know that you are making the choice to clean and cook and you cannot be upset with others when they are having fun without you.

If that isn’t what you want, you’re going to have to deal with people doing things a bit differently.  Get over it. Delegate, accept, assign…get help and use it!! Be easy to please. Don’t use the items that need special cleaning. Let others wash and you can put away if you are so particular. Use and expect help!

Tip 7: Have Boundaries

This tip applies more to those that are holiday hosting for a longer time. If you are hosting company for days on end you need to have some boundaries. Your family needs to understand what in your home is off limits. And yes, there should be off limit items and areas!! If anything…for your kids and spouse. In my house, my bedroom is off limits. For one thing…it’s creepy having people in my bedroom. But also, there is a t.v. and big bed in my room. It is a great place for my kids to curl up and disappear when they are over-cooked. We also have all the computers as off-limits. Computers are personal things, aren’t they! And we just don’t make our children (or ourselves) share that. We also don’t allow drama and fighting while in our house. There are family members that don’t like each other. They have to pretend to get along while in our house. I won’t put up with having to deal with drama. I put my foot down. Set boundaries!! Oh…and then be firm!

Tip 8: Have escapes

I mentioned my bedroom as an off limits area. That is mostly because I need to provide my family with a way to escape. Not that we don’t love my family…we do. But extended periods of time with company is just a lot. It just is. So, we have escapes built into the time. My husband goes to work, my kids go to a friend’s house, watch a movie in my room, or are invited to the other family’s house. Does that sound mean?? Maybe. But, having happy kids that are excited to be around family is worth it!! A happy husband that doesn’t want to break off the toes of siblings is worth it!! So…have escapes!

Tip 9: Use resources

Last, but not least…use tips and resources. There are products and ideas galore that will help you….use them!!

1. paper products are your friend.  Not Styrofoam; we care for the earth here.
2. so are disposable aluminum pans.
3. put the trash can in a visible location.  and the recycling bin.
4. clean up from one family activity before moving on to another. And be firm…you’ll get help!
5. Mark dishes with stickers, rubberbands with names written on…whatever. This eliminates glasses being used and then left.
6. have a menu…then ask for items to be brought from the menu.
7. have games and activities available.
8. use butcher paper or drop cloths for tablecloths. They can be drawn on with crayons for endless entertainment!
9. think about using prepared ingredients where you are able to give up the homemade.
10. designate family members to be in charge of keeping food items filled and fresh.
11. if you must use real dishes….think about having a bin with soapy water for dishes to be set in (if you aren’t making someone help you wash them!)
12. keep your cleaning gear in a basket that is easy to access…it will make it easier for people to help!
13. toilet paper and daily use items should be stored in a visible location to reduce the need for everyone to ask for them.
14. think about having your list of to-do’s for before, during, and after on the fridge. When people know what there is that needs doing…they’ll do it!
15. e-vites are a fun way to send an invitation to your family…they usually allow you to get an RSVP and ask for items to be brought.  e-vites, punchbowl, and others are good sources! Even if your family is informal use an e-vite to put all the info in one place so there can be no excuse for forgetting.

Do you agree with these tips for holiday hosting?  What would you add?

Here’s another helpful post on how to be a great host.

How to freeze cookies

quick tips for freezing Christmas cookies, freezing baked cookies, freezing cookie dough. freezing cookies, From nelliebellie.com
Freezing cookie dough is a fantastic idea (and a great gift idea, as well!) because it allows you to have fresh-baked cookies without alot of fuss. Granted, it’s not AS fast as freezing cookies that you’ve already baked, but it’s still a great method!

quick tips for freezing cookie dough so you can have fast, easy, warm cookies any time! freezing cookies

Tips for freezing cookie dough:

  • Place dough by balls onto a cookie sheet and put the sheet into the freezer. When the balls freeze store them in freezer bags. Think about putting only 1/2 a dozen in a bag at a time to make a fast snack option for the kids after-school! No need to thaw before baking!
  • Some cookies like Icebox, Shortbread, even Chocolate Chip are great for freezing in a roll. Wrap the roll in waxed paper and store it in the fridge. Take it out when you are ready to bake. No need to thaw the whole roll. Slice and bake (add a few minutes to the traditional baking time to counteract the freezing temperature).
  • Don’t try freezing cookie dough that is made with mostly egg whites (such as a meringue cookie), they won’t freeze properly.
  • Remove as much of the air as possible in your freezer bag for best possible cookies later on.
  • Write the baking instructions on the freezer bag or packaging of your frozen cookie dough so you don’t forget!
  • Be sure you are using freezer bags and not just large storage bags!

Frozen cookie dough lasts for about 3 months


Tips for freezing cookies after they’ve been baked:

  • let your cookies cool completely before freezing.
  • freeze cookies inside freezer bags. Then, if possible, set the bags inside a box or basket in the freezer.
  • wrap baked cookies about 1/2 a dozen at a time in plastic wrap or parchment paper then bundle the packages in the freezer bag.
  • use waxed paper in between layers that may freeze together and make it difficult to separate.
  • frosted cookies should be placed (when cool) on a cookie sheet into the freezer to freeze for a few hours BEFORE being placed in the freezer bags and into the freezer. If necessary, place a sheet of wax paper in between each one (I do this for specialty cookies only).
  • Try to remove as much air as possible from the container you are freezing them in.
  • Unthaw the cookies in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours.

Frozen cookies last for about 4-6 weeks with proper air-tight storage

Recipes that work well for freezing cookies:

chocolate chip
peanut butter
jammy dodgers
molasses cookies

Easy gift ideas you can make in 20 minutes or less.

a collection of crafts that can be made in 20 minutes or less and make fantastic Christmas gifts! | nelliebellie.com Christmas gifts, gift ideas, Christmas

Sometimes the best Christmas gifts are homemade.  It’s just the truth.  There’s something extra special about knowing that your gift was made by someone who cares about you; someone took the time to create the exact gift they think you would like.  These easy gift ideas are our way of helping you create that feeling for other people this holiday.

Now…if you don’t have the time or the energy…go buy something.  Your family and friends will still feel loved.  Promise.  You don’t need to try to be a superwoman (or man).  You have enough going on, don’t let making gifts be just one more stressor.

 But…if you like crafting gifts, or need to save a bit of money, these easy gift ideas are all fabulous ideas to get you started.  Enjoy!

Easy gift ideas:

4 forest animal Sharpie ornaments. Easy to make with easy tutorial (including video!) at nelliebellie.com.  These are fun and easy gift ideas!Sharpie Ornaments

These Sharpie ornaments are super simple and are a wonderful gift to give, particularly for someone in a new home or apartment at their first Christmas.  These ornaments can be highly personalized, and are classic enough many will enjoy them.

Difficulty Level:  Moderate.  A small amount of artistic ability is necessary.
Time: Each one takes about 5 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • metallic Sharpies
  • white ornaments

 Click her for the full tutorial.

Reindeer Rootbeer a great gift idea for beer or rootbeer. One of our favorite easy gift ideas!  Easy craft to make! | nelliebellie.comReindeer Rootbeer

This reindeer rootbeer is a wonderful and simple gift that is an “almost” craft.  It’s a perfect gift to make if you need a last minute gift but still want it to have some personality.

Difficulty Level:  Super Beginner.  So easy.
Time: 5 minutes per bottle. A 6-pack takes about 30 minutes.

Materials Needed:

  • 6 pack rootbeer
  • ribbon
  • glue
  • pipe cleaner
  • googly eyes
  • red pom poms

Click here for the tutorial.

This DIY domed cake stand is an Anthro knock-off that is easy to replicate.  We found items that already had great designs, so it was just a matter of putting everything together well!  Perfect if you're looking for easy gift ideas!DIY Cake Stand

 This diy cake stand is a great gift option because of how unique and simple it really is.  We made a mini version, perfect for a cupcake, but you could use the same tutorial to make a full-sized cake stand.  The key to this project is to find an interesting bowl for the cover.  This is one of our easy gift ideas that you will pull out year-round when you are looking for a fabulous gift.

Difficulty Level:  Beginner.  Seriously, it’s easy.  You can do it.
Time: about 20 minutes. But give it overnight to properly set.

Materials Needed:

  • bowl
  • small plate
  • small cup, egg cup, sundae dish, or candlestick
  • large bead or knob
  • E6000 or similarly strong clear, waterproof glue

 Click here for the tutorial

A diy ring dish that is so easy to make with a thrift store dish and knick-knack.  When personalized, it is one of our favorite easy gift ideas!  And a ton of different types of knick knacks and dishes would work, so it can be replicated in a ton of variations.  This would make a great gift!DIY Ring Dish

 We love this ring dish for a woman’s present.  It is even simpler to make than the cake stand, but has the possibility of being incredibly unique.  Choose a figurine for the center of the dish that is special in some way for the person you are gifting this to.

Difficulty Level:  Beginner-Intermediate.  Only because there is spray paint involved.
Time: About 20 minutes. But give it time to dry and set.

Materials Needed:

  • super glue
  • paint (might I suggest gold?)
  • knickknack
  • dish

Click here for the tutorial.

These t-shirt coasters are a wonderful way to reuse an old item, and work really well as easy gift ideas! They take a bit of time to create, but are incredibly simple.  Perfect gift!T-Shirt Coasters

 These coasters will not be appreciated by everyone, but those who DO like them, will absolutely love them.  They take something old and boring and turn it into a useful and fun gift.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate.  We just think that anything using superglue can’t be classified as beginner.  On principle.
Time: About 45  minutes. It just takes a bit of time to braid and wind.

Materials Needed:

  • old t-shirts
  • tape
  • superglue (or something similar)

Click here for the tutorial.

This Herb Garden in A Box is a great unique twist on a traditional garden.  It makes a great gift for either the person in your life who loves plants, or the person who has never had a garden.  We love it for the winter; it's great to have fresh herbs right in our kitchen!  It is small enough to fit many places, but there's enough in it to be useful.  One of the best easy gift ideas!Herb Garden-in-a-box

 This garden-in-a-box is a ton of fun, and someone in your life is sure to appreciate it.  This is another customizable gift, where you can choose to either create your own fun box or buy one that is already pretty.  And you can decide which herbs need to be included, or maybe even small flowers instead.  Your choice.  

Difficulty Level:  Intermediate.  This craft is filled with very simple steps, but there are a few more than we generally like.  We love the result, though!
Time: It depends.  If you are creating your box, add more time. If you have to go shopping for dirt and herbs, add more time.  Otherwise, it should be ready in less than 20 minutes.

Materials Needed:

  • craft box
  • paints (if you are using a plain box and decorating it)
  • wooden circles (available at a craft store)
  • small plastic cups
  • potting soil
  • herb seeds

 Click here for the tutorial.

These diy animal bookends are made using gold gilding and two plastic toys.  We love this project because it is so customizable, and these would make great easy gift ideas for a number of different people in your life.  Gilded Bookends

This craft is one of our favorite easy gift ideas because it can be as masculine or feminine as you choose, which makes it one of the few crafts we have that actually works as a gift for men.  We also love how unexpected this gift would be; it is fun to surprise people sometimes!

Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Time: About 20 minutes. Give it overnight to dry and set.

Materials Needed:

  • gilding (available at craft stores)
  • 4 blocks of wood (the size you want for your bookends)
  • 2 dollar store animals (make sure they look cool on bookends)
  • super glue
  • paint brush
  • sand paper (if needed)

Click here for the tutorial.

make a cute individual cupcake holder. So easy to make and gift; it's one of our favorite easy gift ideas!  www.nelliebellie.com Individual Cupcake Holder

This is one of those easy gift ideas that actually isn’t even a craft.  It’s just repurposing something…but in a way that everyone will absolutely adore.  Take a squat mason jar and turn it into a super cute cupcake holder.  That’s it!  

Difficulty Level:  Super duper beginner.
Time: 2 minutes. The more you decorate, the more time it will take.

Click here for the tutorial (though, honestly, there isn’t anything to it!).

If you’re also looking for food to serve…here’s a few of our favorite easier recipes for over the holidays!

Chocolate cake
International Coffee Drinks
Green Bean Casserole (a healthier version)
molasses cookies
Honey Cheesecake
Homemade Bread
Cinnamon Rolls in Oranges

how to make Sharpie ornaments

 4 forest animal Sharpie ornaments. Easy to make with easy tutorial (including video!) at nelliebellie.com

We got a request by Sharpie to create 4 Christmas ornaments featuring their metallic Sharpies that they could use for advertising on Amazon. Our response…heck yes! We are giant fans of using Sharpies on white porcelain Christmas ornaments for all kinds of designs, patterns, and fun. We did a set of 4 last year (which Sharpie had seen and why they asked us, specifically) with Sharpies that were super fun and easy and knew that another set could be just as great! Boy, were we wrong. We think this set of 4 forest animal ornaments is BETTER than last year’s set. And maybe faster. Maybe easier. Definitely more adorable! Really…you can’t go wrong with a cute fox, can you!

So, grab yourself a pack of metallic Sharpies and 4 white ball Christmas ornaments and whip up a set of these adorable ornaments! Keep them for yourselves or gift them to another. Either way, they are a winner winner, chicken dinner!

 We’ve created a video for each of the ornaments that is easy to follow. The Fox and Mouse are in one video, the Bear and Owl in the other. Or, if you choose…use the picture tutorial (it’s easy to follow!) to create them. If you do, make a set be sure to pop over to our FACEBOOK PAGE to share them with us…we love to see what you all create!

Fox & Mouse:

4 forest animal Sharpie ornaments. Easy to make with easy tutorial (including video!) at nelliebellie.com

The Fox:


Step 1. Create a large U shape on the ornament with the bronze Sharpie.


Step 2. Give your fox a set of ears and nose. (hard to explain…just try to create the shape I did! The video does a good job of showing this step)

Create 4 forest animal ornaments easily! Full tutorial (including video) for making these ornaments with Sharpie metallics. | nelliebellie.com
Step 3. Use the black Sharpie to add an oval for a nose, 2 upside down U’s for eyes, and eyelashes.

Good job!

4 forest animal Sharpie ornaments. Easy to make with easy tutorial (including video!) at nelliebellie.com

The Mouse:

sharpie-mouse-ornamentStep 1. Create a raindrop shape on the ornament with the silver Sharpie.

4 woodland ornaments that are easy to make with Sharpie Metallics. Video tutorial included | nelliebellie.com
Step 2. Add 2 ears to the top of the raindrop shape with your silver Sharpie.

Step 3. Add an oval with your black Sharpie to the bottom of the raindrop shape for the nose. Add a few whiskers. And, of course 2 ovals for eyes.

Optional: fill in the ears a bit with the gold Sharpie

Bear & the Owl:

4 forest animal Sharpie ornaments. Easy to make with easy tutorial (including video!) at nelliebellie.com

The Bear:

Step 1. Use the bronze Sharpie to create an oval towards the bottom of the Ornament.

easy to make woodland ornaments with Sharpie Metallics. Easy to follow tutorial (video tutorial included) using only Sharpies!
Step 2. Use the silver Sharpie to create somewhat of the top of a heart shape directly above the bronze oval. These will make the bear’s eyes.

easy to follow tutorial (video tutorial included) for 4 woodland ornaments using Sharpie Metallics | nelliebellie.com
Step 3. Use the black sharpie to add 2 ovals for the eyes, a nose, and a mouth.

Optional: use the silver Sharpie to add additional ovals to the eyes and nose, as well as “whisker spots”.

4 forest animal Sharpie ornaments. Easy to make with easy tutorial (including video!) at nelliebellie.com 

The Owl:

4 easy forest animal ornaments to make with metallic Sharpies. Video tutorials! |nelliebellie.com

Step 1: Use the gold Sharpie to create a large circle around the ornament.


Step 2. Continue using the gold Sharpie to create the top of the owl’s head (the shape created will look similar to the top of a heart.)


Step 3. Use the silver Sharpie to add 2 large circles for the eyes.


Step 4. Use the bronze Sharpie to create a triangle nose from one eye to the other.

Step 4. Use the black Sharpie to add small circles to the eyes.

 Want more Sharpie fun?  Take a look at:

our Sharpie ornaments from last year, with a snowman, penguin, and more
Sharpie table
Breast Cancer Awareness Shirt
pipe paper towel holder

how to make reindeer rootbeer.

Reindeer Rootbeer a great gift idea for beer or rootbeer. Easy craft to  make! | nelliebellie.com

Reindeer Rootbeer is just one of over 52 gifting ideas we loaded into our new book, Creative Gift Ideas: 52 Unique Gift Sets, but we love it so much we wanted to make sure that even the people who didn’t get our book have access to it.  Because it is just too simple not to know about.

Reindeer Rootbeer is a great gift to give those people in your life that you just don’t quite know what to get.  You know what I’m talking about.  You need to give certain people gifts, but they are so hard to shop for!  Or you have an office party, or a party with extended relatives, and you don’t know anyone well enough to give an awesome present.  Enter reindeer rootbeer.

This gift works for almost anyone, but has enough cleverness added in that people will feel really special getting it.  They’ll think you tried.  Which you did.  Sort of.  Okay, not really all that much.  But it sure beats giving someone candles, a Christmas sweater, or a gift card (scratch that…gift cards work for most anyone!). And, it is just so darn cute!

P.S. giving Christmas-themed gifts makes no sense.  The person will have about one day to use it.  And then they’ll have to put it away until the next year.  Why would you do that to someone? Unless you get the gift during the after-Christmas sales for your distant relative that you’ll see for the Christmas party in January. That makes perfect sense and we heartily giggle and high-five!


  • Root beer (in the glass bottles).
  • Pipe cleaners:  as “antlers”.
  • red buttons or pom pom’s for noses
  • and of course…googly eyes!

I used root beer because it was going to some kids for Christmas, but actual beer would work for adults.  You could also use other sodas, as long as they have similar packaging and come in a 6-pack (or 4-pack, I guess :)). And, traditionally one would use brown pipe cleaners. We used multi-color for fun. Breaking tradition! We didn’t have red pom pom’s or buttons so I took cotton balls and a red Sharpie and made my own. If you don’t have googly eyes feel free to pop a white dot of paint and add a dot of black on top. Don’t go out and buy items, use what you have if possible!

To Do:

  1. attach buttons for noses.  I used a hot glue, but other glues should work.
  2. attach googly eyes
  3. You will need to cut about an inch off a pipe cleaner (x2) and wrap it around the end of another pipe cleaner to create your “antler”. Do this to 2 pipe cleaners (probably the same color). Then wrap it around the neck of your bottle. Repeat for other antler.
  4. I made a quick little sign that said “Reindeer Root beer”. I like it. You should too. 

If you want to, go crazy and give someone an entire case of Reindeer Rootbeer!!!

We’ve included a quick video that helps if you are still struggling with how to make these. It really is very easy!

Have you found any simple and cute ideas like this reindeer root beer that you are using for quick gifts?

Check out my DIY snow globe ornaments, or the bottle cap n’ wrap idea for giving wine as a gift.. Or the best toffee you could ever package up!


the BEST Gingerbread Cookies

tried & true Gingerbread Cookie recipe. Cookies, gingerbread, holiday cookies, recipes. | nelliebellie.com | gingerbread cookies
We adore gingerbread cookies around here. They never fails to make us feel warm & cozy, happy & healthy, & full of joy! I make my gingerbread cookies and leave them naked. Meaning…without frosting. Rarely do we frost or ice our gingerbread cookies. For one, they get eaten so quickly that I don’t have a chance. For two, my family really doesn’t seem to need the additional sugar to enjoy their charm. And, why fight that? This gingerbread cookie recipe is the one that we use to create our gingerbread men, our gingerbread biscotti (coming soon!), and our gingerbread trees (also coming soon). It is one that you’ll put into your files and pull out each year. It’s simple, it tastes great, and why mess with that?

We have a story here on NellieBellie about my son Levi and his desire to make a gingerbread ninja… this is the recipe used for that. Almost all children that have gone through elementary school have heard the Gingerbread Man story and probably even made gingerbread men in class. It seems to be a tradition developed over the years in elementary schools. And I LOVE IT!! I simply adore my children learning the value of tradition, of “old-school”, of simplicity, and something that is simply good. No fancy gimmiks with gingerbread cookies.  There doesn’t need to be, does there! And oh, what it does to the soul to eat gingerbread cookies (real, homemade ones!) over the holidays!!

So, cheers to you teachers that use gingerbread cookies in class…giant hugs and cheers!! And, to you parents & grandparents that make these every year (especially if you get your kids involved!)…please share with us some of your tips, tricks, creations, and stories about why this kind of cookie in particular is special!

Gingerbread Cookies
A basic, delicious recipe for Gingerbread Cookies
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  1. 1/2 cup shortening
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  8. 1/2 cup molasses (use dark for stronger flavor, light for a lighter flavor)
  9. 1 egg
  10. 1 tablespoon vinegar
  11. 2 1/2 cups flour
  1. Beat shortening on medium speed for about 45 seconds, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Beat until combined.
  3. Add molasses, egg, & vinegar. Beat until combined.
  4. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until combined.
  5. Beat in the remainder, if you can. Otherwise stir it in.
  6. Cover and chill the dough for at least 3 hours (you can leave it overnight, too!)
  7. ----For basic cookies roll the dough into 2 inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Press down gently (use the bottom of a cup covered in sugar, for a bonus!)
  8. ----For cut-outs roll the dough (about 1/2 at a time) on to a lightly floured surface until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out.
  9. Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes or edges are slightly brown. Cool before icing or frosting.
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If you ARE looking for fun ways to put a spin on gingerbread cookies try these…

If you are just looking for awesome holiday cookies and desserts:

 Like our cooling rack?  It’s a super cheap one.  You can get it here.  Pretty things don’t always need to be expensive!

And don’t forget to check out our new book Creative Gift Ideas: 52 Unique Gift Sets for Under $20.00 to get some great ideas on what to give those people in your life who are just a little bit harder to buy for.