Luck of the Irish

St Patrick's Day BannerLeprechauns and a pot of gold are certainly hallmarks of St. Patrick’s Day. Below are a few crafting ideas to help you get ready for this upcoming celebration of all things Irish.

Shamrocks
Ireland, known as the Emerald Isle, is famous for its shamrocks. If you are lucky enough, you may even find a four-leaf clover. Notice the almost woven effect created by the natural layering of these leaves. Irish knot work patterns, such as the one illustrated below, are inspired by the natural world.

Carved Marble Knots
Eternity knots can be found on everything in Ireland. The pattern shown here has been carved into marble. It could also be carved or burnt into wood, stenciled onto a wall, or drawn and/or painted onto t-shirts, handbags, or even a comforter. Jewelry makers include knot designs for their beauty as well as the symbolism of eternal love.

Cookies & Irish Coffee
A great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with a few shamrock cookies and a creamy mug of Irish coffee. In case you didn’t know, this coffee gets its high-octane kick from a shot of Irish whiskey.

Irish Soda Bread
Store bought Irish soda bread is usually made ahead of time and may be too dry. It’s best enjoyed straight out of the oven.

Jewelry Charms
The four-leaf clover is a very popular good luck talisman. A leather cord is a very inexpensive way to make a necklace. The cord can be cut to the desired length, and special cord tips are attached to the ends along with a spring ring or lobster claw clasp. Any charms with a large enough bail can be slid onto the cord and easily changed for a new look. Prefer ready-made jewelry? Ready to wear cords can be purchased with the charms of your choice.

St. Paddy's Day Parade
Of course you’ll need to wear something green to really get into the spirit of the holiday. A little green fabric is all you need – a hat, scarf, socks – anything will do.

Irish Icons
These icons are often found on everything from mugs and T-shirts to bumper stickers. Iron-ons are inexpensive and easy to apply. Craft stores also have stickers, as well as temporary tattoos, which have all the cool designs without any of the commitment.

Irish Embroidery
Embroidery is a great way to dress up any garment with lively, eye-catching graphics and funny sayings.

Shamrocks Crochet
If crocheting were your specialty, these three leaf clovers would make a very unique scarf or hat. They could also be used as decorative accents on a pillow or afghan.

Beer & Shamrocks
There are plenty of colorful holiday-themed sheets in the papercrafting aisle, or you might want to design your own. If there’s a subliminal message in this design, I suppose it would be: “I love shamrocks and beer!” Who doesn’t? (lol)

Art Clay
Working with art clay can be a fun activity for the whole family. Figures like these pictured above could be used as jewelry pendants, or attached to hair accessories or refrigerator magnets, just to name a few.

Irish Angel Stained Glass
Stained glass is a beautiful way to incorporate holiday themes and of course the color green and requisite shamrock for luck.

Ceramic Irish Bear
Belleek, is a well-known brand of Irish pottery, recognized by its neutral cream color, which often includes hand painted shamrocks. You can achieve the same look, at a fraction of the price, by visiting a ceramics studio to paint your own using a similar color scheme.

Lucky Horseshoe
An up-turned horseshoe has always been considered good luck. The addition of a four-leaf clover may be all that’s needed to amplify good fortune to the next level. well, it’s certainly worth a try.

On St. Patrick’s Day, everybody is Irish! So wear something green, enjoy a pint, and keep an eye out for a rainbow – there might just be a pot of gold under it waiting to be discovered!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Crafting!

Celebrating Carnival & Mardi Gras

Venice Purple & Gold Mask
Several countries around the world celebrate the pre-Lenten festival of Carnival/Mardi Gras. In fact, many people travel internationally every year to participate in the festivities. One thing all these festivals have in common is a very colorful assortment of costumes and masks. Forget about the office or that seemingly endless “To-Do” list. Toss aside any worries or concerns and enjoy living in the moment. As the musical artist, Prince, said, “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine!”

Carnival Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Carnival Rio Dancer
The crowd goes wild during this high energy, tropical themed extravaganza led by sexy samba dancers, stepping to the beat, arrayed in flamboyantly colored feathers, beads and sequins.

Mardi Gras New Orleans, U.S.A.
Mardi Gras New Orleans Float
Collecting the signature purple, green and gold beads becomes an almost obsessive mission for revelers at Mardi Gras as they enjoy the parades, sample spicy Cajun food, indulge in a cocktail or two, and dance until dawn.

Carnival Germany
Carnival Germany Wooden Masks
Wooden masks scare away the ghosts and darkness of winter, while bright colors welcome the coming of spring. And of course it wouldn’t be a German celebration without plenty of beer.

Carnival Venice, Italy
Venice Purple Gold Mask
The Carnival in Venice is one of the oldest celebrations, featuring elaborate costumes made from lavish fabrics, porcelain masks, and gold leaf accents. This beautiful purple and gold costume has an air of royalty about it. It’s incredibly detailed and is a feast for the eyes.

Venice Black White Gold
A great mask is the key to these celebrations. As with Halloween, masks invite the wearers to step out of their comfort zones. When the parties are over, masks become beautiful wall art, decorated with feathers, rhinestones, braided trim, and hand applied designs.

Purple Green Feathered Mask
The bold feathers and black trim on this half mask focus the viewer’s attention upon the eyes of the wearer, drawing you in to discover more.

Venice Taupe Gold
The sheer volume of taupe feathers creates an impressive headdress, accented by the delicate gold lace and embossed details. From a distance this appears to be a half mask, but upon closer inspection, it’s actually a full-face porcelain mask, and the lips have been painted a complementary shade of gold.

Venice Purple Red Masks
Venetian masks are among the most ornate. While meant to be worn, many have become prized collector’s items in the world of art.

Venice Red Black Gold Costume
If you’re going to wear a mask, why not make a costume to go with it? And don’t forget to accessorize! As an extravagant touch of luxury, many Venetian masks are decorated with genuine gold leaf.

Venetian Skeleton Masks
This bride & groom have gone above and beyond in honoring their wedding vows –“Til death do us part…” (lol)

Venice Purple Gold Mask
Wearing a full-face mask can get a little uncomfortable. Having a coordinating half mask, as a back up, is a great idea.

Venice Red Gold Jester
This beautiful jester mask is a crafter’s dream, incorporating beading, painting, fabric, braided trim, glitter, and decoupage.

Venice Mask Display
Half masks are readily available and comfortable to wear without the need for special makeup or accessories. They also happen to be very easy to decorate yourself. For step-by-step instructions, please read a previous post, “Who’s Behind the Mask?”

Blue Gold Mask
Carnival just might be the adult equivalent of recess on the playground – Come outside and play! Make new friends. Have the time of your life and let’s do it all again next year!

Happy Carnival, Happy Mardi Gras and Happy Crafting!

From Trash to Treasure – Mosaic Tile

Mosaic Wall Tile
Recycling continues to be a buzzword in the news. Mankind is finally waking up to the idea that we not only need to protect our planet, but we also need to clean up the damage already done, if not for ourselves, at least for the sake of our children and all the generations to come.

Broken Tiles
Broken pieces of tile are often the building blocks of mosaic masterpieces. What a great way to recycle something that would normally be considered trash! Mosaic art is similar to Impressionism, which uses little dots of paint instead of tile to create a unified scene when viewed from a distance. Everyday items, such as furniture, jewelry, and backsplashes come alive with the beauty of mosaic tile.

Broken Pottery
Grout & mortar choices may recede into the background or become a defining part of the mosaic design. In the photo above, notice how the abstract pattern of the broken ceramic pieces is dominated by the grout instead of the tile. The colors and smooth, irregular shapes contrast with the rough gray background.

Glass Tile Backsplash
Glass tile is a very popular choice for kitchen backsplashes and bathroom accent walls. Here is one extremely important installation tip for glass tile installation: Ensure the mortar is white. DO NOT use the standard gray because it will change the color of the glass. Keep in mind the grout color may also affect the color of the glass; therefore you might want to make a sample board first, before committing to the final selection.

Basketweave Glass Mosaic
With this glass tile, the basket weave pattern provides instant texture with minimal effort. The blue grout perfectly coordinates with the tile, making it barely noticeable.

Mosaic Building Facade
Our ancestors had to position one piece of tile at a time. Today, modern technology has simplified the mosaic tiling process by producing sheets of tile, eliminating the need to place individual pieces, and ensuring the finished product is evenly spaced and level.

Cardinal Mosaic Mural
The subtle shading and vibrant colors of this cardinal looks more like a watercolor painting than a mosaic tile mural. The grout has been tinted gold to reflect the light and add an extra lavish element to this outstanding artwork.

Mosaic Dragon Sculpture
On old maps, unexplored regions typically included a warning, which read: “Beyond here there be dragons!” Poised in mid-dive, I suppose this mosaic dragon is nothing to fear. It must have taken the artist a very long time to complete this large-scale project.

Mosaic Fish
The soft colors and delicate details create a soothing, peaceful atmosphere in this aquatic garden.

Mosaic Frog Figurines
Decorative figurines, such as these frogs, are perfect for showcasing the artist’s playful use of color, and the textured surface begs to be touched.

Glass Mosaic Table
Impressive geometric patterns, similar to those found in kaleidoscopes and mandalas, are beautifully expressed with mosaic tile.

Mosaic Animal Mural
This animal menagerie has been created using an interesting technique. The mosaics have been individually adhered to a stucco wall, and the space in between, which would normally be filled with grout, has been left open. The three dimensional result is quite beautiful, and the placement of the animals conveys a sense of motion and activity.

Mosaic Mythology Mural
Many ancient cultures created vast mosaic murals to not only decorate but to teach their people historical and mythological lessons.

Mural Religious
Worldwide religions have also made use of mosaics, especially those with metallic finishes, to illuminate interiors with an otherworldly glow, and to depict important concepts and teachings.

Mural Tiger Hunting
As human beings developed their skills throughout history, fine arts paintings, murals and mosaics replaced cave paintings and drawings for recording their observations of the natural world.

Stone Mosaic
Weather can be very hard on exterior mosaic installations, which require periodic maintenance to maintain its beauty and integrity. Grout and mortar can crack, loosening stones and/or tile, which is not only unattractive but can also become a tripping hazard.

Mosaic Swimming Pool
Swimming pools often incorporate mosaic tile coping along the waterline, which can also extend across the entire bottom of the pool in fascinating colors and patterns.

Mosaic Turkish Lanterns
Home accessories, such as picture frames, mirrors, and lamps, present many opportunities for mosaic artwork. Lit from behind, these glass mosaic lanterns brighten rooms and moods with the flick of a switch.

Volkswagon
This Volkswagen is interesting and attractive, but not very practical. Every time you hit a bump or pothole, more tiles are lost. Of course if you ever get lost, there will be a trail of “bread crumbs” to find your way back home. (lol)

River Rock Mosaic
Countertops with thickset mortar beds can accommodate large smooth river rocks and require thicker grout lines. Use a leveling tool as you go to ensure the finished counter will be level.

Starry Sky Mosaic
As in all art forms, there’s always room for whimsy, and an occasional wish or two. If you have been wishing for a beautiful and unique piece of art, give mosaic art a try.  Please click here to read an earlier post on the mosaic tiling process.

Looking for a challenge? If you’ve been saving chipped or broken glass, dishes, ceramic tiles, or pebbles, then you already have the raw materials for your next mosaic project. In fact, you might need to break them into smaller pieces, which is a great way to work out the stresses of the day.   Fit the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. It all starts with that first piece of tile. What will you create?

Happy Crafting!

Countdown – Top Six Posts of 2019

Clock
Where does the time go? There’s always another post to be written, another project to develop, and another inspiration to explore. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the 2019 Top Six posts, in ascending order, based upon Likes. Without further ado, here are your favorites:

Number 6: Daily Dose of Color
Beautiful Sunset
Color plays an integral role in our daily lives. It affects our moods, decisions and actions. Let’s take a look at our activities on a typical day to observe how influential color can be. To read more, please click here.

Number 5: Walk on the Wild Side
Stegosaurus
We love dinosaurs. Want proof? Look at all the books, movies, television shows, and merchandise. At some point, every kid draws and colors his or her favorite dinosaur. Here’s your chance to feel like a kid again. Grab some paints and brushes and let’s go! To read more, please click here.

Number 4: The Beauty of Yarn Crafts
Yarn Crafts
Yarn has come a long way over the years, from single color wool skeins to multicolored, textured fibers, made from manmade and natural sources, suitable for clothing, home décor and accessories. Let’s look at a few of the types of crafts made with yarn. To read more, please click here.

Number 3: Baking for the Holidays
Holiday Baking
Santa Claus isn’t the only one hoping for some holiday goodies. We all love dessert. If you get a head start on your baking, you’ll have plenty to share with your family and friends throughout the long holiday season. Baked goods make great gifts too. To read more, please click here.

Number 2: Birds of a Feather
Flamingo
For some reason, I often find myself drawn to the wood crafts aisle at my local hobby store. Maybe it’s the quick reward for very little effort at an inexpensive cost. Who doesn’t enjoy a little instant gratification? There’s always something new to discover. Learn how to make this adorable flamingo. He may not take flight, but the bright colors and cheerful expression are sure to make you smile. To read more, please click here.

Number 1: Creative Stress Relief
Computer Stress
With such fast-paced lives, we all need a break from our daily stresses. These demands have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects. The best solution is a vacation, but that may not be possible. Instead, indulge in a hobby or two to take your mind and body to a happy place. Every day you do things for everyone else. It’s time to put yourself first! You’ll be so glad you did, and you’ll have a lot of fun while doing it. To read more, please click here.

Word Press Blogging
Upcoming posts will include new projects and crafting inspirations. I’ll be sure to include additional articles based upon the above interests, as voted by you, the readers. Your opinions are greatly appreciated, and I look forward to so much more this year. If you have any suggestions for future posts, please let me know? Thanks for reading!

All the best in 2020 and Happy Crafting!

Crafts of Love – Valentine’s Day Gifts

Frogs in Love
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your appreciation for the people you love.

Valentine's Cake
Celebrate with a Lady Finger Torte, Layer Cake, Cherry Cheesecake, Cupcakes, or Cake pops. Anything homemade is always appreciated. And if baking is not your specialty, buy one at the bakery, put it on your own serving dish and it will be our little secret! (lol)

Homemade Candy
Candy making is an easy process for everyone, even beginners. Start by melting chocolate wafers, called candy melts, which come in a variety of colors and flavors. Pour the chocolate into molds and refrigerate according to directions. You might also consider chocolate covering strawberries, nuts, graham crackers, or marshmallows. Present the finished pieces in a heart-shaped box or container.

Decorated Valentine's Cookies
Decorated cookies are eye-catching as well as delicious. Whether you choose homemade cookies or plain store-bought, add icing details, candy, or sprinkles to complete your festive designs.

Roses
Fresh-cut or silk flowers can be arranged in a bouquet, vase, or heart-shaped wreath. You don’t have to go to the expense of buying roses because any type of flowers will be appreciated.

Bleeding Hearts Flowers
Live flowers in a hanging basket or pot are not only beautiful, but long lasting as well. The flowers shown have not been photo shopped. They really are heart shaped, hence the name “bleeding hearts.”

Glass Heart
A glass paperweight, suncatcher, or pendant is a beautiful option.

Heart Charm
You could also paint a wooden heart to be hung on a wall, included on a wreath, or as a charm on a gift package or handbag.

Jewelry
Beaded jewelry is easy to create. If you don’t have those skills, you can buy a readymade chain or cord and string over-size beads without the need for any tools.

Winged Heart
You could also buy a heart-shaped pendant and add it to an existing chain or choose a new one.

Love Song or Poem
If you have a gift with words, write a song or poem on specialty paper to suit the occasion.

Painting
Artwork, such as painting, drawing, and photography, is a personal way to share your talent and show your affection at the same time.

Photo Album
A scrapbook is a thoughtful way to commemorate family memories and special events.

Vision Board
Create a vision board or photo album with inspirational travel brochures, activities and scenic pictures to build excitement for an upcoming vacation.

Candle Making
Candle making is simplified using a kit. There are multiple options including colors, shapes, sizes, and essential oils scents.

Romantic Dinner
You can’t go wrong with dinner for two. This is the perfect venue for candles, printed napkins on a pink or red tablecloth, and creative place settings to set the mood for a romantic evening.

Heart Pillow
Sewing a pillow is a quick colorful project to coordinate with any décor.

Knitting
A knitted scarf, hat, gloves, or sweater will keep that special someone warm and cozy on a cold winter day, and it will be enjoyed for years to come.

Stuffed Animals
Who doesn’t love cuddly stuffed animals, especially teddy bears? If you are skilled with a needle and thread, you could make a bear with faux fur or buy one. There’s nothing like a big bear hug to brighten your day and chase away the blues.

Sunset at the Beach
It is said, “The best things in life are free.” Go to the beach, the mountains, a nearby park, or your own backyard. Any place will do to spend time together watching the sunset, enjoying a picnic or barbecue, or simply going for a walk hand in hand. Expressions of love don’t need to cost a lot, just a little creativity and a heartfelt message.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Crafting!

Why Do We Wear Jewelry?

Ancient Egyptian
Whether you are the ruler of a country or a household, you probably wear jewelry, which has been a fascinating part of human culture for centuries. The most obvious reasons to wear it are self-expression and personal adornment. Jewelry is art for the body. We express our individuality by creating the image we show to the world, including hairstyle, clothing choices, and yes, even jewelry. The Ancient Egyptians created some of the most recognized precious metal and gemstones treasures in the world.

Indian Bridal Crown
Many brides become royalty for the day as they don bejeweled crowns to celebrate their wedding days. All eyes will surely be upon the bride as they should be.

Triangle Ring
A signature piece is an item worn on a daily basis. Although it may have a significant meaning, the way it makes you feel when you wear it is the most important hallmark of such an adored piece of jewelry.

Hands Love
We wear jewelry to celebrate love – New love in engagement rings, and commitment in wedding bands.

Eternity Bands
Anniversary rings, also known as eternity bands, signify love, which has stood the test of time. The love between BFFs is reflected in friendship rings.

Sapphire Heart
The human heart has inspired many books, poems, songs, and works of art. Heart-shaped jewelry is the most popular choice for expressing love.

Wedding Bands
Jewelry or the lack of it can assist us in the search for a mate. The first thing most singles look for is a wedding band, or a tan line, or that mysterious indentation on the ring finger of the left hand. (lol)  Of course this method isn’t fool proof. Not all married people wear wedding rings, and not all cultures wear them on the left hand. Another more subtle custom is wearing an ankle bracelet to indicate relationship status: wear it on the left ankle if you are in a relationship, or on the right ankle if you are unattached.

Fashion Jewelry
Fashionistas wear jewelry to complement their ensembles, attract attention, and to keep up with the latest trends. Fashion and beauty have become worldwide aspirations and jewelry plays a very important role. The right piece of jewelry can take an outfit from attractive to absolutely stunning.

Olympic Medal
Accomplishments are often celebrated with jewelry. Upon graduation, alumni often wear a school ring. Military personnel receive pins to indicate commendations and even rank. During the athletic competitions, the winners wear medals around the neck, or expensive rings like those awarded to the winners of the Super Bowl.

Dog Tags
Jewelry can be worn for identification, such as ID bracelets and military dog tags. People with certain medical conditions or allergies will often wear medical alert bracelets.

Star of David
Faith is expressed in crosses, the Star of David, and other symbols. Clergy wear rings to indicate their position within the religious community.

Silver Necklace
Collectors see jewelry as a unique art form. They appreciate the design, the materials used, and the handcrafting that goes into each piece, making it a work of art.

Valentines Jewelry
Jewelry is often given to commemorate special occasions such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or a special birthday. The “key to my heart” is a popular love theme.

Mardi Gras Beads
Mardi Gras beads are highly sought after in New Orleans during this multi-day celebration. Many people hang those beads from their car’s rear view mirror as a reminder of the wild parties and the promise of good times next year.

Claddagh Rings
Different cultures wear jewelry for traditional reasons and to express pride in their heritage. The Irish Claddagh rings, signifying love, loyalty and friendship, are often worn as wedding bands.

Hawaiian Leis
As part of the warm Aloha spirit, Hawaiians welcome guests with necklaces called leis, made from flowers, seashells, or nuts.

Crown
In many countries, such as England, the Crown Jewels are worn by the monarchy, however those jewels belong to the people.

Gemstones
In the past, people wore precious metals and gemstones to promote healing, and for protection from things real or imagined. Carrying or wearing a particular gemstone often countered superstitions.

Wristband
Silicone or rubber wristbands started out as a popular way to express charity support. Today, they can be custom made to represent anything from an inspirational quote, song lyrics or whatever has personal meaning for you.

Lord of the Rings
Who could forget the One ring? Although it is a fictional story, “The Lord of the Rings” is a haunting tale, demonstrating what some are willing to do, good or bad, to gain power or to protect and save their world. There have been many examples throughout human history in which the wearer of a special ring is empowered with privileges and authority over others.

Cameo Necklace
Family heirlooms are worn in remembrance of our ancestors, and to remind us of where we have come from and how that helped bring us to where we are today. Starting new traditions gives us an opportunity to contribute to our family histories for the generations to come.

Whatever our reasons, wearing jewelry will continue to play an important role in our future. What does your jewelry mean to you? How does it make you feel? If you’re happy and empowered, good for you, and if not, there are plenty of jewelry options out there. You’ll find the right one made just for you.

Happy Crafting!

Baking with Love for the Holidays

Hot Chocolate & Cookies for Santa
Santa Claus isn’t the only one hoping for some holiday goodies. We all love dessert. If you get a head start on your baking, you’ll have plenty to share with your family and friends throughout the long holiday season. Baked goods make great gifts too.

Assorted Butter Cookies
Butter Cookies
Butter cookies are finger licking good. For variety, dip some in chocolate, fill with fruit, or place a colorful layer of fondant on top and pipe on a few decorative flourishes. If you are pressed for time, many bakeries offer ready-made cookie platters.

Fruit Filled Cookies
Fruit Filled Cookies
All you need to make these festive red and white cookies is two round cookie cutters – one small and one large. Layer two cookies on top of each other, with strawberry, cherry or raspberry filling, to make this sandwich cookie. The bottom cookie is solid, while the top cookie has a small cut out in the center. Shake powdered sugar on top for a beautiful bakery finish.

Fudge Brownies & Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Brownies & Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Brownies are a favorite any time of year, and instead making chocolate chip cookies, try using cinnamon chips and cut the cookies into heart shapes.

Almond Crescent Cookies
Almond Crescent Cookies
This classic butter cookie will surprise you with its unexpected almond flavor and they’re great for dipping in your coffee or tea.

Vanilla Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing
Christmas Cupcake
The simplicity of a vanilla cupcake contrasts nicely with the rich, sweet taste of cream cheese icing. Safety Tip: Holly and its berries are poisonous. Use an artificial holly garnish.

Coconut Rum Balls
Coconut Rum Balls
These sweet, crunchy delights should be refrigerated overnight for maximum flavor.

Petits Fours & Eggnog
Eggnog & Petits Fours
Petits Fours are the perfect marriage of cake and candy. Fondant icing is actually candy used to cover bite size cubes of yellow, sponge or pound cake. While the fondant is still wet, decorations can be applied using piped icing, or a sprinkling of either candy or nuts. As an added burst of flavor, jelly or butter cream can be spread over the cake prior to applying the fondant.

Gingerbread Stars & Hearts Cookies
Frosted Gingerbread Cookies
These gingerbread cookies are decorated with a thin coat of light green frosting, patterned with white icing and sprinkled with sugar for a frosty appeal.

Traditional Gingerbread Cookies
Traditional Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookies are very popular treats this time of year. Decorating is easy with the icing tubes, sprinkles and candy pieces available at most grocery store.

Gingerbread House
Gingerbread House
For a more challenging project, gingerbread kits come in a number of varieties, such as cookies, houses, and villages, and include all the necessary candies, icing, and yes the baked gingerbread too. The whole family will enjoy building and eating their creations.

Hanukkah Donuts
Jelly Donuts
Deep-fried jelly donuts sprinkled with granulated sugar are a delicious part of every Hanukkah celebration.

Cherry Cheese Tarts
Cherry Cheese Tarts
Most people love cheesecake. These tarts have the delicious flavor and they’re finger foods as well. You could purchase ready-made mini piecrusts and make your own filling. They can also be made in a cupcake pan. Line the pan with paper cupcake wrappers. Drop a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cupcake. Pour in your filling and bake. After they cool, top with cherries or strawberries and enjoy!

Christmas Pudding
Christmas Pudding
Also known as Plum Pudding, this traditional Christmas dessert takes 5 to 10 hours to steam. The aromas of the fruits and spices wafts through your home while it cooks.

Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie
With a filling made from eggs, butter and brown sugar, pecan pie is an addictively sweet dessert, which will leave you begging for more. For a rich caramel flavor, use dark brown sugar.

Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake
In case you didn’t know, red velvet cake is actually a moist rich chocolate cake with lots of food coloring to create that ultra rich shade of red. For those of you who avoid artificial coloring, there is a cocoa available with a natural reddish brown color. The icing and filling is cream cheese.

Yule Log
Yule Log
A spiral design is the hallmark of this impressive dessert, but it’s easy to make, and will melt in your mouth. Bake the cake in a jellyroll pan lined with parchment paper. After baking, lay the cake face down on a towel. If necessary, trim any ragged edges. Starting with a long side, roll the cake in the towel and cool completely on a wire rack. Unroll and remove the towel, and lay cake flat. Spread the filling over the top within 1/2” of the edges. Suggested fillings include whipped cream, pie filling, and pudding. Carefully roll the cake and place it with the seam side down on a platter. Coat the exterior with chocolate frosting and use a fork to create the bark patterns along the length of the log.

There are so many recipes to sample. Don’t worry about gaining that holiday five pounds. There will be plenty of time to work that off shivering and shoveling snow during the cold winter months to come.

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

DIY Christmas Ornaments

Kermit the Frog
In search of the perfect Christmas ornament? Found it!

DIY Ornaments
If you haven’t found what you were hoping for, create it yourself! These clear Christmas balls don’t look like much in the box, but let your imagination soar and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Assorted Christmas Balls
Metallic trim, fabric paint, glitter, and self-stick rhinestones are just a few of the possibilities to transform those plain plastic or glass balls into treasured ornaments for the tree.

Ornaments
At its most basic, color is usually the first decision. Plastic balls usually only come in clear but glass ones come in clear as well as assorted solid colors. To add color to a clear ball you have two options: 1) Apply paint to the exterior using a roller; 2) Pour paint inside the ball, drain the excess and allow it to dry upside down overnight. Applying paint on the inside preserves the reflective sheen on the exterior.

Striped & Plaid Ornaments
Ribbon and glitter provide sparkle and attractive patterns on these red ornaments.

Gold Spirals Ornament
Create a geometric pattern of your choice using glue and then roll the ball in glitter. After it dries, lightly brush off the excess and it’s ready to hang upon the tree.

Gold Star
This star got its sparkle by applying a layer of glue over the entire surface of the ornament and then rolling it in gold glitter.

Christmas Balls
You can fill clear ornaments with anything small enough to fit through the top, including beads, leaves. confetti, ribbon, seashells, sand, and flower buds.

White Textured Ornament
Create texture using fabric paint. After the paint dries, spray the entire ball white and follow it with a spray of textured spray paint for a snow-covered effect.

Snowman Ornament
This snowman was hand painted onto a red ball. If painting is not your strong suit, purchase self-adhesive decals from the paper crafting section to achieve the same look.

Sequined Ornament
Maybe you prefer a little glitz and glam. If so, sequins are your best bet.

Rhinestone & Glitter Ornaments
Silver & gold are a very popular color combination. Paint a metallic silver base layer. For the stars, apply glitter while the paint is still wet. Self-stick gold rhinestones were applied to the ball after the paint dried. As an alternative, you could use rhinestone studded trim to wrap the Christmas ball.

Bows & Flowers Ornaments
Ribbons and flowers make beautiful tree ornaments. If you like the look of snow, you can add crystals to the edges of flower petals as shown above. The Christmas ball is adorned with tiny bows.

Tim Burton Ornaments
If you love Tim Burton’s movie, Nightmare before Christmas, these two familiar characters will bring a sense of mischievous humor to your tree. Use metallic paint for the base coat applied with a roller to avoid brush marks. Use a black Sharpie pen for the details.

Red & Gold Ornament
Glitter, patience, craft glue and a very steady hand are all required for this challenging delicate pattern. To simplify the process, use fabric glitter paint, which provides color, glitter and three-dimensional patterns in one easy step.

Icy Ornament
A few quick sprays of snow in a can will create this icy looking Christmas ball.

Sequined Flower Ornament
Overlap large no hole sequins, also known as paillettes, to create this flower-shaped ornament.

Silver & Gold Ornament
Spice up a plain gold ornament with silver glitter vertical stripes.

Midnight Forest Ornament
Use gold glitter fabric paint to create this forest of evergreen trees and stars in the sky. For extra texture, apply additional glitter to the trees while the paint is still wet.

Red & Gold Ornament
This ornate pattern could be created a couple different ways. The simplified version could be achieved using a metallic gold sharpie pen. Another option is using gold ribbon for the thick horizontal lines, followed by thin glue and glitter. Green rhinestones are glued at the intersections as shown.

Rainbow Sequin Ornament
This rainbow ornament was made using a styrofoam ball, sequins and lots of pins.

Beaded Ornaments
Red beads in several sizes provide rich juicy looking color. The white ball has a combination of fabric paint, powdered “snow” and some scattered tiny silver sequins.

Ombre Ornament
An ombré paint technique followed by the application of clear snow crystals gives this ornament the look of a frosted peach.

Blooming Rose Ornament
Silk flowers inserted inside the clear glass ball appear to bloom. To keep the flower in place, you may need to apply a small drop of clear glue using an extra long cotton swab or skinny craft stick.

Mosaic Ornament
Mosaic ornaments are quite beautiful. You could also use seashells or pompoms to create a similar look without the need for cutting any pieces to fit.

Trim & Glitter Ornament
Rows of tiny sequins and braided white trim form the pattern on this striped ball.

Holly Ornaments
These three-dimensional holly designs were created using fabric glitter paint, followed by loose glitter while the paint is still wet. It may require two coats to build up the thickness on the outer edges of the leaves. The inner sections of the leaves have green glitter. Glue red or green rhinestones on as berries.

The holidays are an excellent opportunity to exercise your creative muscles. By designing your own ornaments, you’re guaranteed to have a uniquely stylish Christmas tree featuring some of your best work. As your collection grows, they’ll become heirlooms with a lifetime of memories. Enjoy the creative process. You’ve got this!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

Holiday Table & Decor

Indoor Decorating
Decorating the interior of your home for the holidays can be an overwhelming task. With entertaining, overnight guests, and gift buying, it’s a very hectic time of year. If you do a little at a time, and enlist the help of your family, you can create the festive atmosphere you’ve always wanted. Let’s get started with a few decorating ideas.

Christmas Poinsettia Wreath
Poinsettia Wreath & Garland
The first thing your guests will notice starts with the front door. A simple evergreen wreath comes to life with the addition of a few silk poinsettias. Real or artificial evergreen sprays can be hung on either side with coordinating red ribbon.

Fruit & Pinecone Wreath
Fruit Wreath
This unusual wreath consists of pomegranates, oranges, pinecones and flowers layered over an evergreen wreath base.

Jingles Bells Wreath
Wreath Jingle Bells
Bring the festive sounds of jingle bells into your home with this unique wreath. Every time someone opens the door it will sound like Santa has arrived.

Wine Connoisseur’s Wreath
Wreath Wine Corks
If you collect wine corks, this is the wreath for you. The layered pattern forms a beautifully textured wreath, but remains lightweight. The liquor bottle in the center is optional.

Hanging Evergreen Wreath
Hanging Wreath
A hanging arrangement is a beautiful and unexpected pleasure. If you are lucky enough to have evergreens and pine trees on your property, you’ll have most of the supplies you’ll need. Simply layer the greens on a wire wreath frame, insert battery-operated candles, and scatter about several apples and berries. A few cinnamon sticks will provide a sweet & spicy scent. Ornate ribbon will conceal metal hanging rods, or you can purchase decorative chains at home improvement stores.

Candle & Holly Centerpiece
Candles Centerpiece
Holly naturally brings in the festive colors of Christmas. A few candles and some pinecones complete this lovely centerpiece.

Glass Ball Candle Wreath
Glass Ornament Wreath
To make this colorful display, you could purchase a ready-made glass ball wreath, or buy a bunch of ornaments and use hot glue to assemble it.

A Study in Red & Green
Red Candle
Red is such an attention getting color. Red berries, green leaves and evergreen surround a bold pillar candle. The candlelight and white string lights lend a romantic atmosphere.

Fancy Metal Tray Centerpiece
Candle Tray
Using something you already own, such as a tray, is an inexpensive way to create something new. To complete the project, simply add colorful ornaments and a candle. You can easily use this centerpiece all year long by changing the contents to suit the season or whatever makes you happy.

Festive Table Settings
Christmas Table
Creating an attractive Christmas table doesn’t have to cost a lot. Alternating layers of green and red is the key to this festive setting. Fabric squares and colorful paper napkins provide contrast and texture. A red Christmas ball on top becomes a keepsake for each guest in remembrance of the occasion. In fact, you could write each person’s name with a metallic Sharpie marker and use the ornaments as place cards.

Neutral Palette
Neutral Palette Table
Textured white dishes are offset by gold flatware, gold chargers, and gold bell ornaments. Elegant white roses are an element of softness, while the crystal goblets provide the sparkle.

Sophisticated Contemporary
Contemporary Centerpiece
Sleek lines, reflective metallic ornaments, and indirect lighting are keys to creating this ultra contemporary holiday setting. The red pops of color draw the eye and the reindeer figurine adds a bit of whimsy.

Christmas Crackers
Christmas Crackers
Crackers are part of Christmas celebrations in several countries around the world. The red and white theme of this table setting is created with the tissue paper fans, white tablecloth and plates, and the metallic red foil crackers.

Ornamental Table Runner
Garland Table Runner
Table runners can be quite expensive, and may be difficult to find for longer table lengths. Make you own by using a real or artificial evergreen garland and some brightly colored ornaments,

Gift Box Centerpiece
Gift Box Centerpiece
Craft stores often sell sets of decorative gift boxes such as the ones shown above. Some include light woven inside for extra sparkle. After the holidays, the boxes nest within each other for easy storage.

Gift Tags as Place Cards
Gift Tag Place Cards
Place cards don’t have to be drab white. Purchase gift tags or make your own. The ribbon bow is a nice finishing touch.

Flower Power – Poinsettias
Poinsettias
Red, white or pink poinsettias are multi-purpose decorations. Whether you choose live or artificial plants, poinsettias make colorful additions to any room. To create a back to nature themed Christmas tree, silk blooms, pinecones and red berries can be used as ornaments.

Festive Red & Gold Fireplace
Fireplace
The fireplace is the perfect spot for relaxing by a cozy fire, and reminiscing about holidays past. Floral garland, red and gold candles, a Santa Claus statue and a pretty poinsettia provide a welcoming atmosphere, accented by stockings hung by the fire with care.

Display Collectibles
Nutcracker
At some point, most people acquire collections that never see the light of day. Collectibles, such as nutcrackers, snow globes, and carousel horses, can be artfully arranged on mantels or shelves to create unique holiday displays you’re sure to love.

Decorating for the holidays can be fun as well as entertaining. Each new item you create will become a treasured keepsake next year. Over time you will have an eclectic collection to be enjoyed for years to come. Let your holiday spirit guide your creativity.

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

Outdoor Holiday Lighting

Lights & Fireworks
The holidays are certainly a festival of lights. It’s fun to gather the family together for a drive around the neighborhood or visit a nearby town to simply enjoy the show. It’s a feast for the eyes and might cause a few chuckles as well. Before you venture out, here are a few ideas for outdoor lighting at your home.

Textured Oversized LED String Lights
Lights Faceted Blue
These large bulbs are reminiscent of old fashioned lights, but have the advantages of being LEDs and the textured surfaces create a sparkling effect.

Multi-Color Round LED String Lights
Lights Multi Color
LED string lights offer brilliant colors and unusually long life. The strand shown has a sleek, contemporary appeal.

Old Fashioned Christmas Lights
Old Fashioned Lights
These string lights have an old fashioned, rustic charm, and the long life of today’s best technology in LED lighting.

Icicle Lights
Icicle Lights
When they first were developed, icicle lights only came in short white strands. Today there are many colors and lengths available like the brilliant blue icicles shown above.

Oversized Lighted Orbs
Lighted Orbs
These oversized lighted orbs were made for display in large trees. You’ll probably need an extension pole or tall ladder to place them, but the starlight effect is well worth the extra effort.

Lightshow Projection Spinners
Decorative Spotlights
By now you have probably seen these special light effects on neighbors houses. Essentially they are created by a special spotlight projector, which changes colors and images as it slowly spins.

String Lights & Mini Trees
Decorated Flower Boxes
In the cold weather, flower boxes usually sit empty and forlorn. Why not bring them to life again with artificial evergreens and white lights?

Old Fashioned Metal Lantern Lights
Festive Lantern
This old style lantern and wreath bring pops of color to an otherwise snow-covered landscape. Candlelight is always warm and welcoming.

Landscape Lighting with Garlands & Bows
Lighted Gazebo
Christmas in the country is celebrated with evergreen garlands, red ribbons and hundreds and hundreds of multi-color lights. For bushes and fences, net lights can be tossed over the top and will look like you spent hours stringing lights, but all it really took was a few flicks of the wrist.  How easy is that?

Lighted Lawn Figures
Lawn Figures
Lighted lawn decorations come in an endless variety, including Santa and his reindeer, as well as more unusual characters, such as Jack Skellington, ice castles, and unicorns.

Lighted Christmas Gift Boxes
Lights Gifts
Lighted gift boxes are cute on a lawn grouped under a tree or with a reindeer pulling a sleigh.

Lighted Inflatable Figures
Inflatable Penguins
There are a multitude of choices when it comes to inflatables. People seem to have a love-hate relationship with these lawn decorations. At night they cheerfully grin at passersby, but during the day lying flat upon the ground, they tend to resemble laundry scattered across your lawn.

Tropical Tree Lighting & Lighted Lawn Figures
Lights Tropical
There may not be any snow in the tropics, but that doesn’t stop Christmas from coming. The lawn figures tend to be warm weather themed, and lighted palm trees are often lit all year long.

Chinese Star-Shaped Lanterns
Chinese Lanterns
If you happen to live in a warm climate, Chinese lanterns can be hung outdoors around a pool, deck or patio. Their soft light and perforated patterns really do call to mind starlight.

Unexpected Lighted Lawn Figure
Backyard Snowman
This time of year we tend to do so much for everyone else. It’s easy to forget about yourself. Why not treat yourself by doing the unexpected? One year we put a lighted snowman against a tree in the back yard. No one else could see it, but every time we walked through the dining room that smiling face brought joy to us all.

Elf Witch Project
Lighted Witch
Okay, so you’re probably wondering why the photo of a witch has been included in this post? Well, there is a very good reason. We all have decorations for different holidays throughout the year. This requires a lot of storage space, and that can often be a problem. Making a decoration multi-purpose is an easy solution. We’re going to turn this Halloween Witch into one of Santa’s Elves.

Red Fabric Hat
Step 1 – Wrap red, water-repellent fabric over the witch’s hat, and be sure to tuck the orange hair underneath. Secure it in place by tying it to one side with a piece of twine or red ribbon. Now you’re probably thinking it looks like a pirate! Stay with me for a few more steps.

White Trim
Step 2 – Tie white garland trim around edge of hat. Create a pompom by wrapping the same garland around the bottom point of the hat and secure with white ribbon or string.

Red & White Scarf
Step 3 – Wrap an outdoor scarf around the neck.

Candy Cane
Step 4 – Tie a plastic candy cane to one arm using a piece of string or ribbon.

Lighted Elf Witch
And voila! You now have an adorable lighted Christmas Elf!

Witch Elf Before & After
When Halloween rolls around again, simply remove the accessories and the witch will be ready to haunt your yard once again.

Lighting is the key element in any holiday décor. Choosing what to do is part of the fun. Get the whole family involved to make quick work of the decorating process. Some towns offer awards for the best holiday displays. Let the competition begin! Good luck!

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!