Flower Power

Multicolor Flowers

Arranging flowers is like painting a masterpiece.  Instead of paints on canvas, you place fresh-cut or silk flowers and leaves in a vase, bottle, or bowl.  Before you begin, you have some decisions to make.  What colors will choose?  How will you create visual interest?  Do you prefer balanced or abstract designs?  What will be your focal point(s)?  Do you have a container in mind?  Would you like to include a few accents, such as berries, or butterflies?  Feel overwhelmed?  Below are several pointers on flower arranging to help you get started. 

Complementary Colors:

Orange & Blue

Complements Orange & Blue

Complementary colors provide maximum contrast.  They say opposites attract.  Maybe that is why this orange butterfly found a blue flower irresistible. 

Yellow & Purple

Complements Purple & Yellow

Yellow shines brilliantly alongside its complement, purple.  This combination is associated with spring as well as Easter. 

Red & Green

Complements Red & Green

Red immediately grabs your attention.  Set against green it really pops.  Although red and green are hallmarks of Christmas, they are perfect any time of year, especially with other accent colors, as shown in the above photo. 

Exotic Focal Points:

Bird of Paradise

Exotic Bird of Paradise

While you are selecting flowers for a new arrangement, consider your focal point(s).  A few exotic flowers bring bold colors, shapes, and textures to your design. 

Dahlias

Exotic Dahlias

Dahlias offer amazing variety.  Check out the gorgeous pink and white dahlia in this photo.  Many people believe the ombre-effect was manmade, but Mother Nature thought of it first. 

Hibiscus

Exotic Hibiscus

Although hibiscus is a readily available flower, the rich, blended colors and delicate details appear to be hand-painted by Mother Nature. 

Monochromatic:

Pinks

Monochrome Pink

Monochromatic designs do not have to be boring.  Choose a variety of flowers in shades of your chosen color and arrange them in a visually pleasing way. 

Purples

Monochrome Purple

Dramatic contrasts in color as well as shape are the keys to this arrangement. 

Multicolor:

Tulips

Mulicolor Tulips

Jewel-tone tulips stand on their own as an easy and attractive centerpiece.

Assorted Flowers

Multicolor Flowers

Pastel colors and small-scale blooms blend harmoniously in this lovely springtime bouquet. 

Floral Design Balance:

Symmetry

Symmetry Asymetry Heart

This arrangement has elements of symmetry and asymmetry.  The heart shape and three roses are symmetrically balanced, while the assorted perimeter flowers are asymmetrical and yet still fit within the overall heart shape. 

Asymmetry

Asymmetry

This asymmetrical centerpiece is an abstract art lover’s dream. 

Floral Accessories:

Cute Critters

Accessorize Birds & Flowers

You might want to include a few well-chosen characters to adorn your floral creations, including birds, butterflies, ladybugs, geckos, and fairies. 

Bouquet Holder

Accessorize Heart Bouquet

Give a floral bouquet an upgrade with a special themed holder, such as this heart for Valentine’s Day, which can be paired with a vase, and reused for years to come. 

Ribbons & Twigs

Accessorize Ribbon Sticks

The bright yellow daffodils contrast well with purple ribbon, woven with other blooms upon a twig base.  In autumn, pinecones, and berries are attractive additions. 

Floral Display Containers:

And the Envelope-Please

Accessorize Ribbon Sticks

Flowers look beautiful no matter how you choose to display them.  For the cute arrangement above, you need to “think inside the box!”  An envelope-shaped box is a sweet surprise and wonderful conversation starter. 

Martini Glass

Container Martini Glass

A new use for an old friend – this martini glass, with an extra-long stem, is a great idea for providing floral beauty, while still enabling guests to see each other across the table. 

Old Fashioned Ceramic Jar

Container Simplicity

For country chic, choose the simplicity of a ceramic jar filled with a few fresh cut blooms.

Water Bowl

Container Bali Floating Flowers

Who needs a vase when you have a water bowl?  A floating mandala design sets a relaxing tone.  If you are having a party, each table could have a unique floating centerpiece to show off your creativity. 

Floral Design Influences:

Religious

Bali Design

This Balinese flower offering exhibits many of the design principles discussed in this post including symmetry, focal point, all six complementary colors, multicolor flowers, and a unique flat design display.  A large outdoor table, in a shaded area, offers a great opportunity for a flat floral centerpiece. 

Cultural (Before & After)

Tropical Rain Forest Before&After

Tropical flowers grow in abundance in Hawaii and are an integral part of their cultural history and traditions.  This beautiful arrangement has a nice selection of exotic flowers, but two elements throw off this design: 1) The red roses do not belong in a tropical arrangement.  2) The metallic silver vase is too contemporary.  To fix it, add more red ginger and anthuriums, and use a Hawaiian drum to conceal the vase, unifying this Polynesian theme. 

Architectural

Architectural Floral Design

A large interior space requires an equally strong floral display, and this one meets that challenge.  These organ pipes have strong vertical lines, multiple levels, sculptural scrolls, and decorative arches, which are echoed in the grooved, scalloped urn, tiered flowers, curled leaves, and bell-shaped flowers.  High contrast of complementary colors can be found in the purple flowers with bold yellow centers, and the blue flowers against the tall orange-red stalks.  Exotic lilies serve as focal points, drawing the eye in toward the rich lush greens and purples and pulling your attention upward, much like the heavenly organ music floating upon the air. 

Sculptural

Sculptural Floral Design

Seashells and lotus blossoms automatically make you think of water.  Beginning at the top, invisible water flows diagonally, from leaf to leaf, making its way back and forth across the arrangement until it reaches the bottom, only to begin the journey anew.  Textures in the seashell are repeated in the leaves.  Whether you spend the day at a pampering spa or have a luxurious soak in the bathtub at home, this soft color palette and gentle flowing movement soothes away your cares bringing peaceful relaxation to body and mind. 

Take your time finding inspiration, developing ideas, and planning your design.  Choosing flowers and creating a unique floral display will shine with your artistic flair.  Enjoy the process and best of luck! 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Countdown – Top Six Posts of 2020

Time Travel
In the movie, “Back to the Future”, Michael J. Fox traveled back in time.  As a new year begins, it’s interesting to review the best moments from the previous year.  As voted by you, the readers, below is a list of the Top Six posts of 2020, in ascending order:

Number 6: Say It with Flowers
Creative Flower Arranging
Flowers have been used for centuries to decorate, commemorate and celebrate the moments of our lives.  Whether you choose fresh cut or silk flowers, the artfully arranged blooms are both a challenge and a triumph for the dedicated crafter.  To read more, please click here.

Number 5: Celebrating 100th Post
100th Post
Today marks a very important milestone – my 100th post!  It has been a wonderful experience, and I thank all my readers and followers.  To read more, please click here.

Number 4: The Beauty of Wood Crafts
Beauty Wood Crafts
Wood crafts are a fun and inexpensive way to express your creativity.  From birdhouses to toys and home décor, there’s something for everyone and these projects are great activities to do with the kids.  To read more, please click here.

Number 3: Tropical Splendor
Tropical Leaves
Ah the tropics!  I’m sure we all wish we could be basking in the sun on a tropical island -sand under your feet, a soft ocean breeze, and a cool fruity drink within reach.  Our travel plans may be on hold for now, but we can dream.  A tropical project may be just what we need to brighten the day and lift our spirits.  To read more, please click here.

Number 2: Thank You
400 Followers
With many thanks to all of you, I have reached an important milestone: 400 Followers.  Thank you to all my readers and followers for liking, commenting, and sharing this creative journey with me.  I am so grateful for each and every one of you.  To read more, please click here.

Number 1: Fun with Photo Editing
Photo Editing
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could simply change a gloomy sky to a gorgeous day with a wave of your arm?  We might not have that ability now, but we can certainly achieve this monumental task through the power of photo editing.  To read more, please click here.

Future Projects
Art Supplies
And there you have it – the top 6 posts of 2020.  Now we have a new year, a clean slate, and together we shall explore the world of creativity.  There are always new ideas, new mediums for experimenting, and I’ll be sure to include more of your favorites.  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 2021 and Happy Crafting!

Halloween Magic – How to Make a Bewitching Centerpiece

Witch Flying Across Full Moon
The movie Hocus Pocus is celebrating its 27th Anniversary, inspiring witch themed costumes and decorations. Whether you’re having a Halloween party or simply decorating for the fun of it, a centerpiece is a must for the coffee or dining tables. Below are step-by-step instructions and photos for building your own, one piece at a time.

Witch Boots
The Inspiration – As with all creative projects, the first requirement is a source of inspiration. This pair of witch’s boots is sold at Michaels. Although smaller than expected, it still has a spooky vibe. The style varies slightly, but all are black with a silver spider painted on each side. Having a pair of boots is nice, however it’s one piece and can’t be separated. If you prefer a more humorous impression, many stores sell individual witch boots painted in bright, fanciful colors and patterns.

Witch Boots
Step 1. Witch’s Boots – Centered upon this coffee table, these boots look quite sparse, but we’ve only just begun.

Witch Boots with Floral Stems
Step 2. Floral Stems & Owl – For color and texture, the key to this design is choosing strange looking plants in autumn, Halloween colors. Here we have added leafy vines with plush mini pumpkins, and orange lanterns. Bend the stems as needed to adjust the height. Crafter Tips: Do not cut the stems because you may need to adjust the height at the end when the arrangement is complete. (You may not need to cut them at all, simply conceal the bent stems inside the boots). The owl, made from twigs, was already mounted on a long stick for easy placement.

Witch Boots with Pumpkin
Step 3. Jack-O-Lantern – Orange and black – the perfect color combo for Halloween. This resin pumpkin includes optional lighting. High contrast and a brilliant punch of color lend visual interest to this asymmetrical composition. Instead of a pumpkin, you could use a round platter or globe, resembling the full moon, or a light color witch’s broom to contrast with the dark boots.

Witch Boots with Pumpkin & Owl
Step 4. Ceramic Owl – Contemporary details with an eerie presence make this owl a perfect addition by contributing color, light, and texture. Moss green and tan coordinate with the autumn vines and leaves. Feather-like half moon slits in the body of the owl allow light to pass through and the opportunity to insert mini lights inside with the battery pack underneath, wrapped in black fabric. Crafter Tip: Ensure the battery pack’s on/off switch remains accessible.

Add Decanter
Step 5. Decanter – No witch-themed display would be complete without a few unknown potions brewed with magical spells. The clear glass decanter, with four separate chambers and claw-like stoppers, provides much needed height and color on the left end of the display. A little food coloring and water becomes a scary cocktail of witch’s potions. The green color was chosen to coordinate with the other green elements. Alternatives: You could create a grouping of different size bottles or apothecary jars with strange contents inside; or add a book of “spells” and candles to capture the spooky aura. Crafter Tip: Experiment with various objects and colors, being sure to balance the composition.

Add Rat & Snake
Step 6. Rat & Snake – Now we need a few creepy crawlers to stir up our primal fears. A rat on top of the pumpkin seems like a natural choice, and the snake has the added bonus of implying movement, as it appears to slither along the tabletop among the objects in the centerpiece. A trip to a Halloween or craft store is sure to have plenty of options, including spiders, worms, skeleton bones, and the like. A few spider webs might kick up the spooky factor another notch.

Candle Stick
Step 7 Orange Candle & Metal Candleholder – To add height and a pop of color on the left end of the centerpiece, add an orange candlestick in a dark metal candleholder. Although the base of the holder is plain, it provides an opportunity which we will take advantage of in the next step. The candle had been stuck in a box for years, which caused the wax to curve. This works great in a Halloween project, where crooked lines are more desirable than straight ones.

Add Spider
Step 8. Orange & Black Spider – I never thought I would say these words, but this spider is actually quite beautiful. The camera flash tends to wash out the brilliant colored stripes upon the spider’s body, which is covered in tiny orange and black glass beads. The large size and imposing ready-to-strike posture are just what this display needed.

Add Witch's Hat
Step 9. Witch’s Hat – The pumpkin’s toothy grin becomes the witch’s face by the simple addition of a classic black hat, which frames the pumpkin’s face, adds character, and ties all pieces together into a unified Halloween theme.

Finished Centerpiece Illuminated
Step 10. Illumination – This is the finished centerpiece with optional lights turned on inside the owl and pumpkin. It’s spooky fun just like the movie, Hocus Pocus.

Designing a Halloween centerpiece is an enjoyable process for stretching your creative muscles. Start with one piece as an inspiration and decorative items you may already own. Find different ways to use existing items by looking at things in a whole new way with your theme in mind.

Happy Halloween and Happy Crafting!

Say It With Flowers

Soup Tureen with Lilacs
Lilacs Soup Tureen
Flowers have been used for centuries to decorate, commemorate and celebrate the moments of our lives. Whether you choose fresh cut or silk flowers, the artfully arranged blooms are both a challenge and a triumph for the dedicated crafter. The caption beneath each photo, shown below, expresses the sentiments of each floral centerpiece.  What do your flowers say about you?

Yellow & Pink Rain Boots with Gladiolas and Wild Flowers
Rain Boots as Vases
Playful Humor– Filled with long-stemmed, summertime favorites, these adorable boots present a delightful surprise. Using a waterproof product as a vase is the ultimate irony. Let it rain! We’ll go barefoot.

Crafter Tips: Artificial flowers come in bouquets, picks (short stems), long stems, and garlands. Types of containers are only limited by your imagination. Use what you have – lots of items in your home could be used as floral centerpieces, including a bucket, basket, toy truck, and wagon.

Glass Bowl with Orange & Purple Tulips
Glass Bowl with Orange & Purple Tulips
Spring Fever – For a few shorts weeks every year, we are treated to a vast array of candy colored tulips. Fanned out in alternating heights and colors, this asymmetrical centerpiece commands attention. The small leafy greens add texture, and conceal the stems in the clear glass bowl.

Crafter Tips: When arranging flowers, you’ll want to take into consideration the size of the container, the overall shape of flowers (height & width), contrasting light & shadow, colors, textures, and patterns. Where will it be displayed? Do you have a particular occasion or theme in mind? (Seasons of the year, holidays, tropical garden, day at the beach, etc.)

Water Pitcher with Purple Lilacs & White Sweet Alysse
Water Pitcher with Purple Lilacs & White Sweet Alysse
Abundance – A painted floral motif adorns this antique fine china pitcher, spilling over with delicate pastel blossoms. As a vessel for water, it projects a sense of fresh cut flowers, even if the flowers are artificial.

Crafter Tips: Wire cutters, from a craft or home improvement store, will make the process much easier. Some silk flower stems are made to easily bend and break to the length you want, but don’t count on it.  If cutting the wire is too difficult, bend the stem and hide it with the foliage. Secure flowers using: ties, glue, green florist tape, or by poking the stems into a foam base. Use vines, moss, leaves, or other material to conceal the foam and stems as needed.

Paint Can with Peach Roses & Carnations
Paint Can with Peach Roses & Carnations
Monochromatic Magic – Sometimes a single color can really pack a punch. The lush green leaves offset warm peach flowers in a variety of shapes and sizes. The paint can, an interesting choice, has been covered in coordinating gift-wrapping paper. The white babies breath adds softness to this warm floral palette.

Crafter Tip: You’ll be amazed at the beautiful selection of floral accessories, such as butterflies, birds, glass marbles, candles, and LED lights. The sky is the limit for to what you can achieve.

Black Stiletto Pump & Evening Bag with White Alstroemeria
Black Stiletto Pump & Evening Bag with White Alstroemeria
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – A chic study in black and white, this impressive display is sophisticated and sassy. The textured metal chain and sleek stone surface contrast with the soft white petals. Obvious question: What happened to Cinderella’s other shoe?

Wicker Basket with Purple Lilacs
Wicker Basket with Purple Lilacs
Impromptu – Easy and carefree, it looks like you just came inside from the garden with a treasure trove of heavenly scented lilacs. For silk blooms, a few drops of essential oil will scent the air, and you’ll enjoy these flowers all year long.

Tea Cup & Saucer with Pink Flowers
Floral Teacup
Clever – Delicate flowers in a china teacup make a great gift or perfect centerpieces for a bridal shower or afternoon tea. After a party, your guests will be competing over who gets to take home the centerpieces.

Grapevine Tricycle with Blue & White Orchids
Floral Tricycle
Child’s Play – Fragile green vines weave their way around this grapevine tricycle. The glass hurricane in the back creates a soft glow when light hits the yellow flower centers. Feel like a little kid again while you admire this playful beauty.

Watering Can with Purple Flowers
Watering Can with Purple Flowers
Casual – You know you have green thumbs when flowers burst forth from your watering can! Like you favorite pair of denim jeans, there’s a relaxed, easygoing vibe suitable for every day. No special tools or items are required, and you can easily swap out the flowers whenever you like.

Driftwood & Flowers
Floral Driftwood Centerpiece
Coastal Drama – An interesting piece of driftwood combined with thoughtfully placed flowers become a sculptural piece of art for your table.

Tree Bark & Exotic Flowers
Flowers & Tree Bark
Woodland Drama – The rough, textured bark contrasts beautifully with the delicate purple petals of a single flower stem in this elegantly simple design.

What Lies Beneath
Flowers Underwater
Unexpected Pleasure – At one time or another, we have all had the experience of putting flowers in a vase. In this example, the vase disappears as the submerged white flowers reach toward the light at the surface. Clear glass marbles anchor the stems and also reflect light for a touch of sparkling glamour.

Orchids in the Spotlight
Lit Orchid Centerpieces
Romantic Ambiance – Lighting is the key element in creating nighttime drama. Soft, diffused light glows from within each frosted glass vase, as orchids spill over the top, receiving the full star treatment, lit brilliantly from below by LEDs. The resulting ambiance is both dreamy and romantic.

So much can be said with flowers. Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or an intimate dinner for two, flowers have a great way of setting the mood with playful exuberance, heartfelt devotion, or the excitement of infinite possibilities.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Crafting Day & Night

Eiffel Tower Day & Night

“As different as day and night” is a common expression. As we find our selves stuck inside, we’re often looking for ways to be entertained. For many, crafting is the answer. A little effort goes a long way, and everyone loves seeing “Before” and “After” photos. These crafts will surprise and hopefully inspire you to create a little crafting magic of your own.

Sledding Centerpiece

Before:  Wooden Sled Wall Art.   After:  Snowman & Friends Centerpiece.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Foxy Santa

Before:  Misfit Christmas Decoration.   After:  Foxy Santa with new hat and tail.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Seashell Plaque

Before:  Drab Wall Art Print.   After:  Seashells, Sea Urchin & Starfish Framed Art.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Piggy Before and After

Before:  Colorless Pig Statue.   After:  Pink Pig with lots of personality.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Before & After Pumpkins

Before:  Faded Lawn Decoration.   After:  Bold Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns
(Click here for how to instructions)

Headless Dog Before & After

Before:  Snowman with Headless Dog.   After:  Restored Dog.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Light House Before & After

Before:  Incomplete Candleholder.   After:  New Lighthouse Roof & “Light.”
(Click here for how to instructions)

Octopus Before & After

Before:  Monochromatic Candleholder.   After:  Blue Ringed Octopus Sculpture.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Sneak Peak of Upcoming Projects:

Candlestick Before & After

Before:  Difficult Candle Size.   After:  Candleholder for Taper Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

Leaves Before & After

Before:  Dull, “Muddy” Wall Sconces.   After:  Vibrant Tropical Leaves & Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

I hope you enjoyed these projects. Take a look around your home for any items that could use a little refreshing. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Good Luck!

Thanks for reading & 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!

Thanksgiving Décor Made Easy

Colors of the Season
Fall Leaves
Just about every family in the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. When you are the host of this annual feast, a lot of planning and preparation is required to ensure it will be a delicious and enjoyable occasion for all. The party starts upon arrival and ends when the last hugs are exchanged and tearful waving as the cars pull away with promises to come back again next year.

What kind of atmosphere do you want to create for this celebration? A few decorative items can really set the stage for your family feast. Let autumn’s colors, red, orange, green, and yellow, inspire your Thanksgiving décor.

Outdoor Decorations
Outdoor Fall Display
Seasonal gourds, corn and apples can be artfully arranged by the front door, or in a corner of your deck or patio. To ensure longevity, be sure to keep produce out of direct sun and away from fire pits.

Autumn’s Bountiful Harvest
Autumn’s Bountiful Harvest
Give those left over Halloween pumpkins new life in a Thanksgiving display. Mother Nature provides the fallen leaves, or substitute with handfuls of straw for a festive look.

A Colorful Welcoming Entrance
Outdoor Decor
Don’t miss an opportunity to create a festive entryway to your home. Decorate an existing bench or cozy front porch with attractive pots or baskets of chrysanthemums, pumpkins, and cabbage plants.

Seasonal Fall Wreath
Gourds Pumpkins Wreath
Greet your guests at the door with a lovely fall wreath. To make one, start with a grapevine wreath base. Tie or glue on gourds, pinecones and berries. As an added burst of color, glue red and green silk leaves on poster board and secure it to the back of the wreath.

Holiday décor differs based upon many factors: geographic location – beachside versus mountaintop; venue – urban loft apartment versus rural farmhouse; your personal style: traditional versus contemporary or something in between, etc. Below are several design ideas to spark your creativity.

Traditional Thanksgiving Cornucopia Centerpiece
Traditional Thanksgiving Cornucopia Centerpiece
A few candles and a set of mini lights add sparkle and ambiance to this festive centerpiece. If burning candles makes you nervous, you can opt for the flameless variety. New technological advances have produced a very realistic appearance of flickering flames. Many are made with scented wax, have been molded with lines of “dripping” wax down the sides, and operate via remote control.

Farmhouse Chic Centerpiece
Farmhouse Chic Centerpiece
This display creates a more casual atmosphere. The wicker basket and two hammered metal tankards set amongst a mixture of fruit and veggies are the focal point on a picnic table with plenty of room for the extended family and friends.

Fruitful Harvest
Fruitful Harvest
A sculptural glass bowl of fruit serves as an artful centerpiece and it’s edible.

Elegant Traditional Place Setting
Elegant Traditional Place Setting
Place settings can impress even the most discriminating family members. If you have a metallic gold sharpie marker, you could write each person’s name on the tiny white pumpkins, which become party favors for your guests to take home after enjoying a delicious meal.

Chargers, such as the gold one shown in the photo above, are decorative plates typically used as colorful accents for laying dishes. There are two types of chargers sold at craft stores. The first tends to be round plates in solid colors, metallic finishes, or vintage prints. The second type is very decorative, including embellishments such as rhinestones and hammered metal finishes. Food Safety Tip: Chargers are for decorative use only – they are Not Food Safe.

From Vineyard to Table Decor
From Vineyard to Table Decor
If being non traditional is more your style, choose a different color scheme to celebrate the bounty of the season. How about blues, purples, and greens from the vineyard? Wine is typically a part of every big celebration. Why not use it as the inspiration for your holiday décor? Knock tradition off its feet with this colorful twist.

Contemporary Urban Glam
Contemporary Urban Glam
Are you passionate about having a lot of bling in your holiday decor? How about this sequined tablecloth, deep orchid napkins, silver plates, and bejeweled napkin rings? The table cover could be an expensive item, but a trip to the fabric store will save you a bundle. Little details make such a difference. Embellish plain napkin rings with rhinestones, beads, berries or flowers. If time is short, Pier 1 has a large selection of ornate napkin rings.

Exotic Blue Peacock
Exotic Blue Peacock Place Setting
Using peacock feathers for inspiration, this table setting features a matching runner and chair sashes. If you are comfortable with sewing, both items can be easily made for use with an existing white tablecloth and dining chairs. The sashes are tied to the seat backs in simple bows, turning standard folding chairs into fashionable seating. Brown wicker chargers beautifully offset the bright blue napkins. Green glassware and a few well-placed peacock feathers complete the design.

Combining Old & New
Combining Old & New
Transitional is a blending of traditional elements, such as the floral arrangement and orange-rimmed dishes, with a contemporary flair – maroon napkins creatively folded to create an exotic flower and wrapped in gold leaf-shaped napkin rings; matching placemats; and coordinating gold and maroon glass beads scattered upon the table.

Beachside Centerpiece
Beach Centerpiece
If you live at the beach, the bountiful harvest focuses upon the ocean, and your celebration may look something like this. Fire and water is always a mesmerizing combo. Place floating candles in clear glass containers with attractive pebbles or sea glass in the bottom. Set in a tray with sand and a few seashells for a lovely seaside centerpiece.

Traditional Thanksgiving Table with Wine & Flowers
Traditional Thanksgiving Table with Wine & Flowers
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, may it bring you and yours a very happy, and love filled holiday to be remembered fondly for years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Crafting!

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

Thankgiving
Everyone across the United States celebrates Thanksgiving, however this holiday experience varies depending upon geographic location, climate, local customs, and food specialties.

Hawaii & New England
Sometimes it’s nice to see how other people celebrate. It gives you a chance to see the holiday from a fresh perspective. Below is a side-by-side comparison of two Thanksgiving celebrations: Hawaii is on the left and New England is on the right.

Sandy Shores Rocky Coast
Landscapes: Sandy Beaches versus Rugged Rocky Coastline

Rain on Petals Frosty Leaf
Weather: Warm Tropical Showers versus Cool Crisp Air & Snow

Pineapples Gourds
Decorations: Pineapples versus Pumpkins & Gourds

Plumeria & Chrysanthemums
Flowers: Wild Plumeria versus Potted Chrysanthemums

Torchlight & Candle Light
Lighting: Outdoor Torchlight versus Indoor Candlelight

Bird of Paradise & Cornucopia
Centerpieces: Exotic Flowers versus Harvest Cornucopia

Tropical Cocktail & Hot Beverage
Drinks: Cool Tropical Cocktails versus Hot Beverages

Fresh Fruit & Hot Soup
Appetizers: Tropical Fruit versus Hot Hearty Soups

Roast Pork & Roast Turkey
Entrées: Roast Pork versus Roast Turkey

Vegetables
Vegetables: Pacific Rim Blend versus Roast Sweet Potatoes

Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie
Desserts: Chocolate Kona Coffee Cheesecake versus Pumpkin Pie

Fire Dance & Fireplace
After Dinner: Fire Dancing versus Relaxing by the Fire

I hope these celebrations will inspire and enrich your next family gathering. You might want to consider a change of venue or a change of décor to shake things up a bit. Whatever you decide, there are two constants you can always count on: Love and Gratitude shared with Family and Friends

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Crafting!

The Octopus & the Mermaids

Tropical House Closeup
A little piece of paradise – Isn’t that what we all want? That means different things to different people. For many, the idea of a cozy grass shack on a tropical island is a common fantasy. Of course it goes without saying that we’ll expect all the comforts of home in that “shack,” but that’s not important. Visualizing the dream is the focus here. This time of year so many people visit the seashore. An ocean-themed centerpiece, created one piece at a time, brings memories of vacations past to mind, and inspires dreams of vacations yet to come.

Beach House Before & After1
Before & After Photos: Tropical Home – Front Facade. What was once a home for tiny gnomes transforms into a tropical retreat with orange silk flowers, and a bamboo pattern drawn by hand on the exterior walls using a brown Sharpie marker.

Beach House Before & After2
Before & After Photos: Tropical home – Back Facade. The bamboo pattern continues across the back, giving it that island vibe.

Light House Before & After
Before & After Photos: Lighthouse. Whoever heard of a lighthouse without a roof? To make the roof shown, fold the paper into a cone and staple it as needed to hold its shape. Glue a soup can lid to the bottom of the cone and paint it gray to match the lower portion of the building. Add twine along the edge and down the sides to resemble a standing seam metal roof. Tie several knots in a piece of twine and glue it to the peak of the roof. Tint the glass votive holder yellow using a highlighter, and line the inside with orange paper to suggest a brilliant light glowing from within the tower.

Sailboat Before & After2
Before & After Photos: Sailboat. This sailboat only needed a few minor adjustments. The faded horizontal stripes needed a fresh coat of paint, and the middle stripe was changed to orange. The opposite side of the sail was unfinished, so the stripes and shells were duplicated on the back. A cute little blue bird was glued to the top of the mast.

The Star of the Show: A Blue Ringed Octopus
Octopus Before and After 2
Before & After Photos: Octopus Closeup. It’s hard to believe the monochromatic octopus on the left is the same one on the right, but it is. It’s amazing what a difference a little paint can do.

Octopus with Candles
Original Octopus Candleholder: This whole project started with this silver metal octopus candleholder. As you can see, it looks top heavy with the large pillar candles, and the octopus is rather hidden underneath. Round candles were another option, but he looked like a juggler! (lol)

Blue Ringed Octopus
As with all creative projects, it’s helpful to gather a few photos for inspiration. The blue ringed octopus is a fascinating creature. Fans of James Bond 007 will remember the movie, Octopussy, in which Maude Adams had an aquarium with this beautifully patterned octopus, and she also wore a white silk robe emblazoned with its colorful, exotic image. Each octopus has a unique pattern, and the blue iridescent rings are impressive creations courtesy of Mother Nature.

Paints
Supplies:
Octopus (7-1/2” high x 4-1/2” wide x 1-3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paints – tan, brown, black, yellow, white, & metallic blue
1) Bottle fabric paint – white
1) Bottle fabric paint – brown
2) Paintbrushes – one for base coat, and a fine brush for details
Paint Palette
Clear Spray Paint

Octopus without Candles
This is how it looks without the candles. The large metal plates are too big, overpowering the beauty of this piece.

Octopus without Plates
The plates were removed using a Dremel cutting tool, and the tips of the tentacles were filed smooth. Now you start to notice the amazing sculptural details created by the artist.

Painted Tan
The color was the next issue to be addressed with two coats of tan paint. The artist painstakingly created a realistic looking octopus, but that thick coat of silver paint had obscured all those intricate details.

Painted Brown Spots
A brown pattern was applied to the entire body and the eyes were painted black.

Painted Black Spots
Black spots were added, overlapping the brown.

Painted Blue Rings&Yellow
Blue iridescent rings were applied over the black spots. Random yellow stripes wrap around the legs and head. A white dot was added to the pupil of each eye.

Painted Brown Irises White Outlines
The eyes were made more realistic with the addition of brown irises and white outlines.

Clear Coat & Suction Cups
Two coats of clear spray paint were applied to protect the acrylic paints. White suction cups were added to the underside of the tentacles, and allowed to dry. Next brown fabric paint was applied over each of the suction cups to provide shape and depth. This beautiful sculpture now has the rich, colorful appearance it deserves, and makes an interesting conversation piece.

Finished Centerpiece
Photo: Completed Centerpiece. Black pebbles form little volcanic islands amid a vast ocean. In front of a cozy tropical home, a mermaid sits quietly reading as a sailboat glides along the water. Another mermaid leaps out of the sea with a treasured seashell in her hand. The lighthouse makes a welcome rest stop for wildlife and a sunbathing mermaid. A feisty octopus playfully thrashes about the water’s surface. Palm trees swaying in the breeze display a pair of small signs that says it all: “Beach Please!”

Happy Crafting!