Some Assembly Required

Frustrated Kermit the Frog

During the holidays, nothing frightens adults more than the words, “Some Assembly Required.”  We’ve all been there.  Why are there always screws left over?  That is a topic for another day.  Today, I want to talk about quick and easy ways to put together beautiful gifts and I can assure you no tools are required! 

For the Chocolate Lover

Chocolate Gift Basket

Who doesn’t love chocolate?  And yes, the zebra print stiletto shoe is chocolate too! 

DIY Hot Chocolate or Cookies

DIY Treats

All you need is a container, such as a basket, tray, bowl, jar, etc.  Come up with a theme for the gift.  Gather and arrange the contents in a pleasing way.  That’s all there is to it.  Let’s look at a few more options:

DIY Dinner for Two

Italian Cuisine in a Basket

A bottle of wine, pasta and sauce, fresh loaf of bread, etc.  You could choose a food theme, such as “A Taste of Italy,” or “An Evening in Paris.”  

Lavender Stress Relief/Aromatherapy

Lavender Gift Basket

Everyone needs to relax and unwind.  Lavender is the perfect choice to promote sleep, to reduce stress, and for calming body, mind and spirit.  Choose from a wide selection of lavender products, including essential oil, microfiber pillow, body lotion, shower gel or bubble bath, chocolate and tea. 

DIY Breakfast Basket

Breakfast Foods

Many people enjoy eating breakfast foods at any time of the day or night.  This gift may include, pancake mix, maple syrup, chocolate chips, sausage or bacon, fresh fruit, a bottle of juice, and whipped cream. 

For Coffee or Tea Lovers

Coffee or Tea

Start with a great mug or teacup/saucer, add a variety of teas or coffees, and you are well on your way to pleasing the coffee or tea drinkers in your life.  Extras may include coffee creamer, biscotti, and chocolate covered coffee beans. 

Can’t Get Enough Makeup

Cosmetics

Do you know someone who loves playing with makeup?  Cosmetic manufacturers have prepackaged gift baskets, cases and bundles filled with lipsticks, eyeshadows, nail polishes, and more. 

DIY Spa Day

Spa Day

A spa day is all about pampering.  This gift might include plump towels, massage oil, manicure & pedicure kit, candles, facial mask, bubble bath, exfoliating cream, moisturizer, etc. 

Holiday Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Everybody loves cookies, especially when they are homemade.  Simply arrange your cookies on a decorative plate, seal with colorful plastic wrap, and tie with a pretty bow. 

Homemade Muffins & Breads

Baked Goods

Homemade muffins and bread are always appreciated, easily portable, and can be stored in the freezer for enjoyment any time of year. 

Fruit Basket

Fruit Basket

Many fruit baskets are available through local stores and on the internet, or you can create your own, filled with all the gift recipient’s favorites. 

Still not sure how to put it all together?  Here are a few step-by-step gifts for inspiration:

Gift Tower #1 – Sweet Treats

Gathering the Gifts

Assorted Edibles - Gift 1

Biscotti and butter poundcake are the stars of this gift, accompanied by assorted candies, cookies, yogurt-covered pretzels, and kitchen towels.  A metal Christmas tray will serve as the base and the recipient can reuse it for years to come. 

Assembling the Gift Tower

Stacked Gifts - Gift 1

Stack the items in layers like a three-dimensional puzzle upon the tray.

Wrapping the Gift

Finished Gift Tower - Gift 1

You may need someone to help with the wrapping to hold everything in place.  Center the tower on the paper, pull up the sides and tie it at the top with yarn or ribbon.  You might want to use clear tape to seal any gaps.  Tie a fancy bow to complete the gift. 

Gift Tower #2 – Athletics

Gathering the Gifts

Assorted Items for a Man - Gift 2

For the athlete in your family, a sweatshirt, socks, a hoodie, and protein bars will be appreciated.  Add Starbuck’s coffee, a couple Christmas ornaments and a remote-control vehicle just for fun. 

Assembling the Gift Tower

Stacked Items - Gift 2

The gifts are stacked with the big items first and use the smaller ones to fill the gaps.  If your items tend to shift easily, secure everything in place using yarn. 

Wrapping the Gift

Finished Gift Tower - Gift 2

As with the previous gift, pull the wrapping paper upward, gather at the top and tie with an attractive ribbon. 

Gift Tower #3 – Hearth & Home

Gathering the Gifts

Assorted Gifts for a Woman - Gift 3

For someone who loves home furnishings, start with potpourri, kitchen towels, a collectible glass ornament, and a large glass Christmas ball with a three-wick candle hidden inside.  Add a few snacks for curling up by the fire and relaxing after a long day. 

Assembling the Gift Tower

Stacked Gifts - Gift 3

Fragile items will need to be secured in bubble wrap or boxed.  Also, if you have scented gifts, such as potpourri, be sure to keep them separate from food items in the gift tower. 

Wrapping the Gift

Finished Gift Tower - Gift 3

Festive wrapping paper and a coordinating bow are all you need to complete this gift.

I hope you have picked up a few gift giving ideas for this busy holiday season.  Whatever you choose, let your creativity shine. 

Thanks for Reading, Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

Inspirational Christmas Tree

This Christmas tree is unlike most.  It consists of individual flat pieces of wood, much like a signpost, ready for your painted decorations and inspiring words.

Words/Poetry

Most of my craft projects do not call for poetic or inspirational words.  Grab a piece of paper and a pen and scribble down some possibilities.  Take as much time as you need.  Listen to song lyrics, read poems, or notice seasonal phrases from movies, books, or advertising. 

Christmas Magic Sign

Magic Christmas Sign

You will need to consider how many words/lines will fit. 

Santa Christmas Sign

Santa Christmas Sign

Use any fonts you like.  You could use stencils for the lettering or freehand. 

Merry Christmas Sign

Merry Christmas Sign

Add decorative painted accents such as holly leaves and berries, or enhance your project with accessories like garland, and lights. 

Decorated Christmas Tree

Decorated Tree

Even though this Christmas tree is made with flat pieces of wood, you still need to consider how to decorate it, starting with a color scheme. 

Warm Colors

Warm Colors Ornaments

The warm color palette consists of reds, oranges, and yellows. 

Cool Colors

Cool Colors Ornaments

The cool color palette includes greens, blues, and purples. 

Monochromatic

Monochromatic Ornaments

With a monochromatic scheme, all decorations are the same color, and the variety comes from unique designs. 

Multicolor

Multicolor Ornaments

Create a festive atmosphere with all the colors of the rainbow. 

Christmas Tree Lights

Christmas Tree Lights

Instead of painting Christmas ornaments, you may want to paint lights with metallic acrylics.  Another option is wrapping the tree with mini, battery-operated string lights. 

How to Paint a Wooden Christmas Tree:

Raw Wood Tree

Raw Wood Christmas Tree

This freestanding, raw wood tree may need light sanding, especially the edges. 

Supplies

Paint Supplies

Supplies:
Wooden Signpost Tree (28-1/2” high x 10-1/4” wide x 1/4” thick) (base 8”x4”x1/2” thick)
Acrylic Paints – green, yellow, brown
6) Bottles fabric paint: black, purple, blue, orange, pink, glow in the dark white
Paintbrushes

Paint the Tree & Star – Front

Painted Tree & Star Front

Using acrylics, paint the star, the “branches” and the trunk.  You will need a thin brush to paint the trunk between the slats of green.  Paint both sides of the tree, the base and all the edges. 

Paint the Tree & Star – Back

Painted Tree & Star Back

Because this tree is meant to be seen from both sides, I came up with a finished design for the back.  Paint the trunk brown from the base to the bottom “branch,” and green for the remainder. 

Paint Details – Back

Painted Details Back

Apply fabric paints in thick dots to resemble ornaments upon the tree. 

Repaint Star – Back

Revised Star Design Back

I didn’t like the look of the squared off piece of wood on the back of the star and thought it would better to see the full star on both sides.  To accomplish this, I extended the star shape and filled it in with yellow as shown.  A smiling face was added to the star, using black fabric paint, to give it personality. 

Finished Tree – Back

Finished Tree Back

The back of the tree is now complete.  Only two more steps to complete this project. 

Finishing the Tree – Front

Finishing Tree Front Step 1

Using black fabric paint, write the words you have chosen upon each board.  Finish by giving the star a cute face.  Allow it to dry overnight. 

Finishing the Tree – Front

Finishing Tree Front Step 2

Using glow in the dark white fabric paint, trace the black letters to make them stand out better against the green tree.  Every night, when you turn out the lights, the glowing words will make you smile.  And what a nice way to fall asleep with inspirational thoughts floating in your dreams. 

I hope you enjoy this project and are inspired to explore your creativity.  Good luck in all your artistic endeavors and have fun decorating for the coming holidays!

Merry Christmas, 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.

Solid Color Glass 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 Ornament
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.

Clear Christmas Ball
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.

Mirror 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!

Dashing through the Snow

Santa's Sleigh

“Dashing through the Snow” calls to mind sleigh rides and Santa Claus on his gift giving journey.  With a wooden sleigh and a few accessories, you can create a wonderful holiday centerpiece.  Before we begin, let’s look at color schemes and designs of several sleighs to get your creative ideas flowing: 

Antique Sleigh

Antique Sleigh

Although this sleigh needs some love, wood in its natural state is attractive.  With a little polish, the brass runners will shine again.  The lights and evergreen garland are great seasonal details. 

Stained Wood Sleigh

Brown Wood Sleigh

The beauty of natural wood grain may not require color.  A clear sealant coat helps preserve wood for years to come.  Wood stain is optional. 

Green, Gold & White Sleigh

Green & Gold Sleigh

Green and gold are nice alternatives to the standard red and green Christmas colors. 

One Horse Open Sleigh

Natural Wood & Red Sleigh

A clear finish protects the natural wood color, while the open sides provide decorative opportunities for colorful pillows and blankets to keep riders warm on a cold winter day. 

Formula 1 Sleigh?

Red & White Sleigh

If Ferrari built sleighs, this would be the one.  This sleek aerodynamic design would allow Santa Claus to complete his rounds in half the time. 

Red & Gold Sleigh

Red & Gold Sleigh

The brilliant red and shiny gold trim are popular choices for Santa’s sleigh.

Red & Gold Sleigh with Lights

Red & Gold Sleigh with Lights

Dazzling string lights create a magical ambiance, day or night. 

How to Paint a Wooden Sleigh:

Unpainted Sleigh

Raw Wood Sleigh

There are many wooden sleighs available through craft stores or online. 

Supplies

Paints

Supplies:
Wooden Sleigh (10-1/2” high x 14” long x 6” wide)
Acrylic Paints – red, black, metallic gold, & white
1) Bottle fabric paint: white
Paintbrushes

Sleigh Painted Red

Sleigh Painted Red

Paint the sleigh with red acrylic paint.  It may take a couple coats to ensure smooth, even color. 

Black Painted Rails

Sleigh with Painted Rails

Paint the rails black on both sides and all edges. 

Painted Snow & Gold Trim

Sleigh with White Details

Draw snowflakes on all four sides and paint each with white acrylic paint.  To enhance the designs, go over each snowflake with white dimensional fabric paint.  Paint the edges of the sleigh with metallic gold paint.  This will most likely require two coats. 

This completes the sleigh.  Now it is time to think about making it the focal point of a new centerpiece.  Your next decision is: Who will pull the sleigh? 

Dog Sledding

Dog Sled

Dog sledding teams compete every year in an Alaskan race called the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. 

Horse Drawn Sleigh

Horse Drawn Sleigh

Riding in a horse drawn sleigh has been a tradition for centuries.  In warmer seasons the sleighs are swapped out with carriages for year-round enjoyment. 

Reindeer Drawn Sleigh

Reindeer Drawn Sleigh

Santa isn’t the only one using reindeer to guide his sleigh. 

A perfect 10 on the Cuteness Scale

Yorkie Sled

Holding the reins securely in his paws, this adorable yorkie steers a course straight into the hearts of viewers in this moose drawn sleigh. 

With your selections in mind, it is time to complete this project.  There are no wrong answers.  You may already have everything you need.

Christmas Sleigh Centerpiece

Finished Centerpiece

I chose a pig to pull the sleigh.  His hat is a floral pick, without the stick.  Fabric ribbon serves as reins, and I made a collar with a few jingle bells.  Tuck one end of the reins into the collar, and the other is held by a squirrel, wearing a red crocheted hat. 

Christmas Sleigh Centerpiece

Finished Centerpiece

A floral garland fills the sleigh with a harvest of red berries and green leaves.  It looks like this cute little squirrel is stocking up for the winter.  A male cardinal hitches a ride on the sleigh.  All the red accents unify this design, while the pig provides a bit of whimsy. 

Who will pull your sleigh and who will ride?  Please let me know in the comments. 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Scarf Bandit Update

The Prime Suspect
Back in December 2020, I posted the true story of a squirrel stealing a scarf from an outdoor Christmas elf.  (To read the full story, please click here.)

I am truly amazed by the accomplishments of this squirrel.  It must have taken a lot of tugging to remove the scarf.  I wish I had pictures of him dragging it across the lawn and jumping up onto a tree trunk with it bunched up in his mouth.  From time to time, he stopped to readjust the scarf with his paws.  I was sure he would drop it, but he hung onto it.  At one point, the scarf was caught on bark and branches, but the squirrel kept tugging with his whole body until he pulled it free and took his hard-won prize into his nest.  Such determination and skill!
Shredded Scarf & Straw
I did not expect to ever see that scarf again.  We recently had several snowstorms.  The mounds of snow on our lawn resemble icebergs and are very slow to melt.  Much to my surprise, I discovered shredded pieces of the stolen scarf mixed with pieces of straw, as shown in the photo above.  I assumed the scarf would remain in one piece to be used as a blanket.  Instead, this creative little squirrel invented outdoor insulation!  What will this clever home improvement specialist do next?  Stay tuned!

Happy Crafting!

The Christmas Bandit

A dramatic retelling of an actual event…

The Scene of the Crime
Scene of the Crime
This cute little elf proudly stands in the front yard, bringing Christmas cheer to passersby. Then one day, without warning, he was robbed! What kind of creature would steal a scarf from one of Santa’s helpers?

Surveillance Video:
Evidence
Eyewitnesses only saw limited glimpses of the perpetrator but security cameras captured scenes of the crime in progress.

Evidence
Unfortunately, the thief seemed to know where the security cameras were positioned and successfully avoided showing his face.

Evidence
Amazingly, the thief gathered up the scarf in his mouth and leapt from a maple tree to an adjacent pine.

Evidence
After diligent work, he dragged his ill-gotten property through the pine branches. Eventually the scarf disappeared from sight, presumably lining his adjacent abode.

Police Line Up:
The Police Line Up
The police detectives rounded up potential suspects for a line up. It wasn’t hard to spot the guilty party.

The Prime Suspect:
The Prime Suspect
In a recent television interview, the suspect maintained his innocence. As to how he came to have a similar scarf in his possession, he claimed it was a cherished gift knitted by his dear mother.

Prior Records:
Prior Mugshots
A few old mugshots surfaced, trending across social media. Undeterred, the suspect claimed to be a new man, having put indiscretions of his youth behind him.

Dining at Home
Dining at Home Tree
In the absence of any hard evidence, the suspect was released with a stern warning to mind his step in accordance with the law. In the spirit of Christmas, I decided it was best to forgive and forget. After all, he probably has a family that needs to stay warm during the cold dark winter…

Rubbing It In:
Rubbing It In
Until one morning, I spotted the “alleged” thief and a group of accomplices on my front lawn bragging about their latest escapades and brazenly feasting upon a cup of hot cocoa!

New Security System:
New Security System
Having no other recourse, a new security system, utilizing bait (scarves) and trap (teeth) technology, has been installed and appears very promising indeed.

The Christmas Bandit
Christmas Bandit
Don’t become a victim! If you see this unsavory character on your property, secure your outerwear! The thief is still on the loose!

May your holidays be filled with laughter & joy! Happy Crafting!

Scarf Bandit Update:
Shredded Scarf & Straw
Back in December 2020, I posted this true story about a squirrel stealing a scarf from the neck of an outdoor Christmas elf.  Once that scarf was dragged into his nest, I didn’t expect to have a follow-up story.  We recently have had a lot of snow and the mounds are finally starting to melt.  Much to my surprise, I discovered shredded pieces of that scarf mixed with pieces of straw, as shown in the photo above.  I assumed the scarf would remain in one piece to be used as a blanket.  Instead, this creative little squirrel invented outdoor insulation.  What will this clever home improvement specialist do next?  Stay tuned!

Happy Crafting!

Holiday Wrap Up

Dreaming of Christmas
It’s the night before Christmas, and little feet tiptoe toward the tree for a sneak peek at the presents. We may not admit doing this but it’s human nature to wonder what’s inside the box? Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, you’re going to give gifts to lots of people, and those gifts need to be boxed, bagged or wrapped in an attractive fashion. Here are a few ideas:

Colorful Gift Boxes
Colorful Boxes
If the thought of wrapping gifts is unappealing, you could buy readymade gift boxes such as these. All you need is some ribbon and bows and no wrapping is required.

Vintage Wrapping Paper
Vintage Paper & Red Twine
Revive memories of Christmases past with vintage designs and twine.

Contemporary Sparkling Gift Wrap
Sparkling Paper
Modern technology has enabled the creation of new textures, colors and special effects never before possible.

Nature’s Wrapping
Nature Wrap
For an all-natural look, utilize recycled paper with twine instead of ribbon and pinecones, evergreen or other elements from your own backyard.

Foil Wrapping
Foil Wrap
This easy to use method only requires the gathering of foil paper and a simply tied bow.

Coordinated Paper & Ribbon
Fabric Ribbon Coordinate Paper
Even though the prints vary, red and white colors unify this attractive gift wrap.

Self-Stick Bows
Self Stick Bows
The invention of the self-stick bow is a wonderful time saver.

Fireworks Bow
Fireworks Bow
What do you get when you combine a metallic pompom and a large white bow – an amazing starburst bow, which makes the perfect topper for an elegant package. (And it’s a self-stick bow too!)

Crinkle Ribbon
Sprinkled Snow Curled Ribbon
Instead of a bow, tie long strands of crinkle ribbon around a package and curl it with a pair of scissors.

Triple Bow & Custom Paper
Triple Bow & Finger Painting
Making your own bows is a sure way to make your gifts stand out. For an added more personal touch, plain white wrapping paper can be colorfully finger-painted, creating wrapping for gifts year round.

Floral Fabric Bow
Floral Bow
Sometimes a really great topper steals the show. A floral bow, such as this, will be treasured and it’s reusable. Check out the many bow-making videos online for how to instructions.

Floral Picks
Floral Picks
From a distance, this photo resembles a water lily garden, but it’s actually green bows adorned with artificial red berries.

Ornaments

Dress up dollar store ornaments with ribbons or bells and tie onto your gifts and hand-delivered cards.

Handmade Ornaments/Gift Tags
Holly Tag & Ornament
Is it an ornament or a gift tag? It’s both! Write the name & year on the back and attach it to your present. After the gift is opened, it’s ready to hang on the tree.

Gift Bags – Paper
Gift Bag Paper
Gift bags are probably one of the best inventions of all time. They’re sold just about everywhere, including the food stores, so when you’re running around last minute a gift bag is easily on hand.

Gift Bags – Fabric
Gift Bags Fabric Amazon
Amazon provided these sparkly gift bags, which are reusable and perfect for any occasion.

Gift Pouch
Christmas Pouch
Gift pouches are ready to use and include the ribbon and gift tag.

Christmas Stocking
Christmas Stocking
If you have several small size items, a Christmas stocking is a fun alternative to traditional gift wrap.

Gift Baskets
Gift Basket
A gift basket filled with the recipient’s favorites is always a welcome surprise.

Collectible Porcelain Box
Porcelain Box
Porcelain boxes come in a variety of designs for jewelry, small items, or cash gifts.

Seasonal Metal Tin
Seasonal Metal Tin
Most people associate tins with cookies or other baked goods, but this large tin could easily hold a pair of pajamas or sweater. The design is adorable and all you need to do is simply close the lid and the gift is ready to give, without the need for paper, bows, tape or scissors! How easy is that?

Glass Mason Jars
Glass Jars
Jellies, candy, sauces and anything else you cook up stores well in re-sealable glass jars, which require nothing more than a simple bow or ornament, and can be reused indefinitely.

Handmade Soap & Soap Dish
Hand Made Soap Dish
Many people like to make their own Christmas gifts. Take your creativity to the next level by designing a unique gift presentation, such as this handmade soap and accompanying twig soap dish.

It’s a Family Affair
Festive Dogs
If you can’t get help with all that wrapping, at least you’ll have the companionship and encouragement from your family pets.

Treat Yourself
Treat Yourself
As they say, “it’s the thought that counts,” but “presentation is everything.” With a few creative choices, wrapping gifts can be a pleasure, and be sure to treat yourself while you’re at it! Thanks for reading!

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!

Forever Green

Snow Covered Pines
What I miss the most during the colder months are the beautiful colors in nature. The winter sky is so gray, the trees are dormant, and the flowers temporarily disappear for a long winter’s nap. Evergreens defiantly retain their glorious shades of green regardless of the weather. To brighten your home decor, you can add a little evergreen and it will never need to be watered.

How to Paint Wooden Pine Trees
Lighted Tree Close Up
This painted craft is very easy to complete in a short amount of time and it’s great for beginners too!

Raw Wood Trees
Raw Wood Trees
As with all raw wood, a little sanding may be required, especially along the edges. The pre-drilled holes are for lights in a later step.

Supplies
Painted Tree Supplies
Supplies:
Wooden Pine Tree (17” high x 9” wide x 1/2” thick) (Base is 9” wide x 2” deep)
Acrylic Paints – green, white
Paintbrushes
Sandpaper
String of 20 lights

Apply Green Paint
Painted Green Trees
Paint each tree green, ensuring both sides, all the edges and the base are painted.

Define the Branches with Snow
Painted Snow Trees
In nature, snow gathers on the branches. To give these trees a more three-dimensional appearance, add patches of white paint to imitate Mother Nature.

Tree Lighting
Trees with Inserted Lights
Those pre-drilled holes were made to hold a strand of twenty white lights. The lights can only be pushed through from one side of the wood frame. You may need to secure the last light at the bottom with a piece of tape to keep it from pulling out from the weight of the electrical cord.

Finished Trees (with and without camera flash)
Lit Trees
All you need to do now is choose a spot to display your handiwork and plug in those lights. I place my trees in the living room windows to enhance the rest of the outdoor decorations. When the holidays are over, they can remain on display throughout the winter.

Pom Pom Alternative
Pom Pom Tree
As an alternative to lights, you can turn a simple pine tree into a Christmas tree by gluing on multi-color pom poms as ornaments.

I hope you enjoy this project and have fun decorating your home for the holidays.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Gingerbread Dreams

Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookies are a favorite treat any time of year. Decorating gingerbread is a great activity for the whole family. For a real challenge, why not try designing, building and decorating a gingerbread house? Before we look at some finished houses, let’s take a closer look at a few of the important details.

Decorating Gingerbread
Piping Icing
Whether decorating cookies or building a gingerbread house, the first skill you will need is piping icing.

Piping is the Key
Candy CloseUp
From the smallest detail to the walls and roof, royal icing is the edible glue that holds everything together.

Candy Decor
Gingerbread Roof Close Up
Any type of candy will do. If you tend to nibble while you work, you might want to have extra candy on hand so that you don’t run out before the project is finished. (lol)

Architectural Details
Architecture Details
This budding architect has carefully defined the details: candy cane columns; stamped brick wall pattern; piped & candied landscaping, door and window trim; M &M roofing; and candy accents.

Festive Elf
Festive Elf
Don’t forget to have fun with your creation.

Be Adventurous
Adorable Snowman
Let your imagination run wild. Come up with interesting details. This artist darkened the windows to add depth and carved wood grain into the door. Make your project as unique as you are.

Humorous Little Details
Rooftop Cat
Be sure to include the unexpected, such as this fondant cat on a snow-covered roof.

Miniature Gingerbread Houses
Cookie House
There’s nothing wrong with starting small. This house was made entirely from gingerbread cookies. It’s quick and easy to put together and can be used as ornaments, or as gifts for visitors. You could even pipe names on each one as edible “place cards” at the table.

Chalet
Gingerbread Chalet
Instead of candy, decorated gingerbread cookies adorn this simple A-frame house.

In the Doghouse
Gingerbread Doghouse
Icing is the main decoration on this adorable doghouse, with only a few candy accents.

A Bright Idea
Lighted Cottage
This cottage may be small, but it has two interesting qualities that make it really stand out: 1) LEDs provide a soft glowing interior. 2) The reflective high gloss tray resembles ice or water. As an alternative to lights, you could place sheets of fruit roll ups over the inside of the windows and doors to create a cozy glow.

Accessible Design
Decorating for Everyone
Holding a piping bag and defining tiny details can be difficult, if not impossible, for those with limited mobility. Decorating can be made easy by simply spread icing with a spatula over all the walls and roof. Place decorations wherever desired, and the icing will hold them in place.

Log Cabin Village
Log Cabins
These gingerbread houses remind me of the colonial log cabins in Valley Forge National Park. Instead of candy, piped icing was used throughout the design, with a sprinkling of sugar snow.

The North Pole
North Pole Village
Leave it to Santa to create a quaint village, where even the North Pole is edible!

Cabin in the Woods
Cabin in the Woods
Like something from a fairy tale, this cute little snow-scene has a soft pink and blue color scheme complemented by a welcoming fire glow from inside.

Cozy Chalet
Cozy Chalet
Almond cookies adorning the roof and chocolate door & chimney set this chalet apart.

Midnight Cabin
Midnight Cabin
The contrasts between light and dark give this gingerbread house a spooky feel like something you might see in a dark lonely forest. The gumdrop posts appear to be glowing, while the almost obscured windows make you wonder what might lurk inside.

Gingerbread House Kits
Gingerbread House Kits
You could make gingerbread houses from scratch, but kits, which include all the candy, walls, roof, and icing, are a great place to start for beginners.

A Grinchy Christmas
Grinchy Home
The Grinch gets an upgrade from his old cave home to this perfect gingerbread tribute to Dr. Seuss. From the whimsical tree to the asymmetrical door, the spirit of the story comes to life before our eyes.

Angelic Lace
Angelic Lace Cottage
Delicate lace-like patterns harmonize with tiny gold dragées, while mini string lights illuminate the tree as well as the interior. A very steady hand is required to keep the lines soft and fluid.

Guiding Light
Lighted Church
Gingerbread can be made into any type of building including castles, churches, and lighthouses. If you can imagine it, anything is possible.

Chocolate & Gingerbread Cottage
Chocolate Fairy Tale Cottage
You seldom see chocolate decorations on gingerbread, but this artist has done a wonderful job combining the two into an exquisitely detailed showstopper.

Feast for the Eyes
Wintry Dream
There’s a lot going on here, but it’s beautifully balanced. The snow drips from the roof and the evergreen tree is decorated with colorful balls and a star on top. The upright pinwheel candies make a lovely border, while the cheerful gingerbread man and his snowy friend are sure to please. Every detail in this sentimental gingerbread home was made with love to warm the heart.

Your Reward
Eating Gingerbread
What is the best part about decorating gingerbread? Eating it! After all that hard work, you deserve a tasty treat. If you don’t have the heart to munch on your creation, have a few decorated cookies on the side as a reward for a job well done. I hope you are inspired to give gingerbread building a try. Good luck and remember you can always eat your mistakes. (lol)

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Decorating for the Holidays

Hand Painted Glass Ornaments
It’s that time again when we deck the halls, shop ‘til we drop, and dream of snowflakes and gingerbread fresh from the oven. Decorating your home can be stressful. There are so many styles and colors to choose. Where to begin? Let’s review several options to pique your interest.

Mood Lighting
Dining Room Ambiance
The festive contemporary vibe in this dining room is created solely through the clever use of lighting. Round white lights adorn the table and trendy letters upon the back wall, which is bathed in soft lavender light and soft blue accent lights.

Traditional Candle Wreath Centerpiece
Candle Centerpiece
The traditional red and green Christmas color scheme is accented with nuts and pinecones in this evergreen centerpiece. The aromatic scents of the great outdoors will last for weeks. To convert this to an Advent wreath, replace the red candles with three purple and one pink.

Contemporary Candle Un-Wreath Centerpiece
UnWreath
Create a contemporary candle centerpiece, without the wreath, by using a gold or silver tray covered with pinecones, artificial fruit, and assorted small decorations.

Contemporary Candle & Glass Ornament Centerpiece
Contemporary Candle & Glass Ornament Centerpiece
Christmas balls can be glued together to form a wreath, which is great as a centerpiece, or you can hang it on the wall for a colorful, reflective focal point.

Sophisticated Gold & Brown Centerpiece
Sophisticated Gold & Brown Centerpiece
This unusual gold and brown combo brings to mind boxes of Godiva chocolate. The rich colors and just the right amount of glitter make this an elegant, eye-catching choice.

Traditional Style Meets Contemporary Flair
Traditional Style Meets Contemporary Flair
Red & green are traditional, but here we have a glass bowl filled with natural elements, such as moss, apples, and pinecones, mixed with glass and carved wood ornaments, and metal spheres. The candlelight is supplemented with flower shaped mini lights tucked among the greens like little blooms.

Red & Green Glowing Glass Centerpiece
Red & Green Glowing Glass Centerpiece
What sets this display apart is the lighting hidden inside the fluted glass bowl. This inner glow reflects off the tabletop and twinkles upon the glass ornaments.

Fresh Cut Flowers Centerpiece
Fresh Cut Flowers Centerpiece
Floral centerpieces can be quite expensive. As an alternative, make your own with evergreens, pinecones, and berries from your yard, and add a few exotic looking fresh cut flowers for maximum impact.

Colorful Foil Garlands
Colorful Foil Garlands
Many trees are decorated with silver or gold garland, but there are many other colors and styles available.

Beaded Garlands
Beaded Garlands
If you look at historical photos of decorated trees, you may notice beautiful beaded garlands. Originally they were made from glass, but today plastic beads provide the same old-fashioned look without the added expense and fragility of glass.

Floral Garlands
Floral Garland
Those fortunate enough to be living in warmer climates may choose genuine flower garlands for natural tropical flair.

Popcorn Garland
Popcorn Garland
Another old-fashioned choice is popcorn garland, which is easy and inexpensive to make. For a dash of color, alternate popcorn with cranberries.

Semi-Homemade Ornaments
Semi-Homemade Ornaments
Transform store-bought ornaments with a little personalization. This crafter started with purple glass ornaments. A glitter paint pen was used to draw vertical line, and then gold rhinestones were randomly glued along the stripes for a regal appearance.

Christmas Ornament Kits
Christmas Ornament Kits
Due to the small sequin size and intricate sewing, the two ornaments shown above would be for the more advanced crafters, but there are plenty of options for beginners and kids.

Festive décor varies based upon the holiday being celebrated and your personal style. Below are several different theme ideas to inspire and consider for your next holiday.

Festive Bells
Christmas Bells
Bells make pretty Christmas ornaments. Collectors adorn their trees with bells of all kinds, typically from around the world. If you have a prized collection, whether it’s snow globes, porcelain figurines, dolls, etc., consider displaying it this festive time of year using your own creative style.

Blue & Gold
Blue & Gold Tree
For some, it’s all about the lights. Here we have blue lights and fancy gold ribbon taking center stage.

Blue, Silver, & Gold with Purple Accents
Blue, Silver, & Gold with Purple Accents
On this tree, ornaments are the main focus, accented by silver snowflakes and gold poinsettias.

Red & Silver
Red & Silver Tree
Glitz and glamour are achieved with mirror-finished ornaments, pinpoint white lights, and last but certainly not least, a sparkling reindeer.

Red, Purple & Gold
Red, Purple & Gold
Colorful ornaments and two shades of garland vie for your attention in this beautifully coordinated tree.

Turquoise & Silver
Turquoise & Silver
This tree is exotic in so many ways. The combination of turquoise and silver is as rare as the color of the tree, which is brown! The silver ornaments vary in textures, shapes and materials. It is truly a one of a kind.

Mother Nature’s Tree
Mother Nature’s Tree
For nature lovers, decorate with pinecones, berries and cute little birds. Animal themed trees have been very popular for the last few years. Whatever strikes your fancy – owls, birds, sea horses, etc. – decorations can be found or made to make your vision a reality.

Nature’s Fragrance
Natural Scents
Perfume the air with pinecones and cinnamon sticks.

Wintry Forecast
Snow & Ice on a Window
Christmas is typically associated with winter, but not everyone has a white Christmas. To create the look of ice and snow, use blankets or bags of artificial snow and aerosol cans of spray snow, which cleans up after the holidays with window cleaner.

Our Furry Companions
Our Furry Companions
Let’s not forget an ornament or two for those lovable family pets. In case you didn’t know, tree skirts are very popular places for afternoon naps.

A Room with a Fabulous View
A Room with a Fabulous View
Curl up with a good book by the fire, or find a cozy spot overlooking a winter wonderland. The holidays are a wonderful time to decorate our homes and celebrate the season with family and friends. May your holiday dreams be happy, filled with peace and love.

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting!