The Symbolism of Rings

Assorted Rings
We wear jewelry for many reasons, but rings in particular have played a significant role in our lives.  The circular shape, with no beginning and no end, symbolizes eternity.  Rings can have special meanings for individuals, families, communities, and cultures.

Self-Expression:
Triangle Ring
The most obvious reasons to wear rings are self-expression and personal adornment.

Attention Getting Rings
We express our individuality by creating the image we show to the world, including hairstyle, clothing choices, and yes, even jewelry.

Sculptural Wrap Ring
A signature ring is an item worn on a daily basis.

Venetian Glass Bead Rings
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.

3D Sculptural Ring
Jewelry is art for the body.

Commitment:
Engagement Ring
Engagement rings represent promises and intentions.

Wedding Rings
Wedding bands are signs of love and fidelity.

Eternity Bands
Anniversary rings, also known as eternity bands, commemorate love through the years.

Family Heritage:
Coat of Arms Ring
A coat of arms honors family history.  Rings like this become family heirlooms passed down from one generation to the next.

Garnet Ring
Birthstone rings celebrate your birth month or zodiac sign.
For more information on gemstone meanings and uses throughout history, please read: “Gemstone Healing Traditions.”

Accomplishments:
High School Ring
Accomplishments are often celebrated with jewelry.  Upon graduation, alumni often wear a ring to demonstrate school pride and personal achievement.  Champions in athletics are awarded expensive rings such as the winners of the Super Bowl.

Affirmations:
Love Ring
Affirmation rings serve as reminders to fulfill our goals and dreams.

Feather Rings
Feathers symbolize our connection to angels, the spirit world, and our higher selves.

Cultural Pride:
Claddagh Rings
Different cultures wear jewelry for traditional reasons and to express pride in their heritage.  The Irish Claddagh signifies love, loyalty and friendship.

Morrocan Ring
This mosaic ring set in silver is a fine example of intricate Moroccan design and craftsmanship.

Ancient Viking Rings
Ancient Viking rings symbolize clan loyalty, while the open design provides flexibility.

Membership:
Club Rings
Social clubs wear rings in honor of teamwork, shared goals and simply for the fun of it.

Signet Ring
Professional organizations wear insignia rings as a sign of group values and camaraderie.

Power:
Royal Ring & Seal
Rings can be a sign of authority, such as those worn by royalty and religious leaders.  Historically, kings often sealed documents with hot wax and the impression of a specific ring to authenticate the contents.  Envoys sometimes carried a royal ring as proof of their authority to speak on behalf of the monarchy.

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.

As we move toward the future, new jewelry designs will debut and the classics will appeal to new audiences, while their underlying meanings pique our curiosity.  What do your rings mean to you?

Thanks for reading and Happy Crafting!

Gifts from the Heart

Frog with Heart
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s a nice reminder to show appreciation for those who share our lives, including family, friends, and yes even our pets.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot.  In fact, you may already have what you need for the perfect gift.   Here are a few creative ideas to get you started:

Sweets for the Sweet
Homemade Candy & Cookies
Homemade cookies and candy will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Nature Lover
Fruit Hearts
This edible art is delicious & nutritious.

Heart of the Vineyard
Wine Corks Heart
Connoisseurs will appreciate shared memories celebrated with a nice glass of wine.

The Personal Touch
Clay Heart Vase
Gifts made by hand are always the best way to show your love.

Two Hearts Beat as One
Metal & Wood Hearts
Whether you prefer working with wood or metal, this universal symbol of love says it all.

Love is in the Details
Mosaic Heart
Glass, tile, and stones can be used to create mosaic jewelry, tabletops, wall art, etc.

A Rose by Any Other Name
Paper Roses
As timeless symbols of love, these paper roses will forever be in bloom.

Big Bear Hugs
Teddy Bear & Flowers
Everyone could use a hug.  Teddy bears can be sewn, crocheted, or knitted.  If you don’t have those skills, buy one and add a personal touch, such as a bunch of silk flowers or homemade chocolates.

Soft & Dreamy
Watercolor Painting
Watercolor, acrylic or oil paints are the perfect choice for creating beautiful artwork to be treasured for years to come.

Heartfelt Adventure
Pink Stone Heart
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy taking a romantic walk along a beach or trail on a “treasure” hunt, consisting of well-placed hearts made from stones, shells, or flowers.

Presentation is Everything
Heart Earrings
At the end of the treasure hunt mentioned above, surprise your companion with a little gift, such as a bouquet of wildflowers or handmade jewelry.

Reflective Photography
Black Swan
At first glance, you might only notice the beauty of this black swan but look closer and you will see the perfect heart shape created by his reflection.

Just the Two of Us
Romantic Silhouettes
A sunset photo of a couple is a nice keepsake and posing just right forms a heart.

Your BFF
Dog Wearing Scarf
Our best friends are always looking for affection.  A new scarf or a heart charm for the collar are nice options, but the best way to show your love is by giving them your time and attention.  Works for people too!

Thanks for reading.

Happy Valentine’s Day & 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!

Happy New Year 2021

Beautiful Sunset
The beginning of a new year is often a time for thoughtful reflection. As children, we so easily see magic in the world. As time goes by, the obligations, worries and responsibilities of adulthood weigh so heavily upon us that we fail to appreciate the grandeur and beauty around us. Let’s recapture some of the magic!

Graphic Arts Tulips
The coming year will be filled with projects and topics to spark your creativity and inspire arts and crafts to share with friends and family. Rekindle the joy.

New Years
We find ourselves in a new year filled with infinite possibilities. May 2021 bring you Happiness & Love, and may all your dreams come true!

Thank you so much for reading, following, liking and commenting!

Happy New Year & 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!

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!

Designing Beaded Jewelry

Beaded Jewelry in Fall Colors
Making beaded jewelry is a fun activity for the entire family. There’s an incredible selection of gemstone, glass, crystal, metal, and mixed media beads, which can be strung upon wire, leather cords, ribbons, or any other material of your choosing.

Strands of Gemstone Beads
Strands of Gemstone Beads
Most beads are sold in strands, which are pre-strung on fishing tackle. You cannot keep the beads on this temporary strand because it is not durable for every day wear and tear, and will eventually break.

When working with beads, having a jewelry maker’s tray (like the one pictured below) is extremely beneficial for laying out your designs. The numbers along the perimeter are for measuring the length of bracelets and necklaces. The grooves in the tray are multi-purpose: enable experimentation with different beads; create a necklace and bracelet at the same time; design a multi-strand necklace. Compartments in the tray hold additional beads while you finalize your work.

Black Onyx & Carnelian Beads
Onyx Carnelian Beads
Using the same beads produces two different looks by simply changing the pattern – both are in seasonal fall colors. The large, reddish orange, Carnelian nuggets have a raw but luxurious appeal, while the smooth, round, Black Onyx beads are cool and sophisticated.

Black Onyx, Carnelian & Silver-Plated Metal Beads
Onyx Carnelian & Metal Beads
The addition of precious metal beads provides rich texture, eye-catching contrast, and the all-important sparkle.

Rain Forest Jasper & Mother of Pearl Beads
Rain Forest Jasper & Aventurine Beads
These two photos demonstrate the effects of using shape and color to create necklaces with very different styles. On the left, a pear-shaped, Rain Forest Jasper pendant takes center stage with Rain Forest Jasper and Natural Mother of Pearl beads. The result is a fancy necklace with warm rich earth tones, suitable for a night out on the town. On the right, Aventurine alternates with dazzling, White Mother of Pearl beads in a soft palette and casual style for everyday wear.

Rain Forest Jasper, Mother of Pearl, and Gold-Plated Metal Beads
Rain Forest Jasper Aventurine & Metal Beads
The same beads are shown here with the addition of gold-plated, round spacer beads on the left, and gold-plated, filigree bead caps on the right.

When you are satisfied with your design, the beads can be strung one at a time onto wire. Be sure to place a piece of scotch tape on the end of the wire before you start stringing your beads. Once you’re satisfied, the clasp can be attached. There are many videos available to show you how to attach each of the different types of clasps.

Here are a few photos to get your creative ideas flowing:

Necklace – Lampwork Glass Frog & Glass Beads on a Cord
Glass Frog Cord
This striped glass frog is a fanciful addition to any wardrobe. Cords are easy work with and comfortable to wear. All it takes are a few beads and a focal point to complete this piece of jewelry. You could also use a pendant you already own. Cords can be made of leather, rubber, or woven fibers.

Necklace – Large-Hole Resin Beads on Ribbon
Necklace - Large-Hole Resin Beads on Ribbon
Stringing large-hole beads on ribbon is an easy way for beginners to learn about jewelry making. Children and those struggling with arthritis or any other dexterity issues can easily handle these over-sized beads. Stringing on ribbon or a cord can be done quickly and beads can be interchanged until the desired look is achieved. Best of all, there are no special skills or tools required.

Large-Hole Glass Beads
Large-Hole Glass Beads
Large-hole beads are for use on cords, ribbons, thick chains and wire. Crafter Tip: With these beads, you can achieve the same fashionable look as seen in Pandora stores, but at a fraction of the price. The best selection is available at Fire Mountain Gems.

Bracelet -Large-Hole Glass Beads and Metal Beads on wire
Bracelet -Large-Hole Glass Beads and Metal Beads on wire
Stringing beads upon wire is easy to do, but requires the special jewelry making tools to attach the clasp. Bead stores will typically offer shoppers the chance to select beads, and string your own necklace or bracelet. A staff member will then attach the clasp, or can give you instructions to do it yourself using their tools. These stores periodically have classes, and offer private jewelry making parties for your family and friends.

Earring & Bracelet – Crystal & Glass Seed Beads
Earring & Bracelet - Crystal & Glass Seed Beads
When you think of crystal jewelry, the name that most likely tops your list is Swarovski. The rich, colors and light reflecting facets of crystal have been featured in memorable jewelry designs ready to wear anywhere from the super market to the high fashion runway.

Necklace – Glass & Metal Beads
Necklace - Glass & Metal Beads
Glass blowers create beads one at a time, and each one is a unique masterpiece. All the colors of the rainbow and a few Mother Nature never considered can be found in glass. Solid colors, striated, and two tone beads are but a mere few of the possibilities with matte or high-gloss finishes. Glass pendants make interesting focal points, while tiny glass seed beads can be woven into intricate spiral patterns in necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Bracelets – Gemstones, Metal Beads, & Bells on cords
Bracelets – Gemstones, Metal Beads, & Bells on cords
There’s a bracelet style to match every person’s fashion needs – cords, cuffs, stretch, charm, bangles, and many more. Genuine gemstone beads are available in an amazing array of colors and sizes. Beads can be purchased from craft stores, beaded jewelry stores, bead trade shows, and from online retailers, such as Fire Mountain Gems. Because genuine gemstones come from the earth, the colors and patterns will vary. If you are planning to make a bracelet and matching necklace or earrings, make sure you have enough beads to complete the set. Each finished piece of jewelry will be as unique and individual as you are.

Jewelry making is an exciting and rewarding craft. Enjoy the process. Learn from mistakes. Experiment as you follow your inspiration to create the perfect design to express your personality and style.

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!