Creative Stress Relief

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

Painting: – watercolor, oil, acrylic, pouring
Watercolor
Watercolor Painting

Drawing: – pencil, charcoal, crayons, colored pencils, chalk, markers, pens
Sketching with Pens and Markers
Drawing

Pottery & Ceramics: – figurines, serving pieces, vases, jars, ornaments
Pottery
Pottery

Ceramics
Ceramics

Paper Crafts: – scrapbooking, card making, origami, quilling
Papercrafts

Jewelry: – beaded, woven, wire
Beaded Jewelry
Jewelry Making

Wire Jewelry
Wire Jewelry Kyanite Pendant

Flower Arranging: – fresh or artificial, wreaths, centerpieces, bouquets
Fresh-Cut Floral Bouquet
Flower Arranging

Mosaics: – glass, stone, ceramic, seashells
Ceramic Mosaics
Mosaics

Candle Making: – votives, pillars, tea lights, candle holders
Votive Candles & Glass Candleholders
Candle Making

Feather Art: – wall art, jewelry
Feather Art Garlands
Feather Art

Glass Art: – jewelry, home accessories, artwork, light fixtures, windows
Stained Glass – windows, suncatchers, jewelry, gifts
Stained Glass

Lampwork Glass Earrings & Beads
Glass Frogs

Sculpture: – clay, wood, stone, metal, sand
Sand Sculpture
Sand Castle

Wood Sculpture
Wood Carving

Photography: – landscapes, seascapes, portraits, still-life
Photography

Baking & Candy Making:
Cupcakes with Fondant Decorations
Decorated Cupcakes

Solid Milk Chocolates
Chocolates

Wood Crafts: – painting, wood burning, carving, furniture design, musical instruments
Hand-Carved & Painted Wood Duck
Wood Duck

Musical Instrument Crafting
Musical Instrument Craftsman

Yarn Crafts: – knitting, needlepoint, cross-stitch, embroidery, crocheting, hand hooked rugs, latch hook, macrame
Needlepoint
Needlepoint Leopard

Crocheting
Crocheting

Hand Hooked Rugs
Handmade Rug

Latch Hook Wall Art
Latch Hooks

Macrame
Macrame Bracelets

There are so many crafting options. Many craft stores, local high schools and art studios offer classes in arts and crafts. Try something new, make new friends, and experience a renewed sense of joy and playful excitement.

For more stress relieving craft ideas, please check out parts two and three in this series:
“Creative Stress Relief II” and “Creative Stress Relief III.”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Countdown – Top Six Posts of 2021

Time seems to fly by so quickly. Let us take a few minutes to look back at the highest ranked posts, as voted by you, the readers. Below is a list of the Top Six posts of 2021, in ascending order:

Number 6: Alpacas Versus Ewoks

Alpaca & Ewok

On a scale of 1-10, who is the cutest – an Alpaca or an Ewok? To read more, please click here.

Number 5: Countdown – Top Six Posts of 2020

Time Travel

In the movie, “Back to the Future”, Michael J. Fox traveled back in time. To read more, please click here.

Number 4: The Symbolism of Rings

Assorted Rings

We wear jewelry for many reasons, but rings, in particular, have played a significant role in our lives.  To read more, please click here.

Number 3: What is for Dessert?

Dessert Collage

Dessert is a wonderful thing. Do you ever find yourself checking out the dessert menu before looking at the entrees? I do. To read more, please click here.

Number 2: One Craft Leads to Another

Colorful Sunset

Because we live in such a beautiful world, it comes as no surprise that we are inspired to create using every color of the rainbow. To read more, please click here.

Number 1: The Art of Cake Decorating

Chocolate Cream Cake

White icing, piped details topped with maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings make this Black Forest cake outstanding, but the real showstopper is the chocolate latticework wrapped around the sides. To read more, please click here.

And there you have it – the top 6 posts of 2021.  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 2022 and Happy Crafting! 

Happy New Year 2022

Once again, we find ourselves at the threshold of a new year. With infinite possibilities, it is up to us to decide what to accomplish next. Be sure to schedule some much needed “me time” to relax, unwind, and have a little fun. 

There is always something new in the arts & crafts studio. I hope you will find something that piques your interest and enables you to express your unique artistic flare.

We may not know where the path will lead us, but rest assured we will travel it together, finding inspiration along the way and letting our creativity soar to new heights.

Hope 2022 will be a happy, healthy year and may all your dreams come true!

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

Happy New Year & Happy Crafting!

Gemstone Healing Traditions

Gemstones
Gemstones have been admired throughout history. They have been worn for their beauty, carried for protection, and ground into powder for use as pigments in makeup, dyes, and paints. Gemstones have been used for healing since ancient times. Below is a list of gemstones and their associated healing properties, followed by a list of Birthstones, Zodiac signs, and the Feng Shui Bagua with corresponding gemstones.

Gemstone Healing Properties
Agate – strong healing, good fortune, balances body mind & spirit, calming, nature

Amazonite
Amazonite – calming, improves sleep, intuition, creativity

Amber
Amber – success, decision-making, achievement

Amethyst – calming, protection, restful sleep, self-confidence, intuition, meditation
Apatite – intuition, meditation, energy
Aquamarine – balances body mind & spirit, nature, water, calming, purifies body

Aventurine
Aventurine – balance, optimism, relaxation, purifies mind, nature

Azurite & Malachite – stress relief, intuition, creativity, heaven & earth, energy
Bloodstone – healing, energizes, purifies, strengthens heart
Calcite – mind, body, & spirit, nature, energy, harmony, healing

Carnelian
Carnelian – creativity, energy, protection

Chrysocolla – balance, stress reduction, intuition, calming, heaven & earth

Citrine
Citrine – abundance, confidence, hope, energy

Diamond – abundance, clarity, fidelity, deflects negativity
Emerald – dreams, healing, balance, protection traveling, prosperity

Fluorite
Fluorite – healing, concentration, grounding

Garnet – passion, remove negativity, hope, purifies
Jade – prosperity, dreams, healing

Picture Jasper
Jasper – balance, healing, attaining goals, nature, nurturing, relieves stress

Kyanite – optimism, healing, creativity, loyalty

Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli – intuition, balance, inspiration, protection, creativity

Malachite – healing, abundance, relationships, dreams, reduces stress
Moonstone – fortune, protection for traveling, compassion, female power

Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl – female power, nurturing, motherhood

Nephrite – creativity, protection, attain goals, dreams
Onyx – intuition, dreams, protection, achievement, endurance
Opal – balance, harmony, spirituality

Pearls
Pearl – female power, truth, heaven
Peridot – prosperity, harmony, relationships, intuition

Clear Quartz
Quartz – spirituality, harmony, creativity, prosperity

Ruby – love, self-awareness, renewal, spirituality
Sapphire – clarity, intuition, protection, soul mate love, fidelity, meditation

Snowflake Obsidian
Snowflake Obsidian – balance, concentration, repels negativity

Sodalite – delegation, intuition, creativity, calming, protection
Sugilite – calming, healing, reduces stress, spirituality

Tigerseye
Tiger’s Eye – confidence, healing, concentration, grounding

Topaz – creativity, self-expression, spirituality, renewal
Tourmaline – healing, spirituality, energy, renewal, protection

Turquoise
Turquoise – protection for traveling, strengthens, verbal communication

Unakite – feminine, abundance, harmony

Birthstones
Birthstones

Signs of the Zodiac
Zodiac

Feng Shui Bagua with Gemstones
Bagua

Mother Nature has produced a remarkable collection of gemstones. Cultures around the world have created and shared their gemstones traditions throughout the ages, and will continue to do so in the future. Each stone has a unique story. When choosing a gemstone, hold it in your hand and ask yourself: How does this gemstone make me feel? If your answer is “empowered,” “inspired,” and “amazing” – you have found the perfect match. Wear it in good health!

Happy Crafting!

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!

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!

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!

Candy Making 101

Lindt Chocolates

Did you know that many of your favorite candies can be made at home?  Recipes for those shown below can be easily found online, and I have included tips for making these delicious treats.  Let’s get started! 

The Basics of Candy Making:

Milk Chocolate Candy Melts

Candy Melts

Homemade candy usually begins with candy melts, which come in many flavors, including milk, white and dark chocolate, strawberry, mint, and caramel.  Melting can be done on the stove or in a microwave. 

Hand Dipping Chocolate

Hand Dipped Chocolate

Question – What can you dip in chocolate? Answer – Everything from marshmallows and strawberries to Oreos, potato chips and Twinkies.  Many candy confections require dipping as the final step. 

Candy Molds

Chocolate Mold

Simply pour melted candy into the mold and refrigerate.  Candy molds are available in an extraordinary variety, including those for making solid chocolates, truffles, candy bars, hard candies, and lollipops. 

Solid Chocolates:

Halloween Candy

Halloween Candy

Solid chocolate candy is the best place to start for beginners.  Seasonal candy molds are available for every holiday.  You can change the color and flavor by choosing different candy melts. 

Chocolate Lollipops

Chocolate Lollipops

Colorful accents can be added to chocolate in two ways: Prior to pouring the melted chocolate, place small candies in the bottom of the mold, or hand-paint mold details with candy melts in alternate colors. 

Filled Chocolates:

Rolos

Rolos

To make Rolos, melt chocolate, and pour it into the mold, coating all sides and the bottom.  Pour out the excess chocolate, add the caramel center, and top with more chocolate.  Refrigerate, and enjoy. 

Andes Mints

Andes Mints

Andes Mints are made in shallow molds by alternating layers of dark chocolate and creamy mint filling. 

Malted Balls

Malted Balls

Malted milk powder is the key ingredient in these poppable candies, which can be shaped by hand or with piping bag and then dip in melted chocolate

Peppermint Patty

Peppermint Patty

Dark chocolate and peppermint extract are perfectly balanced.  Shape the mint filling into balls, flatten them like coins, and then dip in chocolate. 

Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut butter cups are made by coating the bottom and sides of the mold with chocolate.  Add the peanut butter filling and seal the top with more chocolate.  Refrigerate and enjoy this delicious combo. 

Chocolate Pralines

Chocolate Hazelnut Pralines

Chocolate pralines are a mixture of chocolate and cream with hazelnuts, almonds or pecans.  Depending upon the recipe, you can drop spoonfuls onto parchment paper, or use candy molds. 

Popular Candy Bars:

Hershey’s Chocolate Bar

Hershey's Chocolate Bar

Hershey bars have been favorites for ages.  They are also the number one choice for making S’mores.  Simply melt chocolate, pour into the mold and refrigerate. 

Nestle Crunch

Nestle Crunch

Mix melted chocolate with Rice Krispies, pour into mold and refrigerate.  Yum! 

Milk Way Bars

Milky Way

These candy bars can be made using molds, or a parchment lined pan.  In a mold, layer chocolate, caramel, and chocolate marshmallow.  Top it off with more chocolate and refrigerate.  If using a lined pan, layer caramel and chocolate marshmallow.  Refrigerate, cut into bars, and dip in melted chocolate. 

Three Musketeers Bars

Three Musketeers Bar

Pour melted chocolate into a mold to coat bottom and sides.  Mix chocolate marshmallow filling, press it into a mold and then top it off with a layer of chocolate.  Refrigerate, release from mold and dip in melted chocolate.  These can also be made in an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. 

Butterfinger

Butterfinger

Believe it or not, most recipes for homemade Butterfingers are made by melting candy corn and mixing it with peanut butter, which is pressed into a mold, and refrigerated.  Dip in melted chocolate. 

Twix Bars

Twix

For Twix bars, follow a shortbread cookie recipe and bake in a square pan.  Allow it to cool and then cut into individual bars.  Spread caramel over the top of each cookie and dip in melted chocolate. 

Kit Kat Bars

KitKat Bar

Are Kit Kat bars your favorite?  Dip crème filled vanilla sugar wafer cookies in melted chocolate.  It’s easy and delicious! 

Hard Candy & Lollipops:

Hard Candies

Hard Candies & Lollipops

For homemade hard candies, most people use a cookie sheet instead of a mold.  Change the flavor or color as desired.  Flavors include various fruits, mints, and caramel. 

Rock Candy

Rock Candy

Rock Candy requires sugar, a jar, sticks, and lots of patience – it takes 1 to 2 weeks for crystals to form. 

Swirled Lollipops

Lollipops

To make swirled lollipops, the warm candy mixture is worked by pulling and folding, creating ropes, which are twined together, and wrapped into spirals.  Add sticks & enjoy.

Gummies:

Gummy Bears

Gummy Bears

Gummy bears appeal to kids and adults.  They can be easily made at home with a gummy candy mold, and you can use fruit juice instead of sugar. 

Presentation is Everything:

Chocolate Tulips

Chocolate Tulips

Just like bunches of fresh cut tulips, these multicolor chocolate blooms are haphazardly stacked in an eye-catching display to tempt your willpower. 

Chocolate Tools

Chocolate Tools

Creative chocolate molds, such as the ones used to make these tools, have strikingly realistic details, and the rectangular display resembles a toolbox.  The chocolatiers have done an incredible job making these life-size “metal” tools, but I think the realism has been taken a bit too far.  Although I know they have been dusted with cocoa powder for a well-worn appearance, rusty items do not appeal to my sweet tooth. 

Chocolate Cell Phone

Chocolate Cell Phone

Want to know a stress reduction secret?  Less technology and More chocolate!  Remember, “stressed” spelled backwards is desserts!  Enjoy!

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!