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DIY Christmas Cardboard Putz Houses

Posted on October 18, 2014 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I did promise you a few ideas for making your own DIY Christmas houses, didn't I? I think they're called Putz houses, a tradition handed down to us from the Christmas heritage of the Moravian Protestants. Anyway, I find that our lady Martha's Christmas village templates are still the best as these can be easily reinvented and decorated in any way you want. I usually make a master template from the printout by glueing the cutouts on stiff cardboard and then use this master to cut out the houses, trees, and church from cereal and other cardboard packet containers.

You can use Martha's templates as is to make Christmas tree ornaments or you can increase the size of the templates to create buildings, etc. for a village vignette. As always, Martha's instructions are very clear and easy to follow. You can find the templates and instructions for making the houses, etc. here.

Martha also has simpler templates for her little pinecone houses and you may prefer these. Find the templates here.

Here are a few decorated Christmas houses to inspire you:

Christmas House Garland

These cute little houses were made from cards and book pages and then strung into a garland. The site is French but you get the idea.

Twig Christmas Tree Village

Okay, if you've got the time and the twigs this would be a sensational display for your home at Christmas. The site is flogging the little tree lights but I am sure that you could create these using Martha's templates and glue the twigs on. Me - I just like looking at the picture.

Christmas Gift Box Houses

Design Mom offers both little houses and school house gift box templates already coloured with the design on. Great if you don't have a lot of time to find cardboard.

Cereal Box Christmas Houses

No templates needed. Just use up all those cereal and food packet boxes that are cluttering up the recycle bins. An easy one for your kids to make and decorate.

There are 1000s of Christmas houses online that you will fall in love with. Just remember to keep it simple and you will actually enjoy making these.

Ciao for now.

Christmas Holiday Wreaths - Final

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Okay - just one two last wreaths and only because I think both look so great and because you could use these all year round - not just during the Christmas holidays. 

By the way, if you don't have enough (or any) fabric to tear up into strips (or don't have the time or inclination), you could substitute that pile of ribbons you 've been hoarding since whenever. I have two bags full!

Anyway, the fabric wreath is from here - it's an online shop and a blog (shlog??) and in Dutch and there are no instructions.  However there is a good fabric (ribbon) wreath tutorial here.

The second wreath is made from toilet rolls, mailing tubes, and paper-towel rolls, and it's from the American magazine, Country Living - looks so easy to make. I love the look of this wreath and will probably attempt it. There are oodles of other great Christmas holiday ideas and projects at this online magazine for you to enjoy. Bet you spend a bit of time there!

Anyway, the instructions for the above wreath are here.

Next time, a roundup of Christmas houses and templates.

Christmas Holiday Wreaths - Use What You Have

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Okay, we have established that you can make a Christmas holiday wreath out of almost anything (even clothespins). There are literally 1000s of ideas and projects on the web - some better than others. The trick is not to copy what you see but to re-interpret using what you already have on hand. For example, my little guy has 100s of little toy cars. I'm going to use the lightweight plastic ones to create a wreath for his room this Christmas.

Here are a few more ideas to inspire you:

Walnut Wreath

Only got some nuts? See what Matthew Mead did with walnuts. He hot glued the walnuts to a straw form. No straw wreath base - you could easly cover a foam base with some old cloth. To save cost on walnuts, go to your local organic food store and ask if they have any stale walnuts they will be tossing out and offer to take them. Don’t ever be shy about asking for free stuff – I’m shameless about asking for things from shops and stores. Hey – it’s all about recycling, no?

Yarn Ball Wreath

Who doesn't have a bunch of yarn balls from unfinished knitting/crochet projects? Even if you don't, you could use old rolled up socks (washed, of course) or make your own balls by unravelling old knits. Bloggers over at Two Junk Chix show you how to make this wreath.

Toilet Roll Wreath

Here’s a simple, modern wreath made from the ubiquitous toilet roll. The post is in Hungarian but the step-by-step photos are easy to follow. By the way, I’m not a fan of using toilet paper rolls for crafts (after all – we know where they’ve been – shred the toilet rolls and put in your compost instead). You can substitute cardboard rolls from giftwrap, paper kitchen towels, etc. whenever a projects uses toilet rolls.  

Click here for instructions.

Next time, a round-up of my most favourite wreaths.

Christmas Holiday Wreaths - Pinecones

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (2)

I adore pinecone wreaths. They’re eco-friendly, easy to make, and you can almost always get the cones for free (I collect mine from the local park and from a neighbour's yard). If you don’t have access to evergreen tree cones, ask neighbours, friends, or colleagues at work if they do and offer to clean up their yards for them. It’s really worth it as these wreaths really are very festive whether you celebrate Christmas or not and will last forever. They also make great gifts.

Here are a few examples I found:

Pinecone Wreath Using Glue Gun

If a glue gun is your craft tool of choice, Melissa at Keep Calm and Decorate shows you how to make a simple but elegant pinecone wreath using a foam base and glue gun. Ready, steady, shoot (er - I mean stick). Here are the instructions.

Pinecone Wreath Without Using Glue Gun

If, however, you'd rather not use a glue gun (more eco-friendly), Felicia at her Felicia Kramer blog shows you how to make a wreath using a wire wreath form and floral wire – not a glue stick in sight! Go here for the how-tos.

Pinecone Wreath Using a Wire Coat Hanger

This is more my kind of wreath using only a wire coat hanger to create a beautiful pinecone wreath. DIY Divas, Megan and Stephanie, show you how here

For more wreath idea, just click on Wreaths under Categories.

Christmas Holiday Wreaths - The Incredible Edibles

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Christmas is a’coming and the goose is … well, you know the rest. For our family, Christmas decorating starts with making wreaths. I prefer the natural ones made from whatever we can gather from the woods, fields, and hedgerows. You may, however, prefer variations on tradition. Along with the traditional materials, wreaths can be made out of anything: nuts, paper, textiles, photos, old greeting cards, postcards, corks – you name it. But there’s no need to head for the shops to gather your own materials – just take a wander around your own home to find all you will need to make a fun, original wreath (or two).

Here are a few of my favourite edible wreaths:

Candy Wreath

Who would have thought that edible wreaths would be popular; but it seems these are very much in vogue. Sweet Paul makes this this cute little Christmas candy wreath and it’s perfect for the little ones to whip up. Just have a few extra candies on hand - these do have a habit of disappearing at our house. Here are the instructions.

Gingerbread Cookie Wreath

Jan Scott gives her recipe for this cookie wreath at the iVillage website (although why she calls them gingerbread men cookies is a mystery to me - these look like stars to me??). Still the wreath looks pretty and the recipe is an easy one.  Get the recipe here.

Our lady Martha does have a gingerbread man wreath that looks wonderful and the recipe is also an easy one. We made the gingerbread men last year but they never made it into a wreath. Go here for Martha's instructions (and you pay attention!). 

Marshmallow Wreath (yes, marshmallows)

Sara over at the Fat Hydrangea blog has the recipe for this wreath. Might get a little dusty by the time you get to eating these but never mind, the wreath looks gorgeous. Here are her instructions.

Popcorn Wreath

Another one from Sweet Paul. This one would probably never make it to the wall or door at our place but you can try. Instructions here.

These are just a tiny sample of the kind of edible Christmas wreaths you could create. And here's me thinking that these would make a great late night snack - move over Santa.

DIY Advent Calendars to Make - Part 2

Posted on September 21, 2014 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (0)

 Here's part two of my Advent Calendar rant - this time using junk from around the house (and you know you've got some). If you've got paper bags, paper cardboard rolls, leftover gift wrap and wallpaper, etc., you can make an Advent calendar without spending a dime - except for the contents (and you can make these also if you have the talent I don't have).

Brown Paper Bag Advent

First up is this gorgeous idea from the Nicest Things blog. I'm not sure if it's such a good idea for little kids - but older ones would probably like it - besides it looks so darn nice. I horde any small shopping bags I get so I could do this but you could also use plain lunch paper bags. This is a German site and there are no instructions but it's easy enough to figure out, no? 

Click here to see more.

Cardboard Paper Roll Advent

Next comes this neat idea from Country Chic Country, using paper cardboard rolls (the instructions are for toilet rolls which I don't use 'cause I know where they've been). Use the paper towel rolls or the cardboard rolls that come with gift wrap and use any leftover gift wrap to decorate these little Advent packages. You could probably get the kids to help out by decorating the rolls but don't tell them what these are for. Click here for details.  

Clothespin Advent

I've posted using clothespins for Advent calendars before but I love this one using an old plank of wood and packages wrapped in brown paper tied up with string (hey - that's a song!). I, personally, would not paint the clothespins but these do look nice. This blog no longer exists - I found the photo via Tumblr. But I think you can get the gest of how to make it.

Leftover Wallpaper Advent

My final offering is this one from Brigitte magazine (a German publication). Make a pile of cones using leftover wallpape and string them up on the wall using a tree branch. The instructions are in German but the photos are easy enough to follow here.

So that's my contribution for Advent calendars. Remember - use what you've got and get the kids to help. You'll find tons more by using the search word (you guessed it) Advent.