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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 (1)

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 toilet rolls '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.

DIY Advent Calendars to Make - Part One

Posted on September 18, 2014 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Am I rushing you? Christmas seems to be too far away to worry about, right? Well - no. In Edinburgh, along with Halloween decorations, I've already spotted Christmas stuff in shops. Although I really feel that the stores are pushing it (i.e., trying to squeeze yet more $$$ out of your pocket), it can be a blessing to get started early. And Advent starts December 1st.

Baby Socks Advent Calendar

Sticking to our plan to make this Christmas a homemade, upcycled/recycled one, let our lady Martha start you off with her baby sock advent calendar. It's a cute idea if you're the kind of mom (like me) that couldn't part with any of your kiddies' socks once they were outgrown and have them stashed (the socks, not the kids) in a closet somewhere. The instructions are here.

Mittens Advent Calendar

I'm not sure how many kids' mittens you've got on hand (you'll need 24 and, no, they don't have to match) to make this Advent calendar but if you do, this idea I spotted at Knitpicks looks easy and quick enough to whip up.

Pompom and Paper Cup Advent Calendar

Finally, I quite like this Advent calendar created by Saskia Rund (a foodie site with loads of holiday ideas) using paper cups (which you've save, I hope) and pompoms. Make the pompoms from any wool you've got on hand. I'm eyeing an old scarf that I can unravel to make this calendar. Now I just have to find some paper cups. The instructions are in German but the photos are easy to follow. Click here for how-to.

Next time - Advent calendars from junk from around the house!

First comes Thanksgiving ...

Posted on September 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

and then comes Christmas.

If you're dreading the thought of having to plan (and make) decorations for both holidays, why not try and combine the two using material from your own (or a neighbour's) backyard. The first idea is from Camilla Fabbri over at Family chic. So simple and yet so elegant. All you'll have to do once you've bundled up those twigs is replace the candles once they're burned out.

To assemble the twigs, go here for instructions.

Meanwhile over at Love on Sunday, Amy combines twig branches and pinecones to create a simple but elegant wall decoration. Find out how she does it here.

Heather at Poppyhaus turns small birch logs into attractive candle holders for tea lights. These will take up a little more time to do but they'll last forever. Please don't chop the branches from a living tree. You can buy them at farmer's markets or pick them up on your rambles through the woods. Instructions are here.

And here's an idea from Midwest Living for a pretty pinecone tree (again using twig branches and pinecones) that can easily make the transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas as a decoration. 

Just remember to check that the pinecones are clean and not harbouring any little critters. Click here to find out how to do it. 

Finally, something as simple as a spray of evergreen branches can transform a blah holiday table and is one that can be used for either holiday. This lovely display is from Die Raumfee a German blog that has oodles of great ideas for all seasons.

These are just a few examples of how you can take some stress out of your life and discover simple ways to create attractive holiday decorations that make the transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Even if you don't celebrate either holiday, these ideas would work to dress up your home at this time of year.

Use what you already have or can find in your own backyard, the local parks, or from a neighbour. You save money, you save time and maybe help out Mom Nature. And you will be totally (well, almost) original, too.