Christmas Recycling - Colour Me House Kits

Posted on December 12, 2015 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I had time this week to do a little construction work using one of our lady Martha's house templates to make a few kits featuring what I call my Colour Me Housing Estates. Several friends mentioned that they would love to make Putz houses as decorations but had little time to actually download, print, cutout, and decorate these before Christmas. So - I decided to help out and this is the result. 

I constructed each little house using junk mail card weight paper from my recycling bin. The box used to be a cereal box in a former life. I used a box template from the Template Maker and modified it a little to suit my own style.

Since I like to add a little zip to each of my gifts, I'll be wrapping each box in LED string lights. At delivery, each box will be lit up before presentation. 

NOTE: Remember to shop your recycle bin for paper and cardboard to make your own Christmas real estate! Now I just have to find the time to get out there and deliver!

For Martha's little house templates, go here

To make boxes of the size you need, visit my favourite box making site, The Template Maker


More Christmas Real Estate

Posted on December 3, 2015 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

It seems quite a few of you have a bit of Bob the builder in you as I've had requests for more Christmas houses. You just can't seem to get enough of these sweet holiday decorations and, I admit, they do look nice when a few are grouped together. There are tons of Christmas putz house templates out there - the drawback to a lot of them is that you need to decorate these and who has time? But there are many that you can simply print out, glue on to your recycled cardboard and voilà - your're done. Note that a few of those listed below are actually meant as gift boxes but would easily work as little house decorations.

Row Housing

These were designed by Gabrielle Blair, the talent behind Design Mom as gift boxes. And, okay, these do require a bit of a paint job, but, hey, the template comes with a cute little wreath for the front door! Click here for template and instructions.


Yup, more gift boxes which again look just like little putz houses. These are from Design is Yay! and come ready to use once assembled.  Wita, the site's owner offers loads of free printables for all occasions. She's even got Christmas tree templates that you can print out and make to go with her little houses.

Get the info for these houses here.

Upmarket Parisien Dwelling

This one from a French website Sanglota is a bit more upscale but ooh, la, la. It's easy to cut out and assemble because it's a simple rectangle form you can paste on a box - would make a nice gift wrap as well. There are loads of other free printables at this site - Alice and JB are the creative team that make up Sanglota! 

Check out these Parisien beauties here.

Two-Stories Plus Attic

If you like your houses a bit bigger, the template for this one can be downloaded from Lutz Kaspers Papiermodelle. It's a German site but you won't need to read any instructions as the template is fairly clear about how to assemble this model. You'll have to scroll way down to find it but it's worth it! There are a few other models (a ship) that would be fun to make if you are so inclined. This little building would make a great dollhouse if you increase the size of the template.

Click here for the house template.

Non-edible Gingerbread House

None of the above have much to do with recycling unless you glue the printouts to any cardboard you have in your recycling bin. However, this one from the delightful blog, The House that Lars Built, is made using cardboard boxes - you know you've got some.  Brittany Watson Jepsen, the blog owner, explains how you can turn any plain old cardboard box into a cute little gingerbread house. Lots of good photos to follow. She also has info there where you can get free coupons for something but I didn't read it all.  You do have to decorate this one but you only have to have a chalkboard or felt pen to do it.

This is a great site and you may spend some time there. By the way, you can get free boxes (if you don't have your own) from any store. I got three today from a local gift shop.

Click here for Brittany's instructions.

TIP: Most of these houses print out on letter sized paper: i.e., 8 1/2" x 11". A nice size for an ornament - however, if you want a bigger model, increase the print or copy size to 140 percent to print out on 11" x 17" paper.

Christmas Recycling - Winter Warmth

Posted on December 2, 2015 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

What's Christmas without a fireplace for Santa to come down? Well, I never had one in any of the apartments or houses I've lived in and my studio home is no exception. But, do I worry, do I fret? No--I improvise.

For years, I hauled a small cherry wood and pine mantel around and put it up wherever I happened to be. Now that, too, is gone but I still have an old wrought iron fireplace grate that I bought at the Sally Ann years ago for 5 bucks. It weighs a ton (well, it felt like it) and I had to haul it home on the bus. For some reason I got the funniest looks. Anyway, most of the time now it's a place to store my magazines and maps, but it comes into its own at Christmas when I fill it with strings of Christmas lights. I include those flickering ones as well so that it gives the impression of a fire glowing. With the lights out and a Christmas movie on the screen, it almost feels like the real thing.

No antique fire grate? No problem, use an old tin washtub or a large basket. Or you can stuff a dozen or so large jam jars with battery-powered lights (LED, please!) and group them on a low table (a board over a couple of bricks works, too). Hang a wreath above it and you may even fool ol' Santa. If you're clever with carpentry, you can put up a floating mantel shelf above your 'fireplace' to add to the mystique.

Christmas Recycling - Holiday Hangups

Posted on November 22, 2015 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Continuing on with my recycling Christmas holiday kits, here's an idea inspired by a collection of Shiny Brite glass ornaments that I bought at a church charity shop last year. I liked the fact that the entire package was actually recyclable - the ornaments are glass and each one is wrapped in protective tissue paper and contained within cardboard dividers in the box. Not that I intend to toss these into my recycling bin any time soon! But an idea was born. 

To make the 'ornaments', I photocopied images from vintage colouring books for the ornaments and glued these images to cardboard.

To recreate the look of vintage boxed Christmas ornaments like the ones in my Shiny Brite ornament box, I made cardboard dividers to fit inside each box and placed an ornament or two in each partition. There are loads of instructions online how to make these partition dividers but - you know me - if there are more than 3 steps to the instructions, I lose interest. So I just made mine using spare cardboard by measuring the sides and height of the boxes and cut these out. They fit perfectly.

Before sending these off, I will add some washable felt pens or crayons. I'll leave it to the kids to figure out how to use these ornaments once they are coloured.