A Few More Wreaths

by CSweeney on August 31, 2014

in decorating tips,felt applique kits

It’s about that time of year….the kids are heading back to school, soon the temps will be dropping into the cooler zone, and we’ll all be pulling out the sweaters and flannel sheets.  I feel this bittersweet push and pull about the autumn season ~ I love it but I always hate to see summer end! Still, there is nearly nothing better than the comfy feeling of jeans and a sweater, sipping hot cocoa or maybe a Pumpkin Spice Latte!

fall wreathAutumn conjures up thoughts of beautifully colored leaves, pumpkins, bales of hay, crisp temperatures against blue skies, and even sunflowers…just like this cheerful wreath. Yes, Merry Stockings is proud to bring you a little fall decor despite the fact that we are largely a Christmas site….see, we just can’t resist this lovely season!  Besides, it is the precursor, the warm up for what lies ahead…..Christmas!!

This is the newly released Bucilla Fall Harvest Wreath, and will adorn your home while you are busy making gifts, shopping for gifts, planning holiday gatherings and parties, and even making  Christmas decorations. This lovely decoration can be proudly displayed from the early fall months all the way through Thanksgiving. That’s 3 months! It’s a very pretty and practical choice, don’t you think?

It’s also a great value, because right now you can pick up this Bucilla kit for 29% off list price for just $24.99 on the Merry Stockings website. The kit, like most that Bucilla puts together, comes with everything you’ll need to complete the wreath, and the finished size is 15″ x 15″.

owl wreathIf you want something a little more spirited, how about the Bucilla Owl’s Harvest Wreath Kit? It’s pretty adorable! Same specs on this kit as the Fall Harvest Wreath, and you can pick it up for 20% off list price for just $27.99.

Something tells me we aren’t done with wreaths. :) They are the quintessential, universal decoration for the home!

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Are You Ready for Some Fall?

by CSweeney on August 30, 2014

in Christmas,Food,Holiday Recipes

pumpkinsI saw this picture this morning on one of my friends Facebook wall, and I have to admit that my heart sank just a little. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the fall season and everything about it, but I’m just not quiiiiite ready to let go of summer. Nonetheless, the calendar will turn over to the ‘ber months in just a few short days, ready or not.

So, let’s start getting ready. Last time we explored this fabulous holiday aroma that will have everyone either salivating or plopping down on your couch for a visit. The scents of cinnamon lend a very homey, comfy feeling, don’t they? Even tho the spice combo that I shared with you is definitely a Christmas thing, it is also very fall-ish. Those warm spices ~ cinnamon and cloves ~ have a way of changing just about anyone’s mood for the better, and especially so in the fall months. Somehow a cup of spice fits perfectly with the changing of the colors!

Starbucks, for many years has hopped on board with these very popular palette pleasers when they created their pumpkin spice latte and Chai. There is nothing like running through the drive thru lane and treating yourself to one of these, yes? :) I’m right behind you, friends! Do you ever wonder how they make it taste so good?

pumpkinspiceI do, so I decided to find out exactly what they put in that addictive drink, and imagine my surprise to learn that there is actually NO real pumpkin in it! I will reserve comment on the other ingredients, because we aren’t here to bash the coffee giant, just to learn to make a worthy rival of one of their most popular drinks. And one that is, shall I dare say, healthy? Okay, I’ll say it. It IS healthy, and especially if you sub out the 2 tablespoons of sugar in the recipe I’ll be sharing and, in it’s place, use honey or monk fruit or even chicory!

Dying to know how to make your own Pumpkin Spice Lattee? Here ya go, you can find the full on recipe right here, complete with instructions!

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homemade potpourriThere is something about the smells of the Christmas season that offer up warm fuzzies for anyone who walks through your door. Whether it be something you’re baking, or roasting or boiling up on the stove, the aromas spell holiday magic, warmth and love!

And even tho it almost doesn’t matter what it is, if it has the warmth of cinnamon wafting through the air, you have a winner in everyone’s book. I found this fantastic homemade potpourri mix that is a classic Merry Stockings recipe. Why is it classic Merry Stockings you ask? Well, it’s simple to make, it’s not that expensive, and it really is magic.

What’s even better is that packaging this mix up in a holiday bag makes the perfect gift! You’ll be buying the ingredients already, so there will likely be enough for your own homespun magic and for gifts. That is a complete win-win, yes? Also, you don’t have to make this mix more than once. You just keep adding water to the pan, and this wonderful concoction will last for weeks!

You can find full instructions here. This will be a great use for those cranberries I bought a couple months ago that I stashed in the freezer! I can already smell it!

 

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I don’t think there’s a little boy alive that, at one time or another, hasn’t asked for a drum set. Every year when we asked our boys to make their Christmas lists, a drum set appeared on at least one of those lists. My husband and I would look at each other, slightly grimace, and see what else their little active boy minds were dreaming of!

Christmas Toys WreathI think drums and trains and candy canes are nearly synonymous with Christmas for kids, and of course Bucilla (and Merry Stockings) knew this when they designed this adorable Bucilla Christmas Toys Wreath Kit! We’ve talked before on the blog about how some Christmas decorations are such that you can get by with leaving them up longer than just the Christmas season, but this here wreath is definitely not one of those!

Ice skates, presents, snow flakes, snowman, Santa, trains and candy canes deck out this very fun and sweet wreath, and following the included instructions (in 3 languages no less) will have you secretly smiling while you make it. I mean, it’s pretty hard thinking about these cute and very traditional symbols of childhood and Christmas and not smiling, no?

This Bucilla Christmas Toys Felt Kit comes with everything you’ll need to complete it. The finished size is 16′ x 16″ and will liven up any door…or wall…or banister even! You can feel good about the fact also that this kit, like most other Bucilla kits, is made right here in the United States . . . you’ll be supporting a homeland business. Does it get any better than that?

The price on this wreath kit, like the one we showed you yesterday, is 20% off on the Merry Stockings website and is listed for just $27.99. Order today so that you’ll have a fun project to start just as soon as the kids go back to school in a few weeks!

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We’ve been spending quite a bit of time looking at some pretty cool wreaths over the last several week, not to mention delving into the history of this quintessential Christmas decoration. We also gave some basic instructions on how to make a live wreath, and then filled your brain with pictures of lots of unique wreaths to get your creative juices flowing.  I want to wrap up this mini wreath series and show you a couple of Bucilla kits that we carry on our website, Merry Stockings. I’m not saying we won’t ever talk about wreaths again (of COURSE we will!), but I am really excited to share with you these fun, do-it-yourself kits that have become immensely popular.

cookies wreathFirst up today is the Bucilla Cookies and Candy Wreath Kit! Your eyes are not playing tricks on you, this wreath really is 3 dimensional. What could be sweeter  hanging on your door than candy canes, gingerbread cookies and hard candies? You’ll get all those along with those psychedelic round suckers in this fantastic kit. I am gonna bet my bottom dollar that the kiddos might even be willing to help out with this one.

Do you have a crafty person on your Christmas list, someone who is hard to buy for? This sweet three dimensional felt applique wreath would make a fabulous gift too. Best part? It comes complete with everything you need to complete it. No last minute running to the craft store, it’s ALL included:  stamped felt, cotton floss, sequins and/or beads, needles and even instructions in three languages.

The Cookies and Candy Wreath kit is designed by Maria Stanziani and is made in the good ol’ USA. Finished size is 15″ x 15″. The list price on this fun kit is $34.99 but you won’t pay that at Merry Stockings. Order today and receive 20% off, paying just $27.99.

 

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All this talk recently about wreaths, and I just couldn’t leave out the ever popular Elf on the Shelf theme. This very adorable story has gone viral as they say, and is taking the Christmas world by storm. I did a couple of posts awhile back on the Elf on the Shelf, one on how Elf on the Shelf got it’s start and the other showing the elf hard at work. If you missed them, take a short li’l joy break and check ‘em out. You won’t be sorry. :)

_Elf-on-shelf-5-KOMerry Stockings simply will not be left out of all the hoopla around this great li’l guy, er elf. This is one of the infamous Bucilla kits, and if you aren’t familiar with these little gem projects, let me introduce you. Meet the Elf on the Shelf Wreath Kit; you’ve got your candy canes, your holly, your stars, and then there’s that famous li’l elf just chillin’ out.

Made from felt with beads, embroidery floss, sequins, a needle, and arriving with super easy to follow instructions, you may end up becoming a member of the ever growing Bucilla kit addicts fan club. :)

The finished product is 16″ x 16″, and we’ll ship this kit to you within 5 business days of your order. You’ll have a ball making this, so why not order right now? You can find this Bucilla kit on our website.

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I really am a sucker for all things naturel….reduce something fancy and elaborate down to the least common denominator, down to its simplest form and that’s my happy place. Sounds weird I know, but there is something about that non-embellished look that resonates. Today’s featured wreath is one of those happy moments for me…..it’s a bay leaf and pomegranate garland!

bayleafpomwreathNow you might never guess that this is from real materials, you know the kind you buy at the grocery store instead of the craft store. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some craft store shoppin’ any day, but would you ever in your wildest dreams imagine you could make a lovely garland like this from the lowly bay leaf?

When I first saw this I wondered about the weight of those pomegranates. You too? They are real pomegranates, but they are dried and are light as a feather! Think of the difference between a hard boiled egg and one of those colored easter eggs with the insides blown out of a tiny hole. I really really love this unique garland for any place you wanna drape something. And, even tho it’s green and red, I still think it is most definitely a year round decoration.

Curious how to make it? I was too….so you can find complete instructions here. The best part is that, while you can buy  pomegranates that are dried and preserved, it is very very very simple to dry them yourself. Don’t believe me? Check it out here. If you do decide to dry your own, just get started early as it does take those beautiful poms 2-3 weeks to dry.

Bay leaves and pomegranates. I think I’m in heaven.

Photo courtesy

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One of the wreaths that was pictured in yesterday’s post reminded me {again} that wreaths, well, they aren’t just for Christmas. I know I know, this is how most people think about them, but think about it, haven’t you seen dried flower wreaths that are just lovely also? And, since it is summer here in the U.S., I’d like to talk today about wreaths that can decorate our homes any month of the year. Some are even functional!

wreath 10Like this one ~ this wreath is made using both fresh and dried herbs! Hang this in your kitchen so it’s at your fingertips while you’re cooking. The fresh herbs are rosemary and bay leaf, and the dried herbs are oregano (that has flowered) and sage.

While they are still fresh and supple, snip off what you need and chop as you normally would. Once they are all dried and crumbly, just pinch off what you need and put em in a small mesh bag. Throw it in that pot of soup or atop the pot roast….mmmmm!

Even if you don’t cook with herbs much, the aroma is fantastic! Make one up to take as a gift to a dinner party instead of a bottle of wine. Anyone can pick up a bottle of wine, but a handmade herb wreath? That is a very special gift! You can find instructions here.

wine cork wreathAnd speaking of wine, how about this creative use for all those corks that are just too cool to throw away? This one, clearly is for the Christmas season, but with just a little bit of tweaking it could totally be a year-round decoration.

Do you have friends with which you often enjoy hors d’oeuvre and a glass of wine? This too would make a lovely gift for Christmas. What a memorable way to honor a friendship!

So, the idea of a wreath belonging only to the Christmas holiday is outdated. I just love these fresh and creative ideas. There was another wreath I saw that was made completely out of balls of yarn! No matter the colors, what a perfect gift for the knitter and crocheting friend who is always so hard to buy for!

Dreaming of different wreaths,

Cheryl

Photo credit

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wreath topFor the last couple of days I’ve been talking with you about Christmas wreaths….their history and just exactly how you put one of ‘em together so it looks great. I was thinking last night about my first wreath and how I really had no idea on how it was supposed to look or what theme I wanted.

If this is your first time making your own Christmas wreath, I thought maybe offering some ideas of what others have done might help to get the ol’ creative ball rolling. So without further ado, settle in for some viewing pleasure. :)\

wreath 1

 

 

wreath 2

 

 

wreath 8

 

wreath 3

 

 

wreath 5

 

wreath 4 rosemary

 

wreath 6

 

wreath 7

 

wreath 9

 

wreath 10

 

See, I told you you couldn’t do it wrong. :)

Next time we’ll take a look at some creative wreaths that are made out of materials other than greens. It’s going to be very fun, so don’t miss it!

Until then,

Cheryl

Photo Credit: Title Wreath, Gallery

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handmadeIf you’ve been around the Merry Stockings blog and website for any length of time, you know we’re all about hand crafted projects! There are definitely times when its good to buy something ready-made, and we sell some very fun decorations like this on our website, but also some great do-it-yourself projects. We know, like you do, that when you make something with your own hands, well, it’s just very special, isn’t it?

So, today I want to give you some simple and specific instructions on how to make your own live Christmas wreath. When you see the wreaths already made at the Christmas tree lot, they look like they’d require some serious know-how, but I’m here to tell you that just ain’t true. :) If I can do it, so can you.

Here we go. You’re gonna love how easy it all is once you get some really basic things down. First, materials:KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

  1. A soft touch ring. These are great because if you don’t like how it looks, it’s very easy to adjust. You can find one here.
  2. Greens. Any kind. As many different kinds as you like. Or just one. It’s your wreath!
  3. Special touches. Things like holly berries, pine cones, rubber duckies, anything that you want and think will fit your taste.
  4. Your imagination! There is no reason in the world to make a “normal” wreath. What is that anyway? You certainly can go traditional with this, but if you want to color outside the lines a bit, you have my permission. Which you don’t need. Enough said.

creative wreathNext, follow these simple instructions:

  • Make sure the branches you use are the right size. What’s the right size? Well, that depends on how big you want the wreath to be. If you want some of them to border the rest, make those a little longer. If you want them all to have a meshed-together look, be consistent with the lengths.
  • When adding your branches, make sure you are forming a circle. Unless you want a football shaped wreath, which come to think of it might not be a bad idea for Super Bowl season. :)
  • As you add each branch, make sure the tip covers up where you attached the one just prior for a beauteous look. Or, attach a pine cone in that place or other embellishment.
  • Layer the greens and any additional special touches any which way you want. There is no wrong way to do this.
  • Last thing…..make sure that the bendable pins on the soft touch ring are securely fastened around your branches so they don’t fall out.

And that’s it. Easy. Fun.

To keep your wreath looking nice all season long, spritz it lightly with some water several times a week.  Also, they like to breathe so hanging them in between the door and the screen is probably not the best idea.

Have fun!

Cheryl

 

Photo credit:  Handmade, Traditional Wreath, Creative Wreath

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