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Christmas ornaments

  • Creative Use of a Button

    rustic buttonOne of the things my creative mind loves doing the most is finding multiple uses for simple, ordinary things. It is my industrious character trait coupled with creativity and, of course, frugality at work! And, what could be more basic than a button?

    I dare say few things are more rudimentary than a button. :) Think about it, we've been making buttons to clasp things closed for a very long time, way before we learned to make them in a factory. Wood sticks and loops of twine is just one example!

    I think we can take this inexpensive little thing called a button and make some really charming Christmas items. Here are just a few examples:

     

    button card

    Now isn't that just about the cutest card you've ever seen? It has that minimalist look too that is so popular, and what you see ends up being way more than the sum of its parts.

     

    button cookies

    How about button cookies? These are simple sugar or butter cookies, too! After you roll out your dough and cut your circle, take a cookie cutter just a little smaller and press lightly for the groove. Then poke 2 holes in the center with a skewer. I think these would be adorable as a table favor at a ladies Christmas party, or a very creative way to bundle up plain sugar cookies for a cookie exchange.

     

    button ornament

    I LOVE this idea. It involves a package of colored buttons in various shades, some thin wire and ribbon. These can be ornaments for the tree or even gift tags! This is a tag that your sewing friend will definitely not throw away, and will forever think of you as their most creative friend.

    While going to the spendy department store for their annual Christmas ornament is a tradition for many, I simply love the idea of crafting one of our own annual ornaments from the staples of life.

     

    Photo credit:  Wooden stick, card, cookies, ornament/gift tag

     

     

  • A Rustic Christmas

    I have a facebook friend who lives in Alaska, and today she showed a video of the striking, no, breathtaking beauty that is Alaska! Image after image was postcard perfect, creating at least a desire to visit. My friend tells me that it is entirely possible to ride her bike year round too. Say what? Isn't Alaska the epitome of frigidity, snow and ice? Apparently there's more to it. I have to say  that tho I can live my life without the cold, there is something so appealing about the rustic feel of Alaska.

    outdoor ornamentsSo, this got me thinking about Christmas ornaments that fall into this style....rustic. I have always loved the brushed bronze look, and so it's no wonder that this very lovely outdoor ornament drew my eye. These are described as outdoor ornaments, but of course they can always be used inside too. I think they are just so pretty!

    You won't believe how utterly simple they are to make either.  In the picture these look, well, ginormous don't they? When I checked out the details on the purchase page, I learned that apparently we are seeing an illusion. The largest ornament shown is 18"...now that's pretty big for an ornament, but the picture makes it look 3 feet, right?

    I think we can make these! Let's start small though with regular sized ornaments and just see how it goes before we attempt the really large one. I gotta say tho, I really really want to make the 3 foot version!

    Let's begin with a regular sized glass ball ornament. Using a glue gun, draw whatever design you want on the glass...or even a monogram. Let it dry, then spray paint. Add a bow on the top, and voila, you're done!

    Any ideas what we could use for the super large version? Maybe an exercise ball?

    Photo credit

  • Make Your Own Christmas Gift Tags

    presentI know I've told you all this before, about how my mother considered the wrapping of a gift to actually be a part OF the gift? I have more-or-less adopted her point of view on this, and am always on the look-out for unique ways to dress up my gifts.

    What if we could make a gift tag that would fit the unique criteria, but also double as an ornament? Would you be interested in it? What if it was, in true Merry Stockings blog style, simple and affordable to make? Yeah, I thought so.....and what could be simpler, and even a bit primitive, than corn starch and baking soda ingredients? I dare say nothing.

    I have seen these types of tags/ornaments before, but what always disappointed me was how they would turn out yellow-ish when done. You could always paint them, but somehow a pure white outcome was always what I was looking for.

    gift tags

    So, I discovered a way to make these homespun gift tags so that they would indeed come out as white as the snow.

    The trick? Air dry them!!  Who knew?! For a speedier result, you can always bake them, but by air drying you retain almost a sparkly, shimmery look! I like that for Christmas especially! To enhance that you can add a little white glitter to the dough, but the effect is really quite lovely without it.

    You can get all the step-by-step instructions on how to make these gift tags/ornaments here. I think this'll be really fun!

    Photo credit:  gift, tags

  • Bucilla Christmas Toys Wreath Kit

    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!

  • Wreath Kits For You

    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.

     

  • Christmas in July | Beachy Ornaments

    puerto ricoDo you know anyone who either lives some place tropical or their weather is just warm and sunny year round? We have some friends who, a couple of years ago, packed up their household and moved to Puerto Rico! They were both born and raised in the northern part of the U.S. so this was no small adjustment, although they don't look like they're suffering too much!

    One way we stay in touch is via Facebook, and they seem to love snapping pictures of the beach and the beautiful Caribbean sunsets, making the rest of us oh so jealous of their delightful scenery and weather. Wanting of course to visit them, I immediately entered a google alert for good airfares between Minneapolis and there...thinking maybe somewhere around January or February? ;)

    beachy ornamentsTurns out that some of the raw materials for Christmas ornaments and decorations that we make are much more plentiful and found naturally in the summer...unless of course you live in paradise, then you can skip this post, haha.

    I like the idea of collecting sea shells from the beach, a little sand, maybe even tiny splinters of driftwood, and making these delightful glass ornaments. While you are enjoying vacation why not get your Christmas in July on at the same time?

    Photo credit:  Beach, Ornament

     

  • Cranberry Centerpiece

    gift wrappingWhen I was little I remember my mom teaching me, painstakingly so, how to wrap presents. She would clear off our huge dining room table, get her sharpest knife out of the drawer and have that grin on her face like she was about to create something magical.

    She was patient and taught me simple ways to measure how much paper I needed so there'd be no bulky look. She used no scissors, but instead would crease the paper with her fingernail, then slide the sharp knife in between the paper and swish, swish, swish, the piece was cut.

    I thought, wow, this could be called art! She showed me how to fold the corners and to use minimal tape but at the most strategic places so as not to detract from the package. And, then came the bow.

    It was all a pretty lengthy process, and once when I asked her why we take so much time to wrap, she said that the wrapping is part of the gift, it is a sacrifice of time and a thing of beauty. I never ever forgot that.

    cranberry centerpieceNow, we aren't wrapping any presents today or learning how to do it (altho that's a great idea for a future post), but rather emphasizing that some things that may seem unnecessary or that border on obsession really make a difference. Whether it's wrapping gifts, hanging just the right curtains or choosing a striking centerpiece, it all matters. ENTER: a cranberry centerpiece!

    To make something elegant or jaw dropping beautiful or unique does not necessarily require great expense. If you have time (your most precious commodity), you have it all save a few simple craft tools: foam balls, hot glue and cranberries!

    I think you know what to do. Have fun. :)

     

    Photo credit

  • Cranberry Ornaments

    cranberry heart ornamentI've been browsing the internet, searching for more ways of using cranberries that don't involve adding a ton of sugar. There are literally dozens, maybe even hundreds of great recipes using cranberries that do add sugar, but there are just so many ways to use these precious little round and red nutrient gems that defaulting to sugar isn't even necessary. What do you think about these adorable ornaments?

    Using just a few simple craft items, you can make these homespun creations yourself. All it takes is some thin wire, jute string and your imagination. Oh, and of course cranberries. You can either dry the cranberries first (as shown) or use fresh. You can see the ones in the picture are a bit wrinkly and shrunken, but the ornaments are just so earthy and sweet and would look so cute hanging on your tree.

    The process is a simple one. Just thread your cranberries with some thin wire, twist close the loop and shape into bells, Christmas trees, stars or hearts. Or anything else your heart desires! Tie a piece of jute string to the top, and that's it. This is definitely a  project that the kids could help with, too.

    And, whose to say these have to be just for Christmas? They would also work for Valentine's Day, for Memorial Day, for the 4th of July and Thanksgiving just to name a few. We certainly don't need a holiday either! I think this heart shaped decoration is charming at absolutely any time of year.

    This whole series around alternate uses for cranberries began when I popped a couple of dried cranberries in my mouth only to be surprised at how tart and almost bitter they were. Since then I've been on a mission to find ways to use up the cranberries in my house since I won't be popping them in this mouth again anytime soon. Stay tuned for more ideas in the days to come.

  • A Mother's Favorite Ornament

    Have you ever seen photos from the past posted on Facebook on Thursdays with the hashtag #TBT? TBT stands for throw back Thursday, and it's quickly becoming a big trend! It is so much fun to see old pictures of friends and family, and I decided to get in on the fun recently. I pulled out some old photos when the boys were little and even some when I was little. Time slipped away quickly as I couldn't take my eyes off my incredible sons . . . and how I want to do something special with these photos. I'll put some of them up for #TBT, but was looking for a more permanent way to enjoy them.

    photo ornamentIsn't this lovely?! I think this is one Christmas ornament that any mom would have hanging up year round. I was thinking how fun it would be to have some that feature all of my sons, some that feature each son individually, and then some that feature our family together!

    I think what I'd do is make nice black and white or sepia colored copies of the photos, arranged in a collage. If you are looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift OR a Christmas gift for the mom who seems to have everything or never has any suggestions for you, I think you've just found it.

    I know of no mom who wouldn't just adore an ornament/gift like this. Just follow this tutorial, and give your mom something she will defintely, always and forever cherish.

  • An Old Fashioned Christmas ~ Thrift Shop Decorations

    vintage ornamentsThere is something classic about the old vintage glass bulbs that your grandmother probably still has stashed away, carefully packaged in those flimsy boxes with the cardboard separators. Remember those?

    I remember Christmas after Christmas my dad pulling all the decorations down from the attic and opening those thin thin boxes, and I was always amazed that none of the ornaments inside were broken.

    Some of the ornaments on our family tree were from the early days of my parent's marriage and others were made by our little hands at school. Precious memories. In our home now, we've gone through several different styles of Christmas tree themes,vintage ornaments 2 but I think this year we're going to return to the old fashioned style of decorations and perhaps add a bit of a modern touch.

    Then there are the beaded and sequined ornaments. It is incredible the number of interesting things that can be made from these tiny, seemingly insignificant craft pieces! I just love these. So classic, so vintage. And, if you don't have any of these that have been passed down, they are likely so inexpensive at your local thrift store.

    vintage hot padsAnother type of old fashioned Christmas decoration is the fabulous crocheted hot pad. I remember my sisters and I weaving hot pads on a loom and going around to our neighbors and selling them. They were fantasticly colorful and practical and I'm sure that's why we sold out every time....or maybe it was because we were so cute. ;) At any rate, at Christmas time we were cute and smart and used these very colors. And, yep, sold out every time. We were little entrepreneurs even back then.

    The good news on all of these classic decorations is that they are readily available at your local thrift or second hand stores. And, while shopping for them there means they're not handed down from within your own family, they likely come from someone elses Grandmothers estate sale. This is fun stuff. Like a piece of history.

    I don't know about you, but we'll be getting our vintage on this year.

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