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christmas tree decorations

  • 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

     

     

  • An Old Fashioned Christmas ~ Popcorn Garland

    I've started a series this month all about creating an old fashioned Christmas. This week we've already covered lovely glass vintage bulbs, and, just yesterday, we used the unsuspecting pine cone and walnut to contribute to our theme. Our featured old fashioned item today, everyone must admit, is a popular and well loved practice ~ that of stringing popcorn for the tree. I've got a little twist for you, tho. Of course I do. :)

    popcorn garland

    As you can see from the picture, by including cranberries to your stringed popcorn there is color and texture differences! But that is not the twist, heehee.  This is a great activity for the family while you're all sitting together on the couch watching Christmas specials. And, if you leave off the butter (recommended), there will be less temptation to eat the popcorn instead of string it!

    popcorn treeNow, this really is lovely to hang on the tree, especially as an old fashioned Christmas accent. It sends the message that Christmas really is a family affair, and includes everyone in the family. Little and big, these very long strings of natural garland are going to produce bright eyes and big smiles and very proud little ones for having added their own touch.

    Garland for the BirdsAs great as these are for the tree inside, how about we take some outside too and feed our feathered friends? It's a great idea! For the birds you could add in sunflower seeds to your string. Use a heavier string, and these will work so well. The weather is colder and the earth is barren of food. What a wonderful Christmas gift idea for nature.

    Next week I'll continue with our old fashioned Christmas theme and will bring you some idea for spending more time together. Until then, Merry Old Fashioned Christmas!

     

  • 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.

  • De-Trimming the Tree

    epiphanyausIf you observe the church calendar, you know that today is the Feast of the Epiphany. This day marks the last day of the 12 days of Christmas, and as such is the more traditional day when the garland is stowed away, the ornaments and nativity scenes are boxed up and the tree comes down.

    treeThis is not usually a fun job, nobody really wants to do it. Call it the after Christmas blues or an eagerness to get back to normal routines, but you know it just like I do that a warm body is nowhere to be found when it's time to put it all away. I have known some who leave their tree up far longer, trying to avoid the inevitable, and redecorate it for Valentines Day, hehee. But, seriously, if you have a real Christmas tree, the fire danger gets to be a bit high if you keep it around too long. So bribe the troops with some warm brownies right out of the oven and get 'er done.  Promise what you must if you need or want the help, but maybe you will do as I've been and just put on your favorite music, crank the volume up a bit and tackle the task yourself. You can then enlist someone to drag the tree down to the curb later.

    I've been de-trimming our tree and house now for a few years, and actually look forward to it now. It has become the peace after the storm for me, another time to reflect not just on the Christmas season but also the year.

    See, it's all in how you frame these things, hehee.

    Photo courtesy: epiphany, tree

     

  • Feeding the Birds at Christmas

    wintertime bird feederThis morning the radio announcer was seeking to encourage all of us hardy Minnesotans with his news that sunrise is now, officially, occurring earlier in the morning. Yes, it's true, about 1 minute every other day earlier.  So, basically that means a month from now, sunrise will be about 15 minutes earlier. It might be small, but I'll take it.

    Our tiny bird friends must count the winter days too in their own little way. It is pretty surprising that their little bodies can somehow survive the extreme temps of the northern states, but it is due at least in part to bird lovers everywhere who hang suet feeders from the barren branches in their yard. I did a little research on suet and discovered that, really, it is simply lard with nuts, seeds, berries, etc added in. Used to be that women would actually save the bacon grease or the fat rendered from beef, and use it in recipes. But now, there's no need to save it up.....just get a few small supplies together and we'll make some Cupcake Liner Suet Bird Feeders!

    how-to-make-suet-feeder-8

    Truth is, these look quite festive too hanging on the trees, don't they?! :) What a win-win for Christmas!

    To learn all the ins and outs of making these, check out the instructions here. Watching the birds is not just a spring and summer activity anymore ~ this is something we can all do, even if we aren't home owners. Just think of the little wings you'll be buoying, and saving their lives in the process. If you're looking for a new Christmas tradition to add into the mix, try this one. How sweet would that be?

    Merry Christmas to the birds too. :)

  • Sparkly DIY Ornaments

    diy broken cd ornaments 2All that sparkles and shines, 'tis the season! It's no secret that the Christmas season is short this year due to a later than typical Thanksgiving, so we need all the quick and brilliant ideas we can find. We have been out of town and working lots of hours and welcoming a new grand baby into the family, so believe it or not we don't even have our Christmas tree up yet! I canNOT believe that myself, but alas it is true. So, I'm especially looking for creative and easy ideas to make beautiful things for my family and friends.

    This ornament is one of those brilliant ideas. So much of our music listening now is from iTunes or Spotify and Pandora, all fabulous options. Truth be told, some of the CD's we own are, well, just taking up space. Here's an ingenious way to recycle them and create a wonderfully, sparkly and shiny tree ornament.

    It's super simple to do ~ just take a white styrofoam ball or a plain glass ornament OR even a less-than-perfect ball that is showing it's age. Grab those CD's that you don't need anymore, and break them up with some scissors. Then, just super glue the boken pieces on mosaic-style!

    While that idea is definitely fantastic, I like to take things up a notch and make a really big one. It would resemble a disco ball but be 100 times better. Just find a ball that is as big as you like and follow the same instructions. These would be gorgeous hanging in the window, above doorways, suspended in a line above the dining room table, or yes, hanging on the tree. They would also make a lovely hostess gift!

    It's green. It's really pretty. And, of course it's easy.

    Photo courtesy

     

  • Alternative Christmas Tree

    2009 Christmas TreeIt is true that I love my big and wide and real Christmas trees for the holidays. In fact I kind of love bringing the outdoors in all year long, and I bet many of you are like that too. If I could find a way to live outside all year long and stay warm, dry and comfortable, I'd be all over that. Okay, maybe not, but we are one of those families that does leave the window cracked open in the winter for the fresh air, so there's that. :)

    Today's post highlights just that...bringing the outdoors in and using a bit of creativity to do it. We just spent the afternoon putting our vegetable garden to bed for the winter, so now the garage is full of gardening paraphernalia. The tomato cages caught my eye as we were stacking them in the corner, and my imagination began twirling . . . hmm,  what could I do to transform those wiry things into something useful, pretty, festive. And, apparently I'm not the only one to have those thoughts.

    I love love LOVE this idea for decorating the deck and even the big window flower boxes we've got outside our living room window.  We had a stray cat last winter that decided to use those window boxes as her litter box, ugh! So we've got plans to put something in there this year, and this is just perfect! Simply invert those tomato cages, wrap with some weather-proof garland and lights, and wow, what a fabulous view both from the inside and out!

    But, that's not all! Bring 'em inside, put one in the corner of the bathroom, another in the kitchen, scatter them around the house...so easy and so creative! And, honestly, what could be better than a tree in every single room? Nothing, I dare say, absolutely nothing.

     

    Photo credit:  nedesignbuild.com

     

  • DIY Snowy Ball Ornaments

    snowy ballNobody here in the upper Midwest has spoken the "S" word yet, but we all know that these beautiful autumn days are numbered. Despite our best attempts to bribe the gods, winter will come, the snow "S" will fly and we will do what we hearty Minnesotans do in these situations: embrace it complain. I moved here from Washington state 10 years ago, and have never stopped being amazed at how long a Minnesotan can discuss the weather when they don't like it, lol. So it is with great hesitation that I show you this very doable, fun DIY project today. But, never mind the naysayers, here we go!

    This project has been posted on Pinterest from several different people, but I think the idea may have originated with the ever lovely Martha Stewart. I love the look of these, they look so lacey and sparkly, and the fact that it uses common crafting supplies is a big bonus in my book.

    So, let's get started. The gist of this project is that the snowy ball is made out of string that is wrapped around a small water balloon and then dipped in watered down glue. A wise suggestion would be to make just a couple of these to see how it goes before delving into the 100 that you will undoubtedly want once you see them. Okay, slight exaggeration, but maybe not. I love the idea of giving these as gifts to coworkers, extended family, girlfriends, etc. It is a small, thoughtful and very creative gift that anyone would love to receive. That said, there's also nothing wrong with  making these for ourselves, right?

    SUPPLIES

    • small package of water balloons
    • tacky glue
    • plain white string
    • glitter
    • ornament hooks
    • water
    1. Blow up your balloons so they're about 2" in diameter and tie a knot.
    2. Without cutting a piece of string off the roll, attach the end to the knot on the balloon.
    3. Then randomly wrap the string around your colorful little sphere. Isn't this fun?!
    4. Squeeze some tacky glue into a 4" bowl and add some water so it's pretty runny.
    5. Roll your string-wrapped balloons around in the glue until all the string has been coated.
    6. Sprinkle on glitter to your hearts content.
    7. Attach a twist tie to the end of the balloon and twist the end closed to form a small loop.
    8. Using a small piece of string, hang the twist tie loop on your shower curtain rod.
    9. After 48 hours, pop the balloon using a pair of tweezers, and remove the balloon.
    10. Wrap it up in a pretty box or hang on the tree!

    Project credit

  • A Christmas Tree for Small Spaces

    driftwood treeI have always been the girl who wants the biggest Christmas tree on the lot. And, I admit, there have been more than a few times that we get the tree home, and the boys have to cut off several inches to sometimes even a foot so it'd fit!

    A few years ago, I broke myself of that habit when we lived in a small condo in the suburbs of Minneapolis....it was efficient, cute and served our purposes and needs at the time. But, when Christmas came and it was time to put the tree up, there was a lot of shuffling of things around in order to make room for it. No big, expansive bird-nesting tree for us! If only I'd seen this idea back then!

    We now live in a restored mansion with big, expansive rooms, and honestly? I still think this would be fantastic as a second tree, say above the fireplace or just on any blank wall? Yes, please! Once Christmas is over, the driftwood "shelves" could pull double duty and hold other decorative items. The rustic feel of this space-saving tree would also work perfectly at the cabin where extended family gather to celebrate the holidays.

    So practical, so pretty, so charming!! Hang your ornaments, string your lights, top it with a star or angel. Even a pretty little skirt around the bottom would absolutely work.

     

    Photo courtesy

  • Edible Christmas Ornaments

    Edible Christmas OrnamentsI'm not quite sure where the idea came from that mice are these cute little things worthy of emulating in our baking and decor. Perhaps it was from the children's nursery song "Three Blind Mice" or the infamous Mickey Mouse or even Mighty Mouse. Even the literary world seems to agree; why exactly is the book, Of Mice and Men, so popular? And then there's Tom & Jerry! When will the madness end?! I will resist stating the obvious about these li'l, um, animals!? Suffice it to say, however, that some of the things we can create around their image are still pretty darn cute.

    And, what's not to love about chocolate kisses. Any mouse made out of chocolate can't be all bad. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that mouse is all good. :) These winsome Christmas tree decorations are so appealing, I could just eat them up. ;)

    Here's what you're going to need to create these simple li'l fellas:

    • chocolate kisses
    • pink felt
    • fishing line
    • googly eyes (the self adhesive kind)
    • pink curling ribbon (optional)
    • double sided carpet tape
    1. In the original pattern, you would be removing the Hershey's "tail", but personally I think it's really cute as is.
    2. Cut out some 3/8" high mouse ears from the pink felt.
    3. Cut 8" lengths of fishing line.
    4. Using double-sided carpet tape, affix the bottoms of the ears AND the looped fishing line to the flat side of one of the Kisses. (The fishing line forms the hanger.)
    5. Join the two flat sides of the Hersheys Kisses together with more tape, and add a pair of the googly eyes.
    6. Hang on your tree, but don't expect them to last very long!

    Merry mouse making!

     

    Photo and pattern courtesy

     

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