Thursday, September 29, 2011

Glittering Made Easy

I must admit, I'm not the tidiest person around when I'm in the middle of a project...especially when it involves glitter.  Using glitter can be a very messy job.  I always end up with globs of glue everywhere that eventually make contact with glitter.  Then I accidentally lay someting on the glob get the picture.

I was out shopping one year right after Halloween and noticed that there was a cart full of glittered hair spray.  It was clearanced down to $0.10 a can.  The wheels started turning and my Christmas projects have never been the same since.

I discovered that this spray works wonders when I needed to apply an irredescent or silver glitter to an item.  I began using this spray on lots of different mediums.  I apply a thin layer over ornaments, onto painted paper mache and even to silk flowers.  It's super quick, much cleaner and really cheap.

There are 33 days until Halloween leftovers go on clearance.  Keep your eyes peeled for this great seasonal product that can save you time and money.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Featured CD - Mariah Carey

Another part of the holiday that I love is all of the great music.  I have quite a wide range of interests in terms of artists but there is one that has held her spot right up at the top of my favorites for years now.  I was very excited to find that there was a second CD coming out last Christmas.  Have you guessed who it is? 

Mariah Carey

I'm lucky to have a neighbor who shares the same love for Christmas.  She's always an amazing help as I begin to decorate each year.  She does a beautiful job stringing the lights on the trees...a job which I absolutely hate.  We established sort of an unintentional tradition over the years to begin our first night working on the decor with Mariah's Christmas music.  The music selection after Mariah is always fair game...but she goes on first.

You can purchase these albums several places.  I've provided the links to Amazon where you can purchase the actual cd or buy the MP3 downloads. 

Join Melissa and I this year and kick off your decorating with Mariah.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Holiday Pinwheel Ornaments & Accents

Pinwheels are very easy to make and can be used in numerous places when decorating for Christmas (or any holiday for that matter).  I make them in various sizes and out of various different kinds of paper.  My most favorite paper medium is vellum.  On this particular pinwheel I used vellum that I had run through a copy machine, printed with Christmas carols.

My finished pinwheels go all over the house.  I'll punch a hole in some and attach them to the tree as ornaments, hook a wire to the back and hook them to a wreath or garlands on the mantle and over windows.  I will also set them into a centerpiece. 

Your paper creative.
Paper fastener
Hammer and small nail (I used a utility knife)

How to make your pinwheel

1. Cut your paper into a perfect square.

2. Fold your square of paper along the diagonal and then unfold it. Fold the square again along the other diagonal and unfold again. Your paper will now have a visible "X" from the folding.

3. Measure approximately 2 inches out from the center along each crease and make a mark with your pencil (see the example below).

4. Make four holes near the corners of your square as those shown below with the black dots. Be careful not to make your holes too large.  You may use a nail...I used a utility knife and made a simply cut.

5. You will also need to make a hole in the very center of the square.

6. From each corner of the square, cut down along the crease with the scissors until you reach your pencil mark.

7. Poke your paper fastener through the underside hole on one corner of your square.  Fold that corner in towards the center hole.

8. Grab the next corner, fold it towards the center hole and poke the fastener through.  Do this step for all the remaining corners

9. Once all of your corners are connected by the fastener, push the fastener through the center hole and spread the prongs to hold your pinwheel in place.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Go Ahead...Wine A Little

I've been holding on to a pile of old wine corks for a while now.  I finally decided that it was time to get some use out of them.  My kitchen is decorated throughout the year with items I purchased while on a tour in Italy.  I've always thought of trying to include some sort of Tuscan or wine theme into my kitchen Christmas decor but have yet to actually do so.  I decided that it was time to pull those wine corks out of the basement and put them to good use.

I made some very unique ornaments with some simple craft supplies and wine corks.  Most of the supplies needed for this project were already in the boxes of stuff I keep from past handmade Christmas endeavors.  The possibilities are endless with the types of ornaments you can make.  Be creative and use beads, tassels, paint, colored wire, etc. 

Not only are these great to place on your tree or garlands but you can also tie them on to gifts and throw them around the neck of a wine bottle.  Make them for yourself and make a few to share.  These will definitely be a hit on your tree or when given to friends.

How To Make Wine Cork Ornaments

Wine Corks
Thin Ribbon
Jewelry Pins & Rings
Needle Nose Pliers
Darning Needle

For Tassel Ornament
1. Drill a hole through the cork
2. Slide any desired beading on the cord of the tassel.
3. Cut a piece of ribbon and thread it down through the cork using darning needle
          You may need to use the pliers to grab and pull the needle through
4. Run the ribbon through the looped cord of the tassel
5. Thread the ribbon back up through the cork, allowing you to pull the tassel cord through
6. Slide any desired beading onto the ribbon (beading for the top of the cork)
7. Knot ribbon to the top bead, anchoring the tassel onto the cork
8. Knot loose ends of the ribbon to form the hanger opening for the ornament
9. Trim excess ribbon

For Beaded Ornament
1. Drill a whole through the cork to be used when threading ribbon for the hanger
2. Thread a single bead onto a jewelry pin
3. With pliers, clip excess pin, giving just enough pin to push into the cork
4. Push bead and pin into the outside edge the cork, securing the bead to the cork.
5. Repeat this step to fill the outside of the cork as you desire
6. Place desired beads for ornament tail onto a jewelry pin
7. Gently poke the beaded pin into the bottom of the cork
8. Cut a piece of ribbon and thread through the hole drilled for the hanger
9. Knot loose ends of the ribbon to form the hanger opening for the ornament
10. Trim excess ribbon

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plan...Plan...& Plan Some More

As you can imagine, Christmas is a huge deal in my home.  I have a yearly open house to show off what I've done.  Friends have come to plan on this event, anxious to see what's in store.  They know that I never do the same thing two years in a row so the anticipations builds as the open house draws near.  They can clearly tell that doing all of the decorating is a huge feat, but laugh at me when they know I'm planning early in the  year.

I keep a Christmas notebook that I use all year to write down ideas that I've seen or thought up on my own.  I also keep magazine clippings in it to refer back to when I start executing my decor.  Whether it be an actual image of holiday decorations, a style of ornament that I think I can make on my own, a color combination that I hope to reproduce on a tree...whatever the reason for the pic, I consider it inspiration and keep it.

Of course I don't start from scratch with brand new every year.  I add new to what I own, mixing new color combinations and themes.  As soon as Christmas is over the wheels in my head start turning for next year.  Planning ahead means saving money.  I hit all of the department and crafts stores after Christmas to start grabbing what's left on clearance.  I'm sure to get the things I have been watching all season at 50-70% off but wait to really load up when the piles of leftovers hit 90%.  Often the treasures I find for mere cents dictate how I plan for the next year.

Accessories around the room are very important to me.  I find clearanced items throughout the entire year that I pick up knowing that I can work it into a possible design scheme or color combination that I've envisioned.  There are always lots of amazing glassware, resin sculpture pieces and more that can be added into the mix once you begin to decorate.  Often those pieces find a new place throughout my home after Chrsitmas get packed away.

Planning ahead also affords me the time to add handmade touches to my decor.  I often make ornaments by hand to add elements to my decor that can't be found anywhere else.  Handmade ornaments open the door for friends and family to join me, both getting them involved and teaching them how to make things for themselves.

I'm a firm believer than planning ahead is the best way to achieve the most amazing display of Christmas decor.  I'll let my friends laugh at my year round planning because I know they'll be in awe at what I've done once the calendar finally hits December.