Archive for Christmas decorating

DIY Christmas Ornament Ideas

Happy Holidays, from our living room to yours! I have some easy DIY Christmas ideas for you today. Great for your own tree, or a heart felt DIY gift to people on your Christmas gift list. And for those of you who are last minute shoppers, these might save you a trip to the mall.

As many of you know I used to have a craft business, and sold to many of the local gift shops, in craft shows, through designers, and to a few large retail chains. My favorite was always the craft shows because you get to see who your creations end up with, and which things get the most comments. Here are a few of my favorites from over the years. Hope you will give a few of these a try-

These tiny pots were always one of my favorites. Here I painted them to give them some age, glued in a couple of pieces of vine as a hanger, added some moss, and glued in a “mushroom” cardinal. These always sold as fast as I could put them out for display! The fun thing is you could switch these up in so many ways, instead of the natural look, they could be painted gold and filled with berries, dried flowers, or anything else you could come with. Guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who receives it!
If you are like me and have lots of little bits of lace and trims left over from larger projects, this is a really pretty way to use them up. Take any Christmas ball, and wrap or glue the bits of trim on them for a one of a kind original.

Speaking of trim, these old fashioned cornucopias are easy to do. Just cut out a triangle of fabric or lace, and sew or glue the seam on the back, add a ribbon for hanging, and fill it with dried flowers, candy, or tiny toys.
This is a great little use for lots of buttons from the button jar! For this snowman, I just stacked up some white buttons in graduating sizes for the body, then a red one where the scarf would go, and a few more white ones for the head, a large black one for the brim of the hat, a red one for some detail,and a few small black ones for the stovepipe part of the hat. I used hot glue between each button, and a ribbon for hanging glued in under the last button. These are fun, and you can create so many other Christmas oriented ornaments the same way. I’ve made Christmas trees with green and brown buttons, Santas with red, black and white buttons- sky’s the limit!
This elegant pearl snowball was done with some leftover strings of pearls glued onto a satin ball, and a ribbon added for a hanger. Super easy, and you could use any kind of strand of beads for this.
This is a wreath I made for my Mother in Law a few years ago. She had decided to downsize from a big tree to a tabletop top tree, and had lots of extra ornaments. I took each ornament and glued the little hanger on securely to the top of each one, so they wouldn’t come loose and break. Then wired each ornament onto a wire wreath frame, again, as securely as possible, added some bead garland, and it is a show stopper! This is a great use of all those extra Christmas balls, and It can be made in any size. It is equally beautiful with a candle in the center to use as a centerpiece as it is hanging on a wall or door.

I hope you will try making some of these. And most of all—Merry Christmas to each and every one!

Decorating The Christmas Tree – From Start to Finish!

I am a self proclaimed Christmas tree fanatic! I look forward to decorating mine each and every year. Each ornament has special meaning to me, and it’s like greeting old friends when I pull them out of storage. It seems everyone has a different method, but here’s my process for the Christmas tree, from storage to fully decorated.

I have the type of tree where all the branches fold up for storage, so it takes up very little floor space in the storage room. I leave it in the stand, and covered in a plastic drop cloth to keep it dust free.

The next step is unwrapping it from the drop cloth, and opening the branches. This is really the most important step, “fluffing”, “zhuzhing”, and lighting- no shortcuts here!

Take the time to fluff out each little branch. I like to get them pointed in all different directions. It fills out the tree and gives it a natural appearance.
Next up are the lights! I prefer to use strings of lights, instead of a pre-lit tree. A tip for how many lights to use is 100 lights for every foot of tree, for an amazing glowing tree. In my case that is 800 lights. For a beautiful effect, wind them in and out the length of each branch. Follow safety tips, and don’t plug more than 4 strings of lights together. Now we’re ready for the ornaments, although I love the look even with just the lights! To make turning the lights on easy, we use a power cord with a toggle switch. An even easier method is a remote controlled plug.
When it comes to ornaments, I have to confess, I’m a more is more kind of girl. I love them all! To me, they represent many different generations and are symbolic of every aspect of the holiday. I could look at friends’ trees all day long and listen to stories behind the ornaments. It’s a wonderful time of the year for reflecting on the past, and remembering those who aren’t with us anymore. It brings them close again.

With that, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy new year!

Merry Christmas to one and all-


Countdown to Christmas

It seems that this Christmas season I have been playing a little too much catch up with the leaf raking. I feel like taking a moment to relax and sharing a few photos of Christmas this year at our home. Much like years past, I used lots of fruit in the Williamsburg style. There are candles and wreaths in each window, and garlands with cranberry chains around the door, stair railings and candle post. It is simple, but fitting to the history of the colonial style of architecture in this area of the east coast. And of course, I love it!

I hope each and everyone of my cherished readers has a warm and happy Christmas, and a healthy new year!  I’m looking forward to next year’s gardening, and planning for some interesting new plants to try. May you enjoy each and every new day in 2016!

The front door at night, with a Williamsburg style this year.

The front door at night, with a Williamsburg style this year. Lots of fruit and cranberry chains.

The living room tree all aglow!

The living room tree all aglow!

Here it is in a daytime shot so you can see the ornaments a little better. And this year my tree is celebrating it's 21st birthday!

Here is the tree in a daytime shot so you can see the ornaments a little better. And this year my tree is celebrating its 21st birthday!

The entry foyer with amaryllis flowers and my favorite Santa and angel chimes.

The entry foyer with amaryllis flowers,  my favorite Santa and angel chimes.

And to me the crowning touch is always Christmas bows!

And — to me — the crowning touch is always Christmas bows!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!


How to Keep Your Real Christmas Tree Fresh Longer

I guess everyone knows that the tree hugger in me thinks of cutting down a tree for Christmas like the way vegetarians think of eating meat, but I admit there is nothing like the scent of a real Christmas tree in the house. Although I am a convert to artificial trees, I want to help all my friends who celebrate with a real tree have the freshest, most fragrant tree possible. I have had this recipe for many years, and if you use it, your tree will draw in eight times more water than it originally held! Really! This will make your tree safe and fragrant for weeks. So, without further ado — here it is:



One beautiful Christmas tree
2 gallons of hot water
2 cups karo syrup
1/4 cup clorox
2 tablespoons of epsom salts
1 teaspoon of borax

Cut 1 to 2 inches from the bottom of the tree. Soak the tree in the mixture for a couple of days, then cut off another inch before you put it in its stand. Save the mixture to add to the reservoir in the stand.
I highly recommend this and used it for years. You will be able to enjoy the tree for much longer, and it even helps to keep the deep green color. This is also great for the wreaths, garlands, and pieces of evergreen used in decorating, too. Just soak them in the mixture before using them. Enjoy!

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