If you’re willing to get a little crafty, you can decorate every room in your home for Christmas without putting yourself in debt. With a variety of fun, inexpensive (or free) craft ideas, you can embellish your home from the foyer to the back porch and still having enough jingle to complete your gift list.
In addition to the ornaments your family has displayed on your Christmas tree over the years, you can add some homemade pieces that will remind you for years to come of quality time you spent with your family. Options include picking up pre-made ornament kits from your local craft store or making your own ornaments with easy-to-make dough and a set of cookie cutters. Opt for an all-white theme and leave the ornaments unpainted or mix food coloring into your dough for a tree alive in pops of color.
Cheer up any room in the house with a display of stylish holiday wall art. Simply cut three rectangles of foam board into your desired sizes and cover them with a holiday-themed fabric. For a modern look, choose fabric with a large graphic design instead of more traditional Christmas themes. Cut the fabric about two inches larger than the board, center the board on the fabric, wrap the fabric edges neatly around the back of the board and hot glue them in place. Glue ribbon or several strands of raffia to the back of the board for easy hanging.
Modern Pine Cone Garland
Want a new twist on an old Christmas favorite? Instead of decorating pine cones with glue and glitter, dip the ends into a rainbow of trendy Christmas colors and connect them with ribbon or twine and a few well-placed dabs of hot glue to create a garland. Done this way, pine cones look a bit more like a piece of modern sculpture than a grade-school art project and yet young children still have lots of fun making them. These garlands look great on Christmas trees, but could also be used to adorn the front entrance to your home, twisted around a curtain rod or hung from the hardware on your kitchen cupboards.
Turn the pages of an old magazine into artsy snowflakes and decorate your windows or child’s room with a ‘snowstorm.’ This free craft looks most stunning when you display an abundance of snowflakes together and it will take you back to your childhood. Carefully remove pages from a magazine, retaining a clean edge on all sides. Pages of text have a graphic appeal and photos add a pop of unexpected color to the typically white snowflake. The more cuts you make the more interesting and delicate your snowflake will be.
Chances are you’re not using those garden rakes in the yard this time of year; why not convert them into Christmas trees to decorate the front porch, utility room or a rustic family room? Hang a V-shaped rake upside down, allowing the V to mimic the shape of an evergreen tree. Adorn the tines with red bows, a diminutive string of garland and a few small ornaments and you have a fun and unusual Christmas tree. Display several rakes together for a forest of fake trees. You’ll never look at broken rake heads the same.
Holiday crafts are the perfect way to keep the kids busy during this time of year. Keep a list of easy projects like these handy along with all the necessary supplies and you’ll have an activity for the family to do anytime you need one. Christmas crafts don’t have to be complicated to be amazing. The fun of making things yourself adds to the enjoyment of the season, especially when you can create such beautiful items for pennies.
Holly is an Indianapolis native with a passion for Christmas. When she isn’t decorating Christmas trees or baking goodies, you can find her blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she loves.
When you see all these great decoration ideas don’t you just think ‘Wow that would be great if I could do that with my kids’ or maybe you think ‘Too bad it’s too difficult for the kids to do.’ Wouldn’t it be nice to have your home decked out with homemade decorations that you and your kids are proud to show off to your guests? Now you can have it all with this list of some great ideas that you can do together with the kids to get your home ready for the holidays.
Find some thin 5 inch wooden star and snowflake cut outs (usually used for ornaments) at a craft store. Paint them with some fun metallic colors like gold and silver on both sides and let dry. These will be great to set out on the coffee table for your guests to use.
Find a large (11” x 14”) gold or silver picture frame. Take out the stand and hardware that is used to hang it, and then remove the glass plate. Keep the cardboard so the kids can wrap it with their choice of wrapping paper. Insert it back in to the frame and you have yourself a perfectly holiday appropriate serving tray for beverages or desserts. This is also a great way to display the kids’ Christmas wish lists!
Glitz up your Centerpiece
Sure anyone can throw some pinecones in a fancy bowl, but how about you accent it with cranberries and spray some glitter on the arrangement. Just make sure no one tries to eat the glittered cranberries. The kids would also have a good time finding the pinecones if you want to make an activity out of it instead up purchasing a store-bought bag.
Buy a Styrofoam circle about 12” in diameter and have the kids pick out their favorite ribbon styles (the thicker the better). Cut the ribbons at an angle to be a variety of 6-10 inches long. Start tying the ribbons around the circle making sure you can’t see any of the Styrofoam underneath and so the knots are all facing the front of the wreath. This makes for a great door hanger and the variety of patterns are endless. Each child’s wreath will be unique; no two will be the same!
Cotton Ball Doorway Hanger
Use fishing line or another thin crafting string and get a bag of cotton balls. Several different sizes will have a more snow-like effect. Adults tie the line to a sewing needle and have the children carefully thread the cotton balls on each line to be about 6-12 inches apart. Cut the lines long enough to hang about 2/3 the way down a doorway. This is a great idea to hang above a kids area entry way.
This Article was written by Sammy Jo Brach who works with a Minneapolis- based Interior Design Firm.
With the holidays just around the corner, your decorating may already be done. However, there’s always time for a quick, fun, do-it-yourself craft that’s perfect for your whole family. Below, you will see a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own snow globe using old jars, some craft supplies, and your imagination! Click here to see a larger image, courtesy of eCollegeFinder.org.
As you can see, these cute waterless snow globes require little effort and offer a great crafting experience for kids and adults alike. While adult supervision is definitely advised (especially if using spray paint), children can help select and glue figurines, add snow, and more! You can create tons of different scenes using jars of all sizes (mason and jelly jars worked great!) and rotating a cast of snowmen, trees, and other small figurines will give you several winter wonderlands with which to decorate. Use your DIY snowglobes as a mantel display, window décor, or even a centerpiece for a table setting. The possibilities are endless with this inexpensive DIY craft!
It’s a shame to let good food go to waste especially after a nice Christmas dinner! When exactly then does good food turn into bad food? The question on a lot of at-home cooks’ minds after encountering leftovers is often what they’re going to do with them. It needn’t be so difficult though, and I’ll be showing you two ways to turn today’s leftovers into tomorrow’s main course.
If you’ve got leftovers and plenty of uncooked spaghetti, you can easily make a dish for the ages! Spaghetti goes great with anything, and leftovers are no exception.
For this, you’ll need the following items.
- Uncooked spaghetti
- A pot to boil spaghetti
- A moderately-sized pan
- Olive/corn oil
- Leftover meat (chicken, turkey, beef, pork)
- Leftover seasoning
- Leftover veggies
- Leftover anything!
-Put spaghetti to boil.
-Dice up leftover meat, veggies, or anything you have.
-Spread olive/corn oil over frying pan.
-Toss in leftover mix with leftover seasoning.
-Saute together, allow an even mix.
-Bring out boiled spaghetti, mix into sauteed leftovers.
-Reduce heat and mix together in pan but take care not to let it burn.
When done, it will be ready to serve. If you wish to eat this meal again, you can refrigerate it and bake it no more than 2-3 days later in a baking dish with butter spread over the bottom. This is an excellent way to make leftovers a refreshing and fun experience for the family!
One of the best ways to use up old leftovers is a delicious Leftover Casserole. One of my own personal cooking rules is that everything tastes better with cheese but it can easily be left out if you so desire.
For this, you’ll need the following items.
- A small to medium baking dish
- 2-3 Tbsp of butter
- Leftover meat (chicken, turkey, beef, pork)
- Leftover stuffing
- Leftover gravy
- Leftover veggies
- Leftover pasta or rice
- Leftover anything!
-Preheat oven to 350°F
-Spread 1-2 Tbsp of butter over baking dish
-Spread leftover stuffing over butter.
-Allow 5 minutes of baking to remove moisture.
-(Optional)Fill baking dish with leftover pasta or rice
-Begin with a layer of leftover meat.
-Add a layer of leftover veggies.
-Top with a layer of leftover gravy
-(Optional)Add your choice of shredded cheese for flavor.
-Finally spread 1-2 tbsp of butter.
-Allow to bake for 15-20 minutes or until inside is fully cooked.
-Feel free to experiment with other leftovers! The more the merrier!
When finished, this meal will be ready to serve and can be eaten once more if frozen.
About the Author: Ross writes for the Christmas Gifts Department at Boots.com, a high street store in the UK. In the lead up to the Christmas Excitement, he is looking forward to taking some time off and enjoying the season with his family.
There’s is nothing quite like the warmth and comfort of freshly baked treats at Christmas time. Every family has their favorites and everyone loves to share these delicious desserts with the ones they love. This article will share some of our favorite classic Christmas desserts that we all love to enjoy during the holidays and more. Get your pen and paper and preheat that oven, because you are bound to find something you love here!
Recipe #1 – Classic Christmas Shortbread Cookies
This is a recipe that most people already know and love and has more than likely been passed down from your Great Grandmother and Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it. The ingredients needed for this classic cookie are:
· 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
· ¾ cup powdered sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
· ¼ teaspoon of salt
In a bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until it is soft and smooth, fluffy in texture. Add the vanilla extract and mix until it is combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, icing sugar and salt. Add the bowl of dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix together until it is fully combined. Once your dough is combined, roll it into a large ball and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, in the meantime preheat your oven to 325 degrees. To make your cookies, roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until it is about a quarter inch in thickness. For fun Christmas cookies, use Christmas shaped cookie cutters to cut cookies out of the dough. This is a great time to get the children involved if you have any. If you do not have cookie cutters, or prefer something more classic, simply use a round drinking glass to cut circles out of the dough. Transfer your cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake on the middle oven rack for 18-20 min. Once finished, remove from the oven, let cool and then sprinkle with extra icing sugar – and now your favorite Christmas classic is ready to enjoy!
Recipe #2 – Holiday Cider
This recipe is perfect for those chilly nights before Christmas when everyone is gathered around the fire, or just coming in from playing in the snow. It’s a nice alternative to the classic warm apple cider with more raspberry and blackberry goodness. Here’s what you need:
· 2 quarts apple cider
· 1 can frozen raspberry cocktail concentrate, thawed
· 2 cinnamon sticks
· 1 cup frozen blackberries, thawed
· 1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the cider, raspberry concentrate, and cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture to a simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, so that it’s warmed all the way through. Next, add the berries. Let the berries cook for 2 minutes. Stir the mixture together. Pour into holiday themed heat-resistant glasses or mugs. This batch should serve about 8 to 10 people. Your family is sure to feel warm and cozy this Christmas with this delicious drink.
Recipe #3 – Christmas Gingerbread Men
Whether in the form of houses or people, gingerbread is one of those treats that everyone looks forward to at Christmas time. Here is a great recipe for making your very own special Christmas gingerbread men. You will need:
· 1 teaspoon plus ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
· ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
· ½ cup light molasses
· 3 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· ¼ teaspoon freshly ground cloves
· ½ teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
· ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
· 1 teaspoon ground ginger
· ½ teaspoon salt
· ¼ to 1/3 cup milk
· Dried currants, red hots, fresh or dried cranberries, and silver dragees for decorating
· Frosting and confectioners’ sugar
Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a large baking sheet with the teaspoon of butter. In a large bowl, beat the ½ cup butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses until well blended. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well blended. Beat in about ¼ cup milk, then add the remaining flour mixture, beating it in well. The dough will be very stiff. If it is too stiff and crumbly to roll out, add 1 tablespoon of additional milk.
On a well-floured surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of about ½ inch, then cut into shapes using cookie cutters (these are easy to find anywhere around the holidays). Transfer the shapes to the prepared pan. Decorate the gingerbread people with currant eyes and red-hots for buttons, pressing them into the dough before baking, or attach them with frosting after baking. Bake for seven to eight minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and spring back when pushed with your finger. Transfer the cookies from the pan to a wire rack to cool. Decorate with frosting as desired, serve and enjoy!
Recipe #4 – Chocolate-Ginger Crinkle Cookies
What could be better than gingerbread at Christmas? How about the taste of gingerbread combined with delicious chocolate?! These delicious cookies will be a hit with your friends and family all winter long, even after Christmas has passed. All you need is:
· ¾ cup all-purpose flour
· ¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
· 7 ½ oz. semi-sweet chocolate
· 1 cup granulated sugar
· ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
· 2 large eggs
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· ¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
· Confectioners’ sugar for rolling
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Combine the butter and 3 ounces of the chocolate in a medium, heat-proof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 1 1/2 inches of simmering water (being sure not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. If you don’t like this method, you can melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring every so often until it is melted and smooth. Stir the granulated and brown sugars into the melted chocolate mixture, using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Drop in the eggs, one at a time, mixing quickly until smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract and slowly add in the flour mixture. Fold in the remaining chocolate and the crystallized ginger. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and make sure your rack is in the middle of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape the chilled dough into walnut-size balls, roll in confectioners’ sugar, and put them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies have spread and the tops are cracked. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets set on wire racks for about 2 minutes before removing them to the racks to cool completely. Once cooled, share and enjoy – but don’t expect these cookies to stick around for long!
Adelaide Irene is a freelance writer with interests in anything to around the home including home improvements, decorating and making new recipes! She also works alongside a kitchen remodeling company – Just Kitchens.
Ideally, you should use recycled wrapping paper or eco-friendly alternatives to wrap Christmas gifts. That said, it is rather unlikely that everyone in your life is as green as you which means you’ll receive at least a few presents wrapped in traditional Christmas wrapping paper. So if you’re eco-conscious or if you’re simply one of those people who can’t seem to throw away gorgeous wrapping paper after just one use, save the paper and find some creative ways to utilize those precious scraps. Try these ten ideas to get you going.
- Rewrap: Of course you can use your Christmas paper to wrap your Christmas gifts next year. Take a warm iron and gently smooth out any creases. Store flat with your Christmas decorations so you’ll remember you have it next year. Bows can also be pressed with a warm iron to refresh them for reuse.
- Mat a Photo: Use pretty paper around a photo in a frame where a mat would normally go. You can cover an existing photo mat by using a glue stick on the paper. Or you can just place the photo on the fancy paper inside a frame.
- Scrapbook: Using wrapping paper for scrapbooking makes lots of sense. You can create Christmas-themed pages easily by using a piece of wrapping paper that fits the size of your scrapbook and laying photos on top of it or you can cut out pretty details to accent photos. Slide into a photo protector (plastic cover) for a beautiful scrapbook page.
- Book Covers: You can use wrapping paper to decorate school books as removable book covers or you can make permanent covers for journals or sketchbooks by using a glue gun or glue stick to adhere. Embellish with glitter, bows, die-cuts or whatever you have on hand.
- Doll Clothes: Know a little fashionista? She can use wrappings that would have otherwise ended up in the trash to create outfits for her dolls. Or make paper dolls with high fashion wrapping paper clothes.
- Make Cards: Use the accents on the paper to make new cards for next year. You can glue cutout figures and accents onto colored paper or card stock and have a ready supply of cards on hand. Be sure to decorate the envelopes with paper accents as well.
- Gift Tags: Cut out your favorite wrapping paper designs and use them as gift tags. The more ornate the design the better. Glue onto card stock and add pretty ribbon. Write Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays on the tags along with the usual To: and From: fields.
- School Projects: Send your favorite wrappings into school with your kids. Teachers often need extra paper for craft projects. Or donate to a local preschool program. Kids go through a lot of paper making drawings and they can color on the back.
- Shred It: Why not grab your shredder and shred the wrapping for use as gift box filler? You can stuff a box of Christmas cookies you’re shipping with the pretty paper as a cushion. Or you can place it in a gift basket instead of expensive gift basket grass that normally gets thrown in the trash.
- Decoupage: You can use reuse your paper in hundreds of decoupage projects. Make a holiday plate by using cutouts on the back of a clear plate. Though you can’t wash it, you can certainly use it as part of your holiday décor. Decoupage is merely cutting out pretty designs and gluing them onto a surface. Decorate a box and use it to store your Christmas ornaments. Or decorate clear glass or plastic ornaments with the cutouts and make yourself a new set of tree adornments that you can either gift or use on next year’s tree.
About the Author
JaniceS7 is an event consultant with over 10 years of experience in the industry. As a regular blog contributor at Holiday Gifts & Gift Baskets, she shares her party planning tips, seasonal gift advice and holiday craft ideas.
My cousin got married 7 days ago, and I was the one handling everything, preparing the invitations, calling the caterers, arranging things and setting up everything inline. I have recently had this experience so I thought to share it with you. I have the first hand knowledge of how to manage things especially when you have a fixed budget for a wedding. Here I have listed some of the things on which I helped my cousin save money on his wedding.
1. Reception Location:
I arranged the reception in the front yard of my friends house. It was like having the reception in a local VFW or Knights of Columbus hall.
My cousin and his fiance gave me a big list of the invitees. I had to cut it short and reduced it to just 200 people and told them to invite the rest of the people for some other occasion. Eventually on the day itself, about 275 people came, and I had ordered food for 300 people. I saved money by cutting short the list of the invitees and by ordering food from a good nearby caterer (no matter how cheap it was everyone loved the food).
3. Invitation Cards:
I gave the task of making invitation cards to my younger sister. She is a textile designer, but has a good sense of creative paper designs too. She did the all the cutting, pasting, drawing and other stuff herself. So we didn’t have to go get the cards printed. The invitations were both creative and delightful.
I did not have to spend much on hiring a photographer because three of my friends are into free lance photography. I invited all of them and asked one to capture the moments. He did it well and luckily the other two took unofficial photos that they gifted to my cousin yesterday. You can’t imagine how beautiful those photos are! I saved more than $300 to $400 on photography.
5. Wedding Cake:
Again I had to think of someone who bakes well. My neighbor, with whom I am on very good terms, has done a cookery course and he once mentioned about his interest in making cakes. I went and spoke to him. When I told him about my cousin’s wedding he became more than happy to bake the wedding cake. I only had to buy the ingredients.
I wanted to get a limo but this time my contacts didn’t work, none had a limo. So I asked my brother-in-law’s friend to provide his Mercedes. Though I had to pay him some money, which he wouldn’t take but still I gave him, I saved a lot of money.
7. Wedding Favors:
This was something for which I had to check the internet and while I was doing so I came across an online store called My Wedding Favors that gave excellent wedding favors. The best of all was that I got Wedding Coupons for them and bought the favors in discounted prices.
The following is a guest post by Joel Chang.
If you are a self-proclaimed Martha Stewart- perhaps the reclusive type- you sure know the weight of responsibility when it comes to keeping up with the best practices in home improvement and party/event planning. Also, you must be aware that shopping is a crucial part of the two aforementioned penchants, since their successful accomplishment require specific furniture pieces, home décor, party favors, and party accessories and essentials.
To be a legit Martha Stewart spin-off, you also have to be, more than anything else, in the know in terms of how to save money while shopping. To help you do just that, here are some of the best times of the year to maximize your shopping allowance.
Product manufacturers tend to stack up on their best selling products for the Christmas season. Usually though, not all of these items get to fly off the market shelves. This explains why lots of bargain deals are offered just days after the yuletide season, from home décor, furniture pieces, and toys and other potential non-seasonal party favors.
Suppose you are planning a party, may it be a wedding or a birthday bash, for next year’s summer, the best time to shop for all types of summer items is during the end of the current year’s summer season. Bear in mind that not all of these summer items will be obsolete come next year hence you might as well maximize all the clearance sales offered by various merchants.
Carolyn Forte of Good Housekeeping Institute has recognized the trend of holiday-weekend sales and this is something you should exhaust. Holidays like the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and even the less popular ones like President’s Day and Columbus Day have coincided with the biggest product sales, especially home appliances and décor.
There are also specific months during which you can shop for specific home appliances, furniture pieces, decorative items, and party essentials, without depleting your bank account. Some of these months include January, February, June, and July. These months fall during merchants’ half-year inventory hence the extensive bargain deals.
Joel Chang has had extensive experience in retail prior to working for JAF Gifts, a company which sells cheap wedding centerpieces and other party accessories. Read his latest post on Baby Showers Around The World on TheWorldOfBabies.co.uk.
Calling all couponers! Now that you’ve got couponing under your belt, maybe it’s time to get a website started. No, I’m not suggesting you start the next FaceBook or Google; I mean something as simple as a review website–reviews of products you’ve purchased, or items your family and friends have. I’d like to introduce you to Pro Review Theme.
I’ve purchased and installed Pro Review Theme and found it easy to use. It’s perfect for posting links to your favorite items on Amazon.com.
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20 different background options for perfect personalization
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Video tutorials – yes, I said video tutorials. You can watch and see exactly how to build and customize your site. I found these especially helpful.
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