Monday, December 29, 2014

How to Make a Winter Wreath (with your leftover holiday table decor)

What not to do the day after hosting a large dinner and your table is full of greenery and red wine stains ;)

Make a fresh wreath for your front door, of course. I'm not sure what burst of energy got into me the day after hosting Christmas dinner, but that's what I was doing. Full disclosure. I was groggy from the turkey and the wine so this took me a couple of tries to get it right and not look like I was drinking while crafting.

This is what it looked like before it was a wreath. It was a table runner of fresh greenery...

It's a simple and inexpensive way to make a big impact (well I thought so anyways) on your table. The fresh greenery cost less than $20 for a very long table. This table sat 15 patient souls. Dinner may have been a little late...

I even pulled out the good china for this one. Mikasa circa 1998 mixed with everyday white dishes because I didn't listen to my Grandmother and order enough for a large family. But I'm good with mixing it up. It keeps it from looking too fussy.

Back to the wreath...


fresh greenery
floral tape
floral wire
scissors or clippers
wreath form

Cut your greenery down to the size you would like for the wreath. Then gather not too big bunches of the greenery together and secure it together with the floral tape. Once you've got your bunches done, start laying them out on your wreath form so you get an idea of the shape. Then start wiring them to the wreath form. This form has holes you thread the wire through and kind of tie it on/wrap it around until it's secure.  A florist may take issue with my method but it worked for me ;)

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. It makes for a pretty wreath, that doesn't scream Christmas, right? I'll leave it up all winter if I can get away with it.

If you are hosting New Year's Eve the fresh greenery runner could be a nice idea for your table and then on New Year's Day you can make a wreath. LOL.  OK maybe the day after New Year's Day, then.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 22, 2014

How to make your own Christmas Crackers - easy and environmentally friendly too!

Christmas crackers are a fun holiday tradition but all that wasted paper that just gets torn apart and thrown out makes me cringe a little. So this year, I decided to make my own Christmas crackers out recycled and vintage paper I had around the house.  It's really easy and I like how they turned out. Simple and a little rustic.

I saved up toilet paper rolls for a few weeks to make these but you could also cut some heavier paper and make you own rolls.

I try to save tissue paper from gifts if it's in good condition to stash away for projects like this. 


Tissue paper - I used 12" x 18" sheets of tissue folded in half lengthwise and 4" wide tubes.

Christmas cracker snaps (I found them at Michael's)

Tape or glue gun

Vintage book pages from an old book

Ribbon or baker's twine

Washi tape, kraft paper and star punch

Small gifts to hide inside the crackers such as chocolates, lip balms, mini flash lights, small toys etc..

Print out some jokes to put inside too. I found some good corny ones here.


Step 1: Tape or glue the cracker snap to the inside of the tube making sure it is in the middle of the tube.

Step 2: Wrap the tissue paper around the tube and secure it with tape or glue. 

Step 3: Wrap the vintage book page or other decorative paper around the tube. This paper should be approximately the same width as the tube. Mine were 4" wide.

Step 4: At this stage, I found it easier to tie one end of the cracker with the ribbon and then drop your treats inside. Then tie the other end with the ribbon. This way you don't have to deal with them falling out.

Step 5: Add a little embellishment or name tag to your cracker. I made these little stars using kraft paper, washi tape and a star punch. I secured this piece with glue.

Traditionally, Christmas crackers have paper hats but I didn't have time to make these and since I was trying to keep this project green, I didn't really want to buy them. I did come across instructions on how to make the hats here and on Pinterest I found a really pretty star head band that would work well inside these crackers too. 

So although these do take a little bit of time to put together they can also be a fun holiday craft to do with kids.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Merry & Bright - - Brass Wire & Glitter Bunting

Here is a simple holiday craft you can whip up in one evening ... a brass wire and glitter paper bunting with your own holiday message.

All you need some thin gauge brass (or copper would be pretty) wire and thick/heavy glitter paper which you can pick up at a craft store like Michael's and a small hole punch and scissors.

After you decide what you want your message to say, sketch out your letters and cut them out with scissors. My letters are approximately 5" tall. Use your mini hole punch to make holes in your letters for stringing the wire. I find it helpful to have two holes side-by-side so that the letters hang nicely. If you use a small punch you will hardly see the holes. Then string it through the wire. Pretty simple. The wire is a pretty alternative to twine or ribbon, and you can bend the wire to shape your message if you feel like it.

  I love how the brass wire looks with the glitter letters.

There you go. Something simple and festive to fill the empty wall over my sofa.

PS. Something weird is going on with my camera lately so I apologize for some grainy looking photos. I think I know what's on my Christmas list now.... 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Making your floors cozy ...

We love the new room that we added at the back of our house. When we were renovating we made sure to factor in heated floors in this space to keep it cozy. However, even with the heated floors and rugs, the floors can still get chilly when the temperature drops here in winter. We had rug pads but they weren't great and didn't provide any cushioning or added warmth. I needed new ones for this winter.  

As luck would have it,  a company called Rug Pad Corner approached me to review their rug pads this past month. After looking at their website and researching their products and reviews online, I decided they would be a perfect fit for our house and my blog.

I love that their rug pads contain only natural materials, have been certified LEED and are rated GREEN for air quality. A lot of rugs and rug pads are made of synthetic materials which off gas nasty chemicals into your home or have glues to hold them together. Rug Pad Corner rug pads are natural and heat pressed. There is no glue, which is something that is important to me. They are also made in the USA.

This added family room at the back of our house has solid oak floors with in-floor heating. I needed a rug pad that would work for heated floors and also protect my new floors. I ended up choosing the Ultra Premium rug pad suitable for all hard floors including heated floors. 

It has 100% felt surface and solid rubber non-slip backing. 

It's sooo comfy and it stays in place.

It's so cozy to walk on! This pad is 1/3" thick.

We also got a rug pad for the living room. I really love how it has transformed how our rugs feel to walk on. I'm serious. It's awesome. Now it's more comfortable to sit on the floor and play games with the kids.

It's super easy to order your rug pad and figure out which one is right for you with the Rug Pad Wiz which helps you find the right rug pad for your space.

Rug Pad Corner trimmed the rug pads to fit properly under the rugs, just slightly smaller.

They arrived quickly and with instructions and information about how to care for the rug pads.

Rug Pad Corner offers free shipping if you live in the USA. They also ship to Canada and provide very clear shipping information. I love when shipping costs aren't a mystery!

Rug Pad Corner s offering a 15% discount for readers. Just use this promo code: REVIEW15

Anyways I am honestly much more happy with my rugs now that they are so comfy and I know my floors are well protected. I would definitely recommend this company if you need rug pads.

*This is a sponsored post. I was invited to review Rug Pad Corner products in exchange for rug pads. I was happy to partner with Rug Pad Corner on this post because I like their commitment to creating healthy products. I really like their products and I think you will too.

Monday, December 8, 2014

a sweet night with friends - the cookie swap!

This past weekend was my annual cookie swap. I think it's year three or is it four? Anyways, I've lost count, but it's loads of fun. I posted about it last year including some tips on how to host a cookie swap/exchange and packaging ideas. 
You can check it out here.

I thought I would share some snippets from the swap but forgive the slightly wonky photos. It was dimly lit, so these shots are a bit dark.

 The cheese board was a hit and it was so easy to throw together! 

I was inspired by some of the gorgeous cheese trays I've seen on Pinterest lately. I wanted to keep the evening simple so this yummy board and lots of wine kept everyone happy.

I put together a box with some packaging materials for everyone to package up treats to share. 

Chinese take-out boxes, food safe cello bags, and small bakery boxes tied with baker's twine and tags are fun ways to package it all up.

Pretty shortbread cookies on display.

Cranberry shortbread, ginger cookies, raspberry almond thumbprints and in-your-face triple chocolate cookies - just a few of the delicious cookies we shared... yum!

Have you done any holiday baking? 
What's your go-to cookie recipe during the holidays? 
I'd love to know.