Category Archives: Christmas

inexpensive wall art: not so obvious sources 2

Greeting Cards

Greeting cards can make terrific wall art, especially for the holidays. Depending on the design, you can use the entire card as shown below or just a portion of it as shown in the second photo.

cropped

Above is a card glued to an inexpensive pre-cut pine-wood circle painted white with a tiny screw inserted at the top and a ribbon for hanging. I actually bought the card not to send but because I loved the image so much. I’m relatively certain the card design is by Mary Engelbreit.

cropped sled

The cute little guy on this sled was carefully cut out from a Christmas card (just look at his tail), glued to the wood sled, candy-cane stickers glued to each side, a peppermint candy sticker placed beneath his feet for him to dance upon, and red ribbon wrapped around the sled dowel to emulate a candy cane. Since I use a lot of candy canes, and candy-cane and peppermint-candy designs at Christmas, the sled works perfectly. And the cute little guy, who would have otherwise ended up in a trash bin, brings Christmas cheer every year.  


 

Greeting cards can have wonderful, fresh designs and are a great source for creating wall art and not just for the holidays. Consider how many holidays and different types of cards there are: Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, birthday, get well… and just think about all the lovely floral designs and wonderful children’s designs that are available.

various 004 cropped

And don’t forget vintage greeting cards, especially if you love Victorian and Americana designs. Look for them in yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, estate sales, and on-line. Or check them out on Google images.

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Merry Christmas!

                                                              Joyeux Noel!
                                                                             Frohe Weihnachten! 
                               Sheng Dan Kuai Le!
                                   peppermint tree                                                                                                                                  Glædelig Jul!
                    Καλά Χριστούγεννα!
                                     Mele Kalikimaka!
                                                 Prettig Kerstfeest!
                                                                                                               Nollaig Shona Dhuit!
                            Buon Natale!
                                                                              Meri Kurisumasu!
Nizhonigo Keshmish!
barka dà Kirsìmatì!
                                      Feliz Natal!
                                                                     Счастливого рождества!
UKhisimusi omuhle!
                      Feliz Navidad !
                                                                             Krismasi Njema!

and to paraphrase Tiny Tim

Blessings on Us, Every One!

 

Numero Uno: A Christmas Carol (1984)

If you only watch one version of A Christmas Carol this holiday season this would be the one. Amazingly the 1984 version, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, was a made-for-TV movie, although it was released in theaters in the United Kingdom. Beautifully done, the film is well-balanced, captures the feel of a Victorian Christmas and remains fairly true to Dickens original ghost of christmas future 2story. The cast performances are more realistic than in many of the other versions making the characters more believable and less like the almost caricature-like performances sometimes seen in other films. An impressive cast in an impressive production! George C. Scott was nominated for an Emmy for his performance and how nice to see David Warner playing the good guy for a change. His portrayal of Bob Cratchit displays dignity, compassion, and humanity and less of the timidity, cringing, or cowering depicted by many of his predecessors. And Edward Woodward is a real treat as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Numero uno? This production has my vote.  

Not rated/ 100 minutes.

Cast:
George C. Scott             Ebenezer Scrooge
Frank Finaly                  Marley’s Ghost
Angela Pleasence         Ghost of Christmas Past
Edward Woodward   Ghost of Christmas Present 
Michael Carter             Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
 David Warner              Bob Cratchit
Susannah York            Mrs. Cratchit
Anthony Walters         Tiny Tim

Miniature Kitchen Christmas Tree

kitchen tree 006

This tree is the grandmother of the teacup trees featured in Sunday’s post; it is the oldest and the largest at about 18 inches,  It is an easy, simple, and inexpensive craft project, even easier than the teacup trees. It’s a fun way to bring a bit of Christmas cheer to the kitchen and can be used on countertops, shelve, tables, baker racks, and microwave stands. This kitchen tree is especially fun because of the materials used to trim it.

 The base was originally covered in rough burlap; cut out a circle of Christmas fabric, gather it around the burlap, and tie a red satin ribbon at the top to keep it in place. Then it is just a matter of adding the trim using a hot glue gun. 

 Tree trim: (miniatures or very small)
shiny red beads (as Christmas bulbs)
gold bells
red wooden-bead garland
wooden hearts painted red
peppermint candy balls
white daisies
wooden ladybugs
red holly berries (artificial)
red gift packages
baby pinecones
candy canes (artificial)
cinnamon sticks (broken into 2 inch lengths)
a red wicker basket
larger wooden hearts top off the tree
 
But most fun of all…the wooden kitchen miniatures I bought at an outdoor flea market:

kitchen tree 2

a kitchen mop
old-fashioned butter churns
rolling pins
buckets with copper handles
a small bucket with a lid
old-fashioned milk bottles painted white

 

 

And lastly, a “thinking outside the box” moment as I was cutting apart a strand of red mardi gras beads to use as dangling ornaments. The beads were long, thin, six-sided, and were next to a small kitchen tree 010round bead on the strand. Instead of using them as dangling ornaments, the original intent, I glued a long bead upright at the end of a branch with the small round bead still attached. Voila, Christmas candles with a candle flame over each one.

the Philandering Scrooge: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Loosely based on A Christmas Carol, this 2009 film is a romantic comedy that, although not highly rated, is kind of fun. Any lass between the age of 16 and 60, who has ever dated, will recognize the candy canes and peppermintwomanizing main character played by Matthew McConaughey. It’s not a Christmas film but an interesting example of creative adaptations of the classic story.

 Favorite scene: the “ghost” of girlfriend past: gum-popping, wise-cracking, teenie-bopper Allison, played by Emma Stone.Surprisingly, as I just found out, Emma also played Skeeter in the Help, and Wichita in Zombieland. The three characters are so different and her look so altered that I didn’t even recognize that it was the same actress in all three films. Wow! I’m impressed…and entertained.

Rated PG-13, 100 minutes

Cast:
Matthew McConaughey                  Connor Mead
Jennifer Garner                                  Jenny Perotti
Michael Douglas                                 Uncle Wayne
Breckin Meyer                                      Paul
Lacey Chabert                                      Sandra
Robert Forster                                    Sergeant Volkorn
Anne Archer                                         Vonda Volkorn
Emma Stone                                        Allison Vandermeersch

A Christmas Carol gone awry: Scrooged

Released in 1988, this film is a comedy, parody, and clever adaption of the original story. I especially enjoy the performances of Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present and Bob Goldthwait as Eliot, scroogeda loose interpretation of the Bob Cratchit character. Special appearances by Lee Majors, Mary Lou Retton, Jamile Farr, Robert Goulet, John Houseman, Buddy Hackett, and Pat McCormick. Oh, and for movie trivia fans, the actress playing Mrs. Santa at the beginning of the film is the mother of actor/director Ron Howard, Jean Speegle Howard.

Rated PG-13, 101 minutes.

Cast:
Bill Murray                      Frank Cross
Karen Allen                     Claire
John Forsythe               Lew Hayward
Bob Goldthwait            Eliot Loudermilk
Carol Kane                     Ghost of Christmas Present
Robert Mitchum           Preston Rhinelander
Michael J Pollard         Herman
Mabel King                     Gramma

Christmas Tree…in a teacup

christmas 010

 Christmas craft idea: Christmas tree in a teacup—easy and inexpensive

 I particularly like this Christmas decoration because it is small and mobile and can be placed on dresser tops, shelves, table tops, counter tops, nightstands, etc… It adds a touch of Christmas cheer, and is easily stored. It can be used in most decors, and works nicely in kitchens, dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and offices, just about anywhere. It also makes a fun gift.

Materials:christmas 013
Tea cup with saucer (bought at a yard sale for cheap, check thrift stores too)
Florist foam
Miniature tabletop tree 8-12 inches high (bought at thrift store)
Dried Spanish moss
Hot glue gun
 Materials for trim-
—beads (I use mardi gras strands bought at the local dollar store)
—miniature pearl strands (can be found in the sewing department of
     department or craft stores)
—narrow satin ribbon to use as garlands and/or small bows
—miniature bells (craft department or craft stores, come in packages        of 9-12 for under $2.00)
—miniature silk flowers (or cut off individual blossoms of a larger     flower)
—other materials I have used in the past: artificial berries, rose hips, dried herbs & flowers such as yarrow, sprigs of lavender or mint, baby pinecones, miniature gift packages…Half the fun of this project is finding things to put on the tree, use your imagination.

 

 1) cut floral foam to fit into tea cup, glue into place and push tree base into foam, glue as needed
2) cover top of florist foam with small amount of dried Spanish moss to hide foam, trim moss as needed
3) trim tree, using hot glue gun (carefully) attach materials to tree. Use single beads as “Christmas bulbs”, strands of pearls or miniature beads as garlands, bells on the end of branches, and a bow, bead, or miniature star at the top. (Depending on the size of the branches I either tie the bells on with ribbon or just firmly push the bell on to the end of the branch.) The trees make a nice jingling sound when moved.