Category Archives: Christmas crafts

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.

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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.

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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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Miniature Kitchen Christmas Tree

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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.

Christmas Tree…in a teacup

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 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.

Trimming the Christmas….reindeer

christmas 004

 Pinecone Reindeer: easy, simple, fast, and inexpensive

Materials:
-a large pinecone for the body, and a smaller pinecone for the head
-twigs for antlers
-4 long cinnamon sticks for the legs and 1 shorter stick for the neck
-material for trim
-hot glue gun

 1) Insert the end of each long stick between the scales of the cone and glue securely. Legs should not be straight up and down but placed at an angle. When adding the fourth leg, check that the cone is balanced and able to stand. If the legs are placed too far apart at the far ends, the legs may not support the cone. The cone should be horizontal to the ground.

2) glue one end of the short cinnamon stick to the smaller cone and the other end to the tapered end of the large cone.

3) glue the twigs to the topside of the smaller cone for antlers

4) glue a single bead to each end of the legs as the hooves (optional)

5) glue a single bead at the tapered end of the small cone for the nose

6) trim as desired -I kept it simple and only used mardis gras beads (available at our local dollar store), and narrow satin ribbon tied into small bows, other materials that would work: miniature…silk flowers, ivy leaves, bells, Christmas bulbs, or wreath for around the neck, and red or white Christmas berries (artificial)

 This is a simple and easy craft and appropriate for younger kids only if an adult actually uses the glue gun or for older kids if they are super-careful. (The concern is the glue gun: the tip is really hot and will give a really painful burn if the tip is accidentally touched or if hot glue gets onto the skin it remains on the skin and continues to burn. I have the burn scars to prove it. So whoever handles the glue gun, be careful.)

christmas 005THE END

A new display idea for old stockings

The custom of hanging stockings and filling them with goodies has been a common practice for generations. Christmas stockings are mentioned in The Night Before Christmas written in 1823, nearly two-hundred years ago. When I was growing up (almost that long ago) we used an old sock from the sock drawer. (One of the rare times, big feet were an advantage.)

 Today, Christmas stockings are more sophisticated than just a humble sock and come in a variety of styles, colors, sizes, and materials, ranging from the plain to the excessively fancy. As with all things Christmas I love stockings, and have unwittingly managed to collect enough to supply half the state of Connecticut. More than I can ever possibly use, hang, or display.

 If like me, you find yourself with an excessive number of stockings then consider this simple display idea. Fill the stocking with stockings throws cropped 2fiberfill, hand-stitch the top of the stocking closed, and toss onto a sofa, chair, or bed to use as a novel throw pillow for Christmas.

Christmas stockings: a creative alternative

As a young child I was enchanted when I discovered that children in Holland didn’t hang stockings on the mantle but placed their wooden shoes beside the fireplace. Through the eyes of a child, wooden shoes from Holland were a thing of wonder, hinting of exotic peoples and far-away lands.

 One year, I was looking for a unique and inexpensive alternative to Christmas stockings for my young granddaughters. The girls were going to spend several days at Grandma’s house celebrating all the Christmas traditions: the tree, the lights, the movies, the music, the feast, the stories and poems, the hot cocoa, the baking and decorating of cookies and candies, and the opening of presents. Stockings were somewhat problematic since the little one was still young enough to believe in Santa. How to play “Santa filling the stockings” while avoiding complicated explanations about why Santa was visiting on Dec 12th instead of Christmas Eve or why Santa would visit the girls at Grandma’s house and at home on Christmas Eve?

 After a lot of thought I dug out the pair of large wooden shoes that I had bought on impulse in a thrift store several years before. They were packed away accumulating dust while I tried to figure out what to actually do with them. Sturdy, and clearly never worn, they had been inexpensive, costing just a few dollars.

 I sanded the shoes lightly, inside and out; making sure the color of the wood was uniform and removing any marks, smudges, or light soiling.

 I painted a matching Christmas design on each shoe with acrylic paints, using a stencil for the hearts, and an embossing plate (as a stencil) for the holly and berries. I finished with a light protective spray coat of polyurethane. 

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That was twelve years ago and every Christmas the shoes are placed under the Christmas tree, overflowing with candy and small gifts.

wooden shoes 2Surprisingly, the shoes hold a rather large amount of small items. Not so surprising, is how durable and sturdy they are. When empty of toys they can be lined with paper or parchment and used to display Christmas cookies, candies, or other baked goods. They can also be filled with silk holly leaves and bright red berries.

 For just a few dollars and several hours of labor I was able to create a  unique Christmas memory for my granddaughters while solving the “Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve” problem. The shoes also honor my never-forgotten childhood enchantment with wooden shoes and just in case you’re wondering, my ancestry is Portuguese and Welsh (go figure). It doesn’t matter; you don’t have to be Dutch to appreciate wooden shoes.