Peppermint Stick Scarf

If you’ve read my first blog post, you know I love a thick scarf. Especially a thick, Christmas-themed scarf. For this post, I want to share with you a fun pattern I came up with using the inspiration of a Christmas mug I bought years ago.

My inspiration

I love going to craft fairs during the holidays. It was at a Garden Club holiday plant and craft fair that I found a beautiful mug. I love collecting Christmas mugs and this one’s pretty stripes caught my eye. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. So, in my cabinet it went. It joined the rotation of Holiday mugs I bring out after Halloween. Then, last year it hit me. How wonderful would these stripes look on a scarf?

Off to the craft store I went. I was lucky enough to find inexpensive yarn in colors very similar to the scarf. But my luck ran out when I tried to figure out the pattern. Some rows were too thin, or others too thick. After much hair-pulling and yarn yanking, I finally figured out a pattern I liked.

Supplies:

24” size ten circular needles

2 skeins Big Twist in White

1 skein Big Twist yarn in Deep Red

1 skein Big Twist yarn in Medium Rose

1 skein Big Twist yarn in Light Green

Begin by casting on 105 stitches with white yarn. Join in the round, careful not to twist. Mark beg of row. Then create pattern as follows:

12 rows with White yarn.

1 row Light Green

1 row White

4 rows Deep Red

4 rows Medium Rose

4 rows Deep Red

1 row White

1 row Light Green

Repeat above sequence until scarf measures 68″. Bind off.

I used a scrap piece of cardboard to make tassels.

To create fringe, wind Light Green yarn around a 6 1/2″ piece of cardboard. Luckily, I have a lot of Amazon boxes laying around, and the lid of one was the perfect size. Cut yarn at one end so you end up with pieces of yarn approximately 13″ long (don’t worry if some are bigger or smaller, you will be trimming the fringe after attaching).

Gather yarn pieces in groups of 3. Before I attached yarn, I first marked the places for the tassels with one piece of yarn to ensure proper spacing. Then, using a crochet hook, I pulled each group of three through the end of the scarf and tied. The technical term for the knot used is a lark’s head knot, but I call it a tassel knot.

Mark tassel placement before tying on tassels with a single strand of yarn every three stitches to ensure even spacing.
My daughter chilling in a peppermint stick scarf.

This scarf was a lot of fun to knit. Not only is it stylish, but it’s so thick it will keep you warm in the winter weather. The colors are fun, and the pattern is simple. I can’t wait to show it off at my town’s annual Christmas parade. Happy crafting!

Spiderweb Pin Art

With Halloween just a week away, I wanted to update my pin art frame with a spooky print. Since it can be difficult to depict objects with sequins, I wanted something that was unmistakable for the season. I finally thought of the perfect idea: a spiderweb. Once I got the hang of creating the tracing for the web, I realized what a simple, yet effective way it was to add a bit of Halloween to my wall. Of course, I had to add a creepy spider to the web. Here’s how I did it:

Map pins, sequin pins and sequins.
A roll of black velvet contact paper and a piece of 1/2” foam.

Supplies: an 8 X 10″ piece of foam, Exacto knife to cut the foam to size, a pencil, paper and tissue for tracing, black velvet contact paper, silver and green sequins, clear beads and pins.

To start with, I searched free clipart on the web for a spiderweb and spider. Copying them into a word document, I sized them to fit my piece of foam. You can buy foam craft pieces at a craft store, or you can save the foam that comes in some packing boxes. I like to use 1/2″ thick pieces.

I used a roll of black velvet contact paper I bought online. Placing the foam over the paper I traced the outline and then cut the contact paper to size.

Next I traced the image onto a spare piece of tissue paper. Then I peeled the back off of the velvet contact paper and adhered it onto the foam piece. Once that was done, I simply pinned the image on top of the contact paper.

Time to get out my sequins and pins! I like to use between 1cm cup sequins, but you can use larger if you like. the larger ones do make the pinning go by faster. I also like to add a clear bead on top of my sequins, but you can skip this part if you like. I used silver to create the web and decided on a lime green for the spider. To make the spider look menacing, I pinned two red map pins for his eyes.

I completed this craft while watching TV. As the image started to appear on the contact paper, I started to get excited for the upcoming holiday. With each finished section I tore the tissue paper away to reveal the image. You can display the image vertically or horizontally.

For me, Halloween marks the start of the holiday season. This small sequin piece adds the perfect amount of sparkle and ghoulish fun to my walls. Happy Halloween!

Dollar Tree Fall Craft

With my favorite season fast approaching, I wanted to share a simple fall Dollar Tree craft. This quaint craft was both easy and inexpensive, two of my favorite things.

I love experimenting with different craft supplies to create something memorable. Wooden cut-outs and signs are plentiful at every craft and department store, and there are so many ways you can make them truly unique and beautiful. Paint, Diamond Dotz, fabric, or gem accents, it’s never wrong if you like it. Plus, they’re perfect for all ages, young or old. For this sign, I combined a couple different laser cut-outs, paint and some pearl accents.

Supplies: Dollar Tree pumpkin sign, “fall” laser-cut sign, acrylic paint, half-flat pearl beads in various sizes, small bit of cardboard and some glue.

First, I painted the pumpkin cut-out. I used acrylic paint I had on hand in orange, green and brown. The wood is porous, so it may take several coats to get the color vibrant.

To give the size some shine, I used some pearl accents. I found this collection of half-flat pearl beads in eight different sizes on Amazon. The pearls not only give the sign an elegant look, but also add some texture and shine.

To apply the pearl accents, you can use Elmer’s Glue or a glue gun. I used a tweezer since they’re very slippery. Before I glued them, I laid out the pearls so the spacing looked good. Then I marked the spots where I wanted the pearls with a pencil. Allow plenty of time for the glue to dry before moving on to the next part.

Then, I worked on the “fall” cut-out. I picked up this piece on Amazon, but just about every craft store has similar laser-cut products in a wide variety of sayings. I decided on an earthy brown color that would pop against the pale colors I chose for the pumpkin.

To give the cut-out a more dimensional look, I cut small pieces from a discarded piece of cardboard and glued them to the back before adding the words to the pumpkin. Then I glued it to the center of the pumpkin.

This sign is now proudly hanging by my front door. I had a lot of fun using different craft items to make the sign my own unique design. Signs like this are the perfect craft to use up some of the lingering craft supplies in your house. Happy crafting!

Memorial Angel Ornament

Are you holding onto a cherished shirt or other piece of fabric from a loved one who’s passed? You know you’ll never wear it, yet you just can’t part with it. Instead of keeping it hidden in your closet or in a box in the basement, why not make something with it? This craft is designed to be made from the scraps of a loved one’s favorite garment. Using small pieces of fabric, you can create an angel ornament to adorn your holiday tree. Since it uses so little fabric, you can make several angels from one piece of fabric to share with other family and friends.

Cut a 4-inch square piece of fabric for the body and a 3-inch square piece for the wings.

Supplies for body of angel: an old shirt or any piece of fabric, scissors or pinking shears, fabric stiffener, a bread bag tie, a needle and thread, lace trim, hot glue gun, a 3-inch piece of silver or gold pipe cleaner for halo and 1/8″ wide ribbon for hanging.

Supplies for angel head: one 18mm wooden bead with a 4 mm hole in the center, wood stain and markers or paint.

Before beginning, I recommend ironing the pieces of fabric. Then, using either a sharp pair of scissors or a pair of pinking shears, cut a 3-inch square and a four-inch square from the fabric.

Next, spray the fabric with fabric stiffener. The fabric stiffener also helps keep the fabric from fraying. While the fabric is still wet, fold the fabric up like an accordion.

Use a sandwich tie to make the angel’s wings.
Use the needle and thread to secure the top of the angel’s skirt.

To help the fabric keep the pleated look, I secured the top of the larger piece being used for the angel’s skirt with two stitches at the top. For the piece being used for the wings, I tied the fabric in the middle with an old bread bag tie.

Pin the wings and body of the angel down so they keep their shape.

To help shape the fabric, I next pinned both pieces onto a piece of foam. If you don’t have any foam laying around, you could use an old cutting board or a bulletin board. Let the fabric dry completely before moving to the next step.

While the fabric is drying, I stained the wooden bead being used as the head of the angel. I found this bag of 18 mm wooden beads on Amazon, but most craft stores carry these beads in the wood or jewelry department.

Paint, stain and sealer to create the angel head.

I recommend staining the wooden bead before painting on the face. The stain helps stop the paint or marker from bleeding. Paint your angel head with any color hair you’d like. You can use black, silver or white marker to make the eyes. To seal the paint, I sprayed a paint sealer over the beads.

Stick the beads on a spare piece of pipe cleaner to make painting a breeze.

Since painting a round bead can be tricky, I stuck a spare piece of pipe cleaner through the hole of the bead. This made it much easier to turn the bead and paint. I hung the pipe cleaners and beads over the edge of the cup to allow the beads to dry.

To make a perfect halo, I used a spare wooden bead and wrapped the pipe cleaner around it to form a neat circle. Then, to attach the halo, I inserted the end of the pipe cleaner into the center hole of the bead I painted. I added a small amount of hot glue inside of the bead-hole to keep the halo in place.

Use hot glue inside the bead to keep halo sturdy.

Now back to the body of the angel. Once the fabric is dry and stiff, I added a small bit of lace trim to the gathered end of the skirt with some hot glue. The lace I used was thick, so I folded it in half before glueing.

Lace for angel neck.
If your lace is thick, fold it in half before attaching.
Twist the bread tie to help secure the wings to the angel’s body.

Once that is dried, I used the bread tie and some more hot glue to attach the wings to the back of the angel. I hid the ends of the bread tie under the lace.

Fit the end of the pipe cleaner carefully into the folds of the dress.
Secure the head to the body with some hot glue.

Now it’s time to attach the halo and angel head to the body. To do this, I simply inserted the end of the pipe cleaner halo into the folds of the angel’s dress. Add some hot glue to keep it secure.

Ribbon for hanging your angel.

To hang on a tree, I cut a small length of 1/8″ red ribbon and then hot glued the ends to the back of the angel.

A memorial angel is a perfect way to hold a special place on your holiday tree for your loved one. You can use a shirt, dress or even a tablecloth. The possibilities are endless. Happy crafting!

Upcycling a 1970s Mediterranean Dresser

I love watching videos and reading up about furniture renovations, but I’ve always been too chicken to try to do it myself. Then one day on my way to work, I saw it. It looked like a large, ornate buffet on the side of the road. I was drawn in by the unusual decorative cabinet doors on either side of the piece. I started imagining how great it could look with some paint and new hardware. It just so happens I was looking for a table long enough to fit my TV plus provide storage.

My sad TV stand.

We bought a new TV about two years ago. Our old TV stand was not wide enough to hold it, so the legs of the TV hung over the edge. To solve the problem, I simply placed a piece of leftover plywood shelving over the top of the TV stand. But it was not an ideal or attractive solution. A new TV stand could cost over $500, but if I could fix up this buffet, I knew it could be the perfect TV stand to replace the ramshackle one I was using.

After convincing my husband to take a drive with me to look at the piece, he immediately nixed the idea. I went home emptyhanded that night, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I knew I could do something with it. Finally, after much nagging, I convinced him to return the next night and after much struggle (it weighs a ton) we stuffed it into the back of our hatchback and took it home. It deposited quite a bit of pulverized particle board all over the car, but it was now mine.

Upon its arrival in my garage, I poured over blogs and videos to learn all I could about rehabbing old particle board furniture. Through my research of 1970s Mediterranean furniture, I also discovered that the piece was actually most likely a dresser, not a buffet.

Yuck!

I was relieved to find out that laminate particle board could be painted and repaired. But the first order of business was cleaning. The piece was filthy, and I soon discovered it smelled very strongly of cigarette smoke. The smell was so bad, I dubbed it The Cigar Box. Even the fact that it had been sitting outside for a week did little to get rid of the stench. Immediately, I opened all the drawers to help air them out. But even after several cleanings, I could still smell smoke, so I went to the grocery store and bought baking soda. Pouring it over every crevice, I waited, hoping it would take away most of the lingering smell. After vacuuming up the baking soda, I could still smell smoke, so I decided to paint every inch of the pieces with primer. After a couple coats, the smell thankfully started to disappear.

A close up of a cabinet door.

I was surprised the funky cabinet doors on either side were not made out of wood but resin. After decades of use, the resin was cracked and damaged in some spots. Using clamps, I gently applied pressure to the doors to close in the cracks. Then I used Gorilla Glue to seal them shut. The glue held the resin together and made it stronger, preventing any more damage. Once the glue dried, I sanded it smooth then applied plastic wood to repair the rest of the damage. After everything was dry, I sanded again and covered the doors with two coats of gripper primer.

1 coat of primer.
The cabinet door after two coats of primer.

The drawers were my next obstacle. There was quite a bit of damaged laminate. Using a razor blade, I scored, then cut off all the curling laminate around the edges. Next I removed any bulging, water-damaged particle board. Then I painted a few thin layers of Gripper primer, sanding between coats.

Two coats of primer.

The top of the piece also had a lot of water damage and bubbling laminate. Using the razor, I scored around each bubble and then dug out the swelled particle board. After that I covered the divots with Plastic Wood.

I used several buckets of Plastic Wood to fill in the dips and smooth out the top.

The bottom of the dresser was rotted from sitting out in the elements for so long, so I had to take it off. It was much easier than I was anticipating. It literally fell off and crumbled in my hands with just the slightest bit of help. But this left me with another problem: what to use in its place. Luckily, a trip to the home improvement store’s lumber area solved this problem. To my surprise, the store actually had a piece of wood that fit the bottom quite nicely. I also picked up some small table legs while I was there.

Tip: Check the home improvement store’s website before making the drive. Most stores keep an inventory list online along with the aisle and bin where the item is located. This saves a ton of time in searching the aisles for what you’re looking for. It will also tell you if an item is in stock.

With a level and a small saw, I sawed the bottom as evenly as I could.

I sawed about seven inches off the bottom and painted the entire piece with primer to rid it of the smoke smell.

Next, I placed the dresser on top of the wood I bought and traced around the piece. I had to cut the excess from the front and sides to allow the cabinet doors and the bottom drawer to close. The jigsaw made quick work of the cuts.

Using a pencil, I traced the indents of the piece then cut it with a jigsaw.
This is what it looked like after I cut and painted the wood.

Placing the piece upside down, I glued the plywood to the bottom using wood glue. Then I found several heavy boxes in my garage and sat them on top of the wood until it was dry.

A view from the side and the 1/4 inch round trim.

Despite my best efforts, the bottom looked a little ragged in spots. To fix this, I cut some 1/4 inch round trim to hide the jagged edges of my cuts. Then I glued the pieces in place. To make it look more polished, I sealed the edges of the trim with paintable caulk and nailed the trim into place with some finishing nails.

For the paint, I wanted to go with a greige color. I found the perfect color with Behr Perfectly Taupe in a satin finish. At times the paint looks gray, and others it takes on a more beige tone.

After two coats of paint.

To lift up the piece I found some cute bun table legs. Since the piece is very heavy, I went with eight legs to help distribute the weight.

The cabinet door hinges needed a quick cleaning with a wire brush and a mixture of warm water, vinegar and dish soap. Once they were dry, I sprayed them with a metal primer, then painted them with the same taupe paint to blend in with the rest of piece.

After cleaning with wire brush.
Metal primer applied.

For the fixtures, I wanted to add some sparkle to the funky doors. The existing pulls were not going to cut it. Instead, I used a sparkly solitaire knob for each cabinet door and chrome handles for the drawers. I also found pretty shelf paper online to line the inside of the drawers.

Original hardware.

This piece was definitely a ton of work, but I really love how it turned out. The piece fits perfectly against my wall, and holds not only my TV, but has so much storage potential. I’m glad I was able to save this dresser from the garbage. It’s not only a unique piece of furniture, but an elegant addition to my family room. Who knew such an ugly, smelly old piece could find new life in my family room? I hope this inspires you to look differently at the old furniture on the side of the road. It could become a treasured piece of furniture in your home.

This looks so much better than before!
New shelf paper.
The cabinet doors are even fancier now with a Diamond touch.

Knitted Diamond Table Runner

For the past year I’ve been working on an upcycled TV stand that I hope to show off next month. Now that I’m nearly finished, I wanted to buy a table runner to go underneath the TV to help protect the top finish of the piece. After searching online, I found a beautiful diamond macrame table runner. But, at over $150, it was definitely out of my budget. So, I decided to get out my knitting needles and come up with something far less expensive.

After perusing a knitting book, I decided on the Diamond Seed pattern for my runner. The Diamond Seed creates a simple diamond pattern with just knit and purl stitches. To ensure the piece stayed flat, I added a band of garter stitches on the ends and sides of the runner.

Next, I headed to the craft store to find yarn. Using the inspiration of the macrame table runner I found online, I wanted to use cotton yarn. I not only wanted the texture, but I wanted something that could be easily cleaned.

To make the runner look more polished, I added a selvedge edge. A selvedge edge gives the ends of a knitted piece a braided look. Although it may sound complicated, it’s actually quite simple to do. A typical garter stitch border can look kind of bumpy, and by adding a selvedge edge, it gives knitted pieces a more elegant look. To create a selvedge edge, all you have to do is slip the first stitch purl-wise from your needle with the yarn in the front. Then move the yarn to the back and knit as usual. Here’s a video to illustrate:

Selvedge edge

Knitted Diamond Table Runner Pattern:

Supplies: pair of size 8 knitting needles and one cone of Sugar’n Cream cotton yarn in white.

  • Cast on 50 stitches. Then work in garter stitch (knit every stitch) for the first 10 rows. Then begin pattern as follows:
  • Row 1: Knit five stitches to create border, then place stitch marker to mark place. Then P1, k7*. Repeat from * across row until the last five stitches. Place a stitch holder and knit last five stitches.
  • Row 2: k5 for border. Then k1, p5, k1, p1*. Repeat from * across row until you reach stitch holder, then knit last 5 stitches for border.
  • Row 3: k5 for border. Then k2, p1, k3, p1, k1*. Repeat from * across row until you reach stitch holder, then knit last 5 stitches for border.
  • Row 4: k5 for border. Then p2, k1, p1, k1, p3*. Repeat from * across row until you reach stitch holder, then knit last 5 stitches for border.
  • Row 5: k5 for border. Then k4, p1, k3*. Repeat from * across row until you reach stitch holder, then knit last 5 stitches for border.
  • Row 6: k5 for border: Then p2, k1, p1, k1, p3*. Repeat from * across row until you reach stitch holder, then knit last 5 stitches for border.
  • Row 7: k5 for border: Then k2, p1, k3, p1, k1*. Repeat from * across row until you reach stitch holder, then knit last 5 stitches for border.
  • Row 8: k5 for border. Then k1, p5, k1, p1*. Repeat from * across row until you reach stitch holder, then knit last 5 stitches for border.
  • Repeat these 8 rows until table runner reaches desired length. To complete runner, knit 10 more rows of garter stitch to create border. Bind off and use a tapestry needle to hide yarn tails.

I made my runner 50 inches to fit under my TV. The diamond seed pattern is such a simple pattern, but I think it looks very elegant. It really makes my TV stand look even better. Since it was so easy, I’m already thinking up new ideas to create table runners for other areas of my home.

Wooden Easter Sign

For this month, I was planning to unveil a pattern for a TV table runner I’ve been working on. However, after several failed attempts at the pattern, I decided it might need an additional month. Crafting is supposed to be my escape, after all, but sometimes I get frustrated when things don’t come out the way I want.

So much fun!

It was on a trip to Joann Fabrics to look for yarn options for this pattern that I found this month’s craft. I’m a sucker for paintable wooden crafts, and when I saw a display of Easter wooden crafts, I fell in love with an egg-shaped sign. I also fell in love with the 50% discount the store was offering. Desperately needing something to calm my nerves after pulling out yet another row of knitting, I decided to paint my sign so I could hang it in time for the holiday.

Pay no attention to the price tag. The sign was 50% off.

Since I often paint wooden and plaster crafts, I already had most of the paint and Diamond Dotz I needed for this project. Both paint and Diamond Dotz are relatively inexpensive, and can be for several projects, so these types of crafts are very economical.

Tip: if you have the paint, but not the Diamond Dotz, simply paint a small swatch of paint onto a piece of paper and bring it with you to the craft store. This is the best way to find the exact match you’re looking for.

Before I start painting, I always like to plan out the colors I want to use so none of the same colors are close to each other. Taking a pencil, I lightly marked the wood flowers so I can keep track of what color goes where. For the egg, I decided to paint it a light dove gray.

For the hyacinth flowers, I wanted to try to give them a pop of contrasting color.  To do this, I painted them a solid color, then when that dried, I went back and applied small dots of color in a lighter or darker tone of the same color.  This gave the flowers some depth.

To add the “Happy Easter” to the middle of the sign, I bought some vinyl cut-out letters and traced them. Unfortunately, after I laid them out, I did not like the way the “y” in “Happy” looked. For some reason, it was much smaller than the other letters. To solve this, I simply wrote out “Happy” in free-hand and used the vinyl letters for “Easter.” As you can see, it took me a few tries to get it right as evidenced by all the pencil lines I left behind. To hide all the pencil lines I applied another layer of gray paint.

Once the painting was complete, it was time for the Diamond Dotz. I applied a coat of Aleene’s Tacky Glue to the areas I wanted to sparkle and then waited about an hour before getting to work. Turning on a Netflix documentary, I poured out my colors and got to work. There’s something calming about applying Diamond Dotz. I needed this after the frustration of my failed knitting pattern.

Use a craft stick/coffee stirrer to help spread the glue over the small spaces.

I love the way this egg sign came out.  I love anything that sparkles, and when the sun hits this sign it really dazzles.  If you’re looking for something to take your mind off the stresses of life, I recommend trying a simple wooden sign that can be found at almost any craft store.  They’re almost always on sale, and with a little paint, you can make something you’ll treasure for years to come.  Happy Easter!

Measuring Cup Ornament

This quaint craft is perfect to do with your kids on a cold afternoon. After this flu/cold/COVID season, many of us have a bunch of those little plastic measuring cups that come attached to the top of cough syrup bottles. Instead of trashing them, I’ve come up with a small and easy craft to upcycle these cups into a fun Christmas Bell ornament.

To decorate my little bells, I scoured my craft room. This is a great craft to use up any scraps you’ve accumulated throughout the holiday season. I was lucky to find a small sprig of plastic pine, some tiny bows and glitter. You could also use tiny pinecones, ornament balls or just about anything. Have fun finding something unusual to make your bells unique.

First, I cleaned the cups thoroughly and dried them. Cough syrup is really sticky, and you definitely don’t want any residue on your ornament. Next, I had to create a hole in the middle of the flat part of the cup. To make this easier and to prevent the cup from cracking, I put a small bit of painter’s tape over the spot where I wanted the hole. I used a drill to create the hole, but you could also use a sharp nail and a little pressure.

To create the silver rim, I used some Mod Podge and sparkles. You can use glue, but I used Mod Podge since it was what I had on hand. Using two paper plates, I poured a tiny amount of Mod Podge and sparkles into each plate. Then I simply dipped the edges of the cup into the Mod Podge, then rolled it around in the plate of sparkles. Allow the rim to dry for at least an hour.

To make the bell function, I used a 5-inch length of embroidery floss and a bead. Folding the floss in half, I tied a knot with the ends. Then I threaded the bead to rest on the knot. I had to use a small amount of hot glue to keep the bead steady since the bead I used had a large hole. Then, I threaded the floss through the hole at the top of the measuring cup. I used a paper clip to help me get the thread through the tiny hole. Using some more hot glue, glue the thread in place, making sure that the bead is hanging about halfway down the bell.

Tie the ends together to hold the bead in place. Use a bit of hot glue inside the bead to keep the bead from slipping through.
Hot glue the thread in place.

Once the glue is dried, it’s time to decorate! This is where you can get really creative. Since the bells are tiny, i cut a piece of plastic pine sprig up into bits. I took two tiny bits of pine and glued them on either side of the top of this bell. Then added a bow.

For another bell, I dipped the ends of the pine sprigs into Mod Podge and sprinkled the ends with some more glitter. I simply poked the ends of the pine into a small block of floral foam and then dipped away. The floral foam makes a perfect holder to allow the Mod Podge to dry.

Poke the ends of the pine sprig pieces into floral foam.
Dip in glue and pour sprinkles over it. Presto! Icy pine sprigs!

I love taking something destined for the trash and turning it into treasure. Who knew cough syrup measuring cups could look so fancy? Most of the items I used for this craft were scraps from my craft room, so it cost next to nothing. I hope this craft inspires you to find something in your medicine cabinet, or anywhere in your home, and turn it into something special.

Winter Box with Lights

This past Christmas season I was shopping at TJ Maxx looking for some last-minute items for stocking stuffers. In the long, winding checkout line, a small white box caught my eye. It was made from lightweight balsam wood and had a simple snowflake stamped on it. At $7.99, I decided to throw it on top of my pile of Christmas purchases. By the time I was pulling my car out of the parking lot, I was plotting what to do to make this simple box something warm and inviting for the cold months ahead.

This project is a perfect January craft since you can acquire most of the items just after the holidays when discounts and steals are aplenty. Plus, who says the lights all have to away just because the holidays are over? I was able to get three bundles of pinecones at my local Stop & Shop on sale for only $6. The blue and silver berry picks came from Joann Fabrics and were 80% off. The floral foam and pine sprigs were on sale for 70% off at Michael’s craft store. Lastly, I used a string of 50 white lights to give the box a warm glow.

A necessary evil.

Disclaimer: Cinnamon-scented pinecones: I hate them with a passion. Unscented pinecones are available, but at the time I was shopping for this project just after Christmas, I couldn’t find any. Every Christmas season I dread the arrival of the bins of scented pinecones that fill the front of the local grocery stores. The smell is overwhelming, and I want to gag. If you’re like me, don’t despair. When you single out the bundles of scented pinecones, they don’t smell so bad. Plus, after a while, they lose their scent completely. Since the grocery store was having such a great deal on the pinecones, I decided to suck it up and buy them, although I did leave the windows of my car open a crack so I wouldn’t get a headache from the smell while I drove home.

Okay, now that I got that off of my chest, let’s get crafting! To begin, I cut the floral foam blocks to fit into the box. I recommend doing this over a table since the floral foam makes a lot of dust. Next, I arranged the pinecones on top of the foam and moved them around until I found just the right look. Then it was time to get the hot glue gun.

I covered the bottom of the pinecones in a healthy amount of hot glue to keep them secure on the floral foam. Letting them set for at least a half hour, I then untangled the string of 50 white lights. Lights with green wire is best since it’s much easier to hide. Keeping the plug-end of the lights hanging over the edge, I carefully wove the lights between the pinecones. Once the lights were placed, it was time to fill it all in with some pine branches and accents.

Since the box I had was small, I only needed one large pick of greenery. I pulled out the individual sprigs from the pick, then I stuffed them between the pinecones, adding a dab of hot glue to the ends of the branches to keep them secure.

Cut or pop off the individual sprigs.
After adding pine sprigs.

To finish the wintry look, I cut up a few picks of white and blue berries to add a touch of color to the light box. Before gluing them down, I first placed the berries to see where they would fit best. I cut the blue berries individually and the white ones in groups of three to keep the look consistent.

Using wire cutters or scissors, cut off small bunches or individual berries for accents.

When I finished, I kept the box lit all afternoon. The (thankfully faint) smell of cinnamon filled my sitting room as the warmth of the lights heated the pinecones. The whole project took only an afternoon to complete. The box looks beautiful on my hearth. I was lucky enough to find this crate at the store, but most craft stores carry unpainted crates that could easily be painted just like this one. Keep warm this winter, and keep crafting!

Personalized Wooden Gift Tags

For this holiday month, I wanted to share a super simple craft. The best part is that it’s also an inexpensive one. Even though the holidays are a busy time, I like to try to add something crafty to everything I give to let the recipient know I care. Recently, while I was perusing Amazon, I came across a set of laser-cut ornaments for just under $15. I was looking for something to jazz up my gift bags this year, and I thought these shapes would make for great name tags.

The set came with twelve ornaments of different Christmas shapes, red & white string to hang them and jingle bells of different colors.  After deciding who in my family would get each shape, I went to my craft room for some acrylic paint.

Paint used for this project
Diamond Dotz used for this project

Diamond Dotz and paint used:

White: Craft Smart paint in white and Diamond Dotz #8002

Green: DecoArt Americana in evergreen and Diamond Dotz #8230

Red: DecoArt Americana in Alizarin Crimson and Diamond Dotz #8042

Silver: DecoArt Americana in Silver Morning and Diamond Dotz #7005

Blue: Americana in Winter Blue and Diamond Dotz #8125

After painting two coats of paint onto the ornaments, I matched up the colors to Diamond Dotz. The Diamond Dotz would not only make the ornaments pop, but they would catch all the lights on the Christmas Tree and really dazzle.

To personalize some of the ornaments, I printed out the initials of my family using Word. For the smaller ones like the stocking, I drew freehand with a fine-tipped Sharpie marker. You can use stencils if you wish, but I simply used Word to pick the font I wanted and the size that would work. Then I cut out the letters and carefully traced them with a pencil onto the painted ornaments.

Next it was time to prepare the ornaments for the Diamond Dotz. I used Aleene’s tacky glue for this part. After applying a thick coat, I wanted until glue was completely translucent (about 1-2 hours). For the reindeer and stocking, I decided not to cover the ornament in Dotz and to instead add a touch of sparkle. When the glue was ready, I started adding Diamond Dotz to the monogram letters first. Then, starting at the edge and working my way in, I added the rest of the Dotz. Since the ornaments were small, it only took the length of a Hallmark movie to complete.

When I was done, I used the string provided by the craft kit to hang them onto each gift bag. The tags made it easy for me to see who got what. I even used the colorful jingle bells! Giving something thoughtful for the holidays doesn’t have to mean spending a ton of money. Most times making someone feel special only takes a little bit of time and creativity. That’s what makes crafting so great. Happy Holidays!