Posts tagged ‘decorations’

2016, November 4

Fall in a jar

So, last year around Halloween, I bought some pasta. But not just any kind of pasta, Halloween-themed pasta! It is in three different colors and they’re shaped like pumpkins, spiders and bats. So very cute!

I’ve only tried cooking them once, and albeit still cute after done, they are so awful-tasting I had to throw them away.
I kept the left over pasta in the bag though, figuring I might try to use it for some kind of DIY project. And that day has come!

It’s a bit difficult to decorate the apartment with a way-too-curious and mischievous kitty underfoot, so for Christmas two years ago, I made a jar ornament (I’ll write about that one in December.) And it was perfect – no kitty attack whatsoever!
Two days ago, I remembered that little DIY project when rescuing the chestnut and acorn bowl from falling off the shelf due to curious paws, and decided to try the same for a fall-themed decoration. Here’s how I did it.

fall-in-a-jar page-fall-in-a-jar

Fall in a jar

jar with a lid, to your liking in size
Halloween-themed pasta
chestnuts
acorns
tea candle
crafting paper

Wash your jar out well, and remove any labels from its side. Mine was a huge pickle jar which I wrapped in a wet towel to soften the labels, then ran it under the tap and used a kitchen brush to rub the labels and adhesive off.
Let it dry thoroughly.

Add the pasta as a first layer, then place the chestnuts and acorns on top. Place the tea candle in the middle. I love that you can even burn the candle if you want, and then put it out by screwing the lid on.

Screw on the jar’s lid.
Mine wasn’t a single color, so I cut out and glued on a round piece of crafting paper to cover up the pickle brand’s name on the jar lid. It just so happens that it’s a Halloween poem, so it adds even more to the Fall feel of the decoration.

Place your jar on a side table or where ever you like, and enjoy the Fall decor.

PS: of course, you can skip adding pasta or any of the above mentioned and use what ever Fall things you have laying around. The possibilities are endless.

Happy crafting ;)

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2014, December 20

Simple holiday decor ideas that will survive a kitty attack

xmas kitten proof 3

When I first started thinking about holiday decorating at home and at my boyfriend’s, I was a bit concerned about the latter.

As you may have seen from my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts, we have a really cute, but at-times-beyond-hyper kitty, Pixel. Almost nothing is out of reach unless shut behind a cabinet door, and everything is easily turned into a toy. A toy which usually gets destroyed in five minutes or less if we don’t notice in time. And we usually don’t.

I started searching for ideas of Christmas decorating when one has pets around. The tips I found were good, but not fully applicable for our case. We live in an open plan apartment, which means that Pixel can get into and onto anything and everything.

There are no tips out there for leaving a kitty alone with all the holiday decorations up while the owners are at work and out of the house for 10 plus hours.

This whole thing got me thinking. We’d just have to be creative when it came to holiday decorating this year. And I’m sharing below just how we achieved it.

xmas kitten proof 1

Simple holiday decor ideas that will survive a kitty attack:

Keep it simple. And I do mean Simple with a capital “S”!
Go for an easy yet effective design which will still be festive, but won’t grab your cat’s attention too much.
We’re going for the “Hmm, a new thing’s placed there, let’s see what it is. It doesn’t sparkle. I can’t make it move around much. Doesn’t smell interesting. Okay, I’ll go sleep now.” reaction from your cat.

Go with a small fake tree, and place it out of the cat’s reach.
Also, if you have a real pine center piece, only leave it on tables or nightstands when you’re at home, and place them out of reach before leaving the house.
You wouldn’t want your cat nibbling on real pine while you’re at work all day long (it’s toxic if ingested in larger amounts).

For the Christmas tree avoid using tinsel, glittery and breakable ornaments.
I found that using simple clothespin ornaments, plastic or metal balls, or securing the ornaments to the branches with a ribbon works perfectly. You can also use homemade decorations like salt dough ones, dried fruit and cinnamon sticks, nuts and pine cones – these usually won’t get a second glance (especially dried fruit, kitties dislike citrus-y aromas) and even if they do, they’re not expensive to replace.
Add bells, if your cat is afraid of the sound they make; or use them as a precaution so they’ll alert you if the tree is being tampered with.

Place decoration out of reach.
Decorate mantels, shelves, window sills and other areas your cat doesn’t get to. You can safely display holiday photos and Christmas cards you receive, Christmas stockings, and breakable decorations this way.
Hang wintery and Christmas-themed paintings, wreaths and simple garlands on the walls and doors.
Plants on window sills will get a festive feel from some bows over the pots, Christmas themed planters and plant stakes.
Secure Christmas lights by lining the window frame with them for a both indoor and outdoor decoration. Use the “all lights ON” setting instead of letting them twinkle on their own.

Make some jar ornaments, which you can leave even at your cat’s reach.
You can create very cute decorations with jars, using even your favorite glass ornaments, since your cat won’t be able to touch them after you place the lid on. You can even add tea lights to light inside them and place the lid back on once burnt, or go with battery-powered tea lights. If you have snow spray, go ahead and add a few puffs of it into the jars.
Just make sure they’re not someplace they can get knocked off from too easily.

Decorate with throw pillows and blankets.
Fun, Christmas and winter themed pillows and blankets are all around us in stores especially during winter and right before Christmas, and other than give your home a holiday feel, they’re also quite comfy, warm and snuggly.
You can even make your own sweater pillow cases.
The worst your cat will do with these is get all comfy and have a good long sleep on top of them.
Choose some Christmas themed table cloths for the dining area, dishtowels, oven mitts, aprons and refrigerator magnets for the kitchen, towels and fun-shaped soap for the bathroom.

Have pine cones and fruit on tables and counters using Christmas themed bowls and plates for them. Same goes for the cookies! Don’t leave them out overnight or when you leave for work though, if your cat might knock them to the ground. (We’ve fished apples out from under the kitchen cabinet before.)
Christmas themed dishware in general will give a more festive feel to your meal time. If you feel like it, buy a new bowl for your cat, too, to use during the holidays.

Light scented candles, or use aromatherapy oils. There are tons of candles out there you can buy! Scents like cinnamon, pine, apple, oranges, cloves, peppermint and vanilla are all great! You can even make your own natural room scents.
Also, cats usually won’t go near lit candles.

Place Christmas themed books on shelves and on coffee tables.
You surely have a couple of Christmas novels or anthologies laying around, and also craft or cookbooks. The colorful covers will decorate all on their own when placed on shelves with the front cover showing or all the Christmas themed ones placed together, stacked up on coffee tables, and in baskets.

xmas kitten proof 2

Do you guys have pets? How do you decorate so that they don’t destroy everything? Or have they already grown out of that habit?

Hope you enjoyed my tips! ;-)

2013, December 22

Writer’s & Book Lover’s Christmas Tree – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 2013 is close to an end, and I am reading more (have already completed my reading challenge), especially seasonal books. Not sure why I haven’t had as many on hand in past years, but this year I’m going all out!

At the moment, I am reading “A Cup Of Cozy”, a collection of short Christmas mysteries and holiday recipes, and I’m loving every piece of fiction – not to mention the recipes – in it! It is currently free for Kindle (at the time of writing this, 22.12.2013). The price doesn’t even begin to give it value, so I highly recommend you download a copy ASAP!

Speaking of reading and of books…

I think I saw my very first book Christmas tree three years ago (I know that I have shared one in my X-Mas greeting blog post in 2010). Needless to say, I have wanted one of my own ever since!

Today I took a little while and gave it a try. Now finished, I am absolutely in love with my little book Christmas tree and how personalized it is to me! <3

Let me know if you’ve ever built one, and do share pictures if you have any!

book christmas tree-1

Writer’s & Book Lover’s Christmas Tree

As many books as you can find
A string of lights and any other decorations you desire
Your patience; but it’s worth it!

Start by sorting your books depending on size. I found that it helps a lot to know where to look, when needing to even out surfaces.

Then, start stacking your books by creating a larger base and working your way up to its top.

Not sure what other advice to give you except to just start stacking the books and you’ll see as you go how it shapes up, where you might need to re-stack, and what books to add next – our libraries are vastly different.

When you’re happy with how your book tree looks, decorate with lights, tinsel, garlands and any other decoration you desire.

(I topped mine off with a little snowman I received from a friend, and my “Know where you’re @” bookmark.)

Happy book-tree building! ;)

2013, December 21

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments –part 2- #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1Like I said yesterday, when bringing into your home the huge boxes marked “X-Mas” after a year and awaiting them to again become the center of attention, you might be surprised by your findings.

Some of your ornaments might need a fresh look.

Below are the ornaments I upcycled today. They look beyond cute!
I finished eight yesterday, and had four more ornaments to upcycle this morning.
To my luck, I also found some Lace to “dress” a couple of them and after finishing those, wondered what to do with the last two ornaments.

I wanted something interesting, something fitting for a writer!

Thought I’d give decoupage a try this time and made a few writerly ornaments with some calligraphy on them.
What do you think? Every writer’s dream? ;)

decoupage christmas ornament

Writerly Christmas Tree Ornaments

old Christmas ornaments
decoupage paper, rice paper or napkins
scissors
ribbon
other decoration if needed

As a base, cover the whole surface of the ornament with dull hobby paint (or glue) in a few layers.
Cut the desired pattern as accurately as possible.
Separate the calligraphy patterned napkin, only the top layer will be needed the pattern part, the rest of the napkin can be disposed of.
After the primer dull paint coat has dried, brush a coat of adhesive varnish on the entire surface.

Then gently place the cut napkin pattern and smooth out any wrinkles. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, it gives a more antique look if it’s a bit wrinkly.
Coat the entire surface once more when you are done, so the napkin will be completely covered with adhesive paint.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 20

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 When bringing into your home the huge boxes marked “X-Mas” after a year and awaiting them to again become the center of attention, you might be surprised by your findings.

There might be Christmas ornaments in those boxes which don’t end up on your tree when decorating. They might have outgrown your style, you might not like their color, or you might have gotten bored with them, even though they bring nice memories of Christmases past.

Let’s fix that with only a few easy steps! ;)

I’m sure you have scrap pieces of fabric laying around, maybe lace, old knitted socks or scarves. Working at the curtain shop, I found quite a few fabric scraps I brought home just because. As soon as I saw some of my ornaments, I knew just what I could do to bring them to new life while putting to good use my fabrics.

page fabric ornaments

To my luck, I also found some lace to “dress” a few of these.

lace fabric ornament

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments

old Christmas ornaments
fabric scraps
scissors
ribbon
other decoration if needed

Cut squares of fabric two inches larger than your ornaments.

Wrap gently around the ornaments, pulling the edges towards the top.

Secure with a ribbon and tie bows, add leaves, buttons, dried berries or other decoration if needed.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 14

Adorable Sock Snowmen – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 For the second day of my #12DaysOfDIY, I thought to present to you the making of some adorable sock snowmen.

This time of year, we’re flooded with Santa’s, Angles, and Reindeer, Polar Bears, Penguins, Snowmen and the alike – complete with Santa hats and full winter attire – in shop displays, on TV and home decoration.
Of all, Snowmen are my favorite! Sure Santa’s have their flair – I mean, they do bring presents to all the good little boys and girls, right?

Still, for some reason, Snowmen are the ones that truly melt my heart into a puddle.

I came across many, many ideas on Pinterest (here’s my X-Mas inspiration board), but finally settled down to give the one from {then she made} a go. The snowmen made there looked simplest, and flat out adorable!

page - sock snowmen

Adorable Sock Snowmen

Cut off the top of the sock from the foot. Turn the sock inside out and attach a rubber band tightly to the top of the sock. Then turn the sock right-side out again.

Fill the sock with rice. Make sure to pack it down as you go so the sock gets a nice round base. Rubber band the top of the sock closed and put another rubber band 3/4 of the way to the top for the head of your snowman.

For decoration, tie a scarf around your snowman’s neck and add eyes, nose, and buttons. You can use sewing or map pins for eyes and holding the little scarves in place.

Sew or glue on your buttons, and add embellishments if needed, like twine, bows, ribbons, etc.

Use the toe of your cut socks to fashion a stocking cap. Or use colored argyle socks to create hats and sweaters for your snowman, as seen at {then she made}.

This is such a quick and easy craft that it would be simple to create a whole family of snowmen for your mantle!

2013, December 9

Mandarin Orange Candles or Candle Holders – & the Advent Wreath I made with them

(How’s that for a long title? Not sure I had one this long a blog post title before. And I am positive I haven’t had any blog posts start with a parenthesis. Anyhoo) ;)

These past few weeks sped by in a blur, and I am desperately trying to hold on to my creativity and make time for crafty endeavors. My sanity is on the line here.

So when it dawned on me on Friday, November 29th, that Sunday, December 1st, was not only here faster than I thought it would be but also the first Advent Sunday and I had only one day to think of what our Advent Wreath would look like this year… I kinda panicked. Okay I’ll admit. I fully panicked.

The wreath itself I had from previous years, but the candles I wanted to make more special. One afternoon was not enough time to come up with something interesting, shop for supplies and also get two of them done – one for us, one for the grandparents. Among everything else I needed to get done that weekend (my To-Do List had 16 items on it already!)

But guess what? Pinterest was really helpful. I recalled an idea I pinned during fall, and went to search for it in my boards (more on Pinterest and how I use it, in a following post.) I found what I was looking for and with a little planning ahead for the following day, managed to: go to work, go supply shopping, go back to work and set the which alarm both my colleague and I completely forgot about, go home and get to work. It was also a life saver that my mom really liked the idea and wanted to help, so we worked in parallel and finished the Advent wreath in no time.

Here’s the step-by-step :)

page mandarin orange candles

page mandarin orange candle advent wreath

mandarin orange candle holders

Mandarin Orange Candles or Candle Holders and an Advent Wreath made with them

Wash the Mandarin Oranges well and dry with a dish towel. This is important, since you can eat the fruit itself later.

You can use any citrus fruit really, as long as they don’t roll around. I needed them smaller-sized and orange-colored, but would’ve loved to try with limes if they weren’t green.

With a sharp knife, cut the peel around the orange so that it doesn’t cut the fruit inside. Set aside the “top” if you want to.

Take a tea spoon and carefully try to detach the fruit from the peels, loosening it more and more deeply. When you get to the “bottom”, you’ll be able to free the fruit in two halves (but no worries if you can’t and it tears, it’s just as tasty) ;)

If the fruit tore, set the empty orange peel with the top down on a paper towel until you work on the rest.

Next, you can either melt wax into the orange peels using this method, or use tea candles instead.

Given the lack of time to start melting wax into the orange peels, I
filled them with rice (kinda looks like snow for a winter-y effect) and added tea candles.

I placed pine branches into my existing wreath “outlines”, then placed the ready mandarin orange candle holders within and added some walnuts, cinnamon sticks, hazelnuts and ribbon for decoration.

Optionally place the tops back on, and take them off as you light one candle each Advent Sunday.

And of course, you can make any other type of arrangement with these, they look wonderful in any setting.

Happy crafting! ;)

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