Snow Party

Over the winter break my boys and I had a snow party. A great way to celebrate the winter, any time of year!

Snow Party

The Snow Party Included:

Snowy Decor

Food:
Donuts on Sticks
Cakes
Cookies

Activities:
Snowball Fight
LCR with Snowballs
Coffee Filter Snowflakes
Borax Snowflakes

Party Favors
Mini Snow Dough Jars

Snowy Decor

For the Snowy Decor, I put down a blue plastic tablecloth, with snowflakes I cut with the Silhouette. Here is the snowflake file I used.

supplies for snowball backdrop

For the backdrop, I hung white plastic tablecloth, and strung styrofoam balls onto yarn using a doll needle…

pierce ball with needle

And sprayed with glitter blast.

spray with glitter dust

Then hung in front of the white.

snowball party decor

I also hung these large snowflakes cut with the silhouette from the ceiling.

snow decor

Snow Party Food

For the food, I picked out some white treats. Just simple and sugary.

cakes-and-cookies

I also skewered donuts and donut holes onto bamboo skewers and put them in a vase – food that doubles as decor!

Snow Party Activities

We had a snowball fight with our no-melt snowballs.

throwing snowballs

And played Left, Center, Right (a dice game – find it at Target in the games section), using pom poms as chips.

snowball left center right

We played for about 30 minutes, and the kids loved it! My 3 year old had no problem understanding how the game worked – and even ended up winning!

playing left center right with pom pom snowballs

Coffee Filter snowflakes are simple to make, and cost almost nothing. You just need scissors and coffee filters.

supplies for coffee filter snowflakes

Fold the filter in half, then in thirds.

fold coffee filter into thirds

Then cut away. The more cuts, the prettier your snowflake will be.

coffee filter snowflakes

coffee filter snowflakes

Making Borax snowflakes was lots of fun.

Borax Crystal Snowflake

You’ll need:

supplies for borax crystals

Mason Jar
Borax
Scissors
White Pipecleaners
Measuring Spoons
Pencil
String
Boiling Water

Cut the pipecleaner into 3 sections. Make sure the sections are shorter than the diameter of the jar.

cut pipecleaner

Twist together to make the snowflake. Tie a string to the top.

twist together pipe cleaner

Measure 3 Tablespoons of Borax into the jar, then fill with boiling water (kids don’t get to help with this part!). Stir with the pencil, then hang the pipecleaner snowflake in the jar. Allow to sit overnight.

making borax crystals

The next day, you’ll have gorgeous crystals!

finished borax crystals

And, of course, we needed snowy favors, so I made snow dough.

Snow Dough Party Favors

You’ll need:
2 cups Cornstarch
1/2 cup iridescent Glitter
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil

supplies for snow dough

 

Mix ingredients.

mix snow dough together

Put the snow dough into jars.

I used mini jars I found in the wedding section of the craft store.

fill-jars-with-snow-dough

I foiled the snow dough labels. Here is the printable snow dough label file I used, printed on a laser printer onto OL1762 from Online Labels .com.

snow dough labels

I then used a laminator and Thermoweb Decofoil (in blue) to foil the labels.

run foil through machine

foiled snow dough labels

It adds the perfect touch!

finished snow dough favors

The party didn’t take too long to put together, and the kids loved it! They’ll be asking for a snow party every winter!

snowball party decor

 

No-Melt Snowballs

Want a snowball fight? These no-melt snowballs are perfect for an indoor snowball fight, any time of year!

no melt snowballs

To make these snowballs, you’ll need:

supplies for snowballs

Polyfil Batting
Scissors
Yarn
Rice
Aluminum Foil

Cut squares of Aluminum foil about 6″x6″.

put on rice

Put 1-2 tbsp in the center of each piece. Crinkle into a ball.

Place the ball onto a strip of batting.

strip of batting

Roll up the foil in the strip of batting.

wrap with batting

Wrap with yarn to secure.

wrap with yarn

Tie off the end, trim and tuck the ends.

tie off ends

Then, snowball fight!

throwing-snowballs-3

throwing-snowballs-2

throwing-snowballs-1

The Ultimate Cookie Exchange Recipe Guide

This is the ultimate cookie exchange recipe list. These cookies are all delicious, and there is something here that almost everyone can eat. There are options that are dairy-free, and egg free, and gluten free. If you’d like additional gluten-free options, add Rice Krispies Treats, or baggies of Muddy Buddies (made with Corn Chex).

The ultimate plate of Christmas Cookies! These 6 cookie recipes, and one perfect decorator icing recipie will help you make the perfect plate of holiday cookies. Tips for making all the cookies yourself over 2 days - or divide up the recipes among friends for the ultimate cookie exchange!

I like to add a chocolate-chip cookie to my plate of cookies as well. You can go with whatever your favorite recipe is. I like the one on the back of the Costco brand chocolate chips, but if you’re looking for a more festive cookie, try the pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies.

You can make all these cookies yourself in about 2 days. Or, you can divide the recipes up among a group of friends, each make a couple batches, and share at a cookie exchange party. I put these cookies on a simple decorated plate from the dollar store.

Tip: If you’re going to make all of these cookies yourself, make sure that you have enough ingredients on hand, flour, sugar, eggs, and butter all go fast when making this many cookies! Also, start with the Sugar Cookie and {Almost} Speculaas recipes, because these doughs need to be refrigerated/frozen. I usually make these doughs the night before my big day of baking. I also like to make my chocolate chip cookie dough the night before. I make a double-batch, and freeze tablespoon fulls on sheets of parchment paper. The next day, I throw the balls of dough into a zip-seal bag, and have dough ready to go.

At the end of the first day, I make the meringues. Because it is best for them to slowly cool as the oven cools (so they dry out), I bake these at the end of the first day. When they are done baking, I turn off the oven, and let them sit as I clean up the kitchen and get ready for day two… then I can put them in airtight containers overnight.

The Ultimate plate of Christmas Cookies

 

Meringues

These meringues are simple to make – they’re light, and fluffy, and melt-in-your-mouth sweet! They look fancy on any cookie plate. If you hate tossing out egg yolks, you can poach them and chop them up to sprinkle on salads.

2 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees

On high speed, beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Slowly and steadily, add the sugar while continuing to whisk. Then slowly whisk in the vanilla.

Transfer mix into a large pastry bag with a large star attachment, or a large zip top bag (cut the corner off the zip-top bag). On a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, form mounds, each about the size of a tablespoon, and at least 2 inches apart. Bake at 25o degrees for 40-45 minutes. Do not allow them to brown – if you start to see golden edges, turn off the oven!

When they are done baking, turn off the oven but do not remove the cookie sheets. Allow to sit in the oven as the oven cools, or for about 2 hours. Remove and store in air-tight storage containers.

 

{Almost} Speculaas

This egg-free cookie dough is the closest I’ve found to a traditional Dutch Speculaas Cookie Recipe, and uses ingredients you can find at most American grocery stores. I prefer it to traditional gingerbread. It has a great spiced flavor, and is perfect for the holidays. For the uninitiated, I compare it to a spiced shortbread cookie.

1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c hot water
1 C unsalted butter, softened
4 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mace
1/8 tsp cloves

Dissolve baking soda in water. Beat with butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add dry ingredients until combined. Divide into 3 parts. Place each part on an 18″ length of plastic wrap, and form into a log about 2.5″ in diameter. Wrap tightly, twisting ends. Freeze 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove one log from the freezer, using a sharp kitchen knife, cut log into slices about 1/4″ thick. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 12 to 14 minutes. Repeat with additional logs.

 

Sveta

This recipe is a family recipe. It was given to me by my in-laws, passed down from family friends. It is a Slav cookie recipe, perfect for the holidays! The Nucoa is non-dairy, making these a great dairy-free cookie option.

1 cube Nucoa (margarine)
1 1/2 C sugar
6 eggs
3 C flour
3 1/2tsp baking powder
2 tsp anise extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1/4 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream Nucoa and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add in dry ingredients and mix well. Add in extracts. Mix until incorporated. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. When done, the cookies will be soft, and slightly brown around the edges. Sprinkle warm cookies with powdered sugar and allow to cool.

 

D’Amaretti Biscotti

This biscotti recipe, and the one below, are family favorites. Make these two, wrap them up, and you’ll be asked for them year after year! Though biscotti is twice-baked, that doesn’t mean it is twice as hard to make! It is a delicious cookie that stores well for gift giving.

3 1/4 C Flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
3 eggs (plus one egg white)
2 tsp lemon peel, finely shredded
1 tsp anise extract
1/2 C toasted and chopped hazelnuts (if you really can’t find them, you can use almonds, if you must)

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly Grease cookie sheet.

Combine dry ingredients, set aside. Beat butter and sugar, then beat in eggs, lemon peel, and anise extract. Slowly add dry ingredients until well incorporated. Stir in nuts.

Divide douh in half, form into two logs on the cookie sheet, each about 12″ x 2″ x 1″. Beat egg white until foamy and brush over the top.

Bake 20-25 minutes until light brown. Allow logs to cool to the touch. Then cut with a serrated knife at a 45 degree angle into slices, each about 1/2″ thick (like cutting French bread). Lay slices open-faced on a baking sheet. Put them back in the oven for 10 minutes, turning at 5-6 minutes. Let cool. Store in air-tight container.

 

Biscotti Toscani

This biscotti has the extra step of adding a layer of chocolate to one side, making it both delicious and fancy-looking! When you are done adding the chocolate, turn the leftover melted chocolate into hot cocoa! Add 1 cup of milk, a tablespoon of brown sugar, a dash of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Microwave for a minute, stir, microwave for 30 more seconds, and enjoy!

1/2 C Whole Almonds
1/3 C Butter, softened
3/4 C White Sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
2 tsp Grated Orange Zest
2 1/4 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 C semisweet chocolate chips

Bake nuts in 325 degree oven about 8 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Allow to cool, then rough chop so the almonds are cut once or twice each.

Lightly grease cookie sheet.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and orange zest. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add nuts. DO NOT ADD CHOCOLATE CHIPS.

Split dough into two halves. Place each half on cookie sheet, and form into logs. Each log should be about 1/2″ thick and 12 inches long. Keep them at least 2 inches apart, they will expand a little in baking. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow logs to cool to the touch. Then cut with a serrated knife at a 45 degree angle into slices, each about 1/2″ thick (like cutting French bread). Lay slices open-faced on a baking sheet. Put them back in the oven for 10 minutes, turning at 5-6 minutes. Let cool.

Melt chocolate in microwave. Use a spoon to spoon about 1 tbsp onto one side of each cookie, use the back of the spoon to spread it across and to the edges. Allow chocolate to set. Store in air-tight containers.

 

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe

These sugar cookies are tender and sweet – and keep their shape when cut out with cookie cutters. Decorate using the royal flow icing recipe below, or with your favorite frosting and sprinkles.

1 C Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 1/2 C Sugar
2 eggs (room temp)
1/4 C Sour Cream
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tsp Almond Extract
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
4 1/2 C All Purpose Flour

In mixer on high speed, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs until well incorporated. Add Sour Cream and Extracts. Slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until dough no longer sticks to sides, then STOP! Knead the rest of the way by hand on a lightly floured surface if needed. Do not overmix – this makes the dough tough.

Divide dough into 3 parts, form each part into a ball, then flatten into a 1″ thick disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Once the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out dough to about 1/4″ thick. Cut out with cookie cutters, and transfer to cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 8-11 minutes until edges are *just* starting to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and move cookies to cooling racks. Wait until they are completely cool to decorate.

Flow Royal Icing

This icing is liquid enough to flow, but solid enough to create outlines, so you don’t need two icing consistencies to decorate your cookies! To prevent bleed, allow one color to set a little before adding a second color.

5 T of Meringue Powder (available at the craft store in the Wilton baking section)
1/2-3/4 C of water
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp vanilla extract (buy the clear stuff when you’re buying the Meringue Powder)
1 T Light corn syrup
Gel food coloring

Add the ingredients, in order, while you mix at a low speed. Once they are incorporated, beat on high for several minutes. Mixed icing should be matte colored and stiff peaked. Keep icing stored in air-tight containers until ready to use. Keep refrigerated, but allow to come to room temperature before using. Add gel food coloring to tint.

Winter Big Stitch Mini Quilt

I had to come up with a quilt to gift at our December Modern Quilt Guild meeting, and for once I didn’t wait until the last minute! I still need to add a little label to this mini quilt… but other than that, it is all done!

Making a mini quilt is a fun project, and a great gift. You don’t have to commit to a large project (or commit all the  money to a large project). It also doesn’t take the kind of time commitment a big project does, either. Which is a big deal for me. I have so many projects going that I can’t commit to another big one!

modern mini holiday quilt

I was doing some traveling last month, so I decided to quilt this one using big stitch quilting. I was able to hang out on the back patio at my mom’s house, watching the kids play in the backyard and keep her company doing yard work… and get this mini quilted up! And I think that the big stitch really adds a lot of character.

Making this mini is simple. You need:

7 charm squares (5″ squares)
3/4 yard solid fabric
Batting
Perle Cotton
Big Stitch quilting needle.

I started by cutting the charm squares in half, and lining them up to decide their order.

rectangles for mini quilt

I added a small strip of blue to one side, and a large strip to the other. I basted the top, batting, and backing, sketched on a basic snowflake design, and started stitching!

add big stitch

then trim it…

trim up mini quilt

… and bind it!

bind mini quilt

This is part of a series I’m doing with Niki from 365 Days of Crafts… sharing a new gift idea each day… and we’re having some of our blogging friends share handmade gift ideas as well! By the end of the week, we’ll have over 99 gift ideas! Check them out:

 

Holiday Table Runner

After making my Christmas Tree Quilt, I had leftover quilt squares. There are so many fun things to make with Half Square Triangles… I decided to whip these into a fun table runner. A simple quilt-as-you-go runner.

Quilt as you go table runner

I started with HSTs and strips of fabric. Batting, and backing fabric.

supplies for table runner

I stitched the HSTs into strips.

line up strips

Then used the HST strips and fabric strips to make a quilt-as-you-go runner. Trimmed it up…

trim and square up

Bound it…

stitch on bindingstitch binding to back

Quilt as you go means it is quilted and pieced at the same time!

back of table runner

easy, peasy… done!

completed table runner

Easter Tree

spring table decor

I made an Easter Tree. My husband has never heard of an Easter Tree, and my son thinks that an Easter Tree should look a lot more like a Christmas Tree… but I forged ahead. When I grew up, we had an Easter Tree on the table at Easter breakfast. I remember putting all the tiny wooden ornaments on the white branches of the little tree. So when I was at a lunch over at The Pinning Mama‘s house, and saw that she had a branch that had been cut off her tree, ready to be thrown away, I did what any crafty blogger would do. I asked if I could have it.

I took it home and spray painted it white. I used Krylon Matte paint. My branch was large – it took a whole can.

spray paint branch

When you spray paint a branch, match your strokes so they are parallel to the branch. Going up and down to paint across a vertical branch wastes a lot of paint.

I supported my branch on a couple tomato cages so that it wasn’t in the dirt. I waited about 30 minutes for the paint to dry a little, flipped it over, then painted the other side.

To display my Easter Tree, I shoved a block of Styrofoam into a large yogurt container. Then I shoved the branch into the middle of the styrofoam. The yogurt container was put inside my large glass vase, then the shredded paper was packed firmly all around that. The tree is VERY top-heavy, so I needed a lot to support the base. Instead of shredded paper, stones or glass pebbles would be a great idea to add more weight.

Now I’m in the process of making ornaments to put on the tree. I’m looking forward to coming up with lots of fun ways to decorate it!

spring decor

Behind the tree you can see my Spring Banister decor.

Spring Staircase Decor

Spring Banister

I don’t have a mantel. I don’t mind not having a fireplace, but not having a mantel does bug me. Especially when I see so many adorable mantels done up. My next house will need a fireplace, just so I can have a mantel. In the meantime, I’ve come up with some mantel substitutes. I used to use my banister to hang stockings. After we bought our china hutch, it made the perfect place to hang stockings. Though I still love banister decor.

This year, I’m having fun bringing spring into the house, so I thought that a Springy staircase would be fun! It was super simple to put together, and it adds just a little bit of color. If you pick brighter birdhouses or flowers, you could add a whole lot of color!

supplies for banister

To decorate your banister like this, you need:

Wide Burlap Ribbon
Large Gerber Daises
Mini Clothespins
Krazy Glue
Mini Birdhouses – WITH LOOPS (I had mine already painted)
Ribbon

 

 

Start by prepping the daisies. I pulled them off the stems, pulled up the green bit, added a little Krazy glue, and stuck my clothespin between the petals and green.

glue clothespins

They were done in no time.

attach clothespins

While they dried, I wrapped the bannister in burlap.

wrap burlap around banister

Twice. Just big loops around the railing. Nothing fancy.

wrap banister

To add a little color, and tie it all together a bit, I criss-crossed ribbon down and back up the bannister.

wrap ribbon around

Then I tied on the birdhouses. I used about 8″ of ribbon, and just tied them on the railing, threading the ribbon through the loop at the top of the birdhouse. If your birdhouses don’t have loops, glue the ribbon on.

add birdhouses

By now, my daises were dry, so I clipped them on the burlap.

simple spring banister

They make a great backdrop to my Easter Tree – that I haven’t shared here yet!

spring decor

Are you having fun decorating your house for Spring?

Organizing Holiday Cards: Christmas Card Book

Holiday Card Storage Book

Every year as I take down my holiday decorations, I take down the display of Christmas Cards, put them in a pile, and want to DO something with them. I love getting Christmas Cards each year (and I love sending them out, too), but after the season is over, I have no way to store them… until now! Several years ago I saw a similar idea to bind Christmas Cards into a book that can be enjoyed for years… and thanks to the inspiration brought on by this week of cleaning and organizing that I’m hosting with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage and Gina from the Shabby Creek Cottage, I have my First Annual* Christmas Card Book!

Holiday Cards

chipboard book coversTo make your own Christmas Card Book you need:
Chipboard Covers (with rings)
Mod Podge Hard Coat
Washi Tape (optional)
Scissors
Paintbrush
Hole Punch
Pen or Pencil
Ribbons (optional)
All your Holiday cards from this year
The Card you sent out this year
Your holiday letter (optional) shrunk down to size

I started by Mod Podging my card to the front cover. It was a little bigger than the cover size I chose. I could always go with a bigger cover, but I liked this size. After Mod Podging the card on, I just trimmed off the excess.

Mod Podge onto Chipboard

I had some of the chipboard showing over on the side where the holes were. I could have just left that part plain, but it felt… well… too plain. So I covered it up with some Washi Tape. Then I put Mod Podge over the washi tape to really secure it – Washi Tape has a habit of becoming un-stuck over time, and I want this book to really last.

Washi Tape and Mod Podge

I used the back cover as a template to mark where the holes needed to go on the cards.

Use cover as template

Then punched holes in the cards. I had fun with this part. I knew some of the cards were going to stick out – so I embraced it. I let cards stick out on the top, bottom, and right. Not all the cards are perfectly centered. I think it adds to the fun.

punch holes in card

I always think it is a shame that I don’t store a copy of our holiday letter somewhere. Sure, I could look it up on the computer, but what fun is that? I shrunk down our holiday letter to 60% so that it would fit on the back cover, then Mod Podged it in place. I used Mod Podge Hard Coat because I find it dries less tacky, and that will keep it from sticking to the cards as it goes into storage for the next 11 months or so.

Christmas Letter shrunk down

Once my covers were dry, I put it all together. For a little extra flair, I tied ribbons to the rings.

Store and Organize Christmas Cards in a cute book

I’m looking forward to keeping up this tradition each year, creating volumes of Christmas Cards from all of our family and friends that we can look back at.

 

*Yes, I know “First Annual” isn’t an actual “thing”. But I’m ok with that.

Holiday Home Tour

Well hello there! I thought I’d take you on a little tour of the front room, decked out for the holidays. Not the entire house… because you don’t want to see my disaster of a wrapping station, or the front room that’s looking particularly lived-in after the entire family has come down with the flu (it was a rough weekend). But I’ll give you a little peek into the mostly-un-photoshopped parts of the house that have been decorated for the holidays.

If you want to see some other bloggers’ Holiday spaces, check out this post over at Denise Designed for details on the holiday home tour.

First, our front door. I made the Ornament Bricks this year. The wreath I made years and years ago – just a simple store-bought garland wreath that I wrapped with a string of bells. I love that it jingles whenever we open the door!

The Santa mat was a gift… I love that it adds a little extra holiday ho-ho-ho!

Holiday Doorway

view of the front room

Inside the door is our Christmas tree. We move around the couches at Christmastime to fit the tree. The two rockers belong to my kiddos – they were first birthday gifts from my in-laws. My MIL also made the Santa that stands to the right of the tree. Behind Santa is an Advent Calendar that I stitched up from a fabric panel years ago – but we’ve never actually used it to count down the days to Christmas! On the back of the door is the wreath I made this year.

tree and ornaments

At the top of the tree is a simple star (my 5-year old was super excited to put the star on top of the tree this year), and just below the star are my two turtle doves. I love my doves, I’ve had them as part of my holiday decor for years.

two turtle doves

You can also see the ornaments that hang from the valences. I have ornaments from all the downstairs valences. A simple way to add decor throughout the house.

holiday decor

Hanging from the mirror is the elongated wreath I made last year, and next to it a fun sign…

small table runner

On the coffee table between the tree and the sofa is a table runner that I made back in 2010. It is a simple quilt-as-you-go runner made with strips of holiday fabric. On the runner are my Santa Candlesticks.

dancing snowglobes

Also on the coffee table are my little dancing Hallmark snowless snowglobes. I’m not sure what these are called, but Hallmark sold them years ago, with a new one coming out every week or so. I wasn’t dedicated enough to get the whole collection, but someday need to go on Ebay to get more of the set. I love these guys, and so do my kids.

You can see on the couch is a Christmas Quilt, this one made by my husband’s Auntie. She’s an avid quilter, and made this flannel quilt for us years ago. I love snuggling under it during the holidays.

end table

Between the sofas is a little endtable. I have a beaded mat, some holiday coasters, my Mason Jar with Light-up tree, and this year’s photo of the kiddos with Santa. I’m loving Viv from the V Spot’s holiday tradition of framed holiday photos that come out every year, and want to start that tradition with my boys. Although I doubt I’ll be re-painting the frames each year.

living room

Next is the china hutch. We don’t have a fireplace, so the china hutch is where we hang our stockings. Before we had the hutch, we hung our stockings from the banister.

stockings on the china hutch

I hung my simple silver ball garland between the stockings.

stockings hanging

I made the stockings 4 years ago. The names are cross-stitched by hand. The snowman image and the cross-stiched name are machine appliqued onto the stocking, which has a furry cuff.

mom and dad stocking

Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie have stockings that match ours, because they joined us for Christmas that year. The baby’s stocking was made last year to match. The fabric is a white-on-white print that doesn’t show up in the photos, but gives some subtle contrast on the fabric.

banister

Past the dining room is the banister and a snowflake hanging from the stairs that holds Christmas cards. I have decor up in the rest of the house, but I’ll save that for another day… or maybe another year.

Most of the decor in the house is up-high, or very kid friendly. With two little guys, I want them to feel like they can touch, play with, and be part of the holiday decorations. Christmas is for the kids, after all, and they shouldn’t be afraid of interacting with it… right?

Make sure you check out Denise Designed for the list of home tours, and you can also check out the Everything Christmas Pinterest Board for more inspiration!

Christmas Home Tour 2013

Gilded Holly Holiday Wreath

Gilded Holly Wreath on Always Expect Moore

Wreaths are a great way to spruce up any part of the house that has a door… but especially the front door. I love having a wreath on my front door. I think it makes it welcoming and inviting… before my guest even crosses the threshold. For the last 10 years or so I’ve used my jingle bell wreath… so this year I thought it was time for a new wreath. I whipped up this Gilded Holly Wreath in about an hour… it was simple to make, and has just the right amount of shimmer and glam, while still being simple. Totally my style – and a great way to welcome guests at my front door!

gilded holly leaf wreath suppliesTo make your own wreath you need:
Grapevine Wreath
Holly Leaves (I got mine at Consumer Crafts .com)
Martha Stewart Gilding adhesive & Gilding
Martha Stewart Decoupage in Opal
Paint brushes
Hot Glue
Ribbon

 

 

 

Start by laying out the Holly Leaves – they stick together, so make sure you get them individually laid out. Then run a line of gilding adhesive down one side of the leaf.

paint edges with gilding adhesive

Once the glue goes clear, press the leaves to the gliding sheets.

press leaves to gilding

When you lift up the leaf, if there are any bald spots, just press it back onto the gilding sheet. Once all the bald spots are covered, rub the leaf between your fingers to rub away any extra gilding.

rub off gilding

Once you have all your leaves gilded, put a light coat of decoupage over the leaves. This seals in the gilding and adds a little extra sparkle.

Decoupage over the leaves

While the decoupage dries, which won’t take that long, tie the ribbon around one side of the wreath.

tie bow

Then start gluing the leaves into place.

Hot glue on the back of leaves

I start with the leaves closest to the bow, and then move out, lifting the leaves and adding others underneath.

place leaves

To give the wreath some balance, I added some leaves on other parts of the wreath.

glue extra holly wreaths

And it was that easy!

all holly leaves in place