Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year Mesh Wreath

So now that I know how to make a multi-loop bow, I thought I'd put my new skill into action.  What better way than to embellish my Happy New Year Mesh Wreath with a layered bow.  First things first, the mesh wreath...                  

I'm ready to put away the Christmas decorations and spruce up my front entrance.  I decided to try my hand at making a mesh wreath.  The leopard and peacock ribbons which I found at Hobby Lobby for 60% off were my inspiration.  You can see the leopard ribbon in my Basic Bow Making post.  The other ribbon is a chartreuse green with a peacock design.  So pretty!  When I picked these up, I still wasn't sure what I would do for my front door decor.  It all came together when I came across the metal frames and mesh ribbons.  I chose a teal mesh ribbon that has a little sparkle.  The teal color is also in peacock feather detail on the ribbon.

Materials needed:

-16" metal frame for mesh wreath (near floral department in Hobby Lobby)
-wide mesh roll in teal blue
-two coordinating ribbons
-1-2 packages chenille stems (pipe cleaners) in blue 
-3 peacock feathers
-1 other feather 
-small metal chalkboard on a post


1.  Cover frame with mesh ribbon using chenille stems to attach.  I used entire roll overlapping where I'd previously tied ribbon.  It will be nice and full.

2.  Make two 8 loop bows, one without small inner loop.  The bow without inner loop will be behind other bow with inner loop.  I made the leopard bow w/o inner loop and my peacock ribbon bow with a small inner loop.  I layered peacock ribbon bow in front of leopard bow and used chenille stem to attach together.

3.  Attach bow to upper left corner of wreath.  Trim ends of ribbon.

4.  Take 3 peacock feathers (stems up, feathers down) holding in "A" shape.  Place different (shorter) feather in middle overlapping center peacock feather.  Attach together with chenille stem.  Place on wreath by threading through center loop of bow.

5.  Using a gold paint pen, write Happy New Year on chalkboard stake.  Add to middle of wreath so post angles toward lower left side of wreath and sign shows.  The stake will actually slide through frame tightly so you don't have to use wire or chenille stem. 

That's it!  Your wreath is ready to hang your door.  When I was picking up the supplies for this project, the lady at Hobby Lobby had a great idea.  She said this blue mesh base would be perfect for a summery wreath by adding a fun ribbon and a cute pair of flip flops.  That's something to look forward to and I like the idea of reusing the mesh wreath for another season/holiday.  

So, stop "meshing" around aready and get busy making a new door wreath to kick off a fresh new year.  Cheers! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Basic Bow Making

A few weeks before Christmas my sister popped over for a quick visit.  The first thing she commented on was the red bow on my door wreath.  I'm embarrassed to say that said bow is the off-the-rack mass produced variety (cringe) that you see in over-abundance on the holiday decorations aisle.  I wanted a punch of holiday red even if it was made out of the stiff, felt-like but almost plasticy material.  It had a nice color and shape (or so I'd convinced myself).  My sister asked why I used that bow instead making my own. Hmmm.  Well, truth be told - I had no earthly idea how to even begin making a big, multi-loop bow worthy to be displayed prominently on a wreath.                                              
I had a plan to to remedy my ugly bow dilemma.  I knew the perfect person to help me become a bow-making aficionado - my mother-in-law.  After so many years of knowing her, you'd think I would have taken advantage of her vast bow-making knowledge.  Once upon a time she made floral arrangements professionally and has bow-making down to an art.  So the weekend before Christmas, she gave me my first official bow-making lesson.  It's a lot easier than you might think!  There's even a link to my video tutorial at the end of the post.

The bow on the left is the one I originally had on my wreath.  Ugh - what was I thinking?  The bow on the right is the bow I made by hand.  Yeah - that's more like it!

When you look at the bows side by side, there is no argument that the handmade bow is far prettier and fuller than the store bought variety.  Wire-edged ribbon makes the bow even more beautiful and flexible when twisting into shape.  

Materials needed:
- Measuring tape 
- Scissors
- Spool of ribbon (plaid ribbon above is 1.5" wide; leopard ribbon is 2.5" wide)
- Chenille stem (pipe cleaner) or florist wire (20-22 gauge) 

Written Tutorial:

Step 1:  Determine the length of tail (24" is good length) but may need to be longer depending on your project  

Step 2:  Scrunch ribbon together then twist top of ribbon toward you.

Step 3:  After twisting ribbon toward you, fold ribbon over to form first small central loop. Scrunch together and holding tightly.  Twist ribbon so right side of ribbon is showing.  (If you don't want a central loop, you can skip this and begin making larger loops at Step 4.)

Step 4:  Holding bundle with left thumb and index finder, use right hand to measure out 12" of ribbon for first loop.  Fold over and scrunch with main bundle.  Twist so right side of ribbon is facing up.

Step 5:  Repeat Step 4 for next loop 

Although it doesn't look like it in this picture, the outer large loops are 
same size (measure 12" before you fold to form loop).  

Step 6: Continue to repeat Step 4 until you have 6-8 large loops. 

Step 7:  Holding bundle tightly with left hand, measure second tail of ribbon to 24" and cut.

Step 8:  Use a chenille stem or florist wire to tightly secure bow together.  Thread through small central loop and twist to tighten. 

Step 9: Fluff out loops and trim ends as desired.  Your bow is ready!

Video Tutorial:  Check out my 5-minute YouTube video on how to make a simple multi-loop bow.  Hopefully this helps the written tutorial make more sense.  

Stay tuned for my Happy New Year Mesh Wreath.  I layered the leopard print ribbon above with a chartreuse green peacock ribbon to make a beautiful bow.  I got both at 60% off because they were in Christmas ribbon area but they could be used for a variety of projects.  Practice really does make perfect when making bows by hand.  

A special thank you goes out to Glenda aka "Nana Banana" for teaching me the steps to making a beautiful handmade bow.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rustic Wrappings

Have you started wrapping all those gifts you have stashed away?  Some of you over-achievers out there may have all your gifts purchased and wrapped!  That's impressive and something to aspire to but it most definitely won't happen for me this year (it would help if my boys stopped changing their lists!). I haven't even sent out Christmas cards!  Since it's already the 18th, I guess that ship has sailed unless it's of the electronic variety.  I could always send out Happy New Year cards...                                                    

For the few gifts I have purchased, I've continued my botanical theme with my gift wrapping.  I used the same wrapping papers that I've utilized in several Christmas crafts - Party Popper Invite, Craft Tube Ornaments, Nature in a Bottle Ornaments, and the Christmas Tablescape.

Mix textures and patterns to add interest and dimenstion to your packages.  Adding rustic elements such as jute twine, burlap ribbon, pine cones, pine fronds, and mini moss wreaths extends the nature-inspired theme.  

Love this polka dot ribbon which coordinated with all three papers -  red stripe, botanical print, and leopard print.   

As I was walking our dog yesterday afternoon, the pine trees along the walking path were loaded with an abundance of pinecones in all sizes.  I was so very tempted to collect a few (okay, a bushel) but had no means to carry them home.  These could be left completely natural, lightly sprayed with a glitter paint, or lightly flocked.  Adding a small detail like a simple pine cone adds dimension to your wrapping.  

A magnolia leaf can easily become a natural gift tag.  Write the name in metalic marker to add a touch of sparkle.   

My philosphy is to keep it simple but make it special when wrapping your Christmas (or Hanukkah) gifts.  Anyone can throw a toy or sweater in a gift bag and call it a day.  That's okay 11 months out of the year.  Christmas and Hanukkah are special though.  I think people (especially kids) really want to open a present that's wrapped.  

It doesn't have to be all-consuming or costly.  But it does take a little creativity and a little bit of time to give your holiday wrapping that special touch.  Just step outside your are sure to find a few treasures to add natural details to your gift wrapping.  Happy wrapping!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Home Tour

It was busy weekend in our household.  My husband put up the extra large Christmas wreath on the front of our house.  We have our family Christmas tree up and ready to be decorated.  My younger son and I baked Grinch Cookies to package as small gifts for friends and family.  Despite the warm temperature outside, the spirit of the season is definitely in the air.                                                     


I'd like to take you on quick photographic tour of our home this holiday season.  My focus this year has been a nature-inspired theme to celebrate the JOY of the season.  I like to pick a word for the season that resonates with me and reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas.  My sister's family has focused on "believe" as their word.  I made her a canvas chalkboard art piece to display this season.

Black canvas with chalkboard word art 

God's amazing gift of love and saving grace came down to us in the form of baby Jesus hence the song, "Joy to the world, the lord has come.  Let earth receive her king...".  More than ever, the words hold true, "Let every heart prepare Him room".  It's so easy to get caught up in the modern-day distractions during Christmastime. My hope and prayer for everyone this season is that we make room for Him and the Light he's brought into an otherwise dark world. 

I have one of the glass chalkboards I created in October on my mantle which proudly displays our theme for the season - JOY.  Because the glass chalkboard can we wiped clean, I change the word, inspirational quote, or chalkboard art design seasonally.  I plan to keep it on my mantle throughout the year.

I have such fond memories as a child of making (and eating) many yummy confections like fudge and divinity during the Christmas season.  Today, I had the joy of making cookies with my youngest son.  I found the cutest cookie recipe as I was perusing the ever-expanding world of Pinterest a few weeks ago - Grinch Cookies - originally created by Katrina at  Ours didn't turn out as perfect (or as green) as the ones she created but were adorable and delicious none the less.  

Ours flattened out while baking.  The cookies have a slight green tint but it doesn't really show in pictures.  I embraced the "flatness" of our cookies by drizzling a small amount of powdered sugar icing flavored with almond around cookie while avoiding little heart in center.  I lightly topped icing drizzles with a small amount of edible glitter.  For my next batch, I'll add another drop of green food coloring to dough, reduce amount of oil, and make my balls of dough smaller (before baking).  I have an idea for a variation of this basic recipe and hope I have time to give it a try this season.  Hint... it has to do with...oh, I just don't wanna give it away.  Check back for a post...

Directly across from our kitchen, we have a black upright piano.  It is topped with an interesting display of the Nature in a Bottle ornaments, a favorite snowglobe, a mini-sized amaryllis, and a decorative scroll tree.

As we move out of the kitchen and into our dining room, you'll see a burlap banner hanging across our bar area.  When I originally bought this, I had our mantle in mind.  I forgot all about the stockings.  So the banner took up residence in our dining room and I love it here.  It's one of the first things you see when entering our home so it sets a festive tone. 

Did you have a chance to view the Christmas Tablescape post?  My botanical themed dining room tablescape turned out even better than I expected.  Most items I already had on hand with exception of extra large faux pine cones.  I was happy to incorporate the botanical themed wrapping paper into the scheme.  

The side board in our dining room is home to a couple of the same faux pine cones, two burlap trees, and the fleur-dis-lis JOY topper which I placed in a vase.  I also wrapped this vase in the botanical wrapping paper (because pinto beans are holding the topper in place).  The paper is much more asthetically pleasing than the beans. ;-)

Our big tree is the front window of our home is nature-inspired with wide burlap mesh tucked into the tree.  I found this at Kirkland's and it was so user friendly.  I started at top of tree tucking in every 12 inches or so to make "poofs" toward the bottom.  I did this with the entire length of wide mesh at three intervals on tree.  This tree is our "pretty" tree with a natural theme of greens, browns, tan, white, gold, and silver.  It has also extra large pine cones (different and much more light weight than ones in dining room) along with birds, snowflakes, Nature in a Bottle ornaments, Craft Tube ornaments, and other traditional ornaments.  Crowning this tree is JOY word tree topper which epitomizes our seasonal theme.    

Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas will soon be there... 

Although I'm not quite finished shopping or wrapping for that matter, we have a few presents under the tree and others ready to be shipped to loved ones near and far. 

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of our home this holiday season. 


...but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said.  "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign:  You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger." 
Luke 2:10-12

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mini Moss Wreath

While I was working on yesterday's post, I had a vast collection of little round plastic rings left over from the bottles I reused in the Nature in a Bottle Ornaments.  A random and rather clever idea (if I do say so myself) just popped into my head as I stared at the mossy mess on my kitchen counter - Mini Moss Wreaths!                               

These little wreaths are so small and so cute that they just make my heart smile!  You could use these in variety of ways to add a festive holiday touch to your home:

Dangle from a potted flower or Rosemary topiary

Tie around neck of small decorative reindeer

Embellish existing art pieces 
The little wreath gives 
my deer head and "Joy" chalk art a festive touch

Add to wrapped package

Tie to post of table lamp

Embellish candle holder

Add to picture frame

Use as place card holder by adding guests initial in middle

String onto length of ribbon for garland

Since my glue gun was already piping hot (and hopefully not too bothered), I thought I'd give this random idea a go.  I carefully applied hot glue around plastic ring and pressed into pile of mossy remnants on my counter.  I continued to press moss into glue with my fingers. Be careful not to burn your yourself!  I added more glue to empty spots and scrunched more moss into glue to cover entire plastic ring.  I trimmed any excess or wild stragglers with my scissors to give wreath a somewhat uniform appearance.  I tied a tiny bow out of narrow ribbon and glued at the top.  

Although this project is a little (okay, a lot) messy, the end result is worth all the moss that ends up on your counter, floor, hands, and clothes.  I might have found a twig or two in my hair.  No worries!  Once you see how cute and functional these little guys are  - you will be smitten!