Since I have a lengthy two month long winter break, I have been trying to find activities to fill the time. Since DU is on the quarter system, I finish slightly before Thanksgiving and am home the entire months of December. All of my friends go to schools on semesters so they don’t come home for break until late December! Mom works three days a week so that is a whopping 72 hours per week I have to entertain myself! This daunting task caused me to finally succumb to the website Pinterest.
Pinterest is a website where people “pin” or post anything ranging from DIY (do it yourself) crafts to cute clothes to “life hacks” which are simple tips and tricks to make life easier. My favorite life hack that I’ve seen was the one revealing that we open bananas completely wrong. Instead of trying to pry the stem side open, it is much easier to just squeeze the bottom point until it easily splits open. I have bruised so many bananas while trying to get the stem to split!
Since my dad has an annual Christmas party for his GTO club, I decided to occupy my time by making decorations in preparation for that party on December 10th.
If you see any of the following crafts that you would like to try, I linked each image to the instructions, so just click and get your craft on!
The first crafts I made were two small Christmas trees! The version on Pinterest was multi colored and, in my opinion, not very festive. I decided to do it using different shades of green, yellow, and blue paint samples from Home Depot. I only had to buy the styrofoam cone! It took A LONG time to cut all the paint samples and hot glue them on, but I think the end result was worth it!
The next one didn’t take very long, but it definitely took a lot of labor to hang! I recommend making this a two person job. I managed to hang it simply with Command Hooks. To make it, you simply hot glue the letters to one end of the ribbon and then adhere the opposite end to the back of greenery. It is very festive and I don’t even think it looks homemade!
The front porch DIY is probably my least favorite. As you can see, mine looks very sparse in comparison to the Pinterest version. I bought all of my supplies at Michael’s and each twig was $3! I would have had to buy 10 or 20 for each planter if I wanted it to be as full and abundant as the example. For me, the entire point of doing DIY crafts is to have fun, save money, and witness a project go from start to completion. If I had spent $30 just on the twigs (to only be displayed for 2 months!!!) it would have completely defeated one of the goals. Perhaps next time I should find branches in our yard and spray paint them red and gold!
Actually, I lied. This next craft is my least favorite (sorry for being such a Debbie Downer)! When I flip through my mental Rolodex of completed crafts, I don’t even consider this one because it is so pathetic. My friend told me to tell guests that I helped my niece make it (I don’t even have a niece!) because it just doesn’t look well made at all. I blame this on the wire that we bought. It was very thin so it doesn’t hold the shape very well. The weight of the ornaments makes it dip in the middle, causing each bulb to slide to the center. If you want to try to tackle this craft, go for it!
Okay, now onto the successful crafts! This is the centerpiece in our kitchen! It is so sparkly and glamorous that it is hard not to like. The spike spheres were definitely time consuming, but stabbing styrofoam with toothpicks is healthier than snacking while watching TV, right?! If you want to try to make these, I recommend making sure that the white paint is safe on foam. The first brand we tried wasn’t and disintegrated/melted the entire bottom of one of the balls! Luckily it is hidden by the table, but I would have been so upset if all of my stabbing work was ruined by harsh chemical paint. The fruit was incredibly simple. Just spray cheap foam fruit silver and, while the paint is still wet, sprinkle on glitter!
This decoration is also in our kitchen and was easy to make! Just string together a bunch of silver/glittery ornaments and hang from a chandelier! It looks like it was made to go with the spike balls and fruit.
These candles are another quick and easy craft that don’t even look homemade! You take any candle you have and hot glue a row of cinnamon sticks around it and then finish with some twine or ribbon! I cheated a bit because the greenery decoration on the front was premade. You could just as easily make one with greenery twigs and fake cranberries.
This wreath may be my favorite craft of the entire season. It was time consuming but the final result is well worth it! It is as simple as buying a styrofoam wreath, wrapping it in ribbon, and then hot gluing peppermints on! Getting the spacing right between the peppermints is slightly difficult, but imperfections make it more unique.
I’m not a big fan of one-use decorations and this next craft might fall into that category. It is a great way to get rid of extra peppermints from making the wreath and is definitely a crowd pleaser! Plus, who doesn’t use serving trays during the holidays? From cookies to biscuits, it makes any food more festive. However, it is quite hard to clean (putting water on it ruins the smooth finish and makes it sticky) so its probably better to stick to non-messy treats. I made two trays and had to throw one away because I spilled coffee on it and then set it on a paper towel to dry. The paper towel became stuck to the tray and it was a huge mess!
Also, if you have children, this craft is quick enough to keep their attention (only 8 minutes in the oven!) and it lets their creativity flow because you can arrange red and green peppermints in different designs!
I snuck into our Christmas wrapping paper a bit early to make this next piece of art. I used an old canvas from my aspiring artist phase and painted it green. Then I rolled various wrapping papers into decreasing sizes to make a tree shape! Again, I changed the color scheme from rainbow to a more festive theme. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it, but it definitely makes our hallway feel more cheerful.
I love customizable decorations and this chalkboard in a frame could potentially be a year-round decoration. I didn’t buy a proper chalkboard, but instead I bought chalkboard spray paint and sprayed it on a canvas. It doesn’t work very well and the chalk doesn’t show up vibrantly, but it was a lot cheaper than finding a small chalkboard to fit in the frame! You can even change the saying every day if you choose. If you don’t like your own handwriting, I definitely recommend finding someone whose looks nice. There’s nothing worse than having to see it each day if you hate it!
I decided to take a break from Christmas decorations and throw in some culturally inclusive Hanukkah decorations! Unlike our kitchen which has a silver theme, our living room is red and gold. I originally made this Star of David to put in the living room, but my dad threw a fit and made me move it, so I put it in the guest bathroom instead. This star is made out of spray painted wooden dowels. I thought the Pinterest version didn’t look entirely like a Star of David, so I decided to make it less pointy.
I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on these candles and they ARE cute, but require a lot of upkeep if you use real cranberries. Originally I tried using fake branches with fake foam berries, but the water just disintegrated them. Then I opted for plastic leaves and real cranberries, topped with a floating candle, all in water! But after awhile, the cranberries start to mold and the water gets cloudy. We probably replace the cranberries once a week. It makes a very unique centerpiece and you can put almost anything in the water. I’ve even seen food coloring!
If you have cousins like mine, no holiday is complete without beer! These cute reindeer decorations manage to satiate everyone’s thirst while being festive at the same time. While this craft might not be great for really young kids (hot glue gun, ouch!), you could easily make it kid friendly by using traditional glue or double sided tape. They make non alcoholic “Christmas Soda” in bottles with necks, so these cute reindeer would be perfect for those!
If it isn’t clear by now that I have a deep love for candles, you haven’t been paying attention. Here is yet another candle craft! Peppermint candy cane candle holders are a great use for the long candelabra candles that seem too fancy for just about every occasion. I feel like these make them a lot more casual and perfect for any room. Despite the instructions, I took off the entire wrapper and didn’t have any problems. I wanted the holders to be reusable so I didn’t glue the candy canes to the candle, just to each other. This made me have to guesstimate how large to make the candle hole. Unfortunately I guessed too small each time and ended up forcing the candle in, resulting in a few broken candy canes. I just hot glued them back in place and covered the cracks with a ribbon!
I also got the idea from Pinterest to use photos instead of “To/From” stickers on gifts this year! I’m not sure how the family will react, but it will probably spark a huge discussion about interesting finds on Pinterest!
If you decide to get your own account, feel free to follow me at http://pinterest.com/katieloran/