Tag Archive: Christmas


Christmas isn’t allowed to be over yet. I am hanging on to the holiday season for at least a few more days. Not taking down my decorations, exchanging a few last presents, and continuing to write blog posts about the holidays. Everyone will just have to deal, because I am sad that Christmas is another year away again, and it’s all cold and I have a cold too. Haha.

Anyway, I wanted to share my gingerbread house. I made it from a kit, but it’s a twist on the standard design, and I had a lot of fun decorating it one night. It turned out so cute that I have yet to eat it, but it will probably be stale once I try it anyway.

Gingerbread House

Along similar lines, I made cinnamon ornaments. A friend in high school (10 years ago!) gave me one she’d made, and I loved it and still have it, and it still smells great. So I wanted to do something similar.

The formula is basically:

  • 1 cup cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup applesauce

And I added some ground cloves and a bit of glue as well to help keep them together and for a bit of a mix of scents. Then mix and knead the dough for a while. Roll out about 1/3 of the dough at a time and use holiday shaped cookie cutters to cut out the shapes and put them onto a cookie sheet. I added the scraps from each batch to the next round of dough to get as many as possible out of it. I didn’t have any drinking straws to make holes, so I just used toothpicks to hollow out spots, which worked pretty well.

Cinnamon Ornaments

I put them in a 170 degree oven for a few hours, but some started to crack and warp, so most of the time they just air dried in my kitchen. It took about 2-3 days for them to fully dry and harden. And finally, I added ribbon to make them ornamental.

Cinnamon Ornaments

I attached most of them as accessories to gifts, kept a couple, and brought in a few for my coworkers in the office on Christmas Eve.

Holiday Greeting Card Wreath

Everyone likes to display all the lovely Christmas cards they get during the season, but what do you do once Christmas is over? Put them in a box somewhere? Throw them out?

Why not make them into a wreath to be displayed the next year?

Holiday Greeting Card Wreath

I love Christmas cards, so I decided to upcycle them into a fun wreath. All you really need is the cards, a flat wreath form, and a glue stick. I found this 12″ wreath at Michael’s for $2 – you could also cut cardboard into a circle, but I decided to go the simpler route.

You’ll also need to find some round objects of varying sizes to trace circles around. I used a reindeer coaster, snowflake glass, and a large glue stick for the little circles.

It’s best to pick a theme of colors. My cards definitely weren’t all uniform or anything, but I went with a blue/white theme with accents of red and green, so it wouldn’t all clash.

Greeting Card Wreath Supplies

Then just start tracing and cutting.

Cutting Circles out of Cards

Arrange your circles in the pattern you want them, then glue them on a section at a time.

Gluing on Circles

Finally, add a ribbon for hanging.

Holiday Greeting Card Wreath

I have been playing with the idea of upcycling other cards, too, like birthdays. You could make other forms of art, not just wreaths. I’ll let you know if I make any more upcycled card crafts. 🙂

Candy-Coated Pretzel Wreaths

This is one of those cute things that people ooh and aah over and go, “You MADE those?! How?” And it’s actually pretty simple, just takes some time as all dipped/decorated things do.

Candy-Coated Holiday Pretzel Wreaths

I took these pretzel wreaths to my office’s Christmas Pitch-In, the same day I brought my twinkly green lantern ornament. And they were a hit! A great finger food for a party dessert. Here’s how I made them:

  • mini pretzel twists
  • meltable candy drops (you can also use chocolate chips of any sort, anything that will dip and re-harden)
  • twizzler pull-apart licorice
  • decorative green edible gel (optional)

First, arrange six pretzels in a circle (or seven if you want a bigger wreath… or just can’t count like me), big hole out and two-hump side in (the direction is important for how they’ll look)

Pretzel Wreath

Follow the directions on the candy melting package, or just microwave and stir for 30 seconds at a time until candy/chocolate is melted. Dip each pretzel, then put it back in the circle arrangement.

Pretzel Dipped Wreath

Next, before the candy on the bottom has hardened, dip six more pretzels and place them in a second layer on top, alternating so each pretzel goes between two on the first layer. Repeat this until the dipping stuff runs out.

Candy Pretzel Wreaths

After the wreaths are all solid, next comes the ribbon. This took a little bit of trial and error for me. My larger wreaths were too big for the length of the twizzlers, but the normal sized ones were just the right size to weave a strand in and out through the wreath. I tied a bow with another strand and stuck it on top. They aren’t actually attached, but they stay in place so it doesn’t really matter!

Candy Pretzel Wreaths

Then I added little decorative touches of holly and leaves/dots, just because I thought it would be cute. I used tiny bits of twizzler for the red holly berries and green cake decorating gel for the green stuffs.

Candy-Coated Holiday Pretzel Wreaths

Yay wreaths! And yes, they were as delicious as they were adorable!

I love Christmas lights; when I walk into a room filled with them, I feel like I’m in a magical fairy land. So even though we have a small tree, I added lights in a couple other spots in our apartment, along with some other decorations.

Our My Christmas tree, with its brown paper and word search packages.

christmas tree

A shiny ornament on the tree  (I have a bunch of self-portraits of me with a camera at this point)

Ornament self portrait

Mini stockings – most presents will be outside of the stockings and I just thought these were cute. The middle Hello Kitty one is for the kitties, naturally. And the boyfriend who likes Hello Kitty.

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Classic white lights around our sliding glass doors.

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And my favorite part – lights wrapped around the legs of the dining table.

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Word Search Wrapped Presents

This is how I wrapped most of my presents this year:

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The idea came from a random picture online without a source – it had larger paper that would wrap the whole present. Possibly there is somewhere you can buy custom wrapping paper like that. But I decided to go with the more practical and economical way of making my own word search, wrapping the presents in the standard brown paper (instead of covering up a lovely design on more expensive wrapping paper) and just putting the one piece of paper with the word search on top.

Word Search Wrapped Presents

I made my own word search using the names of all the people I was giving presents to using this one on Armored Penguin, printed it out and cut around just the word search, taped it on, and circled in red the name of the person or people whose gift it was.

It’s a fun idea for people who like words and putting a twist on tradition. 🙂

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Every year, my office has at least one holiday contest for our Christmas Pitch-in and party. Since I’ve been here, we’ve done desk decorations, ornaments, and ugly sweaters.

Computer Part Ornament

My entry for last year’s computer-themed ornament contest

This year, there’s a challenge to make your own ornament with a superhero theme. I won a cake boss contest a couple of months ago with a s’mores cake (I’ll post about that at some point!), but I have tried and failed several times to win a holiday contest. This year, I am trying again!

The person who won last year had an ornament that could light up, which seemed to wow everyone. So I figured that was the key. The nerdy boyfriend of mine came up with the idea of Green Lantern so it would make sense for it to light up, and I liked the idea and ran with it. Even if I haven’t yet seen the movie. It even fits with holiday colors!

Here’s how I made it:

  • plain plastic/glass ornament
  • mini LED lights with battery pack
  • AA batteries
  • green tissue paper
  • mod podge
  • foam brush
  • Green Lantern logo

First, I checked to make sure the lights worked (I learned the hard way that you should do this from putting lights on our office tree only to find out the whole strand was out!) Then, I stuffed the little lights into the ornament one by one.

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Next, I tore up the tissue paper into small pieces. I glued it on by brushing the mod podge only on the spot where I wanted to put a piece, placing it there, and continuing to the next spot until the ornament was covered.

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Then I printed out the Green Lantern logo, cut right around it, and mod podged that on, too. I picked an exact spot with a light so the lantern would light up. Finally, I added a ribbon to hang it up, and it was done! The lights blink, too, which is super fun!

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I didn’t have a lot of competition, but I did win the contest. 🙂

Christmas Cards

Now that it’s December and the magical holiday season is upon us, I plan on doing a lot more posts than usual, because I love it. A lot of them will be shorter, just showing off my decorations and holiday themed stuff, but my goal will be blogging 2-3 times a week this month. Yay!

First up, my Christmas cards. I had never had any interest in sending them before, but I like getting them. I bought these in January at Barnes & Noble for at least half off, and I thought they were adorable. The box only came with 14 cards, so I tried to limit it to mostly people I don’t see often who I thought might like one. If you got one, feel special. I may send out more next year.

Kitten Christmas Card

I kept it super simple by just writing a message in the store-bought cards.

inside of Christmas card

Most of my handwritten messages were a variation of, “I wish peace, love, and happiness to you this Christmas season.”

Christmas Card envelope

I love the envelopes they came with. And I got sheets of blank labels to print out the addresses and return addresses, and bought holiday themed stamps, too.

So excited was I to send my first Christmas cards that I had them ready to go by Thanksgiving, and I mailed them out the weekend after. I’m looking forward to getting a few from my friends as well!

Crafty Pinterest Roundup

My recent weekend trips and current addiction to The Sims 3 means less crafting lately. So here are some random DIY projects (mostly found through Pinterest) that I am not planning on doing, but I think they’re great ideas. Someone else should make them. 🙂

Design Chipped Into a Dresser

As much as I like making things, I know I couldn’t pull this off, but I think it looks pretty cool. This person just took a worn, painted dresser and chipped out this scene onto it. Lovely!

Night Bike

This both looks awesome and would be practical, but I don’t ride my bike enough at night to justify all the materials and steps involved.

Peep Topiary

An adorable spring decoration, but if this was near me I’d probably just want to eat it.

Ruffly Scarf

I don’t sew (possibly an area to venture to in the future, but I’m not currently that ambitious and I’ll stick to knitting), but if you do, this might be a fun project to try.

Lego Costume

I couldn’t find the original source for this, but it’s a really cute idea. I’m sure you could make one for adults, too.

And here are a couple Christmas In July goodies. I love Christmas.

Shotgun Shell Wreath

Even my gun-loving boyfriend would approve of one of these, but shotgun shells are just too expensive to use on a wreath.

Wine Bottle Christmas Tree

I may be enough of a wine-o to do this, but I’m not enough of a hoarder!

Wine Bottle Advent Calendar

I know the original picture wasn’t for an advent calendar, but someone pinned this as an idea for an Advent Calendar. A bottle of wine every day? Sounds like a great holiday season to me!

Invitation Ornament

Toward the beginning of my interest in Pinterest, I found this tutorial on making an ornament out of a wedding invitation, which inspired me to make one for my friends Matt and Aryn as a keepsake for their wedding. I also made a similar one out of lines of binary code for a geeky ornament as a holiday contest at the office (which didn’t win because mine didn’t light up, of course).

It’s super simple; here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wedding invitation or other keepsake on paper
  • Scissors
  • Pen or pencil
  • Empty, clear plastic or glass ornament

First, cut the invitation into strips – I stuck to one line per strip. Then (and this is my ingenious addition to this, haha) slide a strip across either scissors or the corner of a surface (as I did below with my glass table) just like you would do to make ribbon curly. This only makes the strips slightly curly, but it kind of primes the paper to make it much easier to curl later.

Then, wrap the strip tightly around your pen or pencil and hold it there for a few seconds.

When you take them off, they will look like this:

I tried some without the scissors-or-corner step and they didn’t curl nearly as tightly. Once you are done, stuff the strips into the ornament, add some ribbon, and there you have it! I love how you can see bits and pieces of the text by turning it different ways.

This particular ornament was for my friend Corinna, which I gave to her last week before her wedding and she loved it! It’s a nice personalized keepsake that can be used for years and display the invitation at the same time. Because really, can you have too many holiday ornaments?