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Creativity and Crafts

DIY Advent Wreath Ideas – Create Meaning This Season

Celebrate Life, Creativity and Crafts
advent wreath

I love everything about Christmas.

I love the parties, the presents, and the greeting cards. And I love the lights, and the decorations, and my oh my – do I ever love the food! I love reading Christmas themed novels and watching Christmas themed movies on the Hallmark Channel.

I even love digging out the DVD player and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the twelve gazillionth time.

(My kids do not appreciate that part quite so much. But, tradition is tradition. And this is the price they must pay for my having done the favor of bringing them into the world.)

The bottom line is, I am crazy about Christmas and all that goes with it – the secular, the commercial, and the familial, the cherishing of old traditions and creation of new ones. continue reading

Grandkid-friendly Thanksgiving Craft Ideas: A Gratitude Tree & Turkey Place Cards

Creativity and Crafts
thanksgiving crafts for kids

Our sixth grandchild was born earlier this month. Like all my other grandchildren (and, I am sure, yours) she is beautiful. And very advanced.

Seriously. You can tell just by looking at her.

Having six grand darlings doesn’t make me a total expert on the ins and outs of the grandparenting gig. Still, I’ve  picked up a few things along the way and can certainly pass on some tips regarding the Habits of Highly Popular Grandparents. continue reading

The Fierce Way to Curb Holiday Spending

Cherish Relationships, Creativity and Crafts, Finances
holiday spending

As I mentioned in my recent post about love, gift giving is my love language. I show my love by sending the most thoughtful gifts to those I love. I must say I’m quite good at it.

But there’s just one little problem. 

Things can get, well, a little out of hand. 

It’s so easy to get caught up with the gift-giving spirit of the season, and the catchy Christmas carols don’t exactly help…Santa honey one thing I really do need, the deed to a platinum mine…or I want a hippopotamus for Christmas…or all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth…or all I want for Christmas is you…

You get the idea. Whether it’s your Instagram feed or your friends or the displays at the store, everywhere you look, you are prompted to want something or buy something. Charge it and pay for it later.

I’m not saying gifts are bad. But really, do your loved ones and friends want you to blow out your budget on things you can’t afford? Probably not. 

This year, make a plan and stick to it. My friend and financial sherpa Peggy Doviak, whose book has been helping the Chairman and I get a handle on our finances, shares a few ideas on how to make this the best Christmas ever without breaking the bank. 

We had such a great response from Peggy’s last post on planning for retirement, I wanted to bringing her back to shower us all with her bright, shining financial wisdom. 

Here’s what she had to say. 

The Best Christmas Ever

Do the upcoming holidays fill you with joy or dread? Are you already wearing cozy holiday sweaters, drinking hot cocoa, and watching Hallmark movies? Or do you find yourself wondering whether Scrooge was right, and we really should be boiling people in their own plum pudding?

I think money is one of the leading causes of holiday stress for people. We want to create the perfect event, and we try not to think of the bill that will arrive in the mail around January 15th. Well, here’s the good news—it’s possible to have a great holiday season and stay out of debt. Planning ahead, being willing to spend hours rather than dollars, and knowing how to say “no” can help you have a wonderful, prosperous December. continue reading

Grammy’s Craft of the Month Club Strikes Again: Yarn Pumpkins, Messes, & Pinterest Fails

Creativity and Crafts
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Living to be over fifty and all, you’re bound to pick up a few life lessons.

Here’s one of them: when it comes to crafting, Pinterest can either be a trusted friend or a misleading purveyor of emotional breakdowns and lies. Sometimes the result is just so, so good. Other times it’s what I like to call a #PinterestFail.

Before we get into my recent crafting project and #PinterestFail, here are a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve accrued during the 2,452,856,818.50 hours I’ve spent on Pinterest. continue reading

Pumpkin Decor Inspiration for your Front Porch and Your Table

Creativity and Crafts, Home Matters
pumpkin decor

For all of you super organized ladies, you probably had your pumpkin Pinterest boards ready for action since August, so this post might be old news to you. But, if you are anything like me, and haven’t had time to spruce your nest with bright orange pumpkins and autumnal glow, go ahead and keep reading this post. This one’s for you.

So what’s the big deal about pumpkins, anyway? Well, around the world, they are considered a symbol of the harvest season. For me, they remind me of childhood, and New England, and pretty wrapped pumpkin bread and too many pumpkin spice lattes.

This past week, I got to take three of my grand-darlings to a real-life pumpkin patch. We bought too many pumpkins to count and had the best time. Stay tuned for next week to see the fun kid-friendly crafts we did with them! (Spoiler alert: it was messy). continue reading

Beautiful homemade wreaths for Fall!

Creativity and Crafts
homemade wreaths for fall
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If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on quite the Fall crafting kick. So when my daughter in love recently called me up to tell me that she just made two amazing homemade wreaths for Fall, I had to share.

She may not be over fifty (that would be weird, right?), but she is fierce as can be and crafty to boot! How did I luck out on a daughter-in-law that loves crafting as much as I do? I’ve enjoyed bonding over our love of crafting and it’s fun to see my grand-darlings joining in on the fun as well.

I certainly hope my son appreciates how beautiful his doors look like this season. He would be a fool not to.

Wreaths are the ultimate symbol of hospitality and festivity. And fresh wreaths made with local foliage mirror the season’s colors better than anything you can buy. Plus, store-bought ones or wreaths from the florist don’t come cheap!

So why not try your hand at making your own wreath? My daughter-in-love promises that if you can safely wield a hot glue gun and are tall enough to trim leaves off of a magnolia tree, both of these wreaths will be a cinch.

Perhaps she will mail one of these to me. Wouldn’t they look lovely on, say, my front door?

I’m heading out of town for a few days but cannot wait to give a wreath a try when I return home to The Pinery!

 

Acorn Wreath

It’s that time of year for many parts of the country where acorns scatter the ground and squirrels run wild. So why not pick up a few acorns and make something wonderful? The squirrels have enough acorns.

What You’ll Need

  • 1- to 14 inch straw wreath form
  • 16 cups of acorns
  • hot glue gun and a ton of hot glue sticks
  • ribbon for hanging and general flare

Instructions

  1. Collect around 16 cups of acorns. You will need more than you think. Look for acorns that aren’t half eaten by squirrels or bugs. Try to have some of the acorns still “wearing their hats.”
  2. Clean and roast the acorns. Here’s a tutorial that explains how to do that and why you should.
  3. Using a generous amount of hot glue directly on the straw wreath form, place each acorn individually. Try to use glue under and in between the acorns to help them stay put once it dries.
  4. Mix up the angles of the acorns, because perfection is overrated. Plus, the variety masks any mistakes you might make! 
  5. Work your way around the entire front of the wreath until completely covered on the front and sides.
  6. Remove any visible hot glue strings.
  7. Loop ribbon around the top and display on your door with pride. You did it!

Note: If squirrels are especially pesky in your neck of the woods, spritz finished wreath with clear acrylic spray. You really can’t blame them for wanting to make a buffet out of your acorn wreath. Just try to make it as unappetizing as possible. 

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Southern Magnolia Wreath

My daughter-in-love has a giant Southern magnolia in her front yard, so trimming 100 leaves was no problem for her! Here in Bend, a Southern magnolia is about as common as a palm tree. But a similar technique could be used with all kinds of leaves or greenery. See the note below.

What You’ll Need

  • About 100 magnolia leaves, with as much of the stem intact as possible
  • 10 to 14 inch Styrofoam wreath form
  • sharp object to poke holes in wreath (like a kebab stick)
  • Ribbon for hanging and adornment (navy gingham and frayed burlap ribbon were used here)

Note: If magnolias don’t grow where you live, try boxwood, spruce sprigs, or other local foliage. You can’t go wrong! 

Instructions

  1. First, sort out your leaves by size so that wreath will have a more uniform appearance.
  2. Starting at the outermost side of the wreath, Using a sharp object to “pre-drill” the holes on the styrofoam wreath form, pierce wreath at an angle to ensure that leaves arrange themselves at a uniform angle throughout. Drill holes every 3/4 of an inch or so. Do four or five concentric circles until close to the innermost part of the wreath. 
  3. Now it’s time to add those pretty, shiny leaves! Start with the largest ones on the outermost circle and work your way around. You might need to trim the stem to more of a tapered shape to help it fit in the hole.
  4. Keep going ’til all the holes are filled with beautiful foliage and the form doesn’t show any more.
  5. To help the bright green stick around a little longer, spritz leaves with foliage sealer.
  6. Wrap a generous amount of ribbon around the top and put this beauty on display!

Note: If wreath form is still showing, you can use a foam brush with green paint to make it blend in a little more. 


 

Another Fun Fall Craft Idea: Candy Corn DIY Coasters

Creativity and Crafts
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As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my favorite things about the beginning of the Fall season is the excuse to craft away and spruce up my home with simple, easy, low-cost seasonal decor.

And why stop at cute leaf mason jar centerpieces and pinecone swags? continue reading

Fall Craft Ideas: Mason Jar Leaf Lanterns and Pinecone Door Swags

Creativity and Crafts
fall craft ideas
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There are so many reasons to love crafting.  For example, I love how crafting lets me give my home decor a face-lift without spending piles of cash. (That’s money I’d just as soon spend updating my wardrobe, thank you very much.)

We only moved into our home a year ago, so it really is too soon to be talking about redecorating. Still, especially when the seasons change, it’s nice to change things up and give your home a bit of a decorating boost.

I spent a lot of last weekend doing exactly that.  After a trip to town for craft supplies and a trip upstairs to raid my craft room, I got to work creating a couple of fun, easy craft projects to dress up my home and welcome the fall season.

continue reading

Easy and Fun Craft Ideas for Grandkids: DIY Magic Bubble Wands & Rock Monsters

Creativity and Crafts
craft ideas for grandkids
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If I do say so myself, I was a pretty good mom. I’m also a pretty good Grammy.

It’s not that I’m a totally indulgent grandmother. There are rules in my house and certain things I have no interest in doing.

For instance, I’m really no good at pushing toy cars around the floor and making motor sounds. Also, I’m not big on activities that involve dirt, danger, or the possibility of encountering insects or reptiles.  And when it comes to hide and seek, I have a limited attention span, especially if the other players aren’t really big enough to hide properly.

However, if you want to read a story, bake cookies, or have a tea party, I’m totally on board. That’s part of what makes me a good Grammy.

But the real secret to my popularity as a grandmother is that I’m all about crafting.  continue reading