Looking to spruce up the holiday on your own? Interested in laying off the store-bought decorations? Just in time for the holidays, Martha Stewart showcases a number of creative ideas:
1. Choose a jar: Almost any jar works for this project: Baby-food, pimiento, and olive jars are good choices.
2. Choose a figurine: Look for plastic or ceramic figurines (metal ones are prone to rust) at flea markets and hobby or model-railroad shops. Synthetic evergreen tips are available at many floral-supply stores.
3. Prepare the jar: If the jar lids are not in seasonal colors already, paint them with oil-based enamel paint. Sand the inside of the lid until the surface is rough.
4. Adhere the figurine: With clear-drying epoxy, adhere the figurine to the inside of the lid, and let the epoxy dry.
5. Fill jar with water: Fill the jar almost to the top with distilled water; add a pinch of glitter and a dash of glycerin (available at drugstores) to keep the glitter from falling too quickly. Don't add too much, or the glitter will stick to the bottom of the jar when it's flipped. Screw on the lid tightly, being careful not to dislodge the figurine. Turn the jar over and back again — and let it snow.
The best material for stringing cranberry or popcorn garlands is inside your medicine cabinet. Waxed floss is strong and slick, so cranberries and popcorn will slide on easily. Knot one end of a piece of floss, and thread a needle onto the other; just pierce through items, and slip them on.
These coasters were inspired by snowflakes.
1. to corner; connect midpoints from side to side. Mark several points at equal distances along lines with ruler.
2. Fold each line in turn; punch holes in folds at these points with hole punches. Keep holes 1 inch away from edges.
3. Iron a square of fusible webbing between white and colored felt. (Place felt with marks facedown.) Trim edges of squares with pinking shears, or trace a large tin can and cut felt into circles.
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Flicker of an idea
With the help of these candle and flower centerpieces, the whole table will shine. For each one, use candle wax to attach a small floral frog to the center of a shallow bowl. Push a taper into the floral frog to secure. Pour water into the bowl. Clip amaryllis blooms (or other large flowers) from their stems, and arrange them in the bowl around the candle.
Jingle bell wreath
The wonderfully familiar sounds of the holidays often get shut out while we're keeping warm. Hang this wreath where it will be heard (on a door, for instance), and bring the ring of sleigh bells to all the rooms in the house. Form 16-gauge wire into a circle. Make a closed loop at one end with needle-nose pliers. Thread jingle bells onto the open end in any size and color combination.
When the wire is full, join its ends by twisting the un-looped end into a hook, and fasten it onto the closed loop. Tie a piece of ribbon into a bow; secure it to the bottom of the wreath with 24-gauge wire.
A homemade scarf makes a lovely present — especially if the giver doesn't have to spend weeks knitting it. Start with a length of woven wool that measures 18 inches by 48 inches. Using fabric scissors, trim off the selvage. Remove individual threads from the edges by carefully pulling them down the length or width until you have a 1 1/2-inch border all around.
These fragrant decorations date to medieval times, but stacked on cake stands and laced with greenery, they befit a modern setting. We used pink grapefruits and studded them with cloves and star anise. Citrus and spice will perfume a room throughout the holidays and beyond.
Place a rubber band around the middle of a pink grapefruit or orange. Use it as a guide to make an even ring of cloves around the fruit, piercing the skin first with a wooden skewer or nail. Remove rubber band, and make additional rows. If desired, use a hot-glue gun to attach star anise; let the glue dry.
To encourage pomanders to dry evenly and retain their scent for up to one year, shake each in a plastic bag of powdered orrisroot (available at health-food stores) before displaying. Stack the pomanders in a pyramid, using clear plates between the layers and tucking in greenery, such as this mountain laurel, as you go.
For more great holiday tips and suggestions, visit Martha Stewart online. The site features new ideas daily including a “cookie of the day” recipe, a Christmas “craft of the day,” handmade gift ideas, decorating ideas, menus and more.
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