Early, Easy Holiday Idea and… my invitation from Hallmark

August is always my summertime reminder of Christmas because clients start checking in early, making sure they are scheduled to be sprinkled with holiday happiness in November.   Also in the middle of this Summer heat, Christmas goodies are  beginning to fill the shelves of hobby & craft stores and Hallmark ornaments are premiering in their card stores.  For crafters, collectors, decorators and their clients, this early arrival is actually a blessing because it provides all of us with extra time to spread out purchases, in these tough economic times.

Hallmark Cards Headquarters

Me with Mr. Hall, Pres. of Hallmark

My Seminar Room

My personal focus this month was on a little “extra” Christmas because I was invited to teach a seminar of my holiday decorating techniques by Hallmark Cards and their Keepsake Ornament Division at their 2011 convention in Kansas City, Missouri.

Preparing for this was a ton of hard work, but so worthwhile because I love sharing my creativity, especially with people who understand the JOY of seasonal & holiday decorating, like Hallmark ornament collectors.  If you’d like to view my Hallmark presentation, click on the HOLIDAY SLIDESHOW tab, located at the top of my blog.  And I’d like to suggest that you turn down the A/C, make a cup of cocoa and pop in a Christmas CD to enjoy it even more.

Also, in this post, I’m going to share one of the projects I demonstrated at the Hallmark convention.  This budget-friendly display idea is the perfect way to highlight a single ornament or keepsake during the holidays.  And because it is a 17″ (long) spray, which is smaller than the typical 24-36″ swag, it is much more versatile.

It’s compact size makes it the perfect decoration for smaller areas, like a narrow wall, cabinet door, tabletop decoration, above a cabinet or on a kitchen back splash (using removable Command™ picture hangers), but it would even be fabulous as an over-sized gift package topper if you want to BONUS-gift someone with a keepsake ornament and decoration.

Enjoy the Creativity!


You will need:

  • One greenery spray (think artificial Christmas tree branch), apx. 17″ long
  • One or two snow-flocked Christmas picks
  • Wired Ribbon (apx. 2-1/2″ wide)
  • 3 Snowflakes
  • 3 ornament balls (1 medium & 2 small)
  • 1 Pipe Cleaner
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks

click to enlarge

DIRECTIONS:  Begin by fluffing out the branches of your greenery pick.  Cut off any excess stem from your snow-flocked Christmas picks and lay 1 of them on top of the greenery spray (in the center).  Twist 2 of the greenery branches over it to secure it in place.  Cut the 2nd frosted pick apart & hot glue those pieces among the remainder of the green spray to blend the green & white throughout.     Hot glue the 3 snowflakes among the spray (as shown by the red triangle).  Next, hot glue the 3 ornaments among the spray (as shown by the green triangle).

Make a small, 6-loop bow (see my DVD for easy directions), tying it closed with a pipe cleaner. Insert the pipe cleaner ends through the spray front (near the top of the greenery) and twist the ends together at the back of the spray. Using the remaining pipe cleaner ends, create a loop to hang the spray with. Here’s the finished product…

You might also want to (spray) paint your greenery black to create a Halloween version…


My 2010 Christmas Video Tour

ENJOY this “musical” holiday spirit…

a tour of my home…

Christmas 2010!

(Don’t forget to turn up your speakers!) 🙂


Outdoor “CANDY”! A Christmas Decorating Idea

If you’d like to try making a whimsical outdoor decoration, this one is easy!  Hopefully, you have a Michael’s Craft Store near you where they have very large, lightweight, hollow plastic balls in stock for the holidays.  They remind me of over-sized ping-pong balls and come in different sizes.  They offer them in red, white & green colors.  I’ve been in their stores a couple of times this year and have noticed that no one is buying them and I think it’s because they don’t know what to do with them.  However, I have an idea for using them to create large, whimsical outdoor candy blow pops and I’ve included directions for you (below).  If you don’t have a Michael’s near you, just locate a party store or Dollar Tree and use rubber balls instead.
You will need: Large hollow plastic balls (Michael’s) or rubber play balls in red and green, wired ribbon, clear cellophane (the kind you wrap “gift baskets” with or use pre-formed “gift basket” plastic bags (Dollar Tree), PVC pipe (cut in equal lengths; I chose 3 ft. for my garden) to be used as the lollipop stands, large suction cups, strong adhesive, wired holiday ribbon, thin wire or pipe cleaners.
Directions: After securing each plastic or rubber ball to the suction cups (add glue to suction cup AND ball for more stability), glue the bottom of the suction cup to the top of each PVC length & allow to dry well.  Cut a large piece of the cellophane (large enough to cover the entire ball plus 8” extra).  Center cellophane over top of ball and secure all ends underneath the ball, around the PVC or wood stick, with a piece of wire or pipe cleaner.  Complete your holiday lollipops with a bow tied around the wire to hide it.  Repeat.  Hint: I used shrink-wrap bag & a blow dryer to suction the shrink-wrap to the ball only for a more air-tight design.

Christmas Gift Wrapping Idea

[click on photos for a more, detailed enlarged view ]

When I wrap a gift, I love to add embellishments for a finishing touch and I enjoy creative re-purposing in this area too!  So, keep this idea in mind when you’re in a store, after Christmas, and you come across any singular ornaments, hanging by their lonesome, at 90% off.    As long as it’s a flat-backed ornament, it will work, so….  BUY IT! 🙂

Here’s how I like to use a flat-back ornament to finish my gift wrap design:

STEP ONE – Wrap your present, in gift wrap paper, as you normally would.

STEP TWO – Cut a length of ribbon, long enough to fit around your package, with a little extra.

STEP THREE – Put a piece of tape on the wrapping paper, where the ribbon ends will meet, on the front of the package.  Using a low-melt, hot glue gun, add 1 or 2 dots of glue (add it to the center of the tape, to protect the package).

STEP FOUR –  While glue is still warm, place one end of your ribbon over it.  Add a second spot or two of glue on top of the ribbon end you just glued.  Again, while the glue is still warm, quickly bring the remaining length of ribbon around the back and sides of your box and place the other end of the ribbon over the top of the first ribbon end.  Now, both ends of your ribbon should be joined at the front of your gift box. 

STEP FIVE – Tape down the ornament hanger to the back of the ornament, in a couple of spots.

STEP SIX – Add a touch of hot glue on top of both pieces of tape and while still warm, attach the ornament back to the gift front, over the area of the ribbon where you joined it together.  It makes the cutest finishing touch to your gifts.  And once the gift recipient removes the tape on the back, they can hang it on their tree.  This is especially nice if you choose an ornament you can personalize with their family name(s), like the one shown above.

Don’t want to purchase an ornament, even at 90% off?  Then, consider recycling the fronts of all of those beautiful holiday cards you receive.  If you choose ones that have blank areas, on which you can write with an ink pen, you can even add a holiday sentiment or turn it into a TO and FROM gift tag!   This idea is perfect for those of you who ship gifts because there is no bow to get crushed.  Also, think about using this idea at other times of the year.  A seed packet in the spring or summer, that becomes something they can plant, etc…. you get the idea… it should match the season, holiday, occasion or compliment the gift in some way.  Have fun!

Easy Christmas Place Setting

In an earlier post, I showed you how to take a serving bowl from “everyday” to “holiday” by using inexpensive scrapbook stickers.  Here’s another inexpensive idea for dressing up your holiday place settings, using a “gift” theme.  Whether your dishes are holiday themed (like the one in the photo) or not won’t matter with this idea because all you will need, to create this idea, is some ribbon, paper and your computer.  I tied some extra and inexpensive ribbon (in a bow) around my dinner plates.  Next, I created a sheet of gift tags, using “auto shapes” in Microsoft Word, typed each person’s name (who will be attending my holiday dinner) inside a tag, printed them out and cut them out with a pair of scissors.  HINT:  instead of regular printer paper, you can use card stock (available at office supply & discount stores) to make the gift tags a little more substantial.  Finally, add your gift tag to the bow.  As your holiday dinner guests arrive and see their gift wrapped place setting, they will begin to anticipate the scrumptious meal ahead and how that, as well as being together, are truly… gifts!

Christmas 2010!

My decorations for 2010….  I hope you enjoy them.  I’ll be adding more photos as I take them.  The goal this year was to run the color “lime green” throughout the house.

Two reminders…. click on any photo for a larger view & watch this site to find out when the music video (that goes with these photos) will be up on YouTube!

FOYER - Toy theme

FOYER - Coordinated wreath

FAMILY ROOM - Let it Snow!

KITCHEN - Black & White Toile

KITCHEN - Cozy Bench for reading a Christmas Story to the little ones

KITCHEN - Garland Closeup

KITCHEN - Large wreath sign and a cute metal tree

KITCHEN - Penguins go with black & white perfectly!

LIVING ROOM - Secret Fairy Colony

LIVING ROOM _Tree Closeup

LIVING ROOM - Tree closeup, with Resident Fairy


LIVING ROOM - Tree Skirt Closeup

A “Creative” Gift for Christmas!

Recently, a fan of my new “How to Decorate a Tree for Christmas” DVD came up with such a great idea, after she watched the creative decorating ideas I added in among the basic decorating information.  It is such a simple and clever idea that I just had to share it with my readers.

This young woman has a couple of Aunts, for whom she buys Christmas gifts each year and she struggles for ideas every year.  But this year…  she hit the bull’s-eye!  Evidently, both of her Aunt’s holiday decorations have not been revamped in many years and are, therefore, looking a little tired.  So, she purchased each of them one of my DVDs along with the inexpensive supplies to create one of my easy decorating projects (featured in my DVD).    It has reawakened their creativity with new and easy inspiration.  And best of all, they had the instructions (in my DVD) and all of the necessary materials so they were able to dig into the project right away.  I thought this was very creative and thoughtful, so I’m passing it along for those of you who have similar gift situations/dilemmas.  Here’s a photo of the items she sent each Aunt:

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