How to make – Large, faux CHRISTMAS CANDY Decorations

Every year, pool owners purchase these inexpensive (apx. $1.00 each) 5-foot, foam “noodle” floats.  Eventually, they fade and are, many times, thrown out.   As always, I LOVE to think of ways to recycle and repurpose things (instead of adding to the landfill) and came up with a creative idea, using  retired pool noodles.  Of course, you can also buy them new (on clearance – post summer!) to make this project too.

My vision was to create several large, faux candies (for holiday decorating), mainly because they’re lightweight and won’t weigh down (tree, wreath & garland) greenery … PLUS, they’re inexpensive!

ONE

Begin by deciding approximately how long you would like to make each piece of candy (I chose 9″) and divide that number into the total length of the pool noodle to determine how many you’ll be able to cut from each one.  Mark (that individual measurement) along the length of the pool noodle (using a black marker) and then, carefully cut (using a knife) through the foam at each marking, on a safe surface.  I ended up with six (6) lengths, apx. 9″ each.

TWO

Choose a gift wrap, scrapbook or tissue paper to cover them with and cut pieces large enough to wrap each (cut) foam piece and wide enough so you have extra to fold down at each end of the foam piece (to hide the end of the foam).

To create a neat closure, fold over one end (of the length) and place one foam piece, in the center, at the other end.

Before you roll the foam piece up in the paper, add 3 pieces of double-sided tape along the length of the fold, half on the folded paper and half on the underneath (blank) side of the paper.

Now, when you roll up the foam piece, the tape will automatically secure the paper (closed).  Unless you want to, don’t worry if the pattern doesn’t match up perfectly because that will be the “back side” of your ornament.

Fold down the paper on each end and use a piece of regular scotch tape to secure it.

 

THREE

Repeat the paper cutting process (above), but this time using clear, plastic basket wrap.  This time, however, make sure the length is even longer (by 6″).

Place your gift-wrapped foam length in the center of the plastic wrap, at one end of the width.  Before you roll it up, once again, add 3 small pieces of double-sided tape on the other end (of the width) so the plastic wrap will automatically close, after rolling up the foam candy in it.  Also, try to line up the 2 closures (paper & plastic wrap) and that can be the back side of your ornament.

FOUR

Cut two (2) lengths of ribbon, using one to tie each end (of the plastic wrap) closed, displaying the bow on the front/top side of the ornament.

When you’re done, you’ll have inexpensive, lightweight Christmas candy decorations for approximately 50 cents each.  I found that mine tucked into my holiday greenery easily without the aid of a hanger.  But, if you’re using them to decorate garland, add a length of fishing line (tying it to each end, before adding your ribbon) as an ornament hanger.

I’m excited to share with you how I used mine in one of The Seasonal Home 2012 Christmas designs this year… so stay tuned… COMING SOON! 🙂

And don’t forget to consider this idea for other holidays!

ENJOY THE CREATIVITY!

Eileen

Advertisements

The Seasonal Home’s STORE debuts! :-)

EXCITING NEWS!!!

For a long time, I’ve been trying to find the time to open a little store and it has finally happened… The Seasonal Home’s STORE is only 2 clicks away (see SHOP! in the top tool bar of my site or click HERE).  Once there, you’ll find:

  • One-of-a-Kind, Holiday Designs.  I’m thrilled to add my own creative originals!
  • My Favorite Seasonal Decorative Accents.  These are favorite “finds” that I’m excited to share with you and many of them have been (or will be) featured in my blog posts, for inspiration!
  • My Publications (Book and DVD), productions of Creative Families, LLC (The Seasonal Home’s publishing company) featuring hundreds of family traditions (my book) and easy-to-follow decorating secrets & shortcuts (my DVD).

New items will be added as items sell out and the seasons change.  And closer to the holiday season, the store will grow to offer you even more of my favorite seasonal finds and original designs.

Very soon, you can look forward to a GRAND OPENING SALE, but if you see something you like, grab it as soon as your budget permits because some of the items in the SHOP are limited or one-of-a-kind.  In other words, once they’re gone…..

So, check it out to see what goodies are in STORE…  I’ve done the shopping & creating for you! 🙂

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Spring Table Scape

Spring is the perfect time to sneak in a relaxing, lunch with friends.  Even if it’s main purpose is a planning meeting, it can still feel special if you pull out your pretty dishes & serve something easy and yummy.  So today, I did just that… pulled out my light blue glassware and made some of my favorite recipes – Fruited Chicken Salad, which is a great Spring, Easter or Summer meal (I just added the “how to” to my RECIPE section) and for dessert, I used my old 10-minute (from start to finish) standard…. Oatmeal Fudgies…. and added some Six-lets candy in the center as they were cooling to create little chocolate bird nests (Fudgies recipe also in RECIPE section of this blog). 

Two things to remember –

  • If you have a pretty tablecloth that doesn’t cover your table, turn it so it lays in a diamond shape in the center of the table.  Everyone will think you did it on purpose and
  • Don’t forget to add a sprig of fresh mint to each glass of iced tea… it tastes SO refreshing and mint is very good for you!

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Unique Easter Baskets!

Receiving an Easter Basket is so much fun for young children and I know some parents stop this gift-giving tradition once children reach their teens.  My children are grown, but I still love to give them a few goodies (mostly things they need) at Easter, like new toothbrushes, modest gifts cards (to help out with lunch on their tight budgets), etc.  And now that some of them have S.O.s (significant others – lol), I’m including them too!

Once kids reach their teenage years, it doesn’t make sense to hand them woven baskets, so I prefer putting their gifts into a container that is also useful, which then… becomes part of their gift.  In case this gifting idea works for your family as well, below are a few container suggestions that I’ve utilized in the past – as well as this years.  And here’s a helpful hint – if you choose a LARGE gift-container, simply use boxes, plastic bags, tissue paper, etc. to fill up the bottom,  so your gifts can rest near the top, on a bed of Easter grass.

Always keeping my budget in mind,  I never pay more than $5.00 for a container, so I keep an eye out for inexpensive or clearanced items, all year long.  Today, I walked into Walmart and they had just marked down their large, canvas totes (office supply dept.) to $3.50…. SOLD! 😉 [see it in use below].

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Click on any photo for a larger view

Over-the-shoulder Cooler

Lidded Storage Containers

Collapsible Canvas Storage & Insulated, Personalized Lunch Bag

A Passion for Purple at Easter!

MOVED Note

For my front door area,  I was eager to reuse my black footed planters (to create a similar look to last years) for Easter (https://seasonalhome.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/3759/).  But of course… it had to be a brand new look AND on a budget (translation – make it myself!)  I also had a definite passion for purple this year and here’s my inspiration…. PURPLE PEEPS!

Before I could create the entire look, I first had to create a duplicate of my inspiration – the Marshmallow PEEP Bunny.

Using a 50% off coupon, I purchased a sheet of (apx.) 2″ x 12″ x 36″ white styrofoam, drew and cut a PEEP shape and used one of the discarded pieces (as a file) to create nice, clean edges on the finished product.

  Next, I painted my PEEP shape with a styrofoam-friendly brand of spray paint (Design Master) in lavender and then while damp, sprinkled it with a light coating of iridescent glitter for a sugary look.  I also painted a bamboo wood dowel that I had cut in half and once that was dry, I inserted both pieces into the bottom of my PEEP shape, to create a stand.  Chocolate brown (my name – not the manufacturer’s – but I thought that might be more helpful) acrylic paint and a small paint brush helped me create the face.  Don’t they have the cutest faces?!!  Couldn’t you picture several smaller versions of these in your front yard (maybe in different colors?)

    

Ok, back to the project (lol)…. I spray painted one of my footed, black planters white, and even reused a styrofoam circle (note the hole made by last year’s pvc).  Then, I placed & gently pushed my PEEP’s bamboo legs into the styrofoam circle to secure it in the planter, slipped a purple-themed spring wreath over his head and added extra flowers to camouflage the styrofoam.

I added a bow to my bunny and placed my large, purple yard eggs and several other decorations around to bring my purple PEEP passion together, including using one of my outdoor greenery plants.  And I love the mossy, jumping bunnies I found at Pier 1 this year.  See what you think…

 

CLICK on any photo to view it larger.

Don’t forget to check out my entire EASTER category for even MORE creative ideas and stay tuned because I’ll be revisiting this craft in Easter 2013 in a fun & fabulous way…

Happy Easter!

Eileen

Using Paper products to help decorate your fireplace for Spring & Easter

In today’s marketplace, paper comes in so many forms and is a perfect fit for my creative, yet budget-conscious, brain.  So, if you’re looking for new ways to transform your fireplace from Winter to Spring (and Easter), read on because I think you’ll like the creative way I found to incorporate 3 different paper products to create 2 new designs.

IDEA #1

For the first fireplace look, SCRAPBOOK PAPER helped me create an “Art Comes Alive” look above The Seasonal Home’s family room mantel.

Tracing around a wood butterfly shape (Hobby Lobby – 50 cents) created the large butterflies and a cookie cutter (I already owned) helped me create the smaller butterflies.  Because I have a hard surface surrounding my fireplace, I was able to use dots of hot glue, from a low-melt glue gun, to attach my butterflies to this surface.  You could also use “Tack It” (office supply dept.) or COMMAND strips to attach them to more delicate surfaces.

I found the vintage frame at a thrift store ($3), lightly spray painted it white and placed it on the mantel.  [NOTE: Typically, these are reasonable if they don’t have artwork in them].  The yellow clay pots are a recycle from a look I created last Easter (https://seasonalhome.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/yellow-at-easter-its-not-just-for-chicks-anymore/ )… so, “zero” dollars.   The aqua, polka-dotted bunnies ($3.99 each) and the yellow, polka-dotted candles ($4.99 each) are both from Old Time Pottery.  The yellow vine came from a clearance section of one of my favorite local stores ($6.75) as did the aqua birdie ($1.99).  I picked up the yellow gingham ribbon (see clay pot trim & mantel inset) at Joann’s, etc.  for only $1.75 with a 50% off coupon and the large aqua flower at Hobby Lobby for $1.99.  If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll recognize my white candlesticks, bird nests and eggs because they roam somewhere different, every year, in The Seasonal Home.

For Part #2 of this look, I wanted to transition my fireplace hearth from Winter to Spring.  In keeping with my nature look, I thought it would be a great idea to make a cushion, flanked by some green topiaries from around the house, to create a park bench feel and also, add additional seating for my Spring and Easter guests.  The aqua gingham fabric, buttons, yellow bias tape & rope insert as well as the 2 bed pillows – $15.00 (Walmart).  So, this entire idea cost $47 to create and I love the fresh look!

IDEA #2

For the second look, I used two different paper products – Green, plaid Hallmark gift wrap (love this stuff because the lines on the opposite side make it easy to cut straight! lol) and white poster board (50 cents), both from Walmart ($4).  I taped a large piece of gift wrap to the back wall & upper inset of the fireplace and removed the logs/grate, to replace it with Dept. 56 artificial grass ($14), edged out with artificial lettuce leaves, to create a base for my 2 sitting, Mom & baby bunnies and used fuzzy Christmas snowball ornaments for their tails.  Finally, I dotted the grass with a few small daisies and also sprinkled them on the mantel and around the large, white bunny cookie jar (sitting inside the cabbage plate) to create continuity. 

CLICK on any photo to enlarge

On the mantel, I used items you’ll also recognize from previous posts, including the wreath, which is the yellow & white daisy wreath from the post I shared above.  I simply added a few different colored flowers to it.   And of course, I simply cannot decorate for ANY holiday without filling up one of my apothecary jars.  This time I added a set of glittered Easter Eggs.

On the side table, you’ll recognize another one of my white candlesticks, on top of which I placed a small clay pot of pink daisies.  You can place SO many different things on top of candlesticks during different seasons, so I highly recommend investing in a set of these to help with your decorating.

This look would be hard to price out for you because I used many items I already had, but it turned out to be one of my favorite looks because it’s so bright & cheery!

Enjoy the Creativity & Happy Easter!

EILEEN

Inexpensive Easter Gift Ideas

Being the mother of 4 children has taught me to be creative  & thrifty when it comes to gift ideas.  With Easter around the corner as well as many other gift-giving occasions in the near future, I thought I would share some of my favorites I’ve either made, myself, or come across.

Small Children – gather up some of their forgotten tiny trinkets & treasures or explore yard sales for new ones and place them in a container, along with rice, silica pellets or small beads to create a personalized I SPY container.   On the left is one that you can purchase in the store for apx. $25.00  OR, you can fill an empty (and dried) water bottle, 1-liter bottle, lidded jar or sew a small pillow and insert a clear vinyl window.  Just remember that once your container (of choice) is filled to your satisfaction, you should add strong glue to the lid before placing it on the container.  If you’re sewing the container, add a little sew-safe glue to the seam before stitching, similar to this small pillow version I saw on etsy.com –

Seller: The Crafting Corner

Older Child Option:  by the time a child reaches their teenage years, they typically have TONS of what-nots lying around that are too special to throw away, like concert ticket stubs, a favorite, long-ago treasure from a gumball machine, childhood race car, tarnished (but still loved) ring, coin from their trip to another country, etc.  So, why not give them a permanent resting place inside an I SPY container, like the (pictured) window-pillow.  What a cool & sentimental keepsake, to take, when they go to college…. literally, pieces of home!

Children of ANY Age:  One year,  I had noticed bars of soap with money inside being sold in stores.  You could not see the money, but they guaranteed that a certain number of their bars contained larger bills.  I thought the same thing you are thinking right now…. it won’t be in the one I purchase!   However, in craft stores, you’ll find glycerin soap making products (many times, they’re put together in a kit for around $14.00) like – clear glycerin soap base, soap mold tray, a bottle of fragrance and instructions… typically enough for 5 soap projects.  When I made these for my own children, I was able to put in the size bill I wanted and it was a HUGE hit.  This idea is great for an – Easter, Graduation or birthday gift as well as a cool stocking stuffer.   Plus, it will not only be a useful gift, but also rewarding for the recipient!  Here’s a photo of a nice example I found, on a cool website that features recipes for homemade bath products –

Teenagers and up: For a long time, the smallest gift card you could purchase was $25.00, but now any of the local drug stores (Walgreens, etc.) carry several gift cards in $10.00 increments. 

An Edible Goody for Kids of  ANY Age:  Do you remember the candy dots on paper?  Rachel Ray has a FREE recipe for these old fashioned goodies that you can try.   And if you want to personalize them, consider spelling out the child’s name (with the dots) rather than just putting them on the paper in rows.  Wouldn’t this idea also be a COOL placecard at your holiday table.  Now that I’ve thought of it, I guess I should try it this year!  I’ll post it when I do. 🙂

For Grown Children – Guys or Gals: If you’re having a super tough financial year and need something absolutely FREE to tuck in an Easter basket of a teenager and up (in age), head to your local department store in the mall and ask for SAMPLES of the latest perfumes, or for men… cologne. You can usually pick up several at no cost and it gives the recipient the opportunity to try them out before they buy, the next time.

I hope some of these ideas work for you or at the very least, help you to think of something else that would  (also) be a perfectly inexpensive basket stuffer. Please feel free to share your ideas in the COMMENT SECTION (below).

Previous Older Entries