Archive for the ‘how to’ Category


[I had to find this article today because I’m finally getting my tree up this weekend. Normally, I like to have it up the weekend after Thanksgiving but between traveling, my etsy shops picking up and prepping for a craft show, this is the soonest I could manage. I always thought garland went on last but followed this instruction last year and it went pretty well. The big question is how a 17 month old will act with a decorated tree. I’ll keep you posted!]


(From About.com)

You’ve chosen your perfect Christmas tree, but now what?

Our tips on the next pages will give you ideas for setting up your tree, lighting it, keeping it fresh, and decorating it to be beautiful.

  • Keep Your Tree Fresh and Green
    Cut the stump of the tree with a fresh cut and set it in water immediately. A fresh-cut tree will absorb several quarts of water right from the start. So it’s important to check and refill the water level several times a day for the first week. You can cut down on frequency later. Be sure to place you Christmas tree in a stand that has a large water reservoir and keep it filled.
  • Christmas Tree Preservative
    You can prolong the life of your Christmas tree by mixing up a concoction of 1 quart water, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon liquid bleach. You can also read information on caring for Christmas trees.
  • Putting Lights and Decorations on the Tree
    When decorating your Christmas tree, put lights on first, then garlands, then the ornaments.
  • Work From the Inside Out
    Start arranging Christmas tree lights on the branches near the base of the tree. Weave strings of lights along the branches “inside,” then move to the outer edges of the branches.
  • Placement of Ornaments
    Don’t hang all your ornament on the tips of the branches. Place ornaments and other decorations ‘inside’ your tree to add depth and interest.
  • Basic Ornaments for Fill
    Start by arranging the “filler ornaments” evenly spaced around the tree. This would include basic solid color balls that are easily found at discount stores in a wide range of colors to coordinate and enhance your decorating scheme. You’ll need about 20 “filler ornaments” for every 2 feet of Christmas tree.
  • Special Themed, Collectible Ornaments
    Mix one-of-a-kind special ornaments between the basic ornaments. Plan to use at least 10 special themed ornaments for every 2 feet of tree. As your collection grows, put the special ornaments closer together.

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* Prep Time: 10 min.
* Bake Time: 45 min.
* Difficulty: Moderate
* Yield: Makes 18 cookies.


* 4 cups M&M’S® Brand Minis Chocolate Candies
* 1 18 oz. roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
* 2/3 cup flour
* 1 16 oz. can vanilla frosting
* 1 14 oz. package red licorice laces
* Resealable plastic bags
* Drinking straw
* Christmas light shaped cookie cutter


* 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
* 2. Knead the flour into the cookie dough until smooth.
* 3. Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. By hand, or using a Christmas light cookie cutter, cut out shapes.
* 4. With a spatula, gently transfer the cookies to a baking sheet. Using a drinking straw, press a hole at the top of each cookie.
* 5. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
* 6. Separate different colors of M&M’S® Brand Minis Chocolate Candies, and set aside.
* 7. Spread vanilla frosting on top of each cookie. Arrange a solid color of M&M’S® Brand Minis Chocolate Candies on top of each cookie.
* 8. Let the cookies dry for 30 minutes. Run licorice laces through each hole, connecting the cookies into one continuous strand.

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How to Make a Christmas Wrapping Paper Craft

How to Make a Christmas Wrapping Paper CraftHow to Make a Christmas Wrapping Paper Craft


If you want to save a little money this year and exercise your creativity, trying a craft project making Christmas wrapping paper. This is an easy kids’ crafts project and fun for adults too. In many cases, you’ll be able to use things you already have around the house.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need

  • Kraft paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ribbon
  • Cardstock
  • Construction paper
  • Rubber stamps
  • Stamp pads
  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • Aluminum foil
  • Pillowcase


Step One

Buy a large roll of white Kraft paper at your local craft store. Cut the paper to fit the size of the gift you are wrapping and decorate the paper with rubber stamps. Craft stores have a large variety of Christmas and holiday stamps and stamp pads if you don’t already have these supplies.

Step Two

Cut out Christmas shapes and place them on the Kraft paper with a glue stick. Use colored cardstock or construction paper and draw shapes freehand or trace them. You can make all of the shapes the same size or vary them. Christmas trees, candy canes, ornaments and snowmen are easy to draw and cut out. If your children are too young to cut out the shapes, they will still enjoy gluing on the shapes.

Step Three

Make your own striped wrapping paper. Use a marker and a ruler to create parallel lines on a piece of Kraft paper. You can draw the lines the same distance apart or draw a few close together and then a few farther apart. This is probably the easiest craft project, but if you draw very straight lines, it can look as though it was professionally done.

Step Four

Create your own low-cost metallic wrapping paper with a roll of aluminum foil. Make a design on the foil with ribbons or buy some metallic stickers and place them on the foil.

Step Five

Use pillow cases to wrap large items instead of gift bags. Buy inexpensive white pillowcases at a discount store, place the item inside and tie up with ribbon and a large bow. After Christmas, the recipient will have a new gift and new pillow case to enjoy.

Tips & Warnings

  • There is no shortage of things you can add to your wrapping paper. Glitter, small pine cones and candy canes all help to make your Christmas craft project one-of-a-kind.

Find this article at: http://www.ehow.com/how_4526271_christmas-wrapping-paper-craft.html

More ideas:

Rainbow Sponge & Ink Kit – Techniques
Contributed by
Ranger Ink & Posh Impressions

Sponge Versatility
– The Rainbow Sponge is a fabulous tool for applying colorful inks to cards, gift wrap, photo album pages, stationery and almost any glossy or absorbent paper project. There are three different size edges: the small edge is perfect for writing, creating borders and line patterns, the medium and large edges cover more ground for making backgrounds and banners. Vary the edges for interesting effects when developing plaid and check designs. Different color combinations can be placed on other edges later. Use the sponge with ink directly from the bottles for the most vibrant color effects. Spray lightly with a fine mist of water and the colors become slightly less intense, but they will last longer and allow you to pull the sponge more easily. Watch out! – more than 2 squirts of water will dilute and mute the color, producing a pale result.

Applying the Inks to the Sponge – Place the needle nose applicator tip next to the edge of the sponge and lightly squeeze the bottle, applying several drops of ink. Apply several colors of ink to one edge of the sponge. Achieve blending by placing colors that mix well next to one another. Allowing space between the colors will provide a striped

result – while inks that touch create solid rainbows of color. Before You Start – Lay out project paper on a dry, flat surface. It helps to have a large pad of paper underneath your project so you can drag your sponge off of its edge. It is important to get your hands out of the way since you will need to pull the sponge in one unobstructed fluid motion, beginning and ending off of the project.

Dry Sponging • Once your sponge is inked, hold your paper at one end while you pull the sponge across to the other end of your project in the desired pattern. Repeat this process until your paper is filled with color.

Ribbon Candy Sponging – Wet the sponge and pull it across your project making small “U” shapes with your wrist, creating connecting peaks. Try making the “U” shapes wide and loose or tight and tall.

Ribbon Candy Sponging
Straight/Diagonal Sponging –Align the edge of your inked sponge with the edge of the paper for Straight Sponging. Turn the paper at an angle to create diagonal stripes of color.

Straight/Diagonal Sponging

Cute Ideas from: Lizzie Anne Designs

Gingerbread Man Set
Designed by: Jeanne Streiff

Tag for Gingerbread Man
Stamps: Holiday Cheer
Ink: Stampin Up Black and Not Quite Navy
Paper: White and Red
Accessories: Ribbon, Sponge, Marvy Super Jumbo Scallop Rectangle Punch

Wrap 20″ of ribbon like Ribbon Candy. Then take a small piece of ribbon and tie a knot in the middle to secure the bow, The tag was made by stamping the phrase and then punching out with a Scallop Rectangle punch. Sponge the edges and then Mat in red.

Matching 3″ x 3″ card
Stamps: Christmas in the City
Paper: White, Red
Ink: Stampin Up Black, Soft Sky
Accessories: Markers, Diamond Stickles, Ribbon, Sponge, Post-it notes

Stamp the snowman in black ink on white paper and then on a post it note. Cut out the snowman on the post it note and place over the other snowman to create a mask. Take another Post-it and cut a wavy (1/2″ or so) piece to mask where the “snow” will be. Place that at the bottom. With both masks in place stamp the snowflakes on the background and sponge lightly with Soft Sky Ink (or light blue). Remove masks and color the snowman. Add lines freehand in black ink for the snowdrifts. Add glitter. Tie a knot on a small piece of ribbon and attach with tape on the back of the card. Assemble.

Christmas Jar
Designed by: Meridith Ethington

>Click here to see top of jar
Stamps: Glad Tidings
Paper: We R Memory Keepers Petit Four, Nook and Tea Towel, and Bazzill cardstock
Ink: Stampin’ Up Old Olive
Ribbon: We R Memory Keepers
Other: Square latch lid glass jar approximately 2.5″ wide, by 4.75″ high

1.Trim out a piece of patterned paper (I used We R Memory Keepers- Petit Four) approximately 11″ x 2 3/4″ and adhere to the jar overlapping itself.
2. Trim out a piece of patterned paper (I used We R Memory Keepers- Tea Towel) approximately 11″ x 2 1/4″. Using the border flourish stamp from Glad Tidings, stamp across the top and bottom of the Tea Towel patterned paper with Old Olive ink. Adhere on top of the Petit Four paper, making sure to center. You should have a border of 1/4″ on the top and bottom. Paper will overlap.
3. Stamp the Christmas tree with Old Olive onto a piece of patterned paper (I used We R Memory Keepers- Nook.) Trim tree out. Repeat until you have 4 trees.
4. Adhere the four trees to each of the four sides of the jar.
5. Tie ribbon around the neck of the jar.
6. Punch out a red scallop circle using the Marvy Uchida Mega scallop punch, and adhere to the top of the jar lid.
7. Punch out a circle (approx. 1 1/2 -1 3/4″) from patterned paper (I used We R Memory Keepers- Nook.) and adhere to scallop circle making sure to center.
8. Stamp “to & from” stamp onto cream cardstock with Old Olive ink. Punch out using 1/18″ circle punch, and sponge the edges with Old Olive ink.
Adhere to the center of the 1 1/2 -1 3/4″ patterned paper circle.
9. Fill with candy or other goodies.

Quick and Easy Personalized Note Cards
Designed by: Kendra Wietstock

Stamps: Holiday Cheer and Celebration Frames
Paper: Stampin Up Whisper White, Green Galore & Real Red
Ink: Palette Noir Black & Stampin’ Up! Green Galore, Real Red
Punches: Stampin’ Up! Scallop Circle & 1 3/8″ circle, Spellbinder Nestabilities Ovals
Ribbon: Red Gingham (Stampin’ Up!); Red Satin & Red Velvet (unknown) Misc: Red jewels by K & Co. Computer Font: Stampin Up Marker J Low – 14 pt.

1. Using the word processing package on your computer, pull up a postcard template. In Word, click on *Tools*, *Envelopes and Labels* and then use template #*3263* (postcard 4.25″x 5.5″ Letter Landscape).
2. Create a text box in the lower right corner of the first postcard and type in a personalized greeting. (Note: I left enough room between the lines to stamp “holiday cheer”.)
3. Copy and paste that text box into the other three postcards on the page.
4. Print the document on white cardstock. (I usually print it out on printing paper first to make sure the spacing is correct.)
5. Trim white cardstock to 4″ x 5.25″ and stamp “holiday cheer” greeting in red between the printed text.
6. Cut and score the card bases from 8.5″ x 11″ colored cardstock (2 green/2 red). Finished card size 4.25″ x 5.5″
7. Punch out scalloped shapes in coordinating colors and circles/ovals in white cardstock.
8. Stamp images using the Christmas hat in red and tree in green from Holiday Cheer set on the white shapes.
9. Stamp the circle frame from Celebration Frames in black on the circle scalloped shapes.
10. Attach the stamped pieces to the scalloped mats.
11. Tie or glue ribbon around the white cardstock and attach the stamped image with foam pop-dots for added dimension.
12. Attach the white cardstock to the card base. Add jewels to the Christmas trees and glitter to the hats.
13. Stamps the same trees and hats on envelopes to coordinate.

Bundle them together with ribbon and you have a fast, easy gift for school teachers, bus drivers, coaches, or the newspaper delivery person!

Snowman Notecard Packs
Designed by: Lori Craig

Stamps: Christmas in the City
Ink: StazON Jet Black, Stampin Up Celery and Tempting Turquoise
Paper: Stampin’ Up Curious Iridescent White, Celery and Tempting Turquoise
Accessories: Celery Wide Ribbon, Markers, Glitter, Small Corner Rounder Punch to create scallops, tag punches by SU! Velvet turquoise ribbon – not known and Nestabilities by Spellbinder; snowflake charms by Dress it UP!, tacky glue or string.

1. Stamp 6 snowman in StazON on 6 small pieces of Cryogen White. Color with Markers and cut out with Nestabilities and apply small amounts of glitter to hat and scarf.
2. Cut 6 turquoise layers with Nestabilities and adhere to turquoise and snowmen together.
3. Using 11″ x 7.75″ piece of celery cardstock.Stamp snowflakes randomly on celery cardstock. Lay on paper trimmer in landscape position. Score at 1/2″, 4″, 5.75″ 9.25″ .
4. Turn to portrait position and score at 4.25.
5. From the portrait position, on the shorter of the 2 sides (3.5″) cut the 1/2″, 4″, 5.75″ 9.25″ score lines to the 4.25″ cross score. Folded in, these pieces create the bottom of your box. Accent snowflake stamped images with glitter. Cut scallops or decorative edge across the top of the box. Fold into place and secure box shape with adhesive.
6. Cut a 1.5″ strip of white and create scalloped edges. Cut into two 3.5″ and two 1.75″ pieces. This becomes your band. Adhere to the middle of your box as shown. Tie turquoise ribbon, knotting at back – or front if desired.
7. Apply snowman layer over the band on the box.

1. Apply other snowman layers to small notecards. Tie celery ribbon and apply snowflake charm with tacky glue or string.
2. Punch and stamp a tag with ‘let it snow’ and celery snowflake stamped image. Bundle notecards with a larger piece of celery ribbon lengthwise, attach tag and insert into the standing box.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Kit
Designed by: Tricia Ulberg

Stamps: Christmas in the City, Glad Tidings, and So Swirly
Ink: Stampin Up Close to Cocoa and Ruby Red, and Tsukineko Versamark
Cardstock: Stampin Up Close to Cocoa, Ruby Red, and Smooth White
Ribbon: Red Gingham by May Arts and Stampin Up Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Red chalk, Angelina computer font, red eyelets, cellophane bag, stapler, small candy cane in wrapper, and homemade hot cocoa mix (recipe below.)

Cocoa Kit Bag Directons:
1. Cut a 10×4.5 piece of brown (Close to Cocoa) cardstock. Score and fold the cardstock piece at 2″ and then 3″ (the remaining area will measure at 5″) Using the So Swirly stamp set, stamp swirls on one side with Versamark ink and also ink the edges.
2. Then cut a piece of 4.5×5 cream (Totally Tan) cardstock. Adhere this piece behind the front panel of the brown cardstock piece. This forms the outside bag. Punch the top of the two flaps with a decorative edge corner punch.
3. On a strip of white cardstock 4.5″ long, stamp cocoa mug image in Close to Cocoa ink. Chalk mugs with red chalk and then sponge the edges of the strip with brown ink. Then take the strip and put adhesive on THREE sides only..the two sides and the bottom, so it will form a pocket. Put this directly above the area where the brown cardstock ends and the cream begins. Glue down a piece of Close to Cocoa ribbon directly above the white strip and a piece of red gingham ribbon directly below the strip.
4. On a 4.5″ wide strip of cream (Totally Tan) paper, stamp the image “baby it’s cold outside” in brown ink. Sponge edges. Glue this strip onto the front below the cocoa mug strip.
5. At the top of the bag, set two red eyelets in both the front and the back flaps. Then using a piece of red gingham ribbon through the eyelets, tie the front and back flaps together.

Hot Cocoa Mix Directions Pullout: Cut out a 3×1.5 piece of red (Ruby Red) cardstock. Print directions (below) in brown on white paper that will fit slightly smaller than red cardstock piece and cut out. Use a corner rounder on both pieces and adhere white piece to red cardstock piece. Then, staple a “ribbon pull” with brown ribbon to the back. Insert directions into the pocket on the front of the cocoa kit bag.

Directions to print:
Homemade Hot Cocoa Directions
Combine 1/4 cup Homemade Cocoa Mix and 3/4 cup boiling water into cup. Stir to blend with peppermint stick. Enjoy! Cocoa Kit makes 8 servings.

Hot Cocoa Mix: Make Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe (below) and measure out 2 cups into cellophane bag. Cut out a 2×4″ strip of cream (Totally Tan) cardstock and fold down the middle. Stamp snowflake image on both sides in red (Ruby Red) ink and sponge the edges in brown (Close to Cocoa) ink. Fold up the top of the cellophane bag several times and then place folded cardstock piece over the top of the fold. Place candy cane in wrapper on the top and staple the cardstock piece and the candy cane to the top of the bag. Stamp “MC” tag on white cardstock, punch out, and adhere to the cellophane bag directly below candy cane.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe:
10 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
5 ounces non-dairy creamer
1-pound Nestlé’s Quick Chocolate Milk Mix
1/3 cup Sugar

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[ A beautiful post, here’s the link to the original site: http://heavypetal.ca/archives/2005/12/how-to-make-an-evergreen-wreath/]

Perhaps the only thing better than the scent of fresh-cut evergreen boughs is having that scent come from a wreath you’ve made yourself.

My mom and some friends did just that last weekend and I played photojournalist. And so, may I present:

A step-by-step guide to wreath making

You will need:

  • A wreath frame (available at your local craft store).

  • Green florist wire (or just plain silver wire – it’s not really going to show)
  • Secateurs (pruners or clippers)
  • Moss (available at the nursery or some craft stores) soaked in water for at least an hour
  • A variety of fresh materials. Along with Western Larch and Cedar, we used:

Seeded eucalyptus




How To

1. Gather an assortment of 12-20cm (5″-8″) stems into small bunches (between 2-4 stems per bunch), and wrap the ends tightly with florist wire.

2. Wrap the cut end of the bunch with damp moss. Lay the bundle on your wreath frame and secure with more wire.

3. Place your next moss-wrapped bunch on the frame, facing the same direction so that the tips of the second bunch overlap the first, covering the wire. Secure.

4. Proceed as above, overlapping the bundles and wrapping the whole thing with wire. Once your frame is entirely covered, step back and assess. Add extra stems where needed, and affix extras like bows if desired.

Voila! You’ve got yourself a wreath.

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Make a Ribbon Candy Twist Ornament

Wow family and friends with these handcrafted retro ribbon candy styled ornaments.

What You Need
  • Spray adhesive
  • Wide, medium, and narrow ribbon
  • Water-soluble marking pen
  • Long-eye beading needle
  • White embroidery floss
  • Eleven 10-mm-round pearls
How to Make It
  1. Glue the medium-width ribbon to the center of the wide ribbon.
  2. Trim the length to measure 16 1/2 inches.
  3. Using the pen and a ruler, mark dots down the center of the ribbon at 1-1/2-inch intervals on both sides of the ribbon.
  4. Thread the beading needle with an 18-inch length of embroidery floss.
  5. Slip a pearl onto the floss.
  6. Carefully remove the needle, and then rethread it with both ends of the floss. The ends of the floss should be even.
  7. Push the needle from one side of the ribbon through the other side at the first mark (the first pearl is now at the bottom of the ornament); add a pearl.
  8. Push the needle from the one side of the ribbon through to the other side at the second mark; add a pearl.
  9. Continue until you have 11 pearls on the string.
  10. To finish, secure the thread and attach a hanging ribbon.

[BLOGGER’S TIP: Use Heat n’ Bond adhesive to fuse ribbons together. Gives more weight and body to ribbon strip and you can delete the use of beads if you don’t like the look! You can also use striped fabric fused together with Heat n’ Bond and then make long strips to fold into ornaments!]

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