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What? The holidays are over? We have a dead Christmas tree and I just now completed my ornaments for the Holiday Ornament Swap.

Now granted; I never did receive my list of swapmates, but finally got the list from someone who graciously sent me an ornament. Thank you! So here are my ornaments all made and ready to ship. Better late than never? The first photo shows all nine ornaments stacked up and makes me wish I’d made little yo-yo accordion ornaments, but the next photo is what the ornaments look like on their own. This is the first time I have made fabric yo-yos and I love them! Here are some very nice instructions. So many possibilities and you can make them while watching Project Runway.

I finally finished this table runner just before Christmas Eve. I am still just piecing together fabric and am satisfied with the pieced work without the additional step of quilting. I designed this runner to resemble a tree with triangles of descending size that meet in the center.

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Peppermint Bark

I have been craving this!  Here‘s a good recipe from Martha Stewart.  Planning a birthday party for both girls tomorrow, but hope to make some after that.  Stay tuned for photos from the Alice in Wonderland Celebration.

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I made this snowflake today and was really pleased with the results considering all I needed was six pieces of paper.  The beauty of this project is that it looks complicated, but was so easy!  You can find the instructions on wikiHow here.   This could be used as a treetopper, a wreath, or would look lovely hanging in front of a mirror.  Smaller versions could be used to make a great mobile or as tree ornaments. 

I used red and green construction paper that we had on hand, but it would be really pretty with double-sided origami paper.   I cut the standard-sized paper into squares (8″x8″), which turns out to be a very large snowflake (about 16″).  Double-sided tape would be helpful for this project.  I measured the cut lines in 1″ increments and marked with a ruler.

This time of year we’re having lots of family time indoors and always looking for new projects.  Some less-complicated snowflake instructions can be found here.  My almost five-year-old loves folding, designing and cutting these snowflakes and there are so many possibilities.  These would make a lovely garland when strung together and made from origami or foil paper.  We end up with them all over the house.

Try this site and let the kids “cut” a snowflake on the computer here.

So we’re a little behind here and just got our tree yesterday. I was putting the lights on and thinking about how I learned to light trees when I was working at a flower shop after college. I have not-so-fond memories of lighting artificial trees in casinos at 4am. Yet I still use this method and have gotten many compliments over the years, so thought I would share.  This is assuming that you are using small white lights — we add the large colored bulbs for the kids as well, but you don’t need many of those. The white lights give your tree a nice glow and add dimension if you use a lot of them.

This year, I used about 10 strands of 100 bulb lights for a narrow 7′ tall tree, so that’s almost 150 bulbs per foot of tree height. I wouldn’t even fool with the strands of 50. This is a ton of lights and it takes some time to do, but here’s how if you’re interested:

Step 1: Having an extension cord designed for Christmas trees like this one (in green!) can be handy. Seems like you can put 3-4 strands of 100 in each socket, although you should read the package directions to be sure.

Step 2: Start from the bottom and wrap each branch from the inside of the tree to the outside.

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Step 3: When you get to the tip, make sure that you have a light positioned for the end of the branch and twist the cord around and weave back down the branch.

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That’s pretty much it. Of course you’ll want to make sure that your plug ends are all tucked neatly into the interior of the tree. But you basically just wrap each individual branch and use a ton of lights. It really does make a difference and creates a glowing tree full of holiday cheer!

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Aren’t these holiday cards adorable?  Not to mention some sweet sisters.  I’m getting them out today — ahead of the rush! 

These days so many mothers are opting to start their own business to suit the needs of family and allow for personal creativity.  Ashley Baine of Sugar Cookie Cards began hand-painting invitations for friends.  Her designs became so popular that she started a successful business with her sister, Newell.  You can find the whimsical designs of Sugar Cookie Cards at a store near you.  They offer invitations, stationery, holiday cards, stickers, notepads and more.

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Festive Sweater Ornaments from Viva Terra.

I’m thinking about waste a lot today; perhaps this is because we made a trip to Party City.  I have now convinced my almost five-year-old that it will be acceptable for us to make a pinata for her birthday party.  We are making it from cardboard and tissue paper and it will have pull strings.  We’ll see how this turns out.  Anyway, with Christmas splattered all over the stores I was thinking that it’s nice to make/recycle/pass along ornaments like these pretty tin can angels made in Guatemala (pictured below), also from Viva TerraGreat Green Goods has a nice list with these and others.

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I decided not to buy any more stuff and made my own gift tags this year.  You can find the .pdf file below .  I created these with an Avery 5294 template, so you could use them as stickers.  I am printing them on card stock and punching holes with my new Martha Stewart hole punch.  I’ll put the to/from on the back side. 

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In my earlier post I found some great wreaths and check out this new one from Betz White.  I have a pile of fabric scraps and  a wreath form just waiting for some inspiration.  Not everyone has a million beautiful cashmere sweater scraps lying around the house, but isn’t this pretty?  I am already seeing houses decked out in decorations, so I guess it’s time.

Skip the candy and plastic junk.  Here are some stocking stuffer or Hanukkah ideas:

Mittens from Liz Jones Handmade, $22.  Available in her Etsy shop here.

turquoise-horned monster mittens

Hair clips or ponytail holders from Meeting Street Designs, $12.25 for the set pictured below.

My Little Friends - Seven Days of Fun - Adorable and Fun Ponytail Holders for Little Girls

This stamper necklace from The Small Object, $24.


Mushroom pocket case, $20 from Gifts Define.

A couple of nice handmade items, maybe some underwear and socks.  Eva’s favorite present one year was a flashlight!  Don’t think my kids won’t have some Disney princess stickers in their stockings.  Our kids are the smallest victims of our consumer culture and my four-year-old actually CRIED for princess underpants.  My mother says that they received oranges and nuts in their stockings when she was a child.  We’ll try that this year and see if there’s a revolt.