Tag Archives: budget friendly Christmas crafts

DIY Fall basket decor for Thankgiving

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DIY Fall basket decor for Thankgiving

So I’ve been rushing around, cleaning and decorating.  But this year I decided to try and only decorate with things that I already had….to squeeze my brain for budget-friendly decorating!  Ok, I admit, that I did buy a few very small things for Thanksgiving before I decided to try out this plan.  But they were very few, heh heh.  For this rather awesome crafty decoration, I used some nested baskets that I bought at Ikea about 8 years ago.  The the larger ones usually hold fruit and the smaller ones lurk in dark corners of the basement “holding things”.  So I dug up a nested set.  And then I went for a walk to “gather things”.  They say the best things in life are free, and my  autumn walk was a best thing for sure!  I found a few small pine branches, some little black berries of some sort, and some orange berries, which I should know the name of the tree they are from, but am hopeless at tree-knowledge.

I found this idea on Better Homes and Gardens  for this basket tower.  They used mismatched baskets, which looked cute.  They also used lots of expensive floral foam, which I don’t have.  A temporary tower sounded good to me.  Since it was looking rather large, I decided it wouldn’t be a table centerpiece, but just a decoration, that will be up out of the reach of little hands….so I didn’t do much to anchor it.  It’s another one of my “temporary” ideas.DIY fall basket decor for Thanksgiving centerpiece by dennasideas.comDIY fall basket decor for Thanksgiving centerpiece by dennasideas.comThese baskets dip down in on one side, so that would be the front.  I found things to stack in between, cans, jars, stuff like that.  DIY fall basket decor for Thanksgiving centerpiece by dennasideas.comI just left the heavy things as is, but duct taped some of the lighter things for a bit of stability.  Ta da, my not too wobbly tower!DIY fall basket decor for Thanksgiving centerpiece by dennasideas.comNow to fill it with nature….start with the pine branches, just some small ones.  Then clumps of berries.  Then a few pine cones.DIY fall basket decor for Thanksgiving centerpiece by dennasideas.comShove everything in….I’m not sure how long this arrangement will last, but it will just turn into a dried fall arrangement!  The example I was following had some really cute kumquats (whatever those are) and some lovely cloved oranges, that I did want to add, but the baskets were full!  No room for oranges.  No prob Bob.  I think it looks nice just like this….DIY fall basket decor for Thanksgiving centerpiece by dennasideas.comUgh, except for the color of that wall!!!  The wall is not supposed to be pink, it’s orange, but for some reason my photos never show the right color!!  I like orange stuff….. 🙂

Anyways, I hope that this little post gives you some ideas for using stuff that’s sitting around your house, and some bits of nature (real or otherwise) to decorate for Thanksgiving or fall in general.  I know not everyone has berries popping up everywhere at this time of year……use lots of pinecones and clove some oranges!!  Some ribbon would be nice, too….oh, and you can put a candle in the top like the Better Homes and Gardens version….but then it would have to be a stable tower…..I could go on and on.  But maybe you should go decorate something….

A home-made Christmas

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A home-made Christmas

“Christmas time is here….” that’s the theme from A Charlie Brown Christmas, I can hear it playing inside my head.  There’s something cozy and comforting about watching Charlie Brown and Snoopy’s Christmas cartoon (that’s older than I am! haha!) while snow falls outside.  The kids love watching it to.  Is it because it makes us think back to simpler times?  Remember the sad little tree that Charlie Brown finds, and the kids give it a bit of love and spruce it up?

I really don’t know why I’m mentioning that cartoon, it just popped into my mind, and seemed to fit (in my mind anyway) with the home-made Christmas idea.  This year I was trying to make a bunch of home-made stuff for Christmas, instead of buying new things.  I keep finding amazing ideas online that I wanted to try, but have run right out of time!!  So I thought I’d post some photos of the things that I did get done because I know it will make me feel better to see the loveliness on my blog, instead of surrounded by the boxes and mess and clutter that are here in my house!!  (No I am not going to post a photo of the mess that surrounds the decorating…that would ruin all the loveliness, even though it would show my real life!)

Our Christmas tree is a “throw and go!” tree, as my son called it: throw the ornaments on and then go away!  I let the kids do most of the decorating with only one box of ornaments….I don’t know why.  I guess I was too exhausted to pull anything else out, and they were happy to do a “candy cane tree”.  (Ok, I did buy something new, those wood & fabric words for a buck each!).  This is the first time we’ve ever had a color-coordinated tree.  So that was nice for a change! ;)denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasHere are some ideas I found online to print out…denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: sugar plum snowflake ballerinasAdvent things, denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmasdenna's ideas: "green" Advent countdown books denna's ideas: our Jesse tree for Advent 2012Cookie things (for teacher gifts and just for us to eat on a cold winter’s evening), trying out some new recipes….denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasOrnament things,  denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmasdenna's ideas: a home-made Christmas paper tree denna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasGift things…..I just had to snap some photos of the presents my daughter wrapped, they are so cute!!  She wrote out all the tags with our names on in English and in Japanese characters!denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas denna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasAnd a few anniversary things, denna's ideas: a home-made Christmas, gingerbread bride and groomdenna's ideas: a home-made ChristmasOur six year old photographer took this 19th anniversary portrait of us, we had just kissed at 19 hours and 19 minutes on the 19th of December for our 19th anniversary!  Now that’s home-made stuff!!

So that’s a few glimpses of our kinda home-made Christmas decorating and traditions and stuff….really, our life is not as together-looking as it seems in this blog…..I just have to mention that so that I don’t feel like I’m lying too much with all the perfect-looking photos.  I have perfection ideals in my head, but just can’t make them work out….so I take photos of the stuff that turns out…and once-in-a-while of the things that don’t turn out!  🙂

Merry Christmas to you!!!

The smell of Christmas Memories

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The smell of Christmas Memories

What smells bring Christmas to your mind??  Gingerbread?  Hot apple cider?  Candy canes?  Turkey roasting?  Mandarin oranges?

My favorite is an obvious one:  the smell of real evergreen Christmas trees!!  This year we have a real tree and I’m just loving the scent of it!!  I can put up with all the shedding for that wonderful spicy smell that transports me back to Christmases past!

Other smells that remind me of Christmas in my childhood are ones found in Guatemala:  the smell of aserrín=sawdust! (dyed many different colors and used for making nativity scenes), the smell of manzanilla (little yellow fruit that is strung into garlands for decoration), the smell of crushed pino (clusters of long-needled pine that are scattered on the floor at parties), the smell of ponche simmering on the stove (a cooked fruit punch full of fabulous fruitiness), the smell of tamales in their green leaves (this now reminds me of Christmas, but I wouldn’t touch them when I was a kid!) and one of my favorites: the smell of gunpowder from cohetes!!-fuegos artificiales-!  (we always lit off fireworks at Christmas and New Years! And even today the smell of gunpowder immediately makes me think of Christmas and celebrations and fun!!)

I was thinking about the smells of Christmas and wondering what scents will remind my kids of the Christmases we have spent together…..baking shortbread? gingerbread cookies? pine tree?

And so I decided that we should make a few “smelly” crafts this year, just to make sure that when my kids are all grown up, they will be transported back to family Christmases every time they smell…….cloved oranges!!  And cinnamon apple decorations!!

I remember working on cloving oranges when I was a kid and my mom would supervise us as we stabbed the hard oranges with cloves…or large needles before we could get the clove in!  This year I found a helpful idea on pinterest, so just had to try it with my kids.  The secret: make grooves in your oranges first!!  The photo I saw said something about paring the oranges, and I tried it with the end of my peeler, but that didn’t work, so I just used a knife to cut a “v” groove down the side of the orange…then let the kids at them with the cloves!!  Ahhh what a lovely smell!!denna's ideas: making cloved Christmas oranges denna's ideas: making cloved Christmas oranges denna's ideas: making cloved Christmas oranges denna's ideas: making cloved Christmas oranges

Another oderiferous craft that I thought we should try was cinnamon and applesauce oranments.  Yes, that’s all they are, cinnamon (lots of it) and applesauce.  I used the recipe found here.  It turned out to be a very crazy craft!!!  I guess we must have done something a bit wrong, because the “dough” was too soft…needless to say, there were a whole bunch of “potty jokes” flying around the table as we worked with that soft brown dough…..(shudder shudder!)denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsWe put a tablespoon too much of applesauce, then kept adding cinnamon to try and make it firm up….the dough was so damp that it was super hard for the kids to make shapes out of it or cut it with cookie cutters..denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornaments denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsIt was so funny to work on these!!!  But it was a little strong and my son’s hands started to turn a bit red and itchy! 🙂denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsIn the end, I scooped up all the mushy ornaments and pressed it bit by bit into a small heart shaped cookie cutter and then used a drinking straw to make a hole in each heart…..no one seemed to mind that I did that…..and when the ornaments were slowly baking it made the house smell fabulous!!  Everyone enjoyed that part!!denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsP.S.  the recipe says that the ornaments are not for eating, but my oldest daughter thought they tasted great and kept nibbling at the dough and consumed several baked ornaments!!  Craziness!  There’s like a half a cup of cinnamon in there!

So it was a messy crazy craft, but I think I would do it again, for the laughs and the great aromas that it brought!!  And they look so cute on our little white tree and still smell so nice…. denna's ideas: making cinnamon ornamentsFun Christmas crafts, and did you notice that we didn’t have to buy anything “special” to make them (I happened to have a new large container of cinnamon on hand!!)??  It gives a nice homey, handmade feel to our decorations…..and the smells!!  For sure those smells have become part of our Christmas memories! 😉