Monday, December 14, 2009

A Christmas Countdown - useful ideas for a very merry Christmas!

1. Look for natural items... sticks, pine cones, pampas, berries, dried grasses, rocks, and beans, are all nice natural and frugal.
So, how about some of these on your tree? Cut out some silhouettes or use family photos add some foam board for a backing and glue on the sticks.

2. Change out your art.
You can inexpensively frame pages cut out of Christmas books for a nice holiday look. Got some scribbled in books or books with pages missing? If your books are already a bit abused you can feel even better about dealing them the final death blow. You'll feel even better looking at your nifty seasonal artwork.

3. Paint it.
Freshen up ornaments, branches, wreaths, or just about anything with spray paint.

4. Decoupage it.
Same old Christmas balls getting you down? Decoupage them with some newspaper strips. For a more vintage feel, dip the paper into tea and then let dry before applying. Decoupage... run with it...

5. Think outside the box for fabrics.
Need a new tree skirt but boy are they expensive! Use a tablecloth, flat sheet, muslin or a curtain. Want some Christmas pillows to accent? Grab some $1 placemats and sew them together! Need new stockings? Grab some sweaters from a thrift shop and sew them (works well for warm pillows, too), or use some fabric glue on felt. An even easier idea, soak some of dads big socks in tea overnight. Dry them and glue on some fabric scrapes and trims!
6. Go green with wrap that lives long after Christmas is over.
Instead of $3.50 on a disposable gift bag save a buck or two and get reusable shopping bag. Kohl's has great ones that fold up. I keep one in my purse.

7. Adopt a tree for the entrance of your home.
There are lots of trees that need a good home. Just take a look at all the little orphaned trees on Craigslist and Freecycle. Why not adopt one? The tree gets a home and you get the satisfaction of knowing you saved something from the landfill. Stick it in a galvanized pail or planter and fill it in with bricks and moss. I use bricks and broken chunks of concrete to keep my outdoor faux plants weighted down. ;)
Look at this poor homeless tree. He fell asleep on some garbage bags, didn't even have a blanket.

8. Be original with toys.
Toys work so well to decorate for Christmas. Get some $1 trains at the dollar store and spray paint them or distress them toss them in a cloche and add some candles and evergreen cutting around the cloche. Cute and fun! These and boats work well on trees.
See more here.

9. Upcycle - save and look super savy
Rethink those everyday items you toss. Need a box for something? Got and oatmeal box? Well, there you go. Paint it and add some trim. Need something pretty to carry cookies to the neighbors but forgot to buy a "giveaway platter"? - what I call the dollar tree platters I pick up for these types of occasions. Use pizza carboard. I stack two and cut out paper to glue on top. Then go around the edge with some hot glue and ric rac. Put your cookies on a circle of wax paper a bit smaller than the pizza cardboard to keep the oil from getting into the paper. Add plastic wrap and your good to go.

10. Frame it - a different take on your average bear
Like Chistmas villages but don't have the space for an entire table of the stuff? Use a frame in the center of your dining table to create a clean edge for your little village. No more wondering white fabric and snow! Use frames for everything from wreaths to tree toppers. Add a big bow and mistletoe with bells hanging down at the top and you have a lovely wreath. Put two back to back and sandwich a metal spring at the bottom along with a middle of scrap paper with a big initial and you've got another awesome craft.
You can see how to make the spring here.

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