Nov 21, 2013

5 Fun Christmas DIY Projects

I am in a really festive mood lately; I'm ready for Christmas and it's showing in my projects lately! I have had a ton of fun trying some new crafts so I thought I'd talk about a few of them here and maybe give you some fun Christmas DIY inspiration at the same time.

1. Making Your Own Garland

If you live near evergreen trees of any kind, you can make beautiful garland that looks super expensive but is FREE. Love that word. This is the first year I've tried making my own garland and I was really surprised at how easy it is - time consuming, but easy. It's also a lot of fun and can be a great family activity to do with the kids.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the process, but there are a lot of good tutorials out there, like this one from Lily White Designs.

2. Frosting Your Own Garland

So now that you've made your own garland, you can make it look quite festive by frosting it, to make it appear as if it's been dusted by freshly fallen snow. This one I did manage to capture pictures of, and it's super simple. Make sure you do this in a well ventilated area. Hang the garland up so you'll have your hands free to work.

Simply mix 1 cup of white flour or corn starch with a tablespoon or two of glitter.

Next, spray parts of your garland with clear spray paint and then dust on the glitter mixture. It's that simple and it's super pretty.

After hanging the garland, I decorated it with ornaments and I'm really happy with how it came out!

3. Make Your Own Wreath

So, there are tons of ways that you can make your own wreath. You can even use your own evergreen cuttings if you have a foam or wire wreath form. For these wreaths, I cheated because I started with finished wreaths - a grapevine one and a regular artificial evergreen one.

For the grapevine wreath, I used some of the evergreen cuttings I had for the garland. I simply created a little spray using wire to secure the pieces together. Then, I wired the spray to the wreath and finished it off with a bow.

For the evergreen wreath, I wrapped it in ribbon and then added some clip-on pieces I found in the Christmas section as well as some ornaments. I finished it off with a huge red bow and voila - done!

4. Create a Swag for Above Windows or Doors

Again, using the evergreen cuttings that I had for the garland, I created a swag. I simply wired the pieces together with the needles facing different directions. Then, I added a few pine cones using fishing line. I dressed it up using ribbon and over-sized ornaments.

5. Jar Snow Globes

Finally, you can make fun snow globes just using recycled jars and small figurines or trees like I used here. I didn't add water, but you can. Also, adding mineral oil is the best way to get the glitter or snow to fall slowly and beautifully. Mine are empty, but they still have the same sort of look and they're part of my little Christmas tree village.

I just super glued the trees to the lid and sprayed some clear spray paint inside the jar before adding glitter. Then, I closed the jar and hot-glued some ribbon to hide the lid.

I hope you enjoyed these fun projects! Do you have links to your own Christmas DIY projects? Share them here - I'd love to see them.

Nov 14, 2013

How to Make Rice Hand Warmers

For a long time, I've created rice "heating pads" for tummy aches, etc. but I never thought about using them for hand warmers. Then I saw some on Facebook and thought they were really cute, so I decided to create some for my daughter and her little friends to use while they waited for the bus on cold mornings. I love these, and they're perfect stocking stuffers for kids or small gifts for co-workers, mail carriers, etc.

What You'll Need:
  • 1 Small Square of Felt for Each Warmer (you can use any size you want; mine were about 4 inches by 4 inches). 
  • 2/3 Cup Uncooked Rice - not the instant kind. I've read that you can also use beans and corn kernels.
  • Needle and Thread
  • Ribbon (if you want to pretty these up a bit).
  • Essential Oils (optional - these are just to make them smell yummy). 
How to Make Them: 

As you can see in the picture (sorry for the poor pic quality), I started out by just sewing some little hearts to my ribbon to jazz it up a bit. 

Next, you're going to fold your felt square in half. If you've chosen to add ribbon, place it on top of the felt square and fold the end over so that it will tuck into your felt. 

To sew the felt, I just used a simple blanket stitch and started on one end.

You will sew the two sides all the way around, making sure the stitches are close enough together to keep any rice from falling out once the hand warmer is finished. 

Now you're going to add the rice to the hand warmer. I filled mine about 3/4 of the way and it took about 1/3 a cup of uncooked rice but it will take more or less depending upon how large your hand warmer is. If you're going to use essential oils, now is the time to put 1-2 drops inside! Once you've filled the warmer with rice, go ahead and stitch up the remaining side.

Voila! You have neat little hand warmers that are great on cold mornings. Just pop them in the microwave and heat them for 30 seconds to 1 minute (be careful - they can come out pretty hot at first) and they'll stay warm for quite a while. These stayed nice and warm for about 20 minutes before needing a re-heat. 

These are not just great for keeping hands warm; they're perfect for bumps, bruises and aches. A friend told me she made them for her father who suffered with arthritis because they eased the stiffness and pain. There you go - couldn't be easier! Have fun making your own hand warmers. If you liked this tutorial, please use the buttons below to pin and share it!