Friday, December 14, 2012

Murfreesboro Holiday Parade Highlights

Even though there isn't any snow here in Middle Tennessee to ring in the holiday season, plenty of people are feeling jolly and making merry at this time of year. A few days ago, I attended the holiday parade in downtown Murfreesboro and I want to share with you some of the highlights, from floats to handmade doggie attire, the parade was a showcase of Christmas decorations and crafts, some on a very large scale, like my personal favorite best-in-show float, the Ashbuster's Mary Poppins float. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Floating Candles For Your Holiday Centerpiece

Floating Candles in a Glass Bowl
What's more festive than candles during the holidays? Well, maybe candles, Christmas music, snow, family, great food, a tree, and cozy decor! Why not add floating candles to your centerpiece this holiday? They are increasingly becoming trendy, because they allow you to show off your favorite glassware and many other reasons. Today, I will list a few advantages to using floating candles for decor.

1) Floating candles are cost effective to buy or make. They often come in multi-packs and if you make candles, they are super easy to make. Simply use muffin tins or fluted tart molds with votive wicks. Any wide, flat shape will work. Commercially produced or handmade floating candles will always be cheaper than a large diameter multi-wick pillar.

2) Safety and furniture protection, because floating candles are in water, any wax drips are immediately cooled and prevent nasty wax burns and stains of your surfaces.

3) Gives you a great way to display your unused serving bowls or unusual glassware. Add river rocks, fish gravel, marbles, glass beads, or glass gems to the bottom for extra flair. Just remember to keep flammable items out of the water and use metal or glass items for added decor.

If you are shopping for floating candles, look for "floaters" or "disk candles" to expand your search. In a pinch, you can get tea lights in the metal cups and remove them for the cups to use as tiny floaters.

The amount of burn time with a floating candle is shorter than other candles, due to the decreased thickness in the design, with most of them having a 4-6 hour burn time. If you make candles, you can make them taller to increase burn time, however, they still need to be wide. I use a standard jumbo muffin tin filled level with paraffin wax and an LX 14 wick to give me cupcake sized floaters with about 10 hours of burn time.

Candles from

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Handmade Holiday Cards: Tips For Your Season's Greetings

Decorated Card in Cello Sleeve

Simple Touches for Elegant Cards
Whether you are making your holiday cards entirely from scratch, or embellishing store bought cards, here are a few tips for you to get creative!

Economy Holiday Card
1) You can use store bought greeting cards to decorate if you don't have enough time to make your own entirely from scratch. Craft stores also sell blank cards with matching envelopes.

2) If you are using inexpensive holiday cards to embellish, splurge on high quality vellum or invitation envelopes to make your cards look uber luxurious. The ones below are from Wrapworks on Etsy.

Fancy envelopes from Etsy:

3) They don't have to be "Christmas" cards, these days you can find a variety of rubber stamps, stickers, and decorative cutouts for Jewish, Pagan, and any other religious denomination. Of course, there are plenty of secular winter theme decorations, too. This means you can personalize your greeting for your friends and family or various faiths.

4) Use unmounted rubber alphabet stamps on a mounting block to hand stamp personalized greetings. Whether it is a Christmas message specifically for someone cherished or a holiday message that is not traditional, spell out your message on an acrylic stamping block and break out the ink. Look in the scrapbooking isle at your local craft store and making "Happy Winter Solstice, May the Goddess Bless You" or "Merry Christmas, David" cards is as easy as one, two, three!

5) Get a variety of materials to decorate your cards. Glitter, foil, embossing powder, chipboard cutouts, stickers, ribbon, buttons and more, will make your cards dazzle. Try to keep them 1/4 inch thick when in the envelope and not exceeding 1/2 oz. You may have to pay more to mail them. Take them to the post office to be weighed before mailing, just to make sure you don't need extra postage.

6) Use cellophane bags for your cards before sliding them in the envelopes if you used glitter. This will prevent a mess.

7) Buy the new USPS "forever stamps" for card mailing. That way, if you have extra, they will always be good for first class mail.

8) Order plenty of address labels before you mail your cards. You don't want to address them all by hand and they come in handy all year round.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Page Crafts and Paper Christmas Ornament Tutorial

Becky's Thanksgiving Vintage Book Table Decorations From Murfreesboro, TN

Look at those gorgeous place settings above! I was so inspired by what a friend had done for holiday decor at a Thanksgiving dinner, that I decided to pay tribute to the creative hostess (and great cook) by writing about using vintage books for crafts. Even the most avid readers will sometimes find that they have a dusty tome or two that will never see the light of day, and if you lack books for crafting, check your nearest thrift store or yard sales. You can often get bargains on tattered and torn books that are perfect for crafting. In fact, the yellowing and patina of age adds a nostalgic touch. 

There are many things you can create with old books; they also look great on a bookshelf as decor. You can find instructions for advanced projects such as purses and book safes online, or you can tear out the pages to use in a myriad of ways. I like vintage books, magazines, and maps for card making, decoupage, wrapping small packages, and shredding into confetti. In the last picture, you can see how I used them to wrap small sample candles that I enclose with orders for my etsy shop. 

Today, I am going to show you an easy holiday project, making the paper ball Christmas ornament in the picture below. 

-magazine or book pages
-quick drying glue
-large hole punch or die cutter (3 inch punch shown in picture)
-alcohol ink dyes for color, optional
-small hole punch
-string for hanging

Paper Ornament, Glue Runner, 3 inch Punch, Small Hole Puncher

 Step 1:
-Punch 14 large circles with the large die cut. If desired, use the alcohol inks to stain the paper and let it dry before punching.

Step 2:
-Fold the 14 large circles in half.
Fold the Circles in Half
Step 3:
-Using fast dry glue or adhesive, glue the 14 large folded circles together, so that it forms a sphere as the paper unfolds.

Step 4:
-Glue the first and 14th circles together, forming a sphere.

Step 5:
-Let the adhesive dry and punch a hole in the top for hanging.
Glue the Folded Circles Together
Book Pages Used As Candle Favor Packaging