Criss-Cross Christmas

For anyone, there are so many things to do and places to be, during the holidays.  People have lots of contenders vying for their time.

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Those of us with “blended families” have extra scheduling difficulties in this season, as people have to multiply the visits and celebrations.  It can be stressful, especially to kids, even after they’ve become adults.

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In the past two years, I’ve tried a different approach.  We combine Thanksgiving and Christmas into one get-together, and we celebrate in mid-December or early January.

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The thought was to aim for less stress directly on the holidays, when so many other duties call.  It has worked quite well … except … this year.

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So, for the first time – in a long time, even the single celebration has to be split, as schedules just can’t come together.

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This year, grandchildren are older, and teenagers have jobs and sports activities and everything included.  So even if we’re not trying to use the exact holiday for our gathering, there are still conflicts.

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Solution:  One family is coming here to our home, and we’re having a brunch instead of a turkey dinner w/fixings.  I’m really looking forward to it, as the kids AND grandkids are doing all the cooking.  Sounds like fun, don’t you think?  Can’t wait!

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The other kids who are local, have been remodeling their home and wanted us to visit their place for a get-together.  We headed over there last weekend, and had a blast.  My daughter-in-law is a marvelous cook and this time, she even made a big vegan dish for my husband.  And it was fun to see the new looks in their house.

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So, Readers … how will you be spending your time over the holidays?  I love when you share in the comments.

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And if you’re looking for last minute decorating ideas, you can do a search in the menu bar up-top.  Just type Christmas and you’ll find all of the projects and ideas I’ve posted previously, lots of stuff there.

OR, visit Artzzle’s Facebook page.   Lots more fun projects there and many are “kid” friendly too.

In closing, I’ll just say that

Whatever your Beliefs or Reasons for the Season,

be Happy, stay Safe and Best Wishes to all!

Later – Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HELP WANTED: Needed NOW- Holiday Inspiration

Tomorrow is the 1st of December … already.

Thanksgiving was quiet this year with no visitors.  The days following are usually when we begin the Christmas decorating.  This year’s gloomy weather isn’t promoting much holiday spirit.Christmas

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Rain and record warm temperatures have dissolved the two light accumulations of snow we have had.  Soggy, brown ground and cloudy days are on the schedule for the week.

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Over the weekend, we did dig out some of the holiday bins.  Well, giving credit when it’s due … Hubs did the digging, braving our crawl space to find some of the holiday bins.  Containers were brought up, unpacked and items placed all over our space. And the mess began …

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Many of you know but for those who don’t, I’ll tell you big messes really aren’t my thing! Can’t stand em’.  They literally make me uncomfortable.  But I do try to find something positive, even in a negative situation.  The positive at this stage, was that seeing some of my Christmas treasures again, sparked an inkling of enthusiasm.

By late Sunday evening, items were up here, but not arranged yet, and the kitchen and dining room were a complete disaster. Pieces, paper, boxes and bins everywhere.

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At that point, we were pooped out.  And as awful as it is to wake up to a dirty house, it had to be …  I was tired … so it was off to bed.

Monday, creating some heavy duty enthusiasm was an ABSOLUTE MUST.  I began browsing digital photo albums and finally … holiday posts from previous years.

Christmas at Artzzle

It opened a Pandora’s box of ideas.  Click HERE for your inspiration.

Meanwhile, Hubs and I will keep plugging away at our 2016 Holiday Home!

This is only the beginning, but our goal is to finish by this coming Saturday.  Next, current displays have to be taken down, wrapped and packed away.  Lots of crawling, climbing, reaching and handing going on.  Not a speedy process for a couple of old(ish) fogies decorators like us!

TIP:  No matter your age, always make climbing and ladder work a “two-person” project.  In-home falls can be dangerous, but especially when working alone as you have no one to come to your aid.

Besides … it’s always more fun and more work done … with two instead of one!

It’s good to be back and I’ll be glad to read your comments again 😀

Later – Cheryl

 

 

 

 

Last Minute Christmas Fast Fixes

There are ALWAYS A FEW OF US who need some décor perks FAST, especially during the extended holiday seasons.  So, keeping with my 1-2-3, EZ PZ philosophies about such things . . . here ya go!  Be sure to catch all the TIPS and the LIST of supplies.

1.  BANNER of Christmas Cards

EZ PZ Christmas Banner

Use the actual cards you’ve received, or like these, that I purchased for crafts, at “After Christmas Sales” last year.  FIRST, cut cards in half down the folds and trim rough edges.  NEXT, cut out the front sections from your colored envelopes, like my example, for hand lettered messages EZ PZ Christmas Banner

OR you can simply use the inside message section of your card (the back half).

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

NOW punch holes in the top corners of each piece. USE twine, yarn, ribbon or whatever you want, to string the cards and form your banner.  It is light weight and can be hung with thumb tacks or push pins, without damaging walls.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

TIPS:  Re: After Christmas sales:  1.  Look for designs that instantly catch your eye.  For banners and many other projects, you’ll want variety so choose cards that have several designs in the box.  These screamed my name right away.  The design is big, colorful and generic themed AND the images are glittered = sparkle and interest.  2.  Look for cards with COLORED ENVELOPES.  That’s just more colored paper for any crafts!
3. Faux Flowers:  Bushes of flowers rather than single stems, give you more bang for your buck.  Just snip off individual blooms to scatter through the house.
4. Wrapping paper:  I always buy the widest, longest rolls … not the short, skimpy ones.  I look for paper in colors that can be used ALL YEAR ROUND not just seasonally.  I buy as many coordinated patterns and colors as I can afford.  Paper doesn’t spoil, right!  5.  DON’T MISS your local thrift store sales, both before and after Christmas.  TON’S of deals there and you’re supporting your community, too!   6. Always start with my golden rule . . . house shop first, use what you already have before buying more! 

2. ORNAMENTS in Anything

Simply put a few colorful ornaments in any container you have;

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

a basket, a bowl, any glass jar or vase available.Christmas Fast Fix Decor

EZ PZ with things you already have.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Below, the ornaments are in a beautiful, giant copper leaf piece, a gift from one of my daughters.  The little “Russian Doll” snowmen another daughter and I saw years ago while shopping at Sears.  They were on the check-out counter and I said how cute they were.  So the clerk said “Here, you can have these!”  A memory moment for sure.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

YES … you know it.  Even my bathroom gets decorated.

Christmas Fast Fix Decir

BLING belongs everywhere. . . you knew that, right!

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

3. PLANTS, PINES & BRANCHES

Pointsettias are everywhere.  Buy one or two for important spots in your room.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Pine branches are easy to come by and so are fake pine garlands.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

A small grouping of pine, a faux flower and a Holiday item are an instant little vignette.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

See, you don’t need a lot.  Sometimes simplicity is elegant, effective … and FAST.  And putting that blue plant container in a Christmas colored basket would be great too!  The table runner is paper and ribbon.  See below

3. BASKETS, BOXES and PAPER

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Put one of your houseplants in a bright basket.  Wrap some empty boxes in varied sizes and papers.  Only takes a few minutes.  OR you could wrap small items you’re giving as guest favors and throw them in a big basket.  NO TREE . . . take a bamboo basket or tub, and put all your gift-wrapped presents in them.  Lots of bang with what you have already.

RIBBON

This is one of the most easy and fun ideas.  No pictures but just use your imagination.  Make one  big bow for a centerpiece.  Make several small bows to scatter here, there and everywhere.  Make a quick tree garland or wall banner with thick ribbon and a few unbreakable ornaments.  Wrap jars with pretty ribbon and use as serving pieces … hold candy, silverware, extra napkins, etc.  HAVE FUN.

CANDY

?? Candy ??  YES, that’s what it says.  Hey talk about multiple duties: decor, gifts, food AND inexpensive.  C’mon people, candy is perfect!Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Stores have tons of beautiful foil wrapped chocolates and candies for the holidays.  USE em!  OR Candy canes are cheap, pretty and edible.  Hang them on the tree, put em’ in a jar (with a ribbon tied round it).

The next shot includes Paper, Fabric, Pine Branches and Ornaments, used in pieces I already owned.  AND this arrangement carried me during Fall through New Years that year!

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

SUPPLIES used in these projects

Christmas cards & colored envelopes
Wrapping paper
Fabric remnants
Unbreakable Christmas Ornaments
Houseplants
Candy
Christmas decor pieces (you already have)
Already owned vases, jars, holders, etc.

FINALLY . . . I know, this has been a long one, yikes.  But here’s the EASIEST.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take down some of your wall art pictures; wrap them with pretty paper and ribbon, then hang em’ back up. There you go … instant Christmas decor.

CLICK THIS TO FIND MORE EASY IDEAS.

Hope these have been positive inspirations to help you eliminate those last minute stresses.  We’ll talk again soon.

Later – Cheryl

Glimmers of Christmas

“READERS NOTE:  Following are three collages.  As you click each one, you are taken to a photo on a black background, and you can then arrow to the right to review the complete collage.  TO EXIT a collage, click in the very upper, right corner of the screen and you’ll be taken back to the entire post, and on to the next selection.

This Season’s clock is ticking
The time for calm is near
So take a little rest and
Click the Pics for some Christmas Cheer

Christmas Present
Those now Past
All Cherished Memories
Forever will Last

The Christmas Tree
so noble and bright

Each year’s may be different
But all are Just Right

 

UNTIL NEXT TIME EVERYONE … stress less – accomplish more!
Later – Cheryl

Christmas Finery from Farrow & Ball

Christmas Past is today’s post … a fun one from 2015.  Enjoy.

A favorite online place of mine is the Farrow and Ball site.  You’ll never fail to find something beautiful to enjoy; color and decor ideas, crafts and more.

Today I’m sharing this Christmas post … have fun!

Easing Into an Easy Christmas

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone,
Black Friday past and Small Biz Saturday nearly done …
it’s time to think about Christmas.

We usually ease into Christmas gradually, but this year since our family is combining the two holidays, and celebrating in Mid-December, I began early, pre-Thanksgiving, even.

The most difficult and time consuming part (and a great relief when completed) is the tree, so it goes up first. Then after a few nights of pretty lights, I’m in the spirit to do the rest. Often, I work with a definite color scheme and theme, continuing it through the house. Not so much this time.

Easing into Christmas Feature

I brought out all of our “special” family ornaments and memory pieces, added a bit of sparkle with some beads and garland, and finally, added multi-colored ornaments through-out. The result is a very old-fashioned, homey look, especially since we placed the tree right by the fireplace.

I have a collection of Dayton Hudson Corporation “SANTA BEARS”; small in quantity (only 3) because the guys themselves are big and a bit difficult to hibernate for the rest of the year. In 2014, it was just Hubs and I around, so no giganto tree. I put all three bears atop the piano, around a small table tree.

Christmas Decorating at Artzzle

Did ya notice the reindeer antlers on the tree top 😛

This year, the bears are taking up individual little spots in the living room.

Ease Into Christmas "Feature"

At a younger age or earlier stage, your holiday decor collection will just be starting. Don’t feel you have to rush right out and grab everything on your first official holiday. One of my favorite tips applies at Christmas too.

TIP #1: Start with what you already have, and build from there.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"EXAMPLE:  A plate and figurine, a metallic (musical tree) and bright colored books with metallic print. You may already have a piece or two that you treasure. Pull some ideas and color from that.  Cost on pieces:  Plate = $2.00; Santa Bell = $0.75; Tree = $1.50 (silver plated, musical) .  All are thrift buys, but keep in mind, all purchased at different times.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

If you’re a complete beginner, shop for two or three items you really like, then try a boost with a little greenery, faux or real. Also in this season, take advantage of the beautiful wrapping papers and fabrics. No sew … just fluff up a remnant fabric, tuck under the rough edges and top it off with some pretties.  Above, I just wrapped three sizes of boxes, held together with ribbon and topped with a bow.  I put one of my houseplants in a bright red basket (thrift store $0.25) for a holiday look.

USE YOUR IMAGINATION … and HAVE FUN!

TIP #2: This is a great time of year to shop all of your local thrift stores. There are beautiful pieces for just pennies. Good for the budget (and not as crowded as the big box stores).

The stars below were $3.00 and $0.75.  I get most of my books at a local Goodwill in their end-of-day sales.  Last time I purchased 10 beautiful HARDBACK books for $2.00.  That’s $0.20 each, guys).  I never pay more than a dollar for any book unless it’s stupendous!

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

TIP #3: Remember the Magic # 3. Those arrangements and little vignettes are as easy as 1-2-3. Start with three items varied in height and interest. Work with the 3 essentials; color, pattern and textures.

Be sure to “ground” your grouping; use a pretty fabric, or perhaps a seasonal placemat; maybe a book or two. If your objects are just sitting in the middle of a table, they give a disconnected look; just floating around. That’s why it’s important to ground.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Our place isn’t finished for the coming celebrations, but here are some 14 vs. 15 looks at the kitchen cab tops.

2014 …
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vs. 2015

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

2014, single cabinet …

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vs. 2015 look.

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Finally, a 2014 shot of one of the hutch shelves.

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I’m using this one again.

Okay … I’m “holiday’ed” out for this time.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend and remember … staying positive is a good way to stay productive.
We’ll talk soon.

Later – Cheryl

TOILET PAPER & ONE UGLY MESS

It’s reality time around here today.  Well … yesterday, today and a few more days following.  If I am brave enough to post the pictures, this article will prove once and for all, that indeed, I don’t always have a spotless house!

Yes, this post involves one ugly mess AND toilet paper . . . but don’t worry, one has no relation to the other (at least not today).

Toilet Paper & One Big Mess

True, we’re barely at the brink of the Thanksgiving holidays, and still far away from Christmas or Hanukkah, but I have a great reason for considering them all, at this very moment.

Toilet Paper and One Ugly Mess feature

Our tribe is located far and wide, with many blended family members and obligated gatherings they must attend.  It makes holiday plans difficult for everyone to schedule.  And of course, our Midwest weather often compounds the problems.

The photo above is from a previous year.  Right now, our weather is great … but I put emphasis on the RIGHT NOW part!

We always tell the kids that our celebrations don’t have to be on the exact day or holiday weekend.   It has become a successful plan, as everyone is less harried and more relaxed when they don’t have to “eat and run”.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

For a change, this year instead of two distinct celebrations, our house is having one big shindig … on December 13th.  A date between the two major events, and as thus, there’ll be no specific turkey or menu item, just a giant potluck.  My attitude is sort of  “eat what’s here or fill up when you get home”.  I figure if everyone brings things they enjoy eating, it should be just fine.  Right?!  I say “bring on the baked goods”!

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

But back to point.  My big mess is the holiday ornaments, trappings and wrappings strewn everywhere.  Hub’s dragged up the Christmas tubs from the crawl space, and got the tree down from the garage attic.  And here it all sits, not beautifully arranged as yet, but simply opened and stacked throughout the rooms.

My master plan began with an early evaluation of ALL of the pieces.  It’s part of my “get rid of it, clutter-free” campaign.  Facing facts, we don’t need even half of this conglomeration.  I won’t say exactly half will leave, but I’m really trying for that result.

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First, I sorted and threw out any broken or damaged pieces.  Next, I chose several items or groups of ornaments and listed them on Craigslist.  The idea being whatever doesn’t sell, will be donated to the little thrift store where I volunteer.  As this will happen before December 13th, they’ll still have plenty of time for Christmas sales.  And, actually, we make quite a bit on our “After Holidays” sales too.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

There were literally hundreds of unbreakable ornaments, all shapes, colors and sizes.I DID keep a few of each type, but the majority was divided evenly. Two sets of 150 ornaments each, with mixed colors and designs, will go to Craigslist or the store.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

Amongst the Christmas things, I found a few Fall and Thanksgiving items as well.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

Those also went on Craigslist.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

The tree is up and skirted, but stands naked by the fireplace at the moment.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

And yes, in the shot above, that is Gracie’s rear end in the upper right area.

My SANTA BEARS came out of hibernation.  They will all be STAYING.  Right now one of them is atop the piano.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

The new shelf unit Hubs made me this summer, previously held my vase collection.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

Now, it’s showing off my mini Christmas tree collection.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess "Feature"

You can see I’ve done a good editing job with this group.  Below are the items for Craigslist.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

That’s where we’re at today.  And this mess should prove to you doubters that my house isn’t always picture perfect.  But don’t count on many more examples of it, because I was REALLY HESITANT to feature these!

So, that’s the UGLY MESS … but you’re still wondering about the Toilet Paper, right?

Well, another Cher, my friend over at Craft Alternatives, sent this out last week, and I just had to share it.  C’mon, pretty, right?

The Craft Alternative Link

And YES, it is too “Toilet Paper” in there 🙂 Be sure not to miss the optional container ideas!  Thanks, Cher.

The Craft Alternative "Link"

We’ll talk again soon.  And remember, positive equals productive, and staying so, helps you feel happier, for all those special days coming up.

Later – Cheryl

Getting That Holiday Mood

Has the Holiday Mood struck you yet?

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Around here, that spirit isn’t appearing as early as usual.

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Still in disbelief how Thanksgiving sneaked up us like that!Artzzle.com

And NOW, it’s barely two weeks until Christmas.

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 [ “How To” BOOK COVERS PROJECT here ]

Hubs is officially retired now … this is his first full week of “no work”.

Artzzle.com[ “How To” WINDOW VALANCE PROJECT here ]

He immediately began taking retirement very literally.
He’s spending lots of time on …
morning coffee, afternoon naps, evening news – with wine …
and hours in his workshop (sitting) in his comfy chair out there …
watching old movies … over and over and … well, you get the idea.

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Anyhoo.  We’ve just about decided (mainly I have) that …
the big ol’ fake tree is staying out in the garage rafters this year.

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Not a great tree booster any year, Hubs much prefers
a few nice Pointsettia plants.

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For 2014, I’m also aiming for simplicity so sounds good to me.

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Just don’t know what else to do yet, but I better get going.

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Hope you enjoy the “CHRISTMAS PAST” photos  I rounded up for today

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Hoping they’ll light my holiday fires too!
Lets all come back soon to see what develops.

Later – Cheryl

Last Minute Holiday Projects … in 15 minutes or less

Hi All.

ONE WEEK FROM TODAY IS … THE DAY. Anybody needing some last minute, quick little Holiday accents?  C’mon, it’s OK to admit it.  Everyone has had that dilemma at one time or another  … you have most (or almost) everything you need … BUT it just hasn’t all come together yet.

MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF.  Let me help with some easy AND economical projects, most of which can be done in 15 minutes or less. Just don’t wait until 15 minutes before your guests arrive, to do them … the night before would be better!

ALL YOU NEED IS …  a roll or two of holiday wrapping paper, some ribbon, twine or pretty string, a few unbreakable ornaments and one or two minor items that you’ll probably have around the already.  If not, a quick run to the closest Big Box Store will do the trick.   So …

HERE WE GO.

Artzzle Christmas

Dress up a smaller window … YES, EVEN IN A BATHROOM!

Artzzle Christmas

Above is everything you need.
1. TENSION ROD
This is an adjustable little curtain rod. You set it’s length to just a bit wider than your window opening. A spring inside allows you to then push it into place in the window, and the tension holds it there.
2. ORNAMENTS
Using unbreakable ornaments is best. Use an odd number so you have a center piece for balance.
3. RIBBON, TWINE or STRING
I used narrow, paper ribbon in a copper color, to coordinate with the rest of the project and room.
4. ROLL OF WRAPPING PAPER
You won’t need the entire roll, but you have to use rolled paper as opposed to folded, flat sheets.

FIRST, adjust the rod to fit your chosen window. Then decide how far down from the top of the window, that you want your paper to show.
NEXT, cut your paper: Make the length the same as the length of your rod. Make the width double the amount you want showing.
NOW, fold over each end on the long sides, about two inches or so, folding the excess to the back side of your paper.
NEXT, lay out your ornaments on your work table. The center one is your main ornament, and should hang from your rod, either shorter than, or longer than your side ornaments. EXAMPLE: My center piece is longer, and in a different design than the others. Then, balance one on each side of your center one, then two more and so on. Once I had my arrangement, I then cut pieces of ribbon, accordingly, to how far they would hang down from the rod.
NEXT, tie one end of ribbon to the ornaments and the other to your rod, and hang rod in window.
FINALLY, just fold your wrapping paper over the rod until you have the right amount showing in front. Gently pinch a fold in the paper at the top of the rod, to better keep it in place.
Artzzle Christmas

#2 PAPER/RIBBON PROJECT
This one doesn’t even take 15 minutes, it’s SO EASY and QUICK.

Below is the credenza featured in the previous post. See how much more festive it looks with this easy addition.
Artzzle Christmas

All you need is
1. WRAPPING PAPER
2. RIBBON
3. DOUBLE SIDED TAPE or GLUE
Use tape OR glue with paper and cloth ribbon.
Use glue only with metallic and/or wired ribbon (the tape doesn’t adhere to the metallic ribbon)

Just, measure the length and width of paper you want for your table. Fold an inch or so on the long edges, to the back or underside of your paper. Then, adhere ribbon to the hanging edges and done!

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TWO MORE !

EASY TABLESCAPE CENTERPIECES

I’m always advising to use what you already have. It also works at Christmas.

Here’s the green one featured in our last post. Just a big glass bowl, a plant, some ornaments and wrapping paper ( also a fabric remnant ). It’s so easy you don’t need instructions.

Artzzle.  Christmas

REMEMBER Christmas doesn’t always have to be red and green. I have lots of browns, coppers and other metallics in my home. So I put this together.

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I began with a beautiful copper and gold wrapping paper (same as on the window treatment)
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Then I added the runner from a Thanksgiving project.

Artzzle Christmas

In this last shot I tried a big, old rusty star with it. Haven’t decided if it stays or goes. Except for the ornaments in the vase, these are everyday items … just combined differently and dressed up for the holidays … that extra SPARKLE.

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Now, as they say … ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD

If you’ve got BOOKS and WRAPPING PAPER … you’re set to go. And you can set the timer for 15 minutes!
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I have several very pretty holiday books that I display as is. But to add color here and there, I cover others. This is a Christmas book, but Martha on Blue doesn’t fit my scheme this year.
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First you need to correctly size your wrapping paper. Follow the instructions below.
scan023

Artzzle Projects

Open your book and slide the tube (pretty side up) onto the cover.

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Wrap around the front, spine and to the back edge.

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Now you’re almost done. Slip the open tube onto the back cover.
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Now you’re finished.
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Don’t waste precious time trying to wrap every single book. Just do a few, in a few sizes and different papers. Then use them wherever you need color and Christmas!

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Whew, a long post! It will probably be easier to print out at least the book cover section. There will be one more before Christmas … but don’t worry … just a short one!

Dearest Readers, as the holidays draw near, I wish for all happiness, joy and peace in this special season, no matter your beliefs or celebration reasons. Stay safe and warm.

As always, try not to stress, but just start.

Later – Cheryl

This original article “Last Minute Holiday Projects … in 15 Minutes or Less” appeared first on Artzzle.com. No included content or photography can be used elsewhere without specific permission from said originators.

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