"Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction"-Thomas Jefferson

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 18: Cheap and Easy Deocrations

My house is VERY Americana-country, decorated in tans, barn reds and blues. My trees tend to reflect my decor as well. I think they're lovely, and although they weren't expensive to decorate, each piece means more to me than some of the most expensive jeweled decorations I've seen on show trees.

Here are a few tips to making your own frugal, gorgeous country Christmas decorations:

1. Glass jars! I keep all of my glass jars from spaghetti sauces, mayonnaise, salsa and the like. They are so versatile and I use them all the time..in decorating, in organizing and even in gift giving. Here's an inexpensive Christmas decor item to make using glass jars:

Glass jar
raffi or ribbon
floating candle

Fill a clear glass jar with greenery (I use fake greenery because it lasts longer and you can't tell the difference in this project). Add a layer of cranberries and then fill your jar with water. Leave enough room to add a floating candle. Add the candle and tie raffi or ribbon around the lip of the jar. Easy, gorgeous decor!

You'll find a rough idea of the look at this link.

2. Make your own ornaments.

I made these Applesauce-Cinnamon ornaments back in 2003 and the smell JUST faded this year. Reagan and I are making new ones! They are so cheap and easy..especially if you buy the TWO ingredients in bulk!

Applesauce-Cinnamon Ornaments:
Equal portions of applesauce and cinnamon (NOTE: You may have to increase the cinnamon if the dough is too soft)

Simply mix, roll out the dough and cut out desired shapes with a cookie cutter. Don't forget to punch a hole in the top for hanging on your tree--use a straw for this. If your worried about the ornaments being too crumbly to last, you can always add a little bit of Elmer's white glue.

The ornaments will take 3-4 days to dry. Make sure to let them sit on wax paper so as not to stick. You can tie these to the tree with ribbon, raffi, or what I use--torn pieces of homespun.

Another ornament idea:

Purchase small Styrofoam balls and using hot glue, adhere strips of homespun on to create an adorable ball ornament. Be sure to add a loop using the homespun. If country decor isn't the look you're going for, you can always add fabric of funky colors, covering the whole Styrofoam ball in one piece or even add glitter.

String beads on craft/floral wire to create monograms..or purchase these at the $ Spot from Michael's on clearance for next year!

3. Make your own garland:
I took strips of homespun and tied them together to create chains for my tree. This year at a craft show, I saw a woman that had taken homespun, sprayed them with starch to make them stiff and made a paper chain style garland with the homespun.

4. Be creative! You don't just have to add Christmas-y items to your Christmas tree--add anything you have around the house: antique (or new!) cooking implements, popcorn and cranberries, construction paper chains, apples, cookies, leftover hearts from Valentine's. Cheap bracelets and necklaces even add a jeweled flair.

Remember, the idea behind decorating your home for Christmas is to make it a warm, inviting and welcoming space..to you, your family and your friends. The goal is NOT to have the best show stopping tree in the city. Work on that principle, use what you have and what you makes happy and Christmas decorating should be a (fun!) cinch this year!

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