A Swedish Valentine

I love this simple berry heart (above) created by Home of Voxgirl. I decided to knock it off! She used a Swedish berry called nyponröd. I decided to use cranberries. In addition, you’ll need wire and wire cutters.

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I shaped and cut the wire into a heart and one by one strung the cranberries onto the wire.

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You can continually manipulate the wire once all the berries are strung. I added a twine bow to keep it simple and natural looking.

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It looks so adorable hanging outside from a tree.

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I made several different sizes.

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I paired up two berry hearts to create a stacked effect.

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So simple, so delicate and so easy to make. The perfect Swedish Valentine. Glad Alla hjärtans dag! That’s Happy Valentine’s Day in Swedish!

A Little Bit of Heaven in a Frigid World – Patmos Aktis

The Frigid temperatures of winter are upon us here in Princeton, NJ. As I look out my window at the snow covered landscape, I am reminiscent of the warm summer days at the exquisite Patmos Aktis Suites & Spa. It is a 5-star luxury hotel situated on Grikos Beach on the the island of Patmos … and my husband and I were lucky enough to go there.

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The amenities include private townhouse pools, indoor and outdoor emerald-colored pools and a pristine outstretched beach along Grikos Bay.

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The all-white exterior and interior exude a sleek, modern atmosphere while blending perfectly with the traditional architecture of Patmos.

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Natural hues reflect the surrounding sandy landscape.beach1warm

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Rustic touches combined with luxurious elements make for a relaxing atmosphere. cafetableswarm

Views of the outstretched beach and indigo bay are enjoyed from every angle.

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The monochromatic colors and simple design elements exude luxury and comfort.

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The breathtaking views of Grikos Bay penetrate the interior of the hotel through large paned glass windows and doors.

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The minimalist interiors and rustic style of this Greek getaway have inspired me to recreate it in my own home. The white textured walls and Mediterranean blues of the ocean create a relaxing and down to earth atmosphere. I’m excited to embark on my own Greek inspired master bathroom makeover. Stay tuned! Opa!

Les Couleurs de L’Amour – Easy DIY Valentine Decor

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I love making my home festive and fun for any holiday, including Valentine’s Day! But, simple and unique decorations are a must for me. I have three kids that keep me very busy, and I have enough toys and gadgets to clean up and put away as it is. I definitely don’t want to add to the clutter or create something tacky. I came across some beautiful, unique and simple “couleurs de l’ amour” for Valentine’s that will add a stylish and joyful touch without being gaudy .

From kavehome.fr

From kavehome.fr

From kave home (above), comes this very unique and colorful display of love (literally). It only involves cut-out letters (wooden, cardboard or paper mache) and graduated colors of pink yarn. This is a great idea for a kid’s room too! You can spell out your child’s name and use yarn colors that correspond with your child’s decor.

From styleroom.se

From styleroom.se

Want a twist on the traditional heart? I love this unique and creative door wreath that I spotted on styleroom.se (above). I’m going to try and make this myself! livingthefrugallife

Another simple diy that is also very inexpensive is to take a string of mini white lights and add white doilies (above). I found this on Living The Frugal Life. The white on white exudes simplicity and elegance. You could also use red doilies with red mini lights. J’adore! folksy.com If you have a particular rustic theme to your house or just want a bit of an organic natural look, this heart wreath is perfect! This Krans av nötter (peanut wreath in Swedish) made from wire, twine and unshelled peanuts from Folksy.com is definitely a unique way to say “I love you!” voxgirl.blogspot.com2

I love the simplicity of this berry heart decoration (above). From The Home of Voxgirl, this easy diy can be done with wire and berries. I’m going to try this with cranberries like Deco2Noel did (below). These would look adorable hanging from a tree in your yard. Coeur_saint-valentin-500x195[1]

From Paperblog.fr comes a simple diy (below) that will make any window pop. All you’ll need is pre-printed paper, a hole punch and string. She used thread and a sewing machine to connect them.

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Using the same sewing machine approach, alittleMarket offers a red heart garland (above). Or use an unconventional color and a patterned hole punch like Flex Inredning did (below). So cute.

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Speaking of unconventional! Check out this very unique multi-heart garland made from maps (below) instead of the expected and ordinary construction paper. From minbebis. hjartgirlang[1]

Using the same folding technique, Pysselbolaget creates a beautiful heart garland (below) using geometric patterned red paper.

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Pysselbolaget also created this vibrant and fun pom pom heart-shaped wreath (below). A fun project to do with kids!

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I love incorporating natural elements in interior décor like this heart shaped topiary (below) from Maliva’s Verden.

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Or this very organic garden heart made from moss and wire (below). I love décor elements inspired by nature. From Under bjørka.

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Hearts, hearts and more hearts! If you’re a seamstress, try incorporating elements you normally use into your Valentine hearts. I adore this simple pink button heart (below)from Sweet Meas on Etsy.com .

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Delicate fabric hearts made from quilted material or linen, like the ones from Lindas anglar (below) can be hung by twine or made larger into a pillow. Craft & Creativity uses simple white felt and colorful red yarn to create simple stitched fabric hearts. All of these handmade hearts add a warm and vintage feel to your “Hem ljuva hem” (Home sweet home in swedish) .

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Another simple diy Valentine’s decoration is to use something you may already have, white candles. I love t.he simple twine wrapped around the center and the monochromatic look of white hearts. You could fill the base they are sitting in with red berries. From styleroom.se.

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 I hope you’ve enjoyed some of my favorite Couleurs de l’amour ideas. I hope it inspires you to decorate for Valentine’s Day or to just celebrate love. Happy Creating!

 

Scandinavian Trophy Head Straight From Nature

I recently spotted a very unique and natural décor item at Deco Crush. It was featured in an article called Get The Look, 10 Decorating Ideas For A Beautiful Scandinavian Kitchen (10 Idées Déco Pour Une Jolie Cuisine Scandinave). Nature holds a prominent place in the hearts of Scandinavians, and it couldn’t be more obvious than in the magnificent trophy head made from branches of wood featured in the piece.

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Because it captured my eye, I just had to knock it off! I first scanned the forest that surrounds our house and collected fallen branches.

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Then using small hand clippers/shears, I cut pieces (that were similar in width) to the same length. I looked for two branches that looked like deer antlers and two that mimicked horns.

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Branches that look like antlers and horns

I cut two branches to be placed horizontally (one for the forehead and one for the chin). Using hot glue, I glued the antlers and horns to both horizontal pieces.

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Then I glued the pieces that were similar in length and width to make up the face. I used 12 pieces total gluing them to the front and back to emphasize the 3-dimensionality.

IMG_2241Once all  the pieces were glued and dried, I sprayed a light coating of white spray paint over the entire piece to make all the branches match in color and to cover any flaws.

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Once the piece was dry, I hung it in my living room.

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I love it! Now, I have a little touch of Scandinavia in my very own home.

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It works well with our rustic stone fireplace and the forest outside.

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I love my Scandinavian Trophy Head Straight From Nature. I hope this motivates you to make one!

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Let It Snow! Une guirlande de flocons de neige

A Snowflake Garland! What better way to celebrate winter? I am always sad to put away the Christmas decorations. To keep my heart in a festive mood and to continue the holiday spirit, I often like to decorate for winter. Here in Princeton, New Jersey, we’ve had lots of snow recently. I love to bring the magical ambience of the glistening outdoors in! Here is an easy diy snowflake garland that does just that!

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I recently came across this beautiful snowy window ( below) from the store Anthropologie.

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What a marvelous way of capturing the magical spirit of winter.

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I adore the snowflake windows at Le Puits Sainte Claire Bed & Breakfast at Courcon d’Aunis in France (below).

From Puits Sainte Claire

From Puits Sainte Claire

Jennifer Rizzo created a vintage snowflake banner (below) from doilies, twine and crystal glitter. I love her simple yet elegant, easy diy.

From Jennifer Rizzo

From Jennifer Rizzo

J’adore la guirlande de flocons de neige! From alittleMarket.com comes this delicate Snowflake Garland made with ceramic snowflakes and twine.

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At Ambiente Vistoriado I found exquisite paper snowflakes (below) used for decorating walls and windows and creating mobiles and simple tablecloths.

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This magnificent paper snowflake mobile (below) was featured on useful diy.com. It would be a wonderful addition to any room any time of the year.

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Having been so inspired, I embarked on creating my own snowflake garland with a little help from my daughter Julia. First, I went to the website instructables.com to check out how to make paper snowflakes. It gives easy step by step instructions on how to make 6-point paper snowflakes. Using plain white copy paper, we made as many snowflakes as we could.

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IMG_2196We thought it would be cute to apply spray snow to the snowflakes to make them a bit more realistic. We sprayed a light coating.

IMG_2204We sprinkled glitter while the spray snow was still wet. We did this on both sides.

IMG_2200We then sprayed the dry snowflakes with an acrylic sealer to make sure the glitter stayed on. We let the snowflakes dry overnight. Then using just white thread and a needle, we carefully pulled the thread through each snowflake (similar to sewing).

IMG_2212We lined up four or five snowflakes in a row and carefully pulled the thread through each one. I put a tiny clear bead between each snowflake to add a sparkle and again at the end of the entire row.

IMG_2213Be patient and careful with the thread. It tangles easily and can be a bit frustrating to work with.

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Then I hung some thread horizontally across my windows and tied each strand of snowflakes to it.

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I just love how our simple paper snowflakes hung with simple white thread brings the magical ambience of the glistening outdoors in! And I had fun discovering how easy it was to make paper snowflakes (which I had never done before).

Easy DIY New Year’s Decor

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Every year I hate to see the holiday season end. To make sure that doesn’t happen too early I love to decorate for New Year’s. Because Christmas tends to empty out my wallet, I don’t want to spend a lot of money. Here are some of my favorite easy DIY New Year’s decorating ideas that are both inexpensive and festive.

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What a great idea! Incorporate champagne bottles into your holiday décor. From ideasevite.com comes an easy and inexpensive glitter project. Just use spray adhesive and glitter to add pizzazz to the bottom half of your champagne bottles. Champagne never looked so sparkly!

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From Chickabug.com comes another sparkly project: washable glittered wine glasses (above)! Inexpensive and easy. And best of all, they’ll last for many more New Year’s celebrations to come!

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Being a wine lover, I adore this wine cork countdown project (above) and paper fan clocks (below) featured on tipjunkie.com! Coordinate the colors of your decorations with paper plates and napkins for an added New Year’s flair!

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Add some bling to your New Year’s décor! From momtastic.com comes simple diy New Year’s Eve glitter candles. Transform simple white candles into bling bling New Year’s table top décor!

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I love this monochromatic Christmas balls wreath (below) from Initiales GG.com. Using all white, gold or silver balls adds that sophisticated and elegant flair that is perfect for New Year’s.

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Une simple guirlande lumineuse (a garland of lights) comes from decoration-de-fete.com. Using miniature white lights, white balls and olive branches, a tablescape is transformed into an elegant yet natural magical New Year’s centerpiece reminiscent of Provence, France.

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And again, reminiscent of the Provence style, a simple combination of white candles and olive branches can add an elegant yet natural touch to any New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day celebration.noel-en-provence-2[1]

And, last but not least, one of my favorite easy diy New Year’s décor ideas: Glitter New Year’s Candles from diy-projectss.blogspot.com. Glitz up your holiday décor with this very easy project using only candles, modge podge and glitter. Will definitely do this for our 2014 celebration.

diy-projectss.blogspot.com Whether I’m throwing a New Year’s Eve party or a New Year’s Day dinner, for a group of friends and family or for just my immediate family, I love to add sparkle and bling to make things festive and fun. I’m inspired and motivated by these easy and simple DIY New Year’s décor ideas. I hope you are too. Have a wonderful and blessed (and always creative) New Year!

 

 

 

 

An Original Christmas

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I came across some cute Christmas decorations that are quite original. I love the wooden santas (above) made by my very own sister’s sister-in-law, Jenny.

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My own sister made this tiny rustic twig star. It is comprised of only twigs and red paper clips! So easy and so original.

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I found these adorable felt star ornaments at Craftaholic. I love that she personalizes them in greek. I will definitely have to order some for my own Greek kids!

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I adore these little trees made out of popsicle sticks. So cute! From Simplyredd.hubpages.com.

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I can’t wait to try these simple aluminum ball ornaments made from aluminum wire and ribbon. Such an easy diy project for something so unique and modern, from Le Blog Creatif.

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From LaLoLeblog comes this very original Christmas wall art made from sticks! You can keep the sticks natural or paint them white like she did. The white branches really make the colorful ornaments pop. Very unique!

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I love these delicate twig ornaments (above) made by michelemademe. A nice way to add a natural yet artistic touch to your décor.

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From Philzendia.com, comes this very unique twist to the traditional Christmas tree décor. She made tabletop Christmas trees from newspaper. Very original!

 

 

 

J’aime les étoiles…

I love stars!

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I also love the natural and rustic design approach. So when I came upon wooden stars created from twigs and pieces of wood at Vosgesparis.blogspot.com, I knew I had to knock them off!

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This greyed wood star (above) originally created on Lekker Fris and featured on Vosgesparis, is a simple project incorporating leftover wood, wire and transparent white lights.

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White clay star pendants with black string at Jotte by Lekker Fris are simple, organic and minimalistic. Hanging them from bare branches adds that natural and rustic touch I love so much.

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As I said, J’aime les etoiles. I could go on and on showing you what wonderful and creative stars are out there, but on to creating my own…

From Comme un air de fete, comes my inspiration:  the simple twig star I love so much.

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My son Constantine and I went out into our rather large yard, which is mostly forest, and picked up several fallen branches. It’s getting cold and windy here in Princeton, New Jersey so we had no trouble finding fallen branches.

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Then, I laid out the stars in a “star” pattern.

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Using a hot glue gun, I glued the points where the twigs met (sorry, my glue gun is a bit dirty).

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I made a second one only a tiny bit smaller.

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Once I was finished, I stood them up against a wall with the smaller one in front of the larger one. I look forward to creating more and lining them with lights. Stay tuned for those!

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I hope you were inspired by my “J’aime les etoiles” diy wooden star project.

Easy, Elegant and Inexpensive Holiday Decor

Unfortunately, the holidays often seem to be all about money, money, money these days. Like most of us, we run ourselves ragged shopping for gifts for family and friends. If you’re like me, you end up spending loads of money not only on gifts but on food as well. (My husband is Greek. And he loves having all the Greek dishes served up when entertaining. The ingredients are expensive). So, I hesitate to buy any new holiday decorations. And I could buy the entire Pottery Barn Holiday catalog if you let me, mind you! In order to not feel guilty and not go over my budget, my holiday décor purchases have to be inexpensive. Here are some wonderful, unique, easy holiday decorating tips and diy ideas that are beautiful, unique and simple and will help keep you within your budget.

 Berries, Pine sprigs, and branches in ordinary containers

Go outside and clip a branch of berries or buy artificial ones and place them in a basket. Put firewood and pine sprigs in a container you already have. Or, clip a handful of barren branches, spray paint them white or a metallic silver and prop them up in a vase. Easy, elegant and simple holiday decorating. Below, is my very own holiday branch décor that I did last year. I added mini white lights! See my Branch Art diy project.

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Birch Branches and Candles

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From Ballard Designs

Have Firewood? An easy and different way to dress up the interior of your fireplace is to use branches as pedestals for candles. White birch with white votives can create a very elegant embience. Or, put smaller birch logs on the fireplace mantel. Rustic charm without the LL Bean pricetag!

Suspended Tree Branch

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From Ballard Designs

A great alternative to the ordinary Christmas tree is a suspended tree branch with ornaments. Keep the branches natural but hang pine cones from white ribbon for the rustic yet elegant combo. Stay monochromatic by using the same kind or same color ornaments. Or, spray paint the branch and hang colorful ornaments.

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Ballard Designs

diy-glitter-ornaments-www.curbly.com

For the more modern and fun approach, suspend an aluminum tree from the ceiling and hang colorful glitter ornaments like the ones above created on curbly.com.

White Candles with Evergreens

For the minimalist approach, try plain white candles with touches of evergreens. Easy and classic. Perfect for a New Year’s party.

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From Pottery Barn

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From Grandinroad

Carboard Trees?

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Yes, cardboard. From Comme un air de fete comes a wonderful and easy diy Christmas tree project. Cut out pieces of cardboard into triangular Christmas tree shapes, drill holes and insert lights. Perfect for an entry hall or covered porch!

Modern Cone Trees

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From www.curbly.com comes a very easy and inexpensive diy holiday decoration using paper-mache cones. Just drill holes, sand down and insert battery operated LED lights. They can be an exquisite all-white display or a colorful one.

Advent Calendar Fun

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Create an advent calendar to commemorate the days leading up to Christmas. From C’est Bientot Noel comes a simple and easy idea of using an ordinary clothes hanger or a simple branch. Suspend small wrapped packages (she also uses Chinese food containers and envelopes) with string. Put the number of the day on the outside and have your kids open a package on the corresponding date. Great way to add suspense to the season. And so cute!

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 Newspaper Star Wreath

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Yes, simple and plain newspaper! Comme un air de fete creates a unique, edgy and hip twist on the conventional Christmas wreath. You could use a star cookie cutter as your guide.

String Art Christmas Tree

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From mypoppet.com:  A very unique yet creative way to have a Christmas tree and star on your wall. This is also a great idea for someone who has limited space. Hang your cards or photos or just decorate with colorful pom poms and bows. Adorable!

Chandelier Ornaments

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From Ballard Designs

An inexpensive and very doable holiday decoration is the simple technique of hanging ornaments to a chandelier or light fixture. Stay monochromatic for a touch of elegance or mix it up for a lighter approach. I do this myself every year! Below is my chandelier decorating version using pinecones and twine.

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You can also add holiday greens and berries.

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From Ballard Designs

Wrapped wire ornaments

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Another simple diy Christmas decoration is this ribbon wrapped wire star featured on Craft and Creativity. These would look great on an oversized tree or hanging in windows. I love the twine wrapped one. You could also use burlap! Or use a light blue ribbon for Hanukah.

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I hope you found these Easy, Elegant and Inexpensive Holiday Décor ideas to be an inspiration. I’m off to create my own easy diy knock offs. Stay tuned to see what I come up with!

My Pine Cone Garland

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I just love my simple pine cone garland that I “knocked off” from vechernie-posidelki.

feltedheartspineconegarland@CommeUnAirDeFeteI love this simple “felt hearts and pine cone” from Vechernie-posidelki.blogspot.com. The combination of natural elements and handmade ones elicits a simple and effortless elegance. So, I wanted to create something similar for my home that would capture this same essence (a natural and effortless elegance). But my garland has a little bit of a different twist.

First, I made my own star ornaments using the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1.5 cups of warm water

Add the water slowly as you mix the ingredients. You should end up with a bread dough-like ball.

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I rolled the dough out flat. Using a cookie cutter star, I then made as many stars as I could.

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Then, using a nail, the end of a pen or a skewer, make holes at the top of each star.

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Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees. Then, using a basic acrylic art paint, I painted each star red. Make sure to paint both sides.

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Then, using white acrylic paint, I made a stitch-like border.

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I then sprayed each star (both sides) with a clear gloss acrylic finish. Then I tied a piece of twine to each star.

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My kids and I collected a bunch of pine cones in our neighborhood. We are fortunate enough to have tons of pine trees. I tied twine to each pine cone making a loop at the top of each.

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Then, I laid out all the stars and pine cones and ran one piece of twine through each.

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Using a glue gun, I put a small dab of glue at the point where twine met twin to insure that everything would hang evenly.

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And there you have it. My pine cone garland. I just love it! You can use the dough recipe to create all kinds of unique Christmas tree ornaments as well.

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