Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Double Duty: Guest Blogging at Hill City Bride

Today, you're getting two doses of Home Confetti! In addition to my post on fun hot chocolate ideas, go to Hill City Bride here where I share this cute packaging idea! Use it to package a small gift or as a party favor box.

Coo-Coo For Hot Co-coa!

Now that the cold weather has set in, one of my favorite things to do is to just curl up on the couch with the girls with a big soup mug of hot chocolate. If you saw the "Hot Chocolate Lab" I did for Halloween (here) you know we love to have fun with our hot chocolate! I try to make each cup a little different each time. Here are some fun ideas you can use for a holiday brunch, to serve to a special guest, or even give as a gift. Everyone loves a good cup of hot cocoa!

Left: Everything's more fun when it's on a stick! Create a block of chocolate and even homemade marshmallows and stir it into a nice cup of hot milk! Makes such a cute treat and presentation. Get the recipes here. Right: How many variations can you come up with for these chocolate-dipped spoons??! The coconut one is looking pretty yummy to me! To find out how to make these, click here.

Left: What a fun treat for Christmas morning! Stir your hot chocolate with a candy cane, giving your chocolate a refreshing peppermint taste. Click here to make these easy dipped candy canes. Right: Everything a person needs for a good cup of hot chocolate in one cone-shaped bag! Pair it with one of the chocolate dipped spoons--and it makes a great neighbor gift! Click here for more info.

Left: If you have houseguests over the holidays, it would be worth putting together a hot chocolate "bar" like this to let guests pick their own flavors and toppings. Photo source here. Right: And for that someone special, give him/her a little surprise in their cup with a stenciled message. Get the how-to here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Handmade Ornaments

For most people Thanksgiving weekend is all about shopping. I completely avoid retail during Thanksgiving weekend. Instead, I use the weekend to get my craft on for the Christmas season! This past weekend I put together our advent calendar (which I'll post on Facebook later this week) and made my neighbor gifts. Last year I made peppermint striped soaps (from Martha Stewart here), but this year I decided on an ornament. Here is just a sampling of some of the ornaments I found while looking for one to make. Make one as a gift, or to adorn your own Christmas tree. The one I ended up making is at the end, with some how-to info.

Here are two from 7 Layer Studio, both using music sheets but in different ways. I love the glittery finish she uses on each one. To make the "JOY" ornament click here. To make the "Hallelujah" ball ornament, click here.

These are so adorable and the kids will love them. At left, I Heart Naptime offers fun variations on "snow-covered" ornaments. Click here for directions. On the right is a cute rendition of Santa's belly! It would look really cute using a ball ornament! Click here for the original post at Nap Time Crafts.
Inspired by nature, this pinecone ornament made of paper would be a beautiful addition to any tree. From the Hybrid Chick, click here for directions. Next is an ornament you can hang on a tree outside. From Country Living, attract blue jays and goldfinches during the winter with this pretty ornament made with bird seed. Click here for the how-to.

And finally, here is the one I ended up making. (Sorry for the blurry photo. I took it at night--not the best lighting conditions!) I followed the directions from Martha Stewart here.

The felt, trim, tassles and felt poinsettia stickers were all purchased at Hobby Lobby. I already had the cord for the loop. I followed the directions but needed to make some adjustments. I used 3" styrofoam balls, but using their template at 100% I found I only needed four pieces to cover the entire ball (not 6 like their directions state). I got a lot of gaping so I needed to pin everything down. Then I just used my trusty hot glue gun and glued the trim to cover the seams, the tassle on the bottom and the loop on top. The felt poinsettias have an adhesive dot on the backs, so I was able to just stick those on. Not too bad! Some look better than others, but overall I'm pretty happy with them!

I hope these inspire you to add a handmade touch to your own tree, or to make a special gift.

Participating in

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow Much Fun!

On this day last year, I hosted an ornament-making party for some of the kids in the neighborhood. It was great to see the kids creating their own contributions to the Christmas tree. When I saw this adorable snowman tablescape from Shindig Parties TO GO showcasing their Let It Snow party collection, I just thought, "How cute would this have been for that get together?!"

So colorful and fun, plus lots of DIY ideas like the snowman centerpiece that you can easily assemble using styrofoam balls and buttons. Plus, cute treats like these sugar crystal covered snowmen.

Amanda of Shindig Parties TO GO gives you plenty of great ideas in this tablescape, plus ways to use her Let It Snow collection. See the rest of the showcase and her entire collection here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Playing With Ice

Here in suburban Colorado, we've already seen a little bit of snow. It didn't last long enough to really enjoy though. But, it reminded me of how much I love to wake up to that first-fallen snow, when everything is beautifully covered.

Doilies are very reminiscent of snowflakes–as this project so beautifully portrays. How gorgeous is that?! I don't remember how I stumbled upon this, but so glad I did. You can find the how-to here. If you wait until it gets colder to do this, it will hopefully last a couple of days or so, and you can create a wonderful winter scene on your front porch, too.

This has inspired me to do a post on wintery projects using doilies and lace, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DIY Fall Yarn Centerpiece

First off--make sure to enter my giveaway from Brilliant Bash! Who wouldn't want those adorable, trendy straws and favor bags?! Perfect for the holidays! So please make sure to enter. Find the details here.

Recently I was asked to host a "Craftin' Moms" activity for the MOMS Club I belong to. I thought–fun! A great way for moms to spend time together while making something for the Thanksgiving table. So, as I was searching the Internet, looking for projects, I came across this yarn wreath tutorial here. I thought–I could apply that same idea and tutorial to a centerpiece, and so ended up with this for our crafty mom playdate:

Pretty, right?! And I love that it's versatile and can be used all season. Right now I have it on my mantle, with the candles. But for Thanksgiving day, I will probably add floral foam with faux flowers to it for the table. It was pretty simple to do.

Here is what you need:
One wooden "CD case" crate (purchased at Joann's)
Yarn (look for thick yarn. I used Wool-Ease)
Felt square for the bottom
Three felt squares in different colors for the flowers
Glue dots or double-sided tape (I prefer double-sided tape)
Glue
Hot glue gun

Start off by covering the bottom of the crate. I was able to cover the entire bottom with one square of black felt. I used "Tacky Glue" to adhere it to the box. Then, just trim the edges.

Next, cover the entire top border of the box with the double-sided tape, then make your way around. As you make your way down, you can conserve tape and place strips of it every few inches. When you get to the opening midway down, you'll need to completely cover that with the tape.

Then, follow the wreath tutorial to make the felt flowers. I traced a cereal bowl to make the template for the large brown flower. The circle for the smaller flowers is 50% the size of the large one. Finally, use your hot glue gun to stick them to the yarned box. That's it!

If you decide to make one of your own, I hope you get a lot of use from it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Last-minute Food For Thought

You've got your menu planned, but didn't really think much about how you're going to decorate the table. Guaranteed you'll be making one more visit to the grocery store before Thursday, so look there to create a centerpiece for your table. Here are some great centerpiece ideas you can do in a snap with items you probably have at home, combined with a couple of items you can pick up at the grocery store.

Left: Cranberry filled glasses as flower vases make a beautiful adornment for your main dining table or buffet table. A nice change from cranberries in a candle holder. (Photo source: Southern Living)
Right: Use gourds and small pumpkins as candle holders. Line them up down the center of your table for a pretty scene. (Photo source here.)

Left: Use items like lentils to embellish candles and pumpkins. Use different colored beans or kernels on different colored candles for a festive look. (Photo source: HGTV.com)
Right: I love this idea from Martha Stewart. Use cloves to create letters on pears. Spell out THANKS for your Thanksgiving table. (Photo source: MarthaStewart.com)

Left: Here is a beautiful centerpiece made up of items you probably have at home (tray and candles) or in your backyard (pine cones and leaves). Mix them with a few small gourds, and voila--centerpiece done! (Photo source: CountryLiving.com)
Right: Borrow a few items from the side dishes you're preparing to create your centerpiece! Artichokes and string beans as candle holders really set the stage for the day! (Source: BHG.com)

Finally, go nuts for these last two ideas. Center candlesticks in a pretty tray of cashews. (Photo source here.) Or use different varieties of nuts to create a very autumnal tree. Get the how-to here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My First Giveaway From Brilliant Bash!

Wow--this is a milestone for me! My first giveaway--and what better time to do it?! I am so happy to be able to offer this prize opportunity from Brilliant Bash to Home Confetti readers as a way of giving you my thanks for all your support since I started this little blog only four months ago! It has been so much fun!

Edited by my blog gal pal, Laura, Brilliant Bash serves up great inspiration for events big and small. Make sure to add it your blog list! Laura also has a wonderful online shop by the same name, selling on-trend party supplies to help you create the most stylish parties! (She has those cute little cupcake stands I love!) Today–just for Home Confetti readers–Laura is offering one lucky reader a Holiday Gift Pack! Check it out!

FESTIVE RED AND WHITE STRIPED STRAWS, one pack of 25

RED STRIPED FAVOR BAGS, one pack of 25


AND RED AND WHITE POLKA-DOT STRAWS, one pack of 25

LOVE! Use them for a holiday party, holiday brunch, kids party, a special touch for Christmas morning... the possibilities are endless!

HOW TO ENTER:
Two very easy little steps:
1. Become a fan of Brilliant Bash's Facebook Page here.
2. Visit the Brilliant Bash shop here and come back to let me know below (as a comment) which item in the shop is your favorite.
The contest is open to U.S. and Canada residents only. Deadline for entries is Tuesday, November 30th, 2010. A winner will be randomly selected from all entries.

Good luck!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Dessert Table

Most people think about decorating the main dining table for Thanksgiving... but what about the dessert table?? In my family, there is a long lag of time between the last dinner course and dessert–mainly to give everyone some time to breathe and recuperate from everything they've just eaten! After a big meal, most people don't even want to think about dessert–which is why having a nice dessert table becomes even more important. Presented right, your guests won't be able to deny dessert! Plus, dessert is the most common item guests bring, so it's nice to have a table ready to place and display it. Here is some inspiration to help you think about adding a dessert table to your Thanksgiving feast next week.

I love the monocromatic look of this dessert table. The pre-packaged cookie favors are a great idea to encourage guests to take one (or more!) cookies with them. Found at Pizzazzerie.com, you can see the details at their site here.

The flowers, fabric and textures give this table a beautiful lush look. The burlap sash dresses up the bale of hay. The pretty flower-embellished bags in the center is another way to encourage guests to take home some treats. See the rest of this table showcase here at TomKat Studio.

Make the dessert table interactive and fun for guests with a nice DIY cupcake bar. Found via Brilliant Bash, there are so many great details in this idea. Use gourds to hold sprinkles and marshmallows; instead of vintage drawers, you may have some small crates to hold berries. It's all so tempting! Guests won't resist making their own cupcake creations! See the rest of the photo details here.

Finally, if you want to cater more to the kids–since they for sure will have room saved for dessert–here is a fun table from Amy Atlas. Filled with scarecrow cookie pops, pilgrim boats, and more, this is sure to be a hit with kids and adults! Find more photos here.

So, no matter how much you eat, make sure to save room for dessert!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Passion for Puff Pastry

I am a big fan of puff pastry. It is the best secret weapon for holiday entertaining. Cooking with puff pastry is quick and easy, and makes a pretty presentation. Once you've used it and realize how versatile it is, you'll look for a reason to use it again. So, if you're hosting a cocktail party this holiday season, or looking for a dinner appetizer, here are some options.

Puff pastry is so perfect for Fall and Winter because it has a textured, rustic look to it. These extra-long cheese straws will add height to your food buffet, while offering your guests an easy snack to grab. Get the recipe here. The swirled appetizers on the right add a fun element to your table. These are made with pesto, but you can layer them with sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, olives... whatever is in your pantry! Find the recipe for these here.

How cute is this puff pillow topped with Comte cheese and a baked cherry tomato? Again, this little pillow offers endless possibilities. You can get this recipe here. And look at these "posh piggies"! A great idea to use a cookie cutter to make your appetizers look festive. Recipe source here.

Pastry puff shells provide great versatility because you can fill them with anything. The shell on the left is filled with a Greek Kalamata Olive mix (recipe here) and the one on the right is filled with wild mushrooms (recipe here). Pastry puff shells are great for dessert too–fill them with vanilla pudding for a spin on cream puffs.

Use puff pastry to create mini-versions of your favorite foods. At left are mini salami puff sandwiches (recipe here). At right are mini tartlets, or mini pizzas to me! Find the recipe here.
Finally, these are my two "go-to" puff pastry recipes. On the right is warm brie with raspberries and almonds. I like the way they used the pastry shell to create the decorative leaves on top. I usually serve my warm brie with raspberry preserves poured over the top. This is always a big hit, but it's important to serve it right out of the oven. Get the how-to here. On the left are feta and spinach triangle puffs. Spinach is one of those veggies that most people seem to like, and mixed with feta cheese–it makes a yummy appetizer! This is another one that seems to disappear off the plate. Get the recipe here.

I hope you'll be inspired to give puff pastry a try!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Countdown to Christmas!

In exactly two weeks it will be December 1st! WOW! Time to start counting down to Christmas! Until this year I was opposed to advent calendars--simply because I thought "how much more stuff do kids need to get?!" But, I guess it's a good way to handle kids' anticipation for the big day, and an advent calendar does not have to be entirely filled with sweets and treats. Fill each day with a good deed or activity instead. When I did a search for advent calendars I could not believe the hundreds of images I got! From classic to whimsical to modern, here are just some of my favorites. Use the ideas as is, or use them as inspiration to come up with your own versions. Make sure to read through my notes, because there are links to a couple of advent calendars not pictured.

Here is the one I'm planning on doing. It's eighteen25's take on an idea from Family Fun. Perfect for a mantle or bookshelf, the collection of trees makes such a shimmery festive scene on its own. For the tutorial and even a downloadable printable of the numbers, visit eighteen25 here.

Doubletree: Kids will love seeing all their daily surprises hanging on a tree like this! Use small packages as done here, or use clear plastic ornaments with wrapped treats inside. This makes a perfect small "second" tree to keep in the kids' room. For the full post, click here.
This craft stick advent tree is a good, inexpensive option. Those little boxes are done origami style. If you find that too time-consuming, grab some of those little kraft envelopes from the office supply store (the kind you slip keys into) as an alternative. Click here for the tutorial.

From the Mags: Wanna keep your daily treats small? Create this precious advent tree from Country Living with matchbooks. Click here for the how-to.
The next one from Better Homes & Gardens gives you a 2-in-1! It is a pretty wreath to hang, as well as an advent calendar. Traditionally, you see those round tins used on cookie sheets to make an advent calendar. If you're not familiar with those, you can see a magnetic version here. And a velcro version here.

Tall Order: Go green with this one! This advent calendar is made with paper bags. Fill each pocket with a special thought or phrase for each day. Get the full tutorial here.
This one is green too, in its own special way. It stands 2 1/2' tall! It will take a little more time than the others, but the end result is certainly worth it! It makes a great focal point in any room. Find out how to make this here.

If you want to forgo the treats and activities, and just countdown the days, try one of these.
The left one makes a fun game for kids. Add an ornament to the tree each day. The ornament illustrations are too cute–and you can download the illustrations free! To find out where and how, click here.
Or make a Christmas countdown calendar with chalkboard vinyl. I just saw craft glass blocks in Lowe's. For a great vinyl resource that features this project, visit Candy Apple Designs here.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to advent calendars. If you're looking for one using specific materials, let me know, and I'll help you find what you're looking for. Let the countdown begin!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guest Blogging at Hill City Bride

I'm taking today off! Well, not entirely. I'm thrilled to be guest blogging over at Hill City Bride today! Edited by my blog pal Jennifer, Hill City Bride is dedicated to inspiring the bride-to-be with beautiful receptions, DIY details, accessories, and much more. I love Hill City Bride because weddings are such a great go-to resource for party inspiration! For instance, look at the lush color scheme and white pumpkins used in this fabulous autumn wedding that was featured here on Hill City Bride.

Today, make sure to click here for my guest post–you'll find a fabulous idea for a dreamy rustic centerpiece!


Photo: Sincerely, Liz: Photography

Monday, November 15, 2010

Recycled Holiday Crafts for America Recycles Day

Did you know today is America Recycles Day?? I only know that because of my desk calendar that recognizes any day that resembles a holiday. But it did prompt me to look for some relevant ideas to use over the holidays. Here are some very creative, and very decorative, recycling ideas you can use over the holidays–each using a very common household item–a toilet paper cardboard tube!

Left: Fill these traditional Christmas "crackers" with treats for kids... or use it as a party favor for New Year's by putting a fortune for the upcoming year in it. Get the full how-to here.

Right: Covered in glitter, you would never know this was made from a toilet paper tube! Hang it on your tree or dangle a group of them in your window for a wintery scene. Click here for the complete tutorial.

Left: Ideas that are easy and inexpensive, like this napkin ring holder, never go out of style! Customize your napkin rings to your table's theme, party or season. From Make & Takes, get the directions here.

Right: And something for above your table... these festive lanterns. I love this one. Make them glittery white and blue so you can keep them up through the winter. Directions are given here.

Do you have a recycling craft you'd like to share? E-mail me. I'd love to see it, and maybe even feature your project in a future post!

To learn more about America Recycles Day, visit here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Uses for Old Things

One of my favorite features in Real Simple magazine is their column, "New Uses for Old Things." It's full of "why didn't I think of that?!" moments. The column is all about finding uncommon uses for common household items. Just the type of stuff I love! They have a whole gallery featuring these little tips on their website for home entertaining. Here are some of my favorites, that you may be able to use.

We all have old bangles sitting in our jewelry boxes. Use them as napkin rings to add some fun to your place settings. Love this one: Y'know those jelly-feeling window clings stores sell for every holiday? They make great drink markers or just a way to dress up your glasses!
Use flavored lollipops as stir sticks. Make sure to use flavors that complement your drinks. Plus, the lollipops will make a great conversation piece! Pretty glasses make pretty candle holders. You can even turn the glasses upside down and set larger candles on the bottoms.

Finally, look to your office supply store for party ideas, too. Here's a clever idea to keep kids occupied–use a dry erase board as their placemat. And dress up your gifts this season with colorful bag tags or keychains that are a gift in themselves.

If you have a new use for an old thing I would love to hear it! I'm always looking for new ways to do things. These ideas and more "New Uses for Old Things" can all be found on RealSimple.com here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spelling Out T-H-A-N-K-S

Here are three easy Thanksgiving centerpieces that serve as a reminder of what the day is all about. Each so pretty, I prefer to call them "word art."

Cast some candlelight on your Thanksgiving table with this elegant set of candles. The solid brown is ideal for a Thanksgiving table, but also think about using patterned scrapbook paper as the background for the letters. (Photo source here.)

If I can find the right bottles, this is one I'm going to try to pull off before Thanksgiving! It makes such a statement on a fireplace mantle, bookshelf or side buffet. Would you believe those are root beer bottles?! If you need a source for vinyl letters, remember my friend Sherae at Candy Apple Designs. For the complete tutorial for this project, click here.

Finally, here is one the kids can help you with. They'll be so proud of their contribution to the Thanksgiving table. Click here for the tutorial on Parents.com.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanks to the Hostess

You gotta appreciate any holiday hostess who takes on the responsibility of serving a big dinner and entertaining a large group of guests! Here are a few handmade gift ideas to take to your hostess this holdiay season. These also make great gifts to give to neighbors and friends over the holidays.
1. Decoupaged Serving Tray: A hostess never has enough serving platters or trays. Upcycle a tray with a pretty autumn theme. The easiest way to do it is by finding a rectangular shaped wooden tray and decoupaging scrapbook paper over it. But if you have a circular tray like the one shown, which is a bit trickier to cover, click here for a great tutorial on how to get it done.

2. Painted Glasses: How adorable are these glasses?! Gives "milk mustache" a whole new meaning! These are painted glasses from Tatertots and Jello. Find the complete tutorial here.

3. No-Sew Placemats: I love anything that doesn't involve sewing! So, I gasped when I saw these pretty no-sew placemats. Use red for festive Christmas placemats or a winter blue would be pretty for your dining room table. For the template and tutorial, click here.

4. Humorous Hang Tags: If you just don't have the time to make something, a bottle of wine is always a reliable and appreciated gift. These wine tags from Popptags (found via hostessblog.com) are a fun touch to give to a host with a sense of humor! This one says, "The Wine Store Guy Said This Was Good." There is also "Regifted with Love" and "Luckily your taste in wine isn't as good as your taste in friends!" See the full collection here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanksgiving: Kids Table

Thanksgiving can be a long day for the kids, so it's smart to dish out some fun right from the start. The blogs are fluttering with ideas to make the kids table fun and entertaining. Here are just some of my favorites that I've spotted recently.
Use this cute placemat to keep kids in their seat (always a challenge!) and occupied. Download this placemat at Paper Glitter here. Bo Bunny provides a template to create this "Blessings Tree" as a kids centerpiece. It will encourage kids to share what they're thankful for, then add their "leaf" to the tree. Get the full tutorial here.
Here are two adorable ideas from "One Charming Party." Each offering a great surprise for kids! The first is a corn on the cob craft, put together with real corn husks. Put one at each child's place setting. Fill it with items kids can use throughout the day: crayons, mini play-do... Then after dinner, why not let the kids enjoy a movie while also enjoying the popcorn stuffing from this turkey! How clever is that?! I bet the kids would never guess what's inside! Click here for the corn on the cob tutorial. Click here for the paper bag turkey tutorial.

Everything tastes better on a stick--so here is another popcorn option for kids! Orange popcorn balls on a stick almost resemble little pumpkins. Get the recipe here. Finally, you can have some fun with food on your own by creating amusing centerpieces. How cute are these smiley-faced veggies?! (Photo source here.)

And remember the other kids ideas from the "WHOOT OF THANKS" playdate here that offers a pinecone craft, placemat idea, and other food and decor ideas for the kids. And this collection here from Frog Prince Paperie that I posted on Home Confetti's Facebook page provides a whimsical tablescape for kids.

So many ideas--there's no way the kids will be bored!

 
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