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Monday, December 12, 2011

Season’s Greetings on the Front Porch

make_do_and_mend After hanging garland and a wreath on the front of the deck, I pretty much blew off any more outside decorating for awhile. I got back to it yesterday, but it’s taken more than 24 hours to come up with the final display to greet visitors. In case you can’t stop by and say hi this holiday season, I’ll show you how it ended up.

It started with a few evenings of perusing the interwebs, looking at blog posts and photos on Pinterest for inspiration. I was really liking the simple, natural displays.

I gathered an old window that had been tucked away in a corner in the den, a faux greenery wreath, and the old high chair I painted and put on the porch last summer. This afternoon I shopped the house and was happy to find Dad’s ice skates hanging by a nail on the closet wall. There was a wire basket from Goodwill, a bag of pinecones the in-laws brought back from Texas in the Fall, and some random decorative “stuff”, and I was set. I love the layers, yet it’s simple and, I hope, welcoming: 


From our house to yours:

Merry Christmas!

(This post is a Make Do and Mend Monday project!)


Friday, December 09, 2011

Popcorn Ornaments

I made these fun glass popcorn-filled ornaments a few years ago to hang on the Christmas tree on the ticket counter at our local movie theater. The theater manager donated some boxes of old candy to add some color. This will be the fourth year they use them – they’re holding up wonderfully.

The customers just love them, and each year several of them ask what the secret is to getting the popcorn inside.

I'm going to share that secret here with you:



clear glass ball ornaments

unpopped popcorn (don't use the pre-packaged microwave corn that includes grease)

microwavable dishes

hot pads

First remove the metal top on the ornament and set aside. I rinsed the glass balls with vinegar and water and let dry overnight.

Put popcorn kernels in the ball - the amounts I used varied with the size of the balls. I think I counted out between 40-60 kernels per ornament.

Set the glass ball inside the microwavable dish. (Some instructions I've read say to use a paper bag, but that didn't work so well for me. Plus, I like being able to see the ornament and monitor the popping of the corn.)
Microwave on high until the kernels no longer pop. Each microwave is different, so I hesitate to put a length of time in my instructions. I just watched and listened, and when there was a count of 10 after the last pop I heard, I removed the ornament.

Keep in mind that these dishes and ornaments will be HOT when you remove them from the microwave. Use the hot pads and let everything cool before you handle them. I also had to take a few breaks and let my microwave cool off. Be warned, also, I did have a few of the glass balls break. Have some extras handy and please HANDLE WITH CARE.

Once they're cool you can shake out any unpopped kernels, then put the metal hanger back on and embellish as you desire. We added colorful candies from the theater concession stand, and hung them using ribbons.

These are an easy way to have somewhat old-fashioned decorations on your holiday tree, with a modern-day twist. Enjoy!



Thursday, December 01, 2011

Decking the, um, Deck (Make Do and Mend)

I did this project on Monday, which was Make Do and Mend day. Some of my other online friends post their projects, too. Just check Heidi’s blog for a list.

This one was easy and (almost) a no-brainer. While Greg’s niece Hannah was in high school, she sold greenery every year for band fundraiser. I always bought a large evergreen wreath. Now that she’s graduated, I don’t get my pretty wreath each year. I was thinking about that the other day, and remembered that I’ve kept a couple of the wire forms from them.


I dug one out of the garage at great risk to my well-being since it was hanging on the garage wall, under pieces of chicken wire and the rotisserie for the grill – all of this behind the bicycles – it was a trick to get the wreath form down without everything falling on me!

Then I found the tote with the greenery and took off the old and faded bows.


In no time there was a nice, big, albeit fake, wreath for the front deck.


Not one dime spent after I discovered a spool of ribbon in the Christmas decorations and made a fresh new bow instead of spending $5 for one at the store.


This was the beginning of holiday decorating at my house, done on a 60° late-November afternoon. Just in time to welcome the snow coming this weekend – then it will look a lot like Christmas for sure!