It’s a fact: I don’t have room for a Christmas tree in my tiny studio. So, I thought I’d compensate by making a tree-oriented home decoration. Supplies are somewhat hard to come by in the city, so I was forced to go foraging through the park. Apparently, scouring the ground and carrying a bundle of twigs in your arms warrants strangers looking at you like you’re the pigeon lady from Home Alone 2, so after I found a few good ones, I called it quits and retreated to my apartment to see what I could make of my findings.

With the help of fishing line, some paint, and the Glee Christmas soundtrack, I created my holiday twig mobile. Here’s how:

What you’ll need:
• 3 – 6 twigs in varying sizes
• Acrylic paint (metallic or colored)
• Paintbrush
• Fishing line

Directions:
1.
Collect an array of twigs in varied sizes. I suggest choosing ones with several small branches for a more interesting visual effect.
2. Paint each twig the color of your choice and allow to dry. (I used an off-white base then finished the tips with gold spray paint.) Paint them all a different color, or go the enchanting metallic route.
3. Lay them out on the floor as you would like them positioned in the mobile, descending in size from top to bottom.
4. Cut a piece of fishing line and tie to both ends of the top stick. Make sure it’s long enough to have a little slack to use as a hanger.
5. For convenience and to achieve the right balance, hang this section up before you continue.
6. Decide whether you want your mobile to hang down straight or to spin (mine hangs straight). Then, start by tying one piece of line to each end of the first stick.
6A. Straight mobile: Connect the loose ends to the lower sticks like rungs of a ladder.
6B. Spinning mobile: Tie the loose ends around the mid-section of the stick below.
7. Continue to connect your sticks in this fashion, adding as many sticks as you like (as long as the mobile stays balanced).

By Grace Romanowsky of Valenki By ACE, Staff Writer

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December 6, 2012

Even if you feel prepped and ready for the most wonderful time of the year, there’s always room for a little extra holiday merriment. As the weeks of winter progress, here are some creative decorating ideas to add some cheer to your home (before the relatives arrive).

Tree-mium Seating
Working with less-than-ideal square footage? (Or just have lots of gifts to give?) Host a smaller tree on a sideboard, coffee table, or – if it’s a tiny tree – mantel. Feel free to choose an unexpected color palette, like Eddie Ross’s blues and greens (or golds), then coordinate your wrapping paper and ornaments for pleasing décor the whole season through.

Card Collection
For years, my family hung holiday cards from friends and family around the kitchen door – with tape. Now that my mother has a mantel, she decided to rescue the paint on the walls by creating a mitten-themed cardholder with string and colorful clothespins – kind of like this one. Or, welcome guests in style with a wrought-iron or modern metal trellis decked in ribbon-tied cards and displayed with a wreath hanger.

Sweet Tooth
There are oldies-but-goodies – loading one coffee-table dish with edibles and a corresponding bowl with bright, round ornaments, for example – but for a change of (decorative) pace, try filling attractive glassware with white sugar, mini marshmallows, and old-fashioned candy sticks, or crafting candy topiaries with mints, gummies, foam, and quick-dry glue (substitute double-sided tape to make future snacking easier).

Festive Lighting
You can’t go wrong with candles. Create some ice vases, fill them with tea lights or votives, and pair them with a burning yule log – be it in your fireplace, or on your TV or computer screen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

What are some of your favorite, tried-and-true decorating ideas? Share them in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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December 5, 2012

 

You know how, as a child, you never believed your parents when they told you that good things come in small packages? Well, here’s some evidence that could have been handy back when you were nine years old. Use these homemade holiday crackers to decorate each place setting at your next dinner party, and send each guest home with a little memento of the night.

What you’ll need:
– Decorative wrapping paper
– A cardboard paper towel roll
– A surprise to hide inside
– Tape
– Curling ribbon
– Scissors

Directions:
1. Cut wrapping paper into 7″ x 14″ strips.
2. Split cardboard paper towel roll evenly in half (this will make two crackers).
3. Fill the tube with a small trinket like nail polish, a piece of costume jewelry, a lottery ticket, or a few chocolates.
4. Roll the wrapping paper around the tube and secure it with a piece of tape in the middle.
5. Gather the excess wrapping paper on both ends of the tube, pinch, and tie a double knot with curling ribbon.
6. Curl the ribbon ends using a pair of scissors.

To open, pull one end while a friend pulls the other until the tube bursts and reveals the surprise inside!

By Grace Romanowsky of Valenki By ACE, Staff Writer

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November 29, 2012