Posts tagged christmas
Christmas crafting you could do this weekend (well, if you wanted to!)

Remember when my blog was hacked and I lost everything? Yeah, that was a fun. I have STILL not got close to reinstating everything... So I've just reposted a bunch of Christmassy posts with ideas and projects for advent calendars, wrapping, decor and ornaments, seeing as Monday brings with it the official countdown to Christmas. I'm working on my advent calendar this weekend. I have all the gifts ready to wrap and I think I've finally worked out what I'm doing! I had the idea to papercut a village and use each window and door as the advent window with a little clue on the inside. But when I cut it out it looked so cute I decided to place it in our living room window instead with fairy lights behind it so at night it lit up sweetly - the kids can draw some snow and make some paper snowflakes as well to stick above. Should be cute. Anyway, here is a sneak peek of the village...

Going back through my posts kind of made me sad my blog has practically disappeared from my life. I always have plans for it but then the inspiration runs out, or the couldn't-be-botheredness sets in, or a child starts at me as soon as the laptop makes an appearance... But my little trip down memory lane and a good five years worth of Christmassy crafts also made me kind of proud of some of my projects. Anyway, I thought I'd share a few faves - maybe you're keen to get crafty in the next few weeks?

Treasure-hunt paper-chain advent calendar 

Book page wreath - made from Stephen King's Salem's Lot (I wasn't a fan!) 

Snow globe glass bauble

One clear glass bauble, five different ways

Gold leaf gift tags

 Glittery lantern centrepiece made from... toilet rolls!!! I created this craft for Kidspot

My first homemade advent calendar (from 2009!) - little matchboxes filled with tiny ornaments for the tree and decorated with various red and white and black things!


Design and print your own gift wrap with your computer!  This is another one I created for Kidspot.

See something you fancy trying? Good luck and happy crafting! And happy last-weekend-in-November. Are we really about to enter the last month of the year? The zooming years are freaking me out! x

last-second chrissy card + gift idea

If there is one thing I'd like to be, it's organised. I'm working on it. But until then, I'm a last-second kinda girl and all my grand plans for photo books and photo cards etc always just stay grand plans. When Officeworks gifted me a voucher with a view for showing some of their cool customisable items, it was getting way to late to make it, get it back in time and shoot it for the blog with enough time for YOU to do the same if you wanted to. Instead, I whipped up a last-second idea for the parents, parents-in-law, siblings and grandparents so they have something small, but significant, to open on Christmas Day: a card and photo pressie in one. And when Christmas is over they can discard the card part and keep the pressie - and place it pride of place on the front, centre of the fridge no doubt. It is my family after all :)

I didn't even have time to take a proper picture of the family this year, so instead I waded through my Instagram feed for a bit of a summary of our year. We've got awards, birthdays, holidays, adventures, graduations, new-baby previews and more - a very mini run down of my family's 2013. What I like most about this is that the majority of them are images that will not be seen by the grandparents (and my parents) who wouldn't even know what social media is.

All you need is an image and to run on down to Officeworks for a bit of instant printing. Their instant photo labs allow you to print directly from your phone, Instagram or Facebook account or USB. If you don't have Instagram you can simply create a similar style in Picasa using the grid feature (which is what I did as I added a few non-Instagram pics), save to your phone's camera roll by emailing it to yourself and simply upload that image collage and print it out in a square format. Or print out your favourite Instagram images straight onto the square format if you'd prefer. There are also various sizes, finishes and borders you could play with. It's soooo simple, sooo quick (took me about 5 minutes to do) and sooo cheap (about 70c a square photo). It's also nice to know that physical Instagram pictures can be yours in minutes!

To make it more than just a photo of photographs, I slipped them into magnetic frames and printed out a hand-drawn Christmas motif onto cardstock which I cut smaller than the picture so you could see a border of images around it and slipped that in too with our Christmas message on the back. Tied up with string and slipped into a kraft-paper envelope, it was possibly the easiest handmade Christmas card/gift combo I've ever done. And you still have time to DIY - Officeworks is open tonight until midnight and tomorrow until 6pm in some areas (check your local on the website).

And you just know that there is nothing better than a picture or two or 25 of grandchildren for the oldies to be smitten with you. And while you're in Officeworks, you should most definitely grab something Lego stationery for the kids stockings - they have cool torches and pens and pencil cases all kids who love Lego (so ALL children!) will love. Or check out the simple, stylish X range of stationery.

Wherever you are, however you celebrate and whatever you do these next few days, enjoy yourself! Have a wonderful, safe, happy, merry, everything-good Christmas.

Officeworks gifted me with a voucher to help spread Chrissy cheer and gift ideas. The project idea, images and words are my own. Prints, envelopes, magnetic frames and pen are all from Officeworks.

1 bunch of flowers, 5 ways to decorate for Christmas entertaining with them
Flowers at Christmas? Of course! Why not - is there ever a bad time to fill your home with sweet-smelling, beautiful blooms? And during the biggest entertaining season of the year, it makes sense to splurge a little on some pretties and dress up your space. That doesn't mean you have to stick to those traditional Christmassy flowers like a red poinsettia as a centrepiece. Choose your faves and use them in unique ways on your table, walls and as Christmas decor. I was gifted a big bunch of gorgeous flowers from - the Eden bouquet, featuring oriental lilies, Singapore orchids, Ecuadorian roses and awesome King Protea. And after admiring them for a day or two, I pulled the arrangement apart and created various decorative ideas with them. Almost a week later I'm still waiting for the lillies to open, but the others, despite being glued, hung upside poked and prodded for days, are still going strong and are a bit of prettiness amongst the dust, dirt, grime, glue, cement and other mess of our bathroom renovation.

Some tools you'll need: scissors, string (I used gold-flecked baker's string and twine), doilies, craft wire, clear glass baubles (from Spotlight or Lincraft). Also handy and not pictured: hot glue gun, galvanised wire, paper, balloons, thumbtacks.

For these ideas, I took the flowers back to the garden. Luckily, in Australia, an outdoors Christmas is possible and so why not head outdoors this year (providing the rain stays away!). I think these ideas would work well inside or outside - also great for a high tea, baby or bridal shower. 

Idea 1: hanging blooms
So pretty dangling over the table - you can create a hanging centrepiece and keep the table virtually free (although I still popped a simple, single giant bloom on the table). I've hung the flowers from string before, but those glass baubles I stock up on each year were calling out for something too. Singapore orchids to the rescue! Pour a little water in the bauble (not too much - you don't want it too heavy) and gently squeeze an orchid through the mouth. Then tie on some string and hang - mine were from the garden umbrella, but a patio rafter would work just as well. Mix them with some single blooms of another variety and hang at different lengths for the best effect.

A Singapore orchid, just hanging around.... To remove from bauble, let the water out and use some tweezers to pull by the stem back through the mouth.

Idea 2: flowery wreath
A tiny bit inspired by the Roman wreath crowns, I thought the bendiness of the orchids would work well in a circular pattern. I made a wreath with part of a coil of galvanised wire three and twisted some craft wire in four equal points around the circle to secure. Two large and two small leaves from the lilies were glued onto the bottom with the hot glue gun and the orchids glued on top. The flowers were then carefully rearranged kind of jamming the little stems in between the wire. This is obviously not made to last much longer than a day or two! 
It looks so pretty hanging against the rustic old fence - perfect for a backyard soiree; equally as pretty on the door or wall.

Idea 3: simple, striking centrepiece
I have admired proteas in fabric form before (I had a cushion that featured a print of it), but have never seen one in the flesh. This guy is a King Protea and is very impressive. I may have stroked the  velvety petals (?) leaves (?) every time I walked past. So pretty. So he was perfect to place in a jar as a centrepiece all by himself. I just dressed up the jar with some half doilies taped around the base and tied up with twine.

Can't resist an aerial shot or two when something looks this good from above.

Idea 4: Bon bon decoration
Every year since I last hosted, I get roped in to make the bon bons. That's because instead of crummy jokes, plastic pieces of rubbish and flimsy paper hats, I fill them with Lindt chocolate balls, proper cardboard crowns (with sticky strips for the kids to decorate with at the kids table), useful gifts (like mini torch keyrings) and .... dirty Christmas jokes. Like seriously rude ones. I am kicking myself for not having a secret camera set up for the first time I did this. Only Steve knew about the jokes so seeing everyone's shocked, amused faces and fits of laughter as they read them to themselves before sharing with the group was priceless. It's a lot of fun, but I'm kind of running out of good dirty jokes. A lot of them border of lame so I might have to delve into further joke territory and move slightly outside solely Christmas. We'll see. Anyway, it's always fun to see pretty handmade crackers turn so incredibly filthy - very naughty and nice. This year, I'm thinking I'll dress them up with my fave combo of white and kraft paper, twine and a fresh flower. Bon bon snappers can be found at Spotlight and Lincraft - just insert them into toilet rolls or even DIYed cardboard tubes, fill with goodies and pretty up from the outside. The good thing about attractive bon bons is that they take the place of plate decor such as napkin rings and just-so cutlery, which I am usually pretty rubbish at.

 Idea 5: pinned doily vases
Occasionally, I love a good doily. They're able to make simple things just a fraction more special - like these doily stars I made a few years back. This time I thought why not crete a mini vase for a single bloom and pin them on a pinboard? I made a cone out of sturdy white paper, wrapped it inside a cone made from a doily and pinned it on the board. To keep the flower fresh, place it inside a balloon with a little bit of water and secure with an elastic band. Pop the balloon inside the doily and ta-da! Hanging temporary paper vases! You can find out how to make the painted pinboard here.

And there are just a few things to do with a bunch of beautiful flowers! You could also use them to make crowns or pin in hair instead of Christmas hats - that would certainly make your gathering a little more stylish! Of course, sticking them in a vase as is would also look pretty, but I quite like the idea of getting more mileage out of them! And of course there is no need to wake up at the crack of dawn and hit the flower markets or buy multiple bunches of various flowers to make up one mixed bunch - have them delivered to you. does just that - check the delivery availability postcode tool before you order though just in case!

The flowers in this post were gifted to me by - all ideas, images and copy is my own.
Christmas crafting: glass bauble snowglobe and other decorating ideas
 Last year I stocked up on clear glass baubles from Spotlight and decorated the insides with bits of tinsel, glass paint, glitter glue, sequins and pipe cleaners. Last week when Layla's preschool asked for donations for a Christmas hamper I decided to break up ALL the food that had been donated and pop in some handmade decorations (they had asked for decorations as well). So I placed some of last year's baubles in the six-pack tray they came in and whipped up a couple more. One had some simple white feathers popped inside and the other was a tiny bit more elaborate, but so pretty: a bauble snowglobe.

  I have always loved the little handmade snow globes people make from jars. Combine that with a hanging version for the tree and how adorable would that be? So I found some little trees from the hobby section of Casey's Toy World (you could try any hobby store that sells miniature train accesories as that's what this was. The actual process was easy enough - the trick is making sure the tree is small enough to fit through the mouth of the bauble - if the base fits, the actual tree will bend enough to squish through, but it will leave a little green residue (like glitter) inside the globe. Once the glue is dry, try blowing gently inside the bauble and shaking it upside down to let as much out as possible. Here's a quick and easy how-to.

See? Nothing too it. Will so pretty hanging on our tree this year (we've yet to put it up). Layla wants to make proper snowglobes for her teachers as Christmas presents, so we'll put the bigger trees to good use with some jars.

These baubles, above, are filled with sequins (spray adhesive sprayed in before sequins were popped inside); glass paint swirled around the base, and white feathers.

To wrap the gift we didn't bother with wrapping paper seeing as the colours were so pretty and it was a hamper anyway - we just tied a piece of baker's twine around it and topped it off with a handmade clay star gift tag. I think a box of handmade baubles would make a sweet present in themselves for someone like a teacher or anyone who loves Christmas!

These clay tags are my new favourite thing - the girls and I have been busy making Christmas decorations and gift tags, and more homey-based items. I'll share the results with you soon. For how-tos on the other baubles featured in the box, click here.

{All images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}
Natural touch christmas decor

How is it less than 4 weeks until Christmas? Am pretty sure I only just pulled down last year’s stick tree… I’ve been playing with Christmassy things but haven’t really decorated my house yet – we’ll do that Saturday. I’m also rushing madly to get the advent calendar done in time – I only just decided last night what I was doing so I don’t have much time! Stay tuned for that one!

The last few weeks I’ve been playing with the natural beads I bought from ebay a while back. I’ve made mini wreaths by threading them on pipe cleaners, strung them together as garlands and for this just-because shoot, I made some hanging beaded ornaments and a larger wreath. I’ve also had fun gold leafing nature – I don’t know why that combo speaks to me so much, but I love it. Yes, I am still obsessed with gold leaf… Anyway, I quite liked the colour combos I was working with so put it altogether in this little gold and nature decor theme. Here is how it all turned out!

Make it: beaded wreath
Thread a bunch of natural beads onto galvanised wire until it is about a metre and a half long. Keep spiralling it on itself until you have the wreath size you’re happy with. Twist the shorter end of the wire around the longer end until secure and snip. Cover any sharp bits with a big ribbon and hang. TIP: When twisting the ends together to secure, create a loop before you cut the longer piece and secure again with more twists before snipping off the end.

Make it: stick pyramid
Collect a whole bunch of similar-width lightweight sticks. Snap four of them to around the same length and glue four together in a square shape with a hot-glue gun. Once set, cut four more a bit longer but again to the same length and glue to the base then together at the top to form a pyramid. You could make small ones and hang as ornaments or larger ones and hang over a table. I finished off by gold leafing the very top.

Make it: beaded ornaments
Find an assortment of different sized wooden beads (the big and small ones were from Spotlight; the natural beads – same as on the wreath – were from ebay). Work out the pattern you want them in and their colours and get painting. The best way to paint beads is to insert wooden skewers – as many as will fit so the bead is jammed on. This allows you to easily paint and then you can simply stick them into the grass so they’re standing upright to dry in the sun (or stand in a tall glass but make sure they don’t touch each other when wet). Once dry, tie the bottom bead onto a piece of embroidery thread or twine and simply thread the others on. Then hang.

Make it: filtered paper cones
These look pretty with a battery-operated tea light flicking inside! On a piece of white cardboard, got to town with a single hole punch or punch and hammer (I used the Martha Stewart Screw Punch – my fave!) in various sizes. Then roll into a cone and secure with double-sided tape. Cut off the ends so they’re neat and pop them down pointy-side up.

Make it: gold-leaf pinecones
Using a small paintbrush gently brush a little of the gold-leaf size onto the ends of random pinecone leaves (I have no idea what they’re called!!!). Stick on a little bit of gold leaf and brush the excess away.

Wrap it: I never really divert away from plain white and kraft wrapping paper – it’s the ribbons and twine and bows that change year-to-year. This year I found this copper foil flower (from House 2 Home), some glittery curling ribbon (also House 2 Home) and some brown and white stripes and blush-coloured ribbons (another bargain shop I don’t know the name of) and kraft paper string. White and kraft is lovely, but the perfect way to break it up was to wrap a couple of small things in leftover wallpaper I had – Ferm Living Mountain Friends. It’s nice to add a little bit of pattern. And now I’m off to work on my advent calendar…
What colourway are you going with this year?

{Images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}

6 Responses to “natural touch christmas decor”

  1. Love all of these, I love natural colours – I am not a fan of blue, purple etc chrissy decorations. I often see people’s who have gone for these colour schemes and think they look really nice but I could never do it myself – I’m a stickler for traditional. THIS I love though!!!!
  2. Carla says:
    I love this too! I like anything as close to natural as possible!…. but still a little bit of colour fun for the kids. I can now say my chrissy tree is ‘vintage’ (I still have decs on it my mum gave me). I have 3 trees, one white twiggy tree with silver and white only, one traditional with loads of ornaments the kids do (my vintage tree) and a plain green fir tree with gold and fairy lights all in different areas of the house. The rest of my decs are red, white, silver and natural! I also do Kraft paper wrapping and this year I am doing it with red and white. Hopefully I will get some pics up on my blog of my chrissy decs soon.
  3. [...] To plan an exquisite Christmas decorations on a budget, nature is your best ally. Adding some natural pine cones, mistletoe leaves or winter flowers to the Christmas table -whether arranged in a centerpiece or gracefully dropped all over- it’s already a  trend and free if you trip to the countryside instead of purchasing. Please, be careful not to pick protected species in your area and remember to stick only to what has naturally dropped from trees and plants. We can have a cool eco-friendly decoration for free and keep our impact on nature low at the same ti…. [...]
  4. Kate says:
    This year I’m recycling christmas baubles in red white and silver. The decorations on my sideboard are white.
    I love white against a rustic backdrop and the exposed brick in my dining room is just perfect.
    As always I love all your pics :)
  5. Pauline says:
    I completely agree with “Family Life Central” – the natural colours are beautiful. I am not one for the “usual” colours of Christmas!
  6. The gold leaf pine cones and beaded ornaments are definitely something I shall be trying myself! I love DIY decorations as there is nothing better for the home