Monday, December 6, 2010

Taking on Martha Stewart

Move over, Martha; the Piepgrass women want to go head-to-head with your "Living" team in decorating for Christmas.
The day after Thanksgiving, my two daughters got into a craft-mode, so we went to the one strip mall in Lancaster that is home to both Michaels and AC Moore.  (Only in a community where the population values thriftiness, simplicity, and self-reliance could two craft stores thrive in the same mall!)  Fitting right in with the locals, we joined the matrons-of-home-making.

Anna decided to replicate the wreathes her sister had made.

She purchased three straw, eight inch wreathes,
some cotton batting,  sheets of moss,

and some 3-inch wide wired satan ribbon.
On an old blanket, Anna laid out the supplies, plus scissors and hot glue gun.  First, she wrapped the straw wreaths in strips of cotton batting, gluing as she wrapped.  This gave the rather thin wreathes some heft.  Next, she cut two or three inch wide strips of the moss and wrapped and glued it to cover the cotton.  Finally, she attached the wreaths with ribbon, leaving a long tail on the bottom wreath.

This wreath joined Anna's other unique decorations, such as gold ornaments in glass cube and white porcelain snowflake-pierced candle pillars.

In the same room, delicate white porcelain blossoms sit on a twig-based side table complete with hanging gold filigree ornaments.

Oversized silver Christmas bells jingle from the door, and jumbo ornaments fill an industrial wooden crate.
Finally, hydrangeas uniquely are juxtaposed to berries.  And in the windows, freeze-dried boxwood mini-topiaries add unexpected Christmas green.

In her home, Rachel created a number of low-budget, easy-to-make, yet visually-powerful crafts.  Take a look at the pyramid of stacked thick candy canes and the peppermint covered Styrofoam ball she made for her dining room.

A huge tree full of ornaments can be very expensive.  So, Rachel purchased a couple of bags of silver and gold potpourri, glued some together, and hung them with half-inch wide ribbon.  It's the ribbon that gives this tree punch!

In fact, Rachel used ribbon throughout her home to make it festive.  Here is her entrance-way bookcase decked with different widths of ribbon.

She even tied ribbons around the necks of her silver pheasants on her table.

And a last winning idea was tying her packages with Christmas balls.

My girls inspired me!  After they left, I made my own pilgrimage to the craft stores for supplies.  I decided to make one large, square wreathe, because a door knocker sits in the center of my door. So,
I purchased a 12 x 12 inch shadow box and had my husband remove the back panel, leaving me a bottomless box.

Then I purchased about forty packages of small red balls--some shiny, some mat--the kind which are twisted together like grapes. (They were on a very good sale, reduced well below the lowest price marked!)

To affix the clusters to the shadow box, I drilled holes in the top and the sides of the frame about two inches apart.  Then, I sprayed the frame red.

Next, I poked the cluster of stems into the holes on the top of the shadow box frame--filling every hole except two on the corners for my bow.  

Then I moved to the outside of the frame.  Here I left every other hole empty.  Then I moved to the inside of the frame and filled the remaining holes with clusters. Finally, I attached my bow using the two empty corner holes.

I also made a companion decoration for our inset doorway. Using the wire basket which had graced my patio table in the summer and was filled with gourds and pumpkins in the fall, I purchased about thirty heavy, white porcelain, tree ornaments which were on sale at Michaels for a dollar each.  I sprayed them with foam snow, topping the basket with bow.  Now it looks like we have enough snow balls for a real battle.

One last money saving tip...I took the plant I had used for Thanksgiving. 

 It still looked fresh, so rather than toss it, I bought some spray paint from a florist and transformed the orange blossoms to red!

All three of us had a jolly time coming up with some new Christmas decorations.  Christ's birthday is certainly worth celebrating!


  1. ooooo Those Candy Cane pieces are amazing! So fun and festive.
    actually, its ALL so festive!

  2. What a great post! I love all of these ideas. Your daughter's home is beautiful. She must have learned from your example....
    Your square wreath is so cool! That, my friend, is a lot of red ornaments! Amazing.

  3. Lovely! I have a square boxwood wreath with berries, but I HAVE to make your square ornament wreath! I love it! Thanks for sharing such great ideas, as always!
    Lorraine xo