Try This for the Holidays

Elegantly simple, infinitely practical, absolutely doable crafts projects for the holiday season.

| November/December 2004

  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, there’s usually room for well wishes and good intentions. Instead of dragging out the watt-hungry Christmas lights this holiday season, light up a doorway with a little positive energy.
  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, there’s usually room for well wishes and good intentions. Instead of dragging out the watt-hungry Christmas lights this holiday season, light up a doorway with a little positive energy.
  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, there’s usually room for well wishes and good intentions. Instead of dragging out the watt-hungry Christmas lights this holiday season, light up a doorway with a little positive energy.
  • The best starting place for the tree is a book that is slightly taller than it is wide. This one is 9 inches by 6 inches. For the angel, a square book is best. This one uses a book that is 7 inches square. You could also use a book that is wider than it is tall, but you’ll need to cut the pages along the outside edge so they are the same width as they are tall. That way they will form perfect triangles when folded in half diagonally.
  • Fold the pages from the top outside corner down until the top edge of the page is tangent to the spine of the book. Crease with your finger. Repeat with all the pages, being sure to fold all of them in the same direction.
  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, there’s usually room for well wishes and good intentions. Instead of dragging out the watt-hungry Christmas lights this holiday season, light up a doorway with a little positive energy.
  • Votive holders and glasses of all shapes and sizes will work as long as the votive holder fits comfortably within the glass. To keep the votive holder from floating in the liquid, adhere it to the bottom of the glass with sticky buttons of adhesive wax (available where you buy candles). You may need several for each votive to create an adequate connection. Alternatively, coins placed in the bottom of the votive holder will weigh it down.
  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, there’s usually room for well wishes and good intentions. Instead of dragging out the watt-hungry Christmas lights this holiday season, light up a doorway with a little positive energy.
  • Pour the liquids one at a time into the space between the votive holder and the outer glass. Any order will do; the layers sort themselves out in a very short time.
  • The pale liquid greens of olive oil, deep reds of wine, pale silvery glimmer of mineral oil, and amber tones of honey turn plain, or unmatched glassware into something beguiling.
  • Use permanent marking pens to write the words. For the “white” flag, for­­go fabric paint and just write on the natural fabric. Play with the size and position of the words for graphic interest.
  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, there’s usually room for well wishes and good intentions. Instead of dragging out the watt-hungry Christmas lights this holiday season, light up a doorway with a little positive energy.
  • Traditionally, Tibetan flags are five colors: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. These represent the various elements: space, water, fire, air, and earth. For these westernized versions, we used unbleached cotton muslin torn into 4-inch by 6-inch pieces. We added color with fabric paint and personal prayers with a permanent marker.
  • Simple block printing using household odds and ends and non-toxic fabric paints adds color to the flags. Try printing a graphic shape with a cut apple or potato, the end of a board or dowel, a rubber washer, or even a jar lid. A quick stroke with a wide paintbrush works, too.
  • This wrap is yesterday’s news decorated with a star-shaped apple stamp dipped in metallic craft paint. The paper takes only seconds to print, and the stamp works well on pieces of construction paper for simply sweet little tags as well.
  • Fold down the top edge of the flag about 1/2 inch and sew by machine or hand to make a pocket to feed the string through. Use cotton twine or clothesline to hang your flags in a prominent—and windy—spot.
  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, there’s usually room for well wishes and good intentions. Instead of dragging out the watt-hungry Christmas lights this holiday season, light up a doorway with a little positive energy.
  • Use pages from old magazines and catalogs to make Christmas tree ornaments of almost Florentine delicacy. The diamonds are made just like the spheres but start with 2- or 3-inch squares. The fold and staple is on the diagonal.
  • Cut 3–inch circles out of pages using a circle cutter like the one shown here( made by Fiskar). Or use a glass or lid as a template and draw a line to cut along with scissors.
  • Unfold the stapled stack, fanning each sheaf of paper as you go until you have a symmetrical sphere. Poke a hole with a needle through all the layers at the top and hang with a thread or wire.
  • Stack about 20 to 30 circles together. Fold the top one in half, then unfold. That fold line will tell you where to position your staple. One staple in the middle should pin all the circles together.
  • These bags are ready for reincarnation. Just replace the tie with a new, prettier one. Make it easy by weaving the new cinch through while the one is still in place. A bit of tape wrapped around the end of the ribbon makes a great “needle” for weaving through. Cut and remove the old tie.
  • Make a bow from a piece of construction paper. Cut narrow strips about 11 inches by 1/2 inch with scissors—we used zig-zag. Bend them into rings and secure with tape. Nest 3 rings together, flatten them at the center, and staple. A bottle cap threaded on a string and tied at the center of the bow hides the staple.
  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, there’s usually room for well wishes and good intentions. Instead of dragging out the watt-hungry Christmas lights this holiday season, light up a doorway with a little positive energy.
  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, there’s usually room for well wishes and good intentions. Instead of dragging out the watt-hungry Christmas lights this holiday season, light up a doorway with a little positive energy.
  • Who knew that a rolled–up piece of heavyweight paper could make such a mark? Dip the edge in paint and press it on paper for an artful spiral. Be sure all the edges make contact with the paper for a complete print. Great for making quick tags.
  • The witty “bow” on this package is made from shiny, colorful soda bottle caps. Two holes are tapped into them with a nail, then they’re threaded onto natural raffia.
  • An old paper bag, block printed in copper colored paint with a large rubber washer, was harvested to wrap this package. A pencil eraser, dipped in purple paint, adds the graphic dot.

Born on the wind

Good vibrations: Tibetans have a tradition of hanging prayer flags (called lungta, which translates as “windhorse”) on their homes, temples, and sacred places. These simple colored-fabric squares are inscribed with prayers that are thought to be carried on the wind to the ends of the earth as the fabric is caressed by the breeze. We couldn’t think of a more meaningful way to decorate your home for the holidays than sending your own positive thoughts and well wishes to the world. Add to your family’s holiday tradition by making blank flags and passing around a pen to let your holiday visitors cast their own hopes, practical or profound, to the wind.

In the fold

Old words stand for something new: It’s sad but true that not every book can stand the test of time. Hundreds of thousands of books are discarded in the United States every year. Here is a supremely simple and fun way to recycle a hardback book into a holiday decoration. As a centerpiece or on a side table or book shelf, these traditional shapes say “Christmas” with a contemporary accent.



Instruction book

a) If your book isn’t blessed with beautiful endpapers (the paper on the inside front and back covers), add something special of your own. Measure and cut the paper, then adhere with a glue stick.



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