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A month ago, I spent New Year’s Eve in downtown Nashville, trying to keep my nose defrosted long enough to watch the giant guitar drop at midnight. This weekend, I’m prepping for a more comfortable New Year’s celebration – the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year is all about taking time away from school and work to focus on family and cleansing your home before another year.

There’s also some really delicious food involved. Dumplings, spring rolls and long noodles are all good luck symbols for wealth and long life. Nian gao, a sticky rice cake, is the traditional dessert served on the Chinese New Year, but I couldn’t pass up sharing these adorable cookies from The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle made with sugar cookie dough, a few Christmas cookie cutters and icing. They might not be traditional, but they’re a perfectly festive way to bring in the Chinese year of 4712.

Are you making anything special for the Chinese New Year?

Of course, there’s the “big game” coming up this Sunday, but if you’re like me, you’re more into board games, card games and puzzles. I have quite the collection at this point, but some of them have been with me since I was a kid and are missing crucial pieces or are just looking shabby. Fortunately, there are a bunch of nifty craft ideas for old game boards, cards and pieces so I can turn my old amusements into something equally diverting.

Make valentines and more crafts with game pieces from HGTV's Design Happens blog!
Give your valentine a piece of your heart and a few pieces of your games with these card ideas from Camille Styles. Old Bingo cards adorned with hearts have a vintage charm and Scrabble tiles are great for spelling out your sweet nothings.

MORE GOOD IDEAS FOR OLD GAMES

I live in the land of subways and taxis here in NYC, so while I rarely get a chance to drive anymore, I still appreciate the look of license plates. I particularly love vanity plates and the designs on plates that support worthwhile causes. While I may not be behind the wheel anytime soon, these eye-catching license plate crafts mean I can surround myself with road-tested style. Check out my finds and get inspired to snatch up vintage plates the next time you’re thrifting or browsing an online auction site!

Learn how to make this license plate divider and more license plate crafts on HGTV's Design Happens blog
This license plate room divider by Brian Patrick Flynn provides a jolt of color and a little privacy to boot. It looks super cool in this outdoor room, adding a bit of art where it’s usually hard to find.

MORE IDEAS FOR OLD LICENSE PLATES

Brrrrr! It’s cold outside, y’all. Stay inside, make a batch of hot cocoa and craft your heart out until spring.

Mood Board Monday: SnowflakesSisters | Tree | Drink Stirrer | Sweater | Bedroom | Mantel | Mask | Cocoa | Hanging Snowflakes | Cookies | Print

Our favorite snowflake crafts:

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

 

Well folks, we made it through Christmas but the entertaining train hasn’t stopped yet. After all, we need to kick 2014 off in style. If you’re throwing a dinner party to welcome in the new year, why not customize some inexpensive flatware to match your table setting? Watch my video and see how a little paint goes a long way.

This isn’t the first time I’ve used Plasti-Dip, and I’m still totally carried away with it. It’s just so fun! What would you like to dunk in this magical stuff?

Paint Dipped Silverware

Missed an episode of Weekday Crafternoon? Catch them all right here.

Name that movie: “Well, I see it still smells like pine needles around here.” Hint: It’s a classic holiday movie released on Christmas Day in 1946.

Mood Board Monday: Pine NeedlesTree | Cocktail | Necklace | Tassels | Print | It’s a Wonderful Life | Tea | Napkin Ring | Embroidery

It’s a Wonderful Life is my all-time favorite holiday movie. Every year, I watch it on the big screen at our local historic theater. That’s definitely one of my favorite traditions of the season. Share yours!

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

BRIANA: Over-the-top holiday light displays aren’t exactly a new fad, but this 2013 trend list suggests that social media and Pinterest are inspiring people to get more creative. Themes like “winter wonderlands, candy canes, Santa’s workshop and character themes” are apparently in-demand and hey, looks like someone found a way to tip a hat to that fox trend, too. Some homeowners have even gone high-tech with smartphone apps so they can orchestrate the whole setup with just a tap or flick of the finger. So, what do you think? Are souped-up holiday light displays merry or scary?

Are over-the-top holiday lights merry or scary? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

MARIANNE: Do I love to take my kids out in their Christmas jammies for a holiday light tour? Definitely. Do I put lights on my house? Nope.

KAYLA: I’m with you, Marianne. They’re great to look at it but I’ll never, ever, ever put lights on my house like that. I’d rather sit on my sofa and sip a hot toddy. I do appreciate those that go the extra mile, though.

MORE HOLLERIN’ ABOUT HOLIDAY LIGHTS

With less than a week left till Christmas, I’m betting that you —  like me – are spending a fair amount of time wrapping gifts. Which, to be honest, I don’t mind. Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about the holidays; I like to come up with new ways to package them each year.

Here are a few of my gift wrap ideas from 2012 with links to instructions below:
Wrapped Holiday Gift Ideas
* Left and bottom right: Easy doily gift wrap plus how to make a yarn pom-pom
and upper right: Menswear-inspired ribbon rose plus how to make a chalkboard gift tag

This year, I decided to shake things up a bit and use fabric trim instead of traditional ribbon for smaller gifts: Fabric Trim Instead of Ribbon as Christmas Gift Wrap

And cover reusible containers, like this mailing tube, in fabric for pretty packages that can be reused by the recipient as year-round decorative storage:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap*The fabric is HGTV Home’s “Ring Around Peacock” in turquoise – available at your local JoAnn store.

Here’s another view, I just added a wired bow to one of the mailing tube’s plastic caps to finish off the wrap:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap

Ready to make your own no-sew fabric gift wrap? It’s easy and your friends and family will thank you for the cute container they can use again and again. Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>

You guessed correctly if you chose option A. Erin Loechner made this stocking out of plywood and included a removable magnetic box in order to easily put a Christmas surprise inside.

Plywood Christmas Stocking

Get the Full Instructions Here>>

We randomly chose one person from the comments, and Marilyn is the winner of an HGTV tote bag, green zip-up jacket (size L), mug and a copy of this month’s issue of HGTV Magazine. Congrats!

Check back with us in a couple of weeks to decorate a new space. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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