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I have a confession to make: mid-January is not my finest time. The days are grey, cold, and dreary, and without the distraction of the holidays, my mood goes down the tube. My prescription? Lots of cozy evenings by the fire. I’m no girl scout and end up using way too much paper when building a fire, so when I saw this great winter party favor idea I thought, why stop at a favor? Why not make a jar of full-sized fire starters to fuel my own flames?

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One or two of these pinecones will leave you with a roaring fire of your own in no time. Don’t have a fireplace to call your own? They are also handy on camping trips!

Pinecone Fire Starters

How are you staying warm this winter?

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The holiday season is over and I don’t know about you, but I’m already starting to feel cabin fever setting in. As the mother of a small child, these winter months stretch before us as a period where we are cooped up inside without the respite of the park or zoo to channel toddler energies. With this in mind, this week’s episode of Weekday Crafternoon features a kid-friendly craft that also benefits our feathered friends. To prove it’s kid-approved, I enlisted my own daughter, 3.5-year-old Lulu, to help. Check it out:

Making these DIY homemade bird feeders is a great way to spend an afternoon indoors, and with February being National Bird-Feeding Month, we’re ahead of the game. We hung these feeders on the branches of a rhododendron bush outside our house and the birds went crazy for them. As fun to watch as they are to make!

DIY Bird Feeder Kid Craft

Also worth noting? This is a peanut-free bird feeder craft, so it’s safe for kids (and adults!) with nut allergies.

Want more ideas that are for the birds? Check out this DIY bird bath project from our archives. And as always, you can find all of our episodes of Weekday Crafternoon right here. See you next week!

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I don’t know how to break this to you, but…Christmas is officially less than one week away. I KNOW. Are you ready yet? Because I am not. Suddenly my free time is booked solid and the remaining handmade gifts I was hoping to tackle? Not happening, people. But it’s not too late to give something handmade from the heart, thanks to A Hip Handmade Holiday. Check out these excellent last minute gifts using the most adorable printables:

Cute, am I right? A Hip Handmade Holiday is a sweet ebook from the ladies at The Craft Pack, and it’s chock full of adorable handmade gifts for anyone on your list, all ringing in at under $10. Pretty great stuff.

Last Minute DIY Gift Ideas

Don’t forget, you can always find even more handmade gift ideas right here on Are you guys giving handmade gifts this year? Are you all finished or elbow deep in glitter, glue and spray paint?

Missed a past episode of Weekday Crafternoon? Check them all out HERE.

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The holidays are sneaking up on us fast! Hanukkah began this weekend and Christmas will be here in less than 2 weeks. If you’re like me, you’re in gift wrapping crunch mode.

Honestly, wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about the holidays but wrapping guys’ gifts can be tough — the trick is to keep them seasonal and masculine. For my mens’ gifts this year, that means this awesome blue plaid ribbon (love!) and handy-dandy, works-with-anything Kraft paper.

Another Kraft paper bonus: Thanks to its thickness, you can paint it without rippling the paper. So for Grant’s gift, I painted on a chalkboard gift tag then topped it with a blue plaid ribbon rose (in honor of his bowtie obsession) and a sparkly snowflake ornament.Chalkboard Gift Wrap With Handmade Ribbon Rose

Step 1: I planned to add the ribbon rose on one side and have the chalkboard tag take up most of the remaining space so I first taped on a band of ribbon to determine the tag’s placement. Next I used a ruler to mark out a rectangle, leaving the corners unmarked. To round the tag’s corners, I sketched around a small tin then erased any pencil marks that wouldn’t be covered by the chalkboard paint. chalkboard gift wrap


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Today’s craft comes straight from the ever-inspiring Handmade section right here on I couldn’t resist these Ombre Tabletop Christmas Trees and decided to recreate them in neutral colors. I love how they look a little bit like snow-capped mountains!

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These make a great centerpiece, but I paired them with some oversized ornaments and created a charming tableau for my mantel. I can’t wait to use these year after year!

Handmade Ombre Felt Trees

Missed any episodes of Weekday Crafternoon? You can find them all here!

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Congratulations, Saly!

Good afternoon, Design Happens readers! Or should that be good crafternoon? Hmmm. Anyway, I digress. You guys made some excellent suggestions in last week’s episode, and several of you wanted holiday wreath ideas. Well, today is your lucky day! Also, since the ornament giveaway was such a hit (Were you the winner? Check your email!), I’m giving away this wreath as well! Scroll down for details.

I love how inexpensive and easy to customize this project is. In fact, I went home and made a big version for my own front door!

DIY Pompom Wreath

Want to win the wreath featured in today’s episode? You are in luck! To win? All you need to do is leave a comment below answering this question: are you finished decorating for the holidays? Or are you just getting started?

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 12:00 p.m. ET on December 4, 2012 and 12:00 p.m. ET on December 10, 2012. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $30. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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Congrats, Donna C.!

Oh yeah, it’s Christmas tree time; at least it is at my house. We have a yearly tradition of buying our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, and it instantly puts me in a holiday mood. And so, inspired by the tree trimming going on in my abode, I decided to make some new ornaments for this week’s installment of Weekday Crafternoon.

Those glittery polka dot ornaments are seriously easy to make, and don’t you want to PlastiDip everything now? I know I do.

Handmade Ornaments

Not up for the challenge of making these festive ornaments? How about winning a set of them for free? That’s right, I’m giving away four handmade ornaments from this week’s episode of Weekday Crafternoon, just because it’s the holidays and I’m in a giving mood. To win? All you need to do is leave a comment below answering this question: what kind of craft would you like to see me tackle next?

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 12:00 p.m. ET on November 27, 2012 and 12:00 p.m. ET on December 3, 2012. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $20. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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Hello Design Happens readers! It’s Tuesday, so you know what that means: it’s time for another Weekday Crafternoon. This week I have the last handmade gift project from my Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presentation. So far in this series I’ve walked you through a thrifty gift for a group, a simple gift for a guy, and now I bring you an easy DIY gift for the ladies in your life. Check it out below.

My aunts love to cook, so I plan to make one of these crock and custom wooden spoon sets for each of them! Don’t give away my secret. How about you? Who would you make this handmade goodie for?

Gift for a Gal

See you next week!

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Good afternoon, intrepid crafters! I’m back with another round of Weekday Crafternoon, and this week we’re tackling more handmade holiday gifts. Last week I showed you an inexpensive gift for a group, and this week we’re addressing gifts for the men in your life. This project was part of my presentation last week at the Epcot International Food null Festival, and people went nuts over the simple fabric wrap and custom leather gift tag. So check it out below!

Of course, just because I call it a gift for a guy doesn’t mean any beer or spirits drinker on your list wouldn’t enjoy this little bundle. And be sure to check back with us next week, when I’ll have another Handmade Goodie They Won’t Regift video for you to watch.

Gift for a Guy

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We’re back with another installment of Weekday Crafternoon! Today I have a great gift idea for a group. You know the drill — the holidays are looming and you have a group of coworkers, your kids’ teachers, or some other group of people you need to come up with gifts for. You want to do something personal, but you don’t want to spend a lot.

Well, that is my spin on those ubiquitous tins of stale popcorn we all seem to get around the holidays, but instead of trite and expected, you’ll be giving a homemade snack packaged in a personalized tin. Also, here is a secret: this is one of the projects I’ll be doing this weekend at the Epcot International Food null Festival. Is that exciting, or what?

Gift for a Group

Are you dying for the Salted Caramel Corn recipe I mention in the video? Well, it’s your lucky day:

Salted Caramel Corn

That’s it for this week’s Weekday Crafternoon! Be sure to check back in next week, when I’ll have another handmade gift how-to. In the meantime, pop some popcorn and tell me: what groups do you have to buy gifts for this year? I have to tackle my daughter’s preschool teachers and a pack of great coworkers.

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Back when I used to work in a big bookstore, I’d often see wood pallets littering the receiving room. Pallets are indeed useful for shipping goods, but their use doesn’t have to stop there. According to Yahoo!, they’re the latest DIY craze with searches for “pallet furniture”, “wooded pallet projects,” and “pallet ideas” spiking. Want to get in on the trend? Take a look at these five fab uses for pallets and see which one inspires you to recycle with style.

SAFETY NOTE: Before crafting with pallets, be aware of the potential hazards like loose boards, bacteria and wood that may have been treated/come into contact with toxic chemicals like preservatives, fungicides and/or pesticides. Read here for more info, get smarter pallet crafting tips from Funky Junk Interiors and please craft responsibly!

wood pallet bar


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What’s a late summer party without balloons? Whether inflated and strewn about or filled with water for epic fights, they’re a good time. But even if you’re not planning on having a Labor Day party, balloons can still be tons of fun, especially if you like crafting. Take a look at these balloon crafts blowing up on Pinterest and see which one really pops for you.

balloon diy balls


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Despite my black thumb, I think having a garden would be fun purely for all the bird watching potential. My grandmother’s bird bath must have been a hip destination for local birds, because there always seemed to be a “pool party” going on in there. If you’re the industrious sort, we have a fab DIY bird bath tutorial on our site (made from a salvaged sink!), but the only problem for me is that it requires a tree. Not so with these cute teacup bird feeders/bird baths I found on Something Wonderful.

diy bird bath

They’re dainty and a perfect reuse of chipped or mismatched tea sets. Plus, you can stake them right into the ground, no trees necessary! (A boon for us city or small-space dwellers — even with a “backyard,” trees can be hard to come by.)

[Via: Pinterest]

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Every now and then, Ken and I like to take a break from the heavy-lifting, sweaty renovating mode and switch gears to something a bit… lighter. Today, I’m making three nature-inspired crafts I found online that will have you shopping in your backyard in a heartbeat! Behold, branch hangers, geode bookends and light bulb planters – oh my!:

DIY truly can be a walk in the park, yes? Enjoy!

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I’m terrible about sending Christmas cards, and it turns out I’m not much better at receiving them. I get these beautiful cards — mini works of art, really — and have no place to display them. Oh, there’s the fridge, of course, but anything less than my DREAM FRIDGE just seems too everyday for the good tidings. Fortunately, I stumbled upon this clever solution from Jen of Tatertots & Jello.

advent calendar card display ladder

Jen made her own ladder and painted it blue to match her decor. She then dressed it with twine and clothespins, and ta-da! Now she can show off those Christmas cards in style. What’s more, Jen points out that the ladder can also be used to string up an advent calendar, or you could even use it to put up some stockings (especially handy for those of us without fireplaces). Check out her tutorial for all the steps. You may have to take down your Christmas tree after the holidays, but this is one attractive craft you can leave up year-round.

Get more festive holiday craft and homemade gift ideas here!

[Via: Houzz]

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Happy National Piano Month! I never learned how to tickle the ivories (I know, what were my parents thinking, right? I was busy taking tennis lessons, I guess?), but if I had, you’d better believe I’d be contacting Dutch musician and artist Harm Goslink Cooper to commission a handmade piano, like the one he made below.

handmade piano

File this charmer under “Things I Didn’t Know You Could DIY!” I’m not sure how Cooper constructed it, but one thing I am sure of is that it’d be a treat to sit down to those colorful keys. Check out his blog to see even more amazing instruments. (I spy a cello and an upright bass on the first page alone…)

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Plain white roller shades can be so dull, but this DIY project can really add personality and pop to your window treatments. I love that you can customize stencils to create a unique design.

roller shade stencils

All you need is some paint and a stencil design to spice up your existing vinyl roller shade. This project is definitely an inexpensive way to change up your window treatments. You could pair it with some curtains or a valance or you could totally leave the shade hanging alone.

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