Sweetgum Holiday Wreath

My mom used to change the Christmas holiday decorations every year.  Every year, there was a new theme with new homemade decorations.  It appears that I have the same condition.

Last year, I made an amazing Paper Cone Christmas Wreath.  However, I saw this wreath from Martha Stewart and had to make something similar. I gathered as many sweetgum balls as I could from those that fell on our balcony [I refused to pick any off the ground due to the neighbors with dogs].  I ended up with 2 gallon-sized freeze bags full of sweetgum balls and this beautiful wreath.

My sweetgum ball holiday wreath

What I used:

  • 10 inch straw wreath
  • 2 gallon-sized freeze bags full of sweetgum balls
  • Floral wire cut in 1.5 to 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cans of metallic gold spray paint
  • 1 container of coarse glitter
  • 2 inch wide ribbon
  • Hot Glue gun
  • Optional: latex gloves for spray painting

What I did:

  1. Cut off the sweetgum ball stems. Hot glue one piece of floral wire into one of the sweetgum ball holes.  Let dry.

    Sweetgum balls with floral wire

  2. In a ventilated and prepared area, spray paint the sweetgum balls.  Sprinkle glitter on a portion of the balls immediately after they are spray painted.

    Spray paint & glitter

  3. Spray paint the wreath.  This ensures that any holes from the placement of the sweetgum balls will not look awkward.
  4. Insert the floral wire into the wreath.  Be careful when you do this or the wire will bend.  Bent floral wire is harder to insert into the straw wreath than straight wire.  I only inserted sweetgum balls into the front of my wreath to ensure that it hung flat against the door.

    Almost complete

  5. Hot glue ribbon to the back of the wreath.  Let dry.

    Ribbon mission complete!

  6. Hang and enjoy!

    Glitter, gold, and red make for a beautiful holiday season!

    Hipstamatic Print of the Sweetgum Ball Wreath

Christmas Crafting: Ornaments

Usually around Christmastime, I don’t decorate a lot, but this year, I was bitten by the holiday bug.

Exhibit A: Our Paper Cone Christmas Wreath.

Exhibit B: Our 6.5 foot Christmas tree.

Undecorated Christmas tree

This tree is pretty old and has some branches that aren’t quiet connected like they should be … but this is the first traditional Christmas tree that I or Zach has had in years.

Exhibit C: Crafting ornaments.

Homemade Musical Ornaments

These ornaments are not based on any other design in particular.  They are just something that I decided to experiment with after I put up the Christmas tree.

What you need:

Ingredients for Ornaments

  • Sheet Music (3-5 pages depending on how many ornaments you want to make)
  • Craft glue
  • Small cookie cutters
  • Cardstock in your colors of choice
  • 1/4″ inch ribbon
  • Scissors

How to do it:

  1. Pick out your cookie cutters and trace them on to your sheet music.

    Ready for tracing

  2. Cut out the design.

    Christmas tree ornaments ready for cutting

  3. Flip your cookie cutters over and trace the design on to your cardstock.  Cut out the design.

    Trace again

    There should be a little extra cardstock on the sides of the sheet music

  4. Cut a length of ribbon to hang your ornaments.
  5. Glue the sheet music to the cardstock with the ribbon in between them.

    Almost finished ...

  6. Let completely dry and decorate your tree!


    The tree topper is simply a free-handed star cut from two pages of sheet music and glued together.

    The other ornaments are gold bells with red ribbon.

    Bells and Ribbons

    The best part about these decorations is that I didn’t have to buy anything!  I already had everything that I used on the tree!


Christmas Crafting: Kitty Presents

For the past few years, I have made kitty presents for the cats in our lives.  I started doing it around the holidays to avoid buying cat toys or treats that they hate.  The dogs in our lives tend to love just about anything but alas, the cats are picky. Last year, I made catnip fortune cookies from felt.  I didn’t use anything down the middle or include a fortune, but I added lots of catnip.

2010 Christmas Presents for Kitty Friends

This year, I decided to be a little more ambition.  I found a bird plushie pattern that requires a bit of sewing and I immediately knew that all of the kitties NEEDED catnip birds for Christmas.  So far, all of the kitties who have been gifted with these birds love them!

Bottom of the Birds


6 Sewn Birds

WG enjoying the Christmas gift

Christmas Card Rules

I’ve been having a hard time this year picking out a Christmas card.  Last year, I handmade cards with a gold glitter embossed greeting, but I wasn’t sending out cards on behalf of myself and Zach. 

Shiya did not like the activity of making Christmas cards last year.

Living together means that I must take into account his preference and his option.  This means that I’m rushing to find the right card.  Right now, it’s a toss-up between a photo card of us (I like) or a photo card of the beach (Z likes).  All opinions/suggestions will be appreciated.

Why am I rushing to be pick out Christmas cards with 2 months until Christmas? 

Contrary to popular belief, there are rules to sending out Christmas cards (see KerriJack’s post) and these rules must be followed.  My set of Christmas card rules are very similar to hers:

1. Cards must not be sent out before 12:00 am on December 1.  Any card sent before that date is a “I’m-Better-Than-You” card and the sender forfeits all rights to a timely holiday card (and bragging rights).

2.  Cards must be finalized before Halloween or at latest  a week before Thanksgiving.  Bonus bragging points are awarded for those who finalize the cards in the summer.

3.   Bragging rights are the all-powerful currency in a Southern holiday gathering.  Like Pokemon, you must catch them all. The quicker people receive your card, the higher the bragging rights.  The more personalized (handwritten or handmade), the higher the bragging rights. The funnier the card, the higher the bragging rights.  Etc.

4.  It does not matter what greeting is on the card.  However, as a personal preference, I like to put Happy Holidays on my cards to not offend anyone.

5.  Names must be on the cards!  It is preferred to have both first and last names if there has been a marriage, divorce, birth, or any change in living arrangements (this includes pets).

6.  Return addresses must accompany the card.  You would think that this would be an unspoken understanding … but no, I’ve received cards without return addresses and had to make long phone calls to my mother in order to determine the correct return address.

7.  No handwritten or handmade component means that the sender forfeits all bragging rights.  No personal holiday card was sent out and therefore, no personal bragging rights have been awarded. Bragging points are subtracted if the address is printed on the envelope AND there is no handwritten component.

8.  Pictures of pets are allowed on and in Christmas cards.  Pets are furry children and just as important as actual children.  However, please see Rule #5.

9.  Anyone who sends cards on or after December 25 has already lost their card bragging rights.  Display the card as if it was the first card received and do not mention the violation to the sender.

10. Finally, (borrowing from Kerri Jack) there is no mocking the maker and enforcer of the rules as they exist in her mind.