Easy Graham Cracker “Gingerbread” Houses

Gingerbread houses a cute and fun to decorate.  However, here is a quick and easy way to make a “gingerbread” house.  My daughter, her husband and I made these easy graham cracker houses about two years ago.  I loved them so much I actually sprayed each of them with a clear coat of shellac-type spray paint to try to seal them so I could keep them for many years!  We were not planning on eating them so we cheated a little and hot-glued the graham crackers together first and then had fun decorating them with royal icing and many different kinds of candies and marshmallows.  I think they turned out super cute and it only took about two hours total to make them.   It was fun to see how we each put our individual touches on our houses.

Last year I displayed them on my coffee table and this year they are on my kitchen countertop.

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Swedish Christmas Home Tour

Every Christmas season our home becomes full of holiday spirit with tons of decorations even though we live in South Florida.   I am sure a lot of people that live where it snows would not even get in the Christmas spirit in our area.  Well, believe it or not, we actually do!  This year I chose to decorate with a Swedish theme since that is what my Minnesotan “roots” are.   You will see lots of white and red, tomte, Christmas goats (julebok) and other Swedish touches.  Every day I seem to add something new to the decor.  My favorite pieces are the wooden hearts and Dala horse tree ornaments that my dad made out of wood for me many years ago.  Browse and tour our home this holiday season.

I chose to add lots of red to the white room.

 

 


 

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Create a Simple Christmas Coffee Bar

Do you entertain guests during the holidays?  What better way to have guests be able to help themselves to a cup of coffee or hot chocolate than with a coffee bar?  This season I decided to create my own Christmas coffee bar for guests (and let’s be real, for ME to enjoy too!).  It has been so fun coming up with ideas and making sure it was cute and functional.  If you are French Press or only brewed coffee person, you may want to close your eyes!  This is for those that like a quick “Cup O’ Joe.”

Every coffee bar has to have some cups and since it is the holidays, why not get cute “Christmasy” ones?  I found these cute mugs at Pier 1 Imports.

However, you can also find cute, cheaper mugs if you keep your eyes out at the Dollar Store – – like these!

I found this three-tiered stand at Homegoods ($29) to put all the cups and supplies on.  I added some green pine sprigs for a holiday touch on each tier.  I found the plaid runner at Ross for about $8.  Check out my last blog on how to make the coffee bar sign.

Of course, the quickest and easiest way to get a hot cup of coffee is with a Keurig machine or some similar machine.  My friend bought me this Cuisinart coffee maker as a gift to replace my older Keurig that was black.  It holds 72 ounces of water so you are not always refilling the reservoir.

It is handy to have all the K-Cups available but out of sight so I picked up this storage drawer at Big Lots for $15.  The coffeemaker sits on top of it and stores all the supplies which are easily accessible by pulling out the drawer which holds 36 cups!  I have some ideas for making it lighter (instead of black) down the road but that will have to wait until after the holidays.

For those who don’t drink coffee or tea, I also included a hot cocoa stand with a couple flavors of cocoa packs in a little wooden box.  The sign is from Hobby Lobby.

On the top tier of the stand, I put sugars, spices and other fun toppings.

Next to the coffee machine, I needed to have a place to put the used K-Cups so I got this small, tin bucket at Hobby Lobby.

Here is my final coffee bar for the season. I am thinking of keeping it up even after the holidays and just using my regular cups and a non-holiday runner.

Are you ready to create your own coffee bar?

 

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How I Snow-Flocked My Artificial Christmas Tree

After seeing how pretty snow-flocked trees were last Christmas, I decided early in the year that I wanted a white flocked tree this year.

I looked on-line for flocked trees and they ranged from about $200-800.  Christmas trees can get real expensive!   I have limited space in my living room where I put the Christmas tree in my front window so I needed a skinny, but tall tree.  I was having a little bit of trouble finding a pretty flocked tree so I came up with another idea.   I’ll flock mine!  It’s the perfect size already and I’ll save a lot of money.  As you know, I am very practical and always looking to save money.

I went on Amazon and found this and ordered it!

I went on Youtube and found a few videos that showed how to flock a Christmas tree at home.  It sounded pretty easy.  All you need is a spray bottle with water and a metal strainer.  I got my strainer at the dollar store.  I read that it can be a bit messy so I set up on a tarp inside the garage.  You do not want to do it where it is windy.  The stuff would blow all over!  I set up the bottom third of the tree and began spraying the limbs saturating each one randomly, not being exact at ALL.  Just spritz!

This is all you need.

Fill the strainer with the “snow” and shake it over the limbs.  It will stick to the wet limbs.  Then lightly spray the snow again to “set it.”

I found that it was going on nicely but I actually wanted it to be even more covered.  To get it to glob on heavier, I just took handfuls of the snow flocking and threw it at the limbs.  It was quite fun!  Don’t forget to spritz it after applying it.

I added each tree layer (I have three) of the tree working my way up to the top section.  Please ignore all the random stuff in my garage!  It’s quite the storage place.

It’s getting there!

I set it up in the living room trying to be as careful as possible not to brush up against too many things.  You can see how “skinny” my tree is and how it actually brushes the ceiling.  I love the size of the tree.

After putting all the lights on, the floor looked like this.  It really wasn’t too bad.  I got the vacuum out and swept it all up.  I needed a new tree skirt so this prompted me to get a plain white one knowing the snow would show on any other color and probably look messy all the time.

Here’s a sneak peak of my Swedish Christmas tree theme this year!  Many years ago my dad made the wooden hearts and Dala horses using a jigsaw.  They are very special to me since he made them for me.

Are you ready to try this simple project?

 

 

 

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How to Make a Wooden Coffee Bar Sign

Like many others, I love coffee!  I grew up dunking cookies in coffee and I guess I acquired a taste for it early.

I recently decided to create a coffee bar for the holiday season.  As I was putting it together, I wanted to have a coffee sign but didn’t want to spend a lot of money or time getting one.  Plus, I didn’t want a store-bought sign with no personal touch.

One night when I was having trouble sleeping, I started brainstorming on whether or not I had something in my garage that I could use to create the sign.  I remembered that I had picked up a couple of wooden wine boxes at a yard sale a while back and immediately sprung out to the garage to take a look.  (I pick up unique items at yard sales just for times like these!)

  

Yes!  I can work with this!  I grabbed a plyers and pulled the hinges and latch off and decided that the top of the box would be perfect for my sign.

I dug out some antiquing wax that I had in the garage and started painting it on and rubbing it off like a stain to darken the wood.

   

  

I left the project to dry and decided I needed to come up with a plan of what I wanted it to say.  These were some of my ideas below.  For those who don’t know what “Fika” is, it’s a Swedish term for a break in the day for coffee, something sweet and friends!  I LOVE Fika Time!  I also liked personalizing it with our last name.  I did that one in Powerpoint.

I also decided that I wanted to lighten my sign and also it would be easier to rub a transfer on if it were a lighter color.  I grabbed some sample paint that I had in the garage and just painted the inside part, leaving the wooden frame.

I found this “but first, coffee” transfer on-line and tried that as a test by following a Pinterest instruction on-line.

This method was done by wetting the paint brush and then rubbing off the ink with the blunt edge of a sharpie.
 

The “wet paintbrush” idea was a Pinterest FAIL.  The letters were simply just not dark enough with this method.  I repainted the inside again and let it dry.

Since this first method failed, I thought I’d try again with another look I had created on Powerpoint.  In order to “flip” the words so that they can be applied ink down, you have to select the horizontal flip in the print menu.  I printed it on some photo paper I already had in a drawer and figured I would just try that before running out for transfer paper.  What’s the worst that would happen?!!  I would have to repaint it again and try again?

  

I placed the paper face down on the wood and was careful to hold it still with my left hand while I rubbed the back of it applying pressure with the sharpie edge.  I rubbed back and forth as long as I could and then removed the paper and it worked!  I could have rubbed even more on the outside letters to darken the ink a little, but I’ll try again with another project.  I like the slightly distressed, faded look.  I may eventually seal it to protect it but since it won’t get touched very much, I am just going to leave it alone for now.

I want to “hang” or attach is to the mirror but here it is at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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