Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DIY Decor + Gift Wrapping: Christmas Edition

I finally hosted my first Christmas party at my place (after having moved in for 3 years) this past weekend.  Learned from my BBQ party in the Summer, I decided to go "simple" this time around... less stress and more fun!

Afterall, no one will enjoy the party if the host is all stressed out.  Besides, the "are you crazy?" police was on patrol this time watching over my every move to make sure I would not go "over board"... again.

In this entry, I will share with you my DIY projects, the making of customized pop-up cards, and gift wrapping leading to this wonderful party.

I'm a real big fan of wreaths... don't know why but has always been my thing.  Inspired by the ones Sarah used in her holiday special a couple of years ago, I went on ebay and scored myself one for about $40 with shipping.  

Since it's a little on the small scale, it's perfect at the front entrance to welcome my guests when they first arrive.  

One down and two more to go: my plan is to have one above the fireplace and one outside my front door.  Not being able to find something ready made on my city-wide wreath hunt, I decided to make my own wreathes!  

I came across these silver ornament branches from HomeSense and thought, why don't I just get a basic vine wreath and wrap these branches around it?  

Here is the end result sitting above my fireplace:

Love how the polished silver balls contrast with the natural quality of the grapevine wreath.  I think it's a perfect marriage.  Best of all, this project only cost me $40 and about 30 mins to make.  The branches were $10 a piece (you will need about 3 for this project and the wreath was $5 from Michaels). 

I was also inspired by the moss globes in one of the Pottery Barn's category and so I decided to get myself a box of reindeer moss and hot glue them on a wreath.  You can get the reindeer moss from your local florist, Pottery Barn, or Michaels.  I found the price point is best at the florist because of this project, you do need a fair amount of moss, and the florists offer a better deal when you buy in bulk.

Now the wreathes are done, I've moved on to mood lighting.  I somehow ended up with a few of these almond butter/macadamia nut butter glass containers, and I thought, why don't I turn them into candle holders.  The idea is simple: wrap some pretty papers around the glass containers with ribbons, and just let it shines, literally.

Here are the supplies:

and the end results are spectacular!  

Learned from the "rehearsal" dinner, I realized I need to set the kitchen up as drink central.  In an effort to utilize very single inch of the counter space in the kitchen, I decided to set up a tray on the cooktop. My initial thought was going to HomeDepot to get the supplies I need and build a wooden tray myself.  A little quick thinking led me to this Ikea frame: perfect in size, waiting to be repurposed.  For $20 bucks, forget about making it!

The great thing about this project is that the possibility is endless.  You can put whatever you want in the frame!  In my case, to go with the red and white theme in the kitchen and inspired by plaid all over the place, I went for this cheerful number from Ikea.  Check this out:

One little tip: since the top is actually glass, you want to make sure the frame doesn't collapse from holding too much weight.  What I did was to put two baking sheets (turned upside down) under the frame to give it the extra support. For added security, I also put cookie sheets under the baking sheets as well.  With the extra reinforcement, this frame has gone a long way!

DIYs aside, I've also decided to make my own Christmas cards this year after I discovered the templates for pop-up cards.  The instructions may look scary at first but let me assure you, there's nothing to be scared of.  These cards are quite easy to make and everyone will be wowed!

First off, Christmas tree:

Next stop, Reindeer:

and of course, how could I leave out the Angle for Christmas:

I also picked up this delicate plywood ornament while traveling in Germany.  I know no German would go to the Neuschwanstein Castle, just like Torontonion normally won't go visit CN Tower, I decided to bring Neuschwanstein to Chris' parents!

and 5 minutes later:

and of course I will wrap it up before sending it to Germany...

I've decided to give all our guests a little something to take home with as well.  And since the macaron is the new cupcake, Macaron is what we're treating our guests!  I was inspired by these great wooden boxes.  They are light, sturdy, and they come in avariety of sizes.

Step 1 ~ take off the "man-made" leather strap and the "button"

Step 2 ~ personalized your gift with letter stamps:

Step 3 ~ put in the treats and wrap it up with ribbons

Love how great they all look sitting under the tree before the guests discover them!

Next entry is be all about the great food we had at the party and the making of the macarons!  You won't want to miss it!


  1. thanks shell .. i had so much fun wrapping them. .. . see another reason why you should be moving back to Toronto!

  2. The stove top bar is perfect. I'm definitely going to be using this idea in the future. Amazing!
    p.s. Your packages...extra beautiful!