Colorful Christmas Sugar DIY

Colorful Christmas Sugar

Colorful Christmas Sugar

Here’s a sweet and super-clever idea for your Christmas table – sprinkle some colored decorating sugar (the kind you use for decorating cookies and cakes)  into you sugar bowl and mix it in.   Suddenly your sugar bowl is transformed into a festive conversation piece.

Talk about getting creative right down to the very last detail!

Your guests will be impressed that you thought of everything, and kids think its super-cool.

You can use the same idea for your Easter and Thanksgiving celebrations. For Easter, use pastel sugar sprinkles, (pink, purple, yellow) and for Thanksgiving you can do orange, yellow, and red.  So fun!

Photo Credit

Make Christmas Light Balls

Make Christmas Light Bals

Make Christmas Light Bals

I’m in love with Christmas Light Balls – have been since I first saw some stunning light balls hanging from a huge spruce tree when taking a Christmas light tour of my neighborhood  about a decade ago.  Since that moment, I have totally had a thing for any type of light ball. And these massive ones are a-mazing!  Oh my, if Christmas wasn’t a mere month away I’d so be doing this. But it’ll have to wait for next year – I’ll get started in August!  Just too much to do at this time of year!

These light balls are completely DIY – you make them using chicken wire. The green one stands 2 feet high, the blue one is 4 feet.

This project comes courtesy of ChristmasLightsEtc  where you can get the lights required to pull this off.

Love, love, love this.

Make Christmas Light Balls

Required Materials

Required Materials

First, gather your supplies. For this project, you’ll need chicken wire, small wire cutters, a measuring tape, gloves, and our LED mini lights.

Measure the Chicken Wire

Measure the Chicken Wire

Roll out the chicken wire and measure out the dimensions. To create a spherical shape, the chicken wire must be twice as long as it is wide. We are creating a 2′ Christmas light ball, so our chicken wire was 2′ x 4′.

Cut Chicken Wire

Cut Chicken Wire

Cut the chicken wire at the measured area. Because chicken wire can be sharp and hard to handle, gloves come in handy when manipulating the wiring.

Put Sides Together

Put Sides Together

Once the chicken wire is cut, place the two cut sides together and connect by twisting the wires around each other.

Twist Wire to Hold

Twist Wire to Hold

As you can see in this picture, we created a bond by twisting the wire.

Create Funnel

Create Funnel

Now you’ll have a funnel of chicken wire. This is where the shaping process begin.

Shape into Ball

Shape into Ball

Begin pushing the funnel’s sides together and twisting the wire together. Pleating as one would cloth, or folding the circle into each other, begins to create the round shape. Snip the wire with the wire cutters and twist it together to make sure it will hold.

Shape into Ball

Round into Shape

Continue to sculpt the chicken wire to make it as round as possible. Pushing in the curves and pulling on the ends helps to create a more spherical shape.

Leave Male Plug Exposed

Leave Male Plug Exposed

Once the ball is completely circular, it’s time to wrap with lights. Take your first string and wrap so that the male plug is exposed. This allows for the chicken wire ball to be plugged in and to power it.

Wrap with Lights

Wrap with Lights

Wrap the lights around the ball, in and out of the wire, to secure it. When one string has gone as far as it can go, plug the next string in to create end-to-end runs. For this 2′ ball, we used 3 LED light strings. Once the lights are fully wrapped around the chicken wire ball, it’s ready to be plugged in.

Christmas Light Balls

Popular Outdoor Christmas Decorations

Dress Up Your Entry: Wire Frame Christmas Trees in Urns

Wire Frame Christmas Trees in Urns

Wire Frame Christmas Trees in Urns

I wanted to do something different this holiday season for the urns at my front entry.  I normally do small pine tress in tall Roman-style urns on either side of the front door and light them up with clear twinkle lights.  Very classic, elegant.

But this year I thought I’d change things up a bit by switching out the urns for some more contemporary square pots that really glisten and shine with a dark brown glaze.

Trouble is that when hubby parks his HUGE Ram truck in near the front door in curved driveway, the new glazed contemporary urns sit so low that he blocks the view of my Christmas display from the street. That won’t do.

So I’ve had to look for other options and found an idea I love.

Lighted wire frame holiday season trees in pots

These wire frame trees are decorated with strings of clear mini lights which have white frosted globe light-covers interspersed among the lights. Keep in mind that the light covers are not placed on all lights, only every several lights apart, for a randomized effect. By combining the globe covers, with the uncovered mini lights, you create a sense of dimension that adds terrific visual interest.

If you can’t similar min-light covers in stores, you can make your own frosted shades similar to the ones in the photo.

Here’s How:

Spray clear glass or plastic (a better idea since this is outdoors) Christmas balls with a white frost paint, available at craft stores,  and then dust with white glitter or even epsom salts.

Afix them in place on top of the lights.  I’d suggest pulling the little hanger-doo-hickey  off the Christmas ball, and then slide it on top of the mini-light. A little dab of hot glue should do, but of course, you’ll never get the globe off again – when the lights burn out you’ll have to toss the whole string. But isn’t that what most of us do anyway?  Its really not worth the trouble of replacing bulbs when its so much easier, quicker (and sometimes more cost effective) to buy a whole new string of lights.  Wasteful, I know. I plead guilty, but I know I’m not the only one!

Anyway, just keep in mind that to get the look in the photo, you don’t need a shade over every light – its a more random, scattered effect.

The urns pictured are designed by landscape designer Deborah Silver of Deborah Silver and Co Inc in Detroit.  What a fabulous look for the holidays!

I can really envision how well this would work  for my front entry since it is very similar in appearance to that of the house pictured, right down to the brick, the style of lanterns on the pillars, and the rounded front steps.  Neat-o.  I’m really excited to give this look a try.

lighted-christmas-pots-with-metal-frame-trees

lighted holiday season trees in pots
Photo Credits Deborah Silver of Deborah Silver and Co Inc in Detroit.

 

Fancy Dipped Cherries, DIY

fancy white chocolate dipped cherries

fancy white chocolate dipped cherries

Here’s an elegant idea for any type of party or celebration. Its super-easy to do but it packs a powerful visual and sensory punch. Picture these dipped cherries on your dining table, buffet table, dessert table, or on h’or deurves trays at your next celebration.  They just look so dang fancy (and they look super-expensive, but when you do this yourself, it just ain’t so!).

You can do this for any occasion, any time of year, but I think they’d be particularly pretty on for your holiday season parties, or Christmas dinner table.  They would also be perfect for a bridal shower or wedding reception. Or an anniversary party…

Here’s How:

The cherries are dipped in white chocolate. Use white chocolate melts, which are specifically intended for melting and give the best results – available where candy making and cake decorating supplies are sold.  Just melt down the chocolate in a double boiler, hold the cherry by the stem, and give it a dip. Sit the bottoms of the cherries carefully on a sheet of waxed paper to harden. Then press those little silver cake decorating pearls (that you can buy at any grocery store) into the chocolate on the cherry once it starts to harden just a bit.

I’ve seen cherries totally dipped in chocolate before (white or dark chocolate), but I think leaving the top half of the cherry exposed is so much more striking, visually speaking. Especially when you are using white chocolate, the color contrast is just so gorgeous!

As always, have fun!

Recipe: Burger with Double-Fried Chips (Fries)

Fathers Day Recipes - Juicy Burger and Double Fried Chips

The Ultimate Burger With Double-Fried Chips

Classic burgers and fries are an all time favorite among dads for Father’s day, but this is no run-of-the-mill burger and fries platter.  This super-juicy beef burger is topped with a yummy combination of spicy home-made tartare sauce, sliced beets and purple onion for an amazing taste-fest.  For a healthier, leaner version (gotta take care of Dad and the kids!) use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef – just as yummy and better for them.  The thick-cut potato fries are double-fried  and sprinkled with sea salt (a much healthier alternative to table salt). Use either coconut oil or peanut oil for the fries as a healthier oil choice for your family. The ultimate burger, this baby requires two hands to eat — but the best bit is licking your fingers at the end!  Get the recipe!

We’ve adapted this recipe from Colin Fassnidge as published in Taste Magazine – November 2014.  Serves 4.

Ingredients

1kg potatoes, peeled, cut into thick fries
600g either lean ground beef, or ground chicken or turkey
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped
1 egg yolk
Coconut oil, to fry the chips
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
100g cheddar cheese, sliced
4 brioche rolls or Kaiser buns, halved, toasted
Lettuce leaves
2 cooked beets, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced

How to Set A Table

Place setting guide/ diagram

Place setting guide/ diagram

Ever find yourself setting the table for a special occasion only to be reduced to a panic because you’re not quite sure what goes where, according to proper place setting etiquette? (If it hasn’t happened yet, rest assured, your day will come…!).  Did you know that they way you set the table for a proper lunch is actually different from the way you should set it for dinner (a proper dinner that is…)?   Well, fear not my friends, this handy-dandy table place setting guide will ensure you set a proper table at every dinner, brunch, breakfast, and lunch you ever have the pleasure of hosting.