Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Christmas will be here before you blink twice!

With half of this year almost gone, it really is time to start thinking about the Christmas holidays.  Although I am sure no one will start their Christmas shopping this early except me, I thought this would be the perfect time to begin showcasing easy, fun ways to make the holidays truly family centered and maybe help it to be less stressful.  To that end, I will be posting easy Christmas decorations you and the kids can be making now, as well as easy, breezy Christmas cards to make and send this year.  Hope you enjoy!

Here's a cute idea for decorating the outside of your home.  It is inexpensive and takes just a bit of skill, but the effect is beautiful!

Outdoor Holiday Decorating -- Snowflake Curtain
This was taken from Fabulous Living's site and copied here for your use.  Please visit the original site to see more ideas!
Author Notes: Plastic snowflakes from the dollar store transform the front of a house into a winter wonderland with this ingenious yet inexpensive holiday decorating idea.
Lisa Dodez originally came up with the plan.  She hung the snowflakes by her Gautier, Mississippi home's entrace in a free hanging curtain, as she had nothing to anchor them to on the bottom.  Needless to say, the wind quickly made a mess of things by tangling the lines (although to be honest, even in this state, it still looked pretty).
Cheri's home in Big Bear, California, with its front porch railings, seemed more suitable, as the hanging snowflakes could be anchored at the top and bottom, creating a luminous snowflake wall that looks great day or night.  If you have such a set up at your home, give this a try and be prepared for tons of compliments from the neighbors!
Supplies: scrap piece of wood for template
small screw in cup hooks (you will need twice the number of hooks as you want strand of snowflakes plus 2)
small elastic hair ties (double the number of strands you plan on making)
various sized plastic snowflake Christmas ornaments (see notes below)
clear fishing line
hot glue gun and glue
tape measure

Instructions: We found the snowflake ornaments at the dollar store.  Depending on the size, they come several to a pack (meaning the smaller ones are 3 or 4 for a dollar).  We have less than $20.00 invested in this entire project.  How many you need will depend on how many strands you want to make, the length of those strands, and how close you place your strands together.  For the snowflake curtain in these photos, we used 4 to 6 snowflakes per strand, and we placed our strands about 1 foot apart across the entire front of our porch.

snowflake curtain, holiday decorating, christmas
The first step is to measure, mark, and insert cup hooks where you want your strands of snowflakes to hang.  We measured across the top of our porch, putting pencil marks about every foot.  We repeated this on the bottom.  Now put a cup hook where each of your top and bottom markings are -- we placed the top hook about 6 inches above the top sightline, and the bottom hooks underneath the porch railing, also out of sight from the front.
Making a template is optional -- you could certainly do this project without one just by measuring carefully, but we found it made the process quicker, easier and neater.  To do this take a scrap piece of wood that is least the length between the two cup hooks on your porch.  The template essentially duplicates the cup hook scenario so you can quickly and easily make the snowflake strands.  Screw a cup hook into each end of the wooden template.
To begin making the snowflake strands, tie one end of the fishing line onto a doubled up elastic hair tie.  Put the hair tie loops over one of the cup hooks on the wooden template.  Unroll the fishing line the length you need and tie another doubled up hair tie on the other end and slip it over the cup hook on the other end of the template.  This is how the strand will hand on the cup hooks on your porch, so make sure to get the length correct -- long enough to reach but without too much slack (the elastic hair ties help make this easy).
Slip a piece of paper under the fishing line to protect your surface from glue, and position snowflakes under the fishing line strand in a pleasing arrangement, as in the photo below.
snowflake curtain, holiday decorating, christmas
While holding the fishing line in place (it helps to have 2 sets of hands), run a line of hot glue down the center of the ornament right over the fishing line.
snowflake curtain, holiday decorating, christmas
Using your fingers on both sides of the snowflake as in the photo below, hold the fishing line in the glue for a few seconds until the glue begins to set and dry, fusing the fishing line to the ornament.  Repeat with the remaining ornaments in the strand.
snowflake curtain, holiday decorating, christmas
Repeat the process to make as many strand of snowflakes as you need.  For a more natural look, try to stagger placement and sizes of the snowflakes in each strand.
Now take each strand and hang them on the cup hooks you placed on your porch.  If you used a template, they should be the prefect length to hang between the top and bottom sets of cup hooks.
At night we opted for all blue lights to keep with the ice/snow theme.  White lights would have also worked well, but as you can see from the photo below, the snowflakes also look great in the daytime without any special lighting.
snowflake curtain, holiday decorating, christmas

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