Posts filed under ‘Holidays’

Making a Christmas card wreath

My old card wreath sucked. I couldn’t fit but like 6 cards in it and whenever I went to add a card, half of them would fall out. So this year, I decided to fight back and make my own card wreath (as seen above). (Since I couldn’t find any in the store, much less one that I really liked.) Here is how I made it …

The supplies

My supplies:
Clothespines (I ended up using about 30 of them)
Paint (it doesn’t really matter what colors you pick)
Wooden balls with predrilled holes (I ended up using 14 of each color.)
Wire hoop (I had issues with this, but more on that later.)

The paint

I went with Americana’s Plantation Pine (dark green), Hauser Medium Green and Deep Burgundy.

Testing colors

I did test other colors, but decided to go more wintergreen than bright greens.

Getting ready for paint

I took apart the clothespins to get ready for painting. If you paint them when they are together, you miss a big chunk where the wire is and it’s easier to paint them shut.


I used a disposable bowl for faster cleanup.

One side painted

Paint one side at a time allowing it to dry, otherwise it will stick to the newspaper (if you are using newspaper to protect your table). Some of them needed two coats (especially the dark green), some of them will only need a touch-up.

Letting them dry

You will notice the ones that have bits of paper stuck to them … hint: I tried to paint both sides at once. You can just paint over them and it’s not even noticeable. Score! Plus, if you really mess one up, just point that side to the back.

Pile of dry clothespins

After letting them all dry. It’s now time to put them back together again. This is NOT fun. I did not document this step with photos. I don’t  think the camera would have captured all the cursing going on anyway.

Painting the beads

After painting the pins, or as you let them dry, it’s time to paint the beads. After trying to just paint them, I realized that there was no good way to set them down on the paper without them sticking. Lightblub! If you have any footed glassware get them out, turn two over and get your floral wire (or any wire really).

Put the wire around the base

Attach it to one end, thread the beads onto the wire, then connect it to the other side.

Painted beads

Viola! Instant bead painting station.

Ready to be put on the wire!

So after you get all the springs back on and the beads are dry, it’s time to put them on the hoop.

Gold hoop that didn't work

It took me like three stores to find this metal hoop. Good news: I finally found it, yeah! Bad news: The hoop was too thick to fit through the clothespins. Be careful when picking out hoops for this reason. So it was back to the drawing board …

Second wire hoop

So I took this wire wreath holder (which fit through the clothespins and was the only other metal hoop I could find) and used a pair of wire cutters to get one hoop off. Good thing about doing it this way was that I would get at least two hoops easily (four if I really wanted to work for it) from one.

First try at a pattern

Now comes the time to put it all together. This is the first pattern that I tried. I realized, however, that I didn’t like the light green bead up against the light pin, so I went back and repainted half the light green beads to be dark green. Basically the moral of this tale is to plan your pattern beforehand.

Attaching the ends

So after you get the pattern that you want on and fill the hoop (remember to leave room for the bow), it is time to attach the ends together. Originally, I had grand ideas of using metal glue to put them together. By the time I got to this step though I really didn’t want to wait for anything else to dry. Enter the duct tape. That’s right, I used duct tape. What are you going to do about it?

The tape

I just wound it around a couple of times (after moving it at least twice to get the shape that I wanted). It worked awesomely. Before you make things final, hang it on the wall a couple of times to make sure that it is going to fall how you would like it. Too tight and it won’t touch the wall at all. Too loose and it starts looking like an oval.

Bow-making time

Time to get out the ribbon. Remember to get wired ribbon because it’s easier to work with and will keep it’s shape. I am awful at making bows so I won’t go step-by-step. I’m sure you have a better way to make them than I do. If you are bow-making challenged, you can always just buy one.

Attaching the bow

After the bow is completed, just wind the wire from the bow around the duct tape. Duct tape actually turned out to be a good idea because it kept the bow in place. Ha! There’s a method to my madness.


Then flip it over, find a good place for it on your wall and display the glory that is your new Christmas card wreath!


December 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm 2 comments

Adventures in Christmas Lego-ing Part II

In our second adventure of Lego-ing, (see part I here) we decided to put together the Winter Village Post Office. Topping out at a grand 822 pieces, it is the largest of the sets. Shall we see how it went?

Winter Village Post Office
# 10222
822 pieces

So this is the breakdown of putting together of our second Lego Christmas Village set. (Note: Times are with two grown adults)

The unboxing! While the bags again seemed to have no rhyme or reason to them, the instructions said not to mix them up. We ignored them and opened all the bags together and stored them like we did the last time.

The great sort took 16 minutes. As you can see, there are a lot more pieces than last time. So many so that they were encroaching on our build area. BAD LEGOS.

People were next. Same number of Lego people as the last set, but more accessories. Build time: 3 minutes

Bench area … not really much to say except DOG! (No, we did not have to put him together. The dog is in one piece for our Lego-ing pleasure.) There’s a little training whip/ thing you can put the bone in and the dog is supposed to follow (I usually see it in movies with carrots for horses). We felt that it was inhumane, so it will stay in the box. Built time: 4 and a half minutes.

This truck is so glorious that you are going to bask in it’s glory with another photo!

Every little item that you see on that truck we put together. That license plate? It’s a sticker on a white, flat Lego attached to a hinged grey-colored Lego, which is clipped on a skinny, round stick. (I tried to think of another word, but I just kept thinking of “rod” and that just sounded WAY too dirty. Dammnit, these are toys for children!) Favorite part: Snowshoes on the side. Build time: 31 minutes.

There’s a lovely view of the front and back of the gazebo. Now, this item is all the rage on Lego forums (yes, they do actually exist and people are NUTS about Legos). AND on the reviews it seems to be the consensus that this is the most awesome part to the Post Office set. I would have to disagree, the truck is pretty badass and my favorite part. But alas, maybe they just don’t understand the awesomeness that is getting mail — especially during the holidays! Gazebo build time: 25 minutes. (The sax was difficult to put together … just encase you were wondering what he was holding.)

What you have all been patiently (or you just scrolled down right away … WHATEVER) waiting for … the Post Office. Yes, look at it in all of it’s glory. Cool features for me: mailboxes, how “stones” stick out in places on the fireplace (on the right) and that there is actually a doorknob that we had to put on (just a round cap-like piece). Back in my day, we didn’t have no fancy doorknobs. Kids these days!

Again, note the titled floors! The odd red rod sticking out on the left is the light brick. In the last set, there was no “button” to use the light brick so this was a welcomed addition. I think my husband’s favorite part was the lamppost. There’s even a sorting table in there. AND a sign with rates for sending mail (euros, of course).

Light brick, ACTIVATE! (It’s basically just illuminating the sorting table (at least that’s what I call it). Build time for the post office: 2 hours.

Completed Winter Village Post Office set

Complete build time for the Village Post Office set: 3 and a half hours (give or take a couple ten minutes).

I like this set more than the Bakery. Again, it might be my love for the mail, but to me, the Post Office holds more Christmas memories for me. We would always bake our own cookies — it’s tradition!  I do agree that the Bakery has a couple of extra holiday touches — like lights and such. BUT, I would argue that the Post Office has wreath-like things and cute adorable snow drifts on the roof. Hello, SNOW DRIFTS! I can see the growth from the first set — lots more colors, more mechanisms at work and more accessories. I wish you could buy more trees. Hell, you probably can, I just haven’t looked.

Did we want to kill each other again? Apparently that answer is YES. I was informed that I was hogging the building time. Well, excuse me. My motto: Every Lego-builder for herself. must work as a team. Team building is the greatest thing ever. Or, he could just let me BUILD ALL THE LEGOS!

November 16, 2011 at 5:35 am 2 comments

Adventures in Christmas Lego-ing Part I

This September, I discovered that the most awesome thing existed … LEGO CHRISTMAS VILLAGE. Yes, you read that correctly. A Christmas village made out of Legos. So after buying the two sets that were out (thankfully it was only two years old so I didn’t have a ton to buy to catch up). Sad thing though was that I had to wait for this year’s set to come out. So after patiently waiting until October, I am now a proud owner of all three sets.

Sets that are out:

Winter Village Bakery
# 10219
687 pieces

Winter Toy Shop
# 10199
815 pieces

Winter Village Post Office
# 10222
822 pieces


OK, don’t get mad. I know that after Halloween comes Thanksgiving. I know this, I do. However, I just can’t get as excited about turkey as I can for Santa and presents and lights and … you get the idea. So realizing that it is only two and a half weeks until Thanksgiving, I really need to get on the ball. There are crafts to be made, a photo to take for Christmas cards, cookie-exchange party to plan, etc. AND the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the day that we decorate. It’s the first year with the Lego sets and I didn’t know how long it would take to put up. It could cut into precious ornament time or something.

Therefore the only logical decision that I could come to was to build a Lego Christmas set every Sunday.

So this is the breakdown of putting together of our first Lego Christmas Village set. (Note: Times are with two grown adults)

The box.

Opening the box, there are several bags that make you think they are organized by building/item that you have to build. That is NOT the case. These are just randomly bagged.

So we opened all the bags and sorted everything by color and then size. This helped out tremendously. Sorting took 12 minutes.

After sorting, we just followed the extensive step-by-step directions in the book provided. First step, put together all the people. This took almost 3 minutes.

Next, we put together the tree stand. Tree Stand took 4:32.

Wagon took 8:20.

Ice rink was very interesting to put together. It took 15 minutes.

Saving the best for last … the bakery. The bakery, which is comprised of most of the pieces, is really detailed.

This is the bakery from the back.

There is title for the flooring for god’s sake. It was amazing to put together. I couldn’t believe it — these are not the Lego sets from my youth. (Course, I never got the pricey sets anyway, so maybe they are?)

Bakery window with the light on.

There are lots of mechanics that go into the sets, like all the hinges and things (also a light brick!). If not for the step-by-step directions, I feel that I would not have been able to put this together.

Looking inside the door toward the cash register


Total bakery time comes in at a whopping 1 hour and 8 minutes.

Completed set

Total time: Roughly 1 hour and 49 minutes.

I would highly recommend this set. It is ridiculously adorable. It did take a little longer than I thought to put together, but it was fun. I think it is a little more difficult — my hands are a lot bigger now, but still fun. Did I want to strangle my husband at times? Yes. But I’m sure the feeling was mutual. But, we survived and it’s built. I’m calling it a win. So that’s the bakery. Next up … Winter Village Post Office.

November 7, 2011 at 2:06 am 4 comments

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