DIY: Chipboard Village with Free House Template

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You might have noticed things have slowed down a little over here at A-I-M. Life goes in cycles, as we know, and unfortunately it’s been tripping us up lately. I’m still making things (some of them more therapeutic than others- like the DIY below), but the timing is tricky, and sometimes things don’t make it online as quickly as they should. We’d like to ask you to be patient with us, and give us time to refresh and collect ourselves. We’ll be back to full speed before you know it.

I’ve been trying to simplify my life because I have accumulated too many “things”; and I’ve made a resolution to truly embrace the making of things, rather than the buying or the keeping. (Our house is getting smaller by the second. Someone’s cursed us, I swear!)

So rather than storing ornaments, sparkles, trees and lights, I’m making new temporary baubles from recycled materials.

With that in mind I sat down to make my version (sweet and simple) of a winter village. I built a template that you can use to start your own winter wonderland, and I hope you’ll get as much peace and joy out of it as I did.

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Supplies

  • Scrap Chipboard: I like to save the backs of paper pads for projects like this, or you can grab a food package out of the recycling.
  • Pen and pencil
  • bone folder or scoring device
  • Craft knife
  • Paper glue: Elmer’s works great!
  • The printed template: click here or on the pdf below.

chipboardvillage_template

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Chipboard is great because you can mark it simply by pressing down hard on it. To trace the template on my piece, I clipped the paper down, then…

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used a bone folder and ruler to score the dotted lines (that will eventually be folded).

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Then I traced over the rest of the lines by pressing down firmly with a pen.

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Once I finished tracing all the lines I had a faint guide to work with. (If you like, trace the lines lightly with a pencil to help when you’re cutting.)

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Like most cutting projects, it’s easier to start by removing the small pieces of the template. In this case that meant cutting out the windows, the notch on the back, and two sides of the door. (Refer to the template to make sure you are cutting only the solid line pieces.)

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When I had the building and roof all cut out, I used a bone folder to score the folds a little more deeply. Then I began folding each flap gently away from the score mark. (Including the roof piece.)

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When I had the main part of the building folded, I applied glue to the flap (shown in gray on the template sheet) and held the pieces together until the glue held firmly. (You can also use clips or clothespins to hold it closed for a bit.) Once the base of the house was holding firmly, I added glue to the roof flaps (also shown in gray) and aligned and attached the roof. (You will want to hold this together by putting your hand into the house-box and pressing the flaps against the roof.)

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To frost the windows, I took a piece of cello tape slightly larger than the window, and attached it to a piece that was even larger. Then I taped that frosted pane right into the window-sash. I left the door bent slightly in, to welcome little chipboard guests!

Now that you’ve got the hang of home-building, you can reuse this template by resizing it, or come up with your own design!

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For my second building, I used the natural folds in a cracker box, and drew windows and a door with a pencil before trimming it out. Remember to leave flaps to attach the roof! (But in a pinch, a piece of tape will work as well.) Simply erase the lines, glue everything together, and plop it into your village… and when it gets dark…

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slip a few LED Christmas lights under your buildings for ambiance. (The notch I included in the template is super handy for running the wires out the back of the house.) Make sure to use low-heat lights, since they will be surrounded by paper!

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If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to stop at chipboard houses. I really want to add some chipboard critters… These little houses make my imagination run free.

One thing that’s for sure, they need to be surrounded by a forest. Next week I’ll show you a quick and easy way to build your own magic woods.

 

One note: I’m a big fan of letting the materials show in my projects, but remember you can camouflage the materials quickly by adding a little paint (spray or acrylic would work great) or by using it as a base for decoupage or collage (like our shadowbox project). Go crazy!

DIY: Shiny Robot Ornaments from Wine Corks

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Since this month’s DIY Craft Challenge Theme is Glitter I started thinking about all the things that sparkle around the holidays… and obviously thought “Robot”.

Actually, I’m not sure why I went straight to our metal friends, but that’s what the DIY Craft Challenge is all about! It’s a jumping off point for all your great ideas. I think glitter, I think robots. It’s just fine!

I’ve been playing with projects that use wine corks, and decided with a little paint, wire, and decoration I could make some amazing little guys for my tree.

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The unusual suspects.

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Supplies I used

• Wine Bottle Corks
• A large kitchen knife and cutting board
Folk Art Metallic Acrylic Paint – in Gunmetal and Silver Sterling and paintbrush
E6000® Craft Adhesive
• A nail and hammer and a scrap piece of wood (you could also use an awl)
18 Gauge Steel Galvanized Wire, needle nose pliers, and wire cutters
• Stud Earrings, buttons, and other decoration bits.

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I used a few basic shapes to form my robots. Wheels were just thin slices off the corks. Bodies and heads were mainly full or shortened corks. Legs were cut long wise either in half or in quarters. I used a very sharp knife to cut several different shapes out and held those shapes together to see what looked “roboty” to me.

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Once I decided on the shape of my robot, I painted each piece with the gunmetal color of acrylic. If you’re having trouble getting the paint to stick to the outside of the cork, rough it up a little with sandpaper.

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After several (sloppy) coats of paint, I began drilling holes in my corks to run wire through. I love that using wire instead of glue means that the wheels, heads, and arms can all be spun or moved.

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For the wheely robots, I ran the through the center body piece, and through each wheel.

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Then secured the ends of the wire by making a loop with the wire, then folding the loops down against the wheel.

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When I had a wire that I couldn’t run all the way through a piece, I applied a dab of E6000 adhesive to the end before pressing it into the cork.

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Mad Robot Scientist Workshop

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I have a huge stash of old earrings that were donated to me, and some of them were absolutely perfect for decorating the robots. It’s okay that they are a little mismatched; their hearts are in the right place. (Get it?!)

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I had a great time making these little guys… and playing with them. I absolutely love taking the opportunity to look at everything in a new way.

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Breaking down robots into a few basic shapes, then building them from an unexpected material.

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While you’re brainstorming for the DIY Challenge, I encourage you to take the chance to try something a little different. Take the theme and run with it.

If you ever make robots like these, be careful.

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They can get rowdy and make a royal mess out of your other decorations… especially if they have help.

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IMG_4772What does your brain go when you think Glitter?

RECIPE: 3 Homemade Spice Blends

DIY: Homemade Spice Blends #foodie #gift #cook
Every year for Christmas, my boyfriend James and I like to make gifts for our friends and family. Since James is a home-chef, we decided to make our own spice blends to give to our fellow foodies this year. We chose three different blends: Herbs de Provence, Asian 5-Spice, Fajita Seasoning. We plan to pair each blend with a few of our favorite recipes written on recipe cards.

DIY: Homemade Spice Blends #foodie #gift #cook

Herbs de Provence
 
Author:
Cuisine: French
Serves: Approx. 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • ½ cup thyme
  • ¼ cup marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon lavender, ground
  • 2 teaspoons dried orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon fennel, ground
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
Instructions
  1. To make the dried orange zest, use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin of an organic orange. You want to peel the least amount of white pith as possible. Place the orange strips onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 200 degrees (you can also use a dehydrator) until completely dry (a few hours). Let cool and grind using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a jar or bowl.

RECIPE: Herbs de Provence #gift #foodie #homemade

Recipes to try:

Roasted Herbs de Provence Chicken by Taste Love & Nourish
Popcorn with Herbs de Provence and Asiago Cheese by Giada De Laurentiis
New Potatoes With Herbes De Provence, Lemon and Coarse Salt by KitchME
Creamy Roasted Red Onions by Miss in the Kitchen
Simple Salad Dressing by Pamela Braun

DIY: Homemade Spice Blends #foodie #gift #cook

Asian 5-Spice
 
Author:
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: Approx. ½ cup
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons anice powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tablespoon clove
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Himalayan sea salt
Instructions
  1. Use a mortar and pestle to grind any herbs necessary. Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

RECIPE: Asian 5-Spice blend #gift #foodie #homemade

Recipes to try:

Crispy Baked Asian Chicken Wings by Just A Taste
Chinese Pork Jerky by China Sichuan Food
Vegetable Lo Mein by One Sweet Appetite
Five-Spice Chicken Noodle Soup by William Sonoma
5-Spice Asian Pork Tacos by Country Cleaver

DIY: Homemade Spice Blends #foodie #gift #cook

Fajita Seasoning
 
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: Approx. 1 cup
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

RECIPE: Fajita Seasoning #gift #foodie #homemade

Recipes to try:

Vegetarian Black Bean Fajitas by Katie’s Cucina
Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas by Food Family & Finds
Chicken Fajita Quesadillas by Jo Cooks
Chicken Fajita Queso Dip by Inside BruCrew Life
Steak Fajita Rice Bowls by Oh Sweet Basil

I packaged up our spice blends in 4 oz. glass jars and decorated them with custom labels courtesy of Evermine. I can’t wait to give these as gifts!

RECIPE: Lemon Pistachio Wreath Cookies

RECIPE: Lemon Pistachio Wreath Cookies #holiday #baking #marthastewart
Homemade cookies are one of my favorite holiday treats. I love the baking, sharing and of course, the eating of a delicious homemade cookie. I’m a sucker for the holiday baking magazines at the checkout stand and love turning page after page of beautiful cookies that look too pretty to even eat.

This year, I decided to give this recipe by Martha Stewart a try as lemon is one of my favorite dessert flavors. They were quite time consuming to make, but think of it as more of an afternoon craft project and enjoy the process. Your efforts will be well worth it as these Lemon Pistachio Wreath Cookies turned out both beautiful and delicious!

RECIPE: Lemon Pistachio Wreath Cookies #holiday #baking #marthastewart

Lemon Pistachio Wreath Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large egg yokes, room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 ½ cup shelled pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and cornstarch in a medium bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks, lemon zest and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined. Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and place in refrigerator for about 1 hour (or until firm).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to about ⅛” thick. Using the large scallop circle cookie cutter, cut out wreaths. Reroll scraps and cut out. Cut out centers of the wreaths using a small scallop circle or heart-shape cutter. Space two inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake until just golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Stir together confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Using a butter knife, spread a thin layer of frosting over each cookie and then dip them face down into the chopped pistachios. I placed the dried cranberries on by hand. Let cookies set on wire racks then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Prep Tips

Necessary Tools:

• Electric mixer and paddle attachment
• Large scallop circle cookie cutter and small scallop circle (or heart) cookie cutter
• Parchment paper
• Cookie sheet
• Rolling pin

Instructions:

Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and cornstarch in a medium bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks, lemon zest and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined. Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and place in refrigerator for about 1 hour (or until firm).

Tip: To save time I refrigerated my dough for about 20 minutes then transferred it to my freezer for another 15 minutes.

RECIPE: Lemon Pistachio Wreath Cookies #holiday #baking #marthastewart

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/8” thick. Using the large scallop circle cookie cutter, cut out wreaths. Reroll scraps and cut out. Cut out centers of the wreaths using a small scallop circle or heart-shape cutter. Space two inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake until just golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks.

Tip: I used a large cutting board as my work surface so that I could re-refrigerate the dough. Once it became too soft I simply placed the entire board into the refrigerator for a few minutes to re-harden.

RECIPE: Lemon Pistachio Wreath Cookies #holiday #baking #marthastewart

Stir together confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Using a butter knife, spread a thin layer of frosting over each cookie and then dip them face down into the chopped pistachios. I placed the dried cranberries on by hand. Let cookies set on wire racks then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Tip: You can dip the cranberries into the frosting first to ‘glue’ them down if necessary.

RECIPE: Lemon Pistachio Wreath Cookies #holiday #baking #marthastewart
RECIPE: Lemon Pistachio Wreath Cookies #holiday #baking #marthastewart

Do you have any favorite cookie recipes or holiday baking stories? Leave a comment and tell us all about it!

DIY: Glittered Cinnamon Ornaments

DIY: Glittered Cinnamon Ornaments #holiday #christmas #craft

Homemade cinnamon ornaments have been on my to-do list every year, but I never seem to be able to make time for it. After seeing this post, I felt so inspired by the idea of adding glitter that I spent a whole afternoon making some. It was such a fun project and I love how the ornaments turned out. They smell and look like Christmas!

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 cup of cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons of cloves
• 2 tablespoons of nutmeg
• 1 cup of applesauce
• 2 tablespoons of glue (I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue)

SUPPLIES:

• Cookie cutters
• Parchment paper
• Straws
• Cookie sheet
• Glitter
• Mod Podge (I’m sure you could use the tacky glue too)
• Paintbrush
• String or bakers twine

The first step is to make the dough. Place all the ingredients into an electric mixer and knead until a nice dough is formed. You can add more cinnamon if the dough is too wet or a little water if the dough is too dry.

DIY: Glittered Cinnamon Ornaments #holiday #christmas #craft

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Sprinkle some cinnamon onto a clean surface and roll out the dough to about 1/4” thick. Cut out shapes with cookies cutters, poke a hole in each shape using a straw and then place them carefully on your prepared baking sheet.

DIY: Glittered Cinnamon Ornaments #holiday #christmas #craft

Note: Notice how my dough looks cracked when rolled out. I believe this happened because my dough wasn’t quite wet enough. I didn’t worry about it because I knew I was covering them in glitter anyway, but it’s something to keep in mind.

DIY: Glittered Cinnamon Ornaments #holiday #christmas #craft

Bake in the oven for 2 hours, flipping the ornaments once half way through. The ornaments should be rock hard when they are done. Let cool completely.

DIY: Glittered Cinnamon Ornaments #holiday #christmas #craft

Next add the glitter! First, prepare your workspace. This is important as it’s very easy for glitter to get EVERYWHERE. I worked on another piece of parchment and poured my glitter into small bowls. One at a time, paint a thin layer of mod podge or glue over each ornament and them dip them (glue side down) into the glitter. Carefully place them on the parchment to dry.

DIY: Glittered Cinnamon Ornaments #holiday #christmas #craft

Every year I like to gift handmade ornaments to give to my friends and family. I plan to use these as gift toppers and to decorate my own tree!

DIY CHALLENGE: December Glitter

Need a break from the holiday madness? Our December DIY Challenge is the perfect excuse to escape to your craft room (or kitchen table) for an afternoon of making. There’s something so therapeutic about sitting down with a simple craft project and a tasty snack. Invite a friend to join you and make something together!

Each month we (adventures-in-making.com) will choose a theme, and you get to run with it, then share what you make. You can stick strictly to the theme, or do something totally unexpected. Your creation is sure to inspire someone else, taking this creative community to the next level!

Check out what everyone came up with last month’s theme, Herbs & Spices here.

Share Your Project!

To share your project, email rachel@adventures-in-making.com with the following info:
• at least one photo of the finished piece (shots of your process are also welcome!)
• a little bit about yourself & where you’re from
• how you got from the theme to your final product
• links to your social media/blog/website (optional)

We will post our top 10 favorite submissions on the blog at the end of the month + award PRIZES!

DIY CHALLENGE: Glitter! Join us in our monthly DIY Challenge. The theme for December is GLITTER!
(Sources left to right: 1. DIY Deer Glitter Ornaments by Sweet Paul 2. Homemade Cinnamon Ornaments by Adventures-In-Making 3. Glitter Silverware and Gift Tag by The Perfect Palette 4. Gold-dipped Feathers by Ruffled 5. DIY Glitter Glass Jars by Something Turquoise 6. DIY Glitter Polka Dot Napkins by Copy Craft 7. Geometric Paper Ornaments by Best Friends For Frosting 8. Glitter Champagne Flutes by HGTV 9. Glitter Bobby Pins by A Subtle Revelry)

DECEMBER CHALLENGE: Glitter!

We have a confession to make: we LOVE glitter! And nothing says ‘holiday’ quite like the sparkle of a handmade glittered ornament or edible glitter cupcake! You can create something using your favorite glitter, or use ‘glitter’ as a theme or inspiration for your project.

Any and all materials and mediums are encouraged! This challenge is open to ALL AGES, so don’t be afraid to get your kids involved too. The challenge officially begins today, December 1, 2014 and ends on December 28, 2014. We will post our top 10 favorite projects + announce the award winners on December 29th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

Invite your friends!

This is the perfect opportunity to host a craft night with your friends! Take photos of everyone’s creations and send them to us! Here is a button you can display on your website/blog to let your people know what you are up to.

“Adventures

<a href=”http://www.adventures-in-making.com” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adventures-in-making.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/december-diy-challenge.png” alt=”Adventures In Making DIY Challenge” width=”140″ height=”140″ /></a>

SHARE YOUR PROJECT ON INSTAGRAM USING #DIYCRAFTCHALLENGE

RECIPE: Brownie Mix In A Jar

RECIPE: Brownie Mix In A Jar #gift #holiday #christmas

Every year for Christmas, I try my best to avoid shopping at big box stores and instead shop locally or make gifts to give. This brownie mix is a favorite because it’s very easy to put together and is a great activity to do with a child. Simply layer the dry ingredients in a large mason jar and decorate with baker’s twine, a gift tag and baking instructions.

RECIPE: Brownie Mix In A Jar #gift #holiday #christmas

Ingredients:

(Makes 1 jar)
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup cocoa powder
• 2/3 cup brown sugar
• 2/3 cup white sugar
• 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
• 1/3 cup chopped pecans

RECIPE: Brownie Mix In A Jar #gift #holiday #christmas

In a small bowl mix the flour and salt together. Then begin layering your ingredients into your jar in the following order:

• 1/2 the flour/salt mixture
• Cocoa powder
• Remaining of the flour/salt mixture
• Brown sugar
• White sugar
• Semi-sweet chocolate chips
• White chocolate chips
• Pecans

Once you’ve filled your jar, decorate with baker’s twine or ribbon and a gift tag. You can write the baking instructions on a card and wrap it about the jar with the string, or use a custom oval text label.

Baking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 9×9 baking pan.
Pour the contents of the jar into a large bowl and mix well.
Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup vegetable oil and three eggs. Beat until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

RECIPE: Brownie Mix In A Jar #gift #holiday #christmas

Custom labels and tags courtesy of Evermine.com

DIY: Holiday Floating Candles

DIY: Holiday Floating Candles #christmas #decor
‘Tis the season for holiday baking, making gifts, and of course getting creative with decorations for your home. I’m making up these beautifully simple Holiday Floating Candles to display at our family dinner table.

I first saw this idea on Bell’alimento.com. I fell in love with its simplicity and even had most of the supplies already on hand. All I had to do was snip some rosemary from my herb garden, get a few mason jars and tea-lights from my pantry, and buy some fresh cranberries from the grocery store!

DIY: Holiday Floating Candles #christmas #decor

WHAT YOU NEED:

• Wide mouth mason jars
• Fresh rosemary sprigs
• Fresh cranberries
• Tea light candles
• Ribbon & tag (optional)
• Water

DIY: Holiday Floating Candles #christmas #decor

Placed desired amount of rosemary sprigs into each jar. Then fill the jar with water about ¾ full. Then add desired amount of cranberries and set a tea light candle on top. Decorate each jar with ribbon and tag.

DIY: Holiday Floating Candles #christmas #decor

Personalized tags courtesy of Evermine.com