Monday, November 28, 2011

RE-cycling:Projects for a Greener Christmas

Great recycling idea. Turn old Christmas cards into gift tags. Use a can or cup for a good circular shape, trace the form on the back, cut out and punch a hole in the card for a ribbon.

Idea and Image Source:

The Christmas season has begun and like many people, holiday parties and shopping will consume a lot of my free time for the next month.  A year ago, to make the season easier, I took advice from my friend, Martha, and I stocked up on Christmas bags and cards early at The Dollar Store.  I had never been to A Dollar Store before and considering how much gift wrap can cost, I was very pleased to find such a good source for inexpensive Christmas wrap supplies.  Actually, I might have gone a little crazy because of the deals.  I made my husband get a second shopping cart and end result?  I am probably set for Christmas bags for the next 5, um, *cough* 10 years.   Anyway, this year, I've already printed up some personalized stickers so after shopping, I can now quickly stuff my purchases into bags, stick a label on them and they will be ready for delivery.

While my gift wrap assembly line set up is convenient, it is not very creative or special.  It feels very impersonal.  I know extra time is hard to come by so it isn't always possible to do something special, but when it is possible, it can be really nice. So while searching for Thanksgiving ideas on, I looked around for some cool gift wrap ideas and found plenty involving recycling as an added bonus.

From Family Fun magazine, cut off top cereal box tabs, wrap the box with gift wrap using a big extra to go inside the box, punch holes for ribbon and fill with tissue paper.  Easy.

 Inspiration & Image: Family Fun Magazine
Cereal & snack boxes can be easily converted into regular gift boxes.

3-D star made from old cereal box.

 Image & Idea from

A different version of the same craft idea, also made from an old cereal box.

Got some extra CDs lying around? How about making them into tree ornaments or gift wrap adornment.  Glue on a cutout from an old Christmas card, trim with fake snow and done.
Idea and Image from

These recycled cd ornaments are for sale from a European vendor. Once you have a template, I don't think they'd be too hard to cut.
Ribbon & gift label. Viola.
This toilet paper roll was covered in scrapbook paper, one end was glued shut and the other tied with ribbon.

 Image & Idea from
Favor Boxes by Martha Stewart.

Homemade Christmas crackers done with recycled toilet paper rolls, craft paper, ribbon & trinkets.

TP roll turned into a gift wrap wreath. Could add glitter & a ribbon to make the same idea an ornament.

A large Christmas wreath made of TP roll segments.

Both images and ideas from

A different cute recycled TP roll wreath.
Old newspaper, paperback, magazine pages & sheet music can be recycled as gift wrap. Here, the plain black & white newspaper print is livened up with red & white twine and a large initial gift tag.
Image from

Newspaper or old maps can make great gift wrap design material.

Newspaper and felt scraps can be cut and wound into rosettes to decorate gifts.
Image & Instructions from
These light bulbs have been recycled as hanging flower vases, but they could also be used as Christmas tree ornaments.  I saw someone used twine to wrap a bulb and then topped it with a small stick to make it look like a pear which could made an interesting rustic ornament.

White buttons and a scrap of ribbon can be used to make a snowman design gift tag.
Buttons, doilies, newspaper, twine and pretty bright ribbon combine for a simple sweet design.

These vinyl record cupcake stands are for sale on  Pretty cute idea I think.
etsy store selling vinyl stands
Here someone used old vinyl records as chargers for an 80s theme party.  If you have old vinyl that will not play anymore, before throwing them into the trash, how about spray painting them gold or silver and turning them into holiday chargers?
Different centerpiece.   Recycled wine corks placed in old glass flower container surrounding a candle in another smaller glass container.
I'm not sold on the kitschy plastic grapes, but the wreath itself is really cute imo.  I think this would be fun year round actually.
Recycling from nature.  Here they use dried orange slices, raffia and brown paper for a rustic, simple and very pretty gift wrap.  I've seen people use twigs, leaves and pine cones in a similar way.

Hope you enjoyed the ideas and found some inspiration for making your holiday season a little greener this year.

Written by Eldarose

You may also be interested in the Sunburst Tree Topper I made from recycled items which you can see HERE

Monday, November 21, 2011

RE-ceiving Guests: Thanksgiving table Part II

For this table, I used a white tablecloth which most people have available.  Using the same napkins as the previous Thanksgiving table post, I changed the look of the table by using wooden deer napkin rings which are available from several vendors on-line.  Search for wooden African napkin rings.  The salad plates have a woodland scene with a deer in the middle.  These I found at Tuesday Morning.  The gold chargers and the brass goblets add a more formal look to the table.  I have gold votive candle holders for each place setting and individual bud vases.  I filled the bud vases with white flowers.  The apples can be used as place card holders.  You can either write each name with a white or gold marker on the apple itself or attach a place card to the stem.  The centerpiece is fruit which will be removed once the Thanksgiving dinner begins.

Close up of crystal and brass goblets.

Close up of Woodland salad plate, Wedgewood dinner plate & gold chargers.

RE-ceiving Guests: Thanksgiving table

For this tablescape, I used wicker chargers from Wal-Mart which are usually available in the summer.  The brown bamboo silverware is from Tuesday Morning as is the gold turkey napkin.  The dark taupe placemats and napkins are from Horchow.  The white dinner plate is Wedgewood Colisseum and the tortoise shell glasses are from Kohl's.  The center piece is a wood bowl filled with miniature pumpkins.  I never worry too much about centerpieces for Thanksgiving because the food takes center stage at my family's Thanksgiving table.  We always serve family style and the food is placed down the middle.  For this table, I used two napkins, folding the taupe linen napkin to serve as a background for the embroidered turkey napkin.

Close up of tortoise shell goblets.
Close up of Woodland salad plate, Wedgewood dinner plate & wicker chargers from Wal-Mart.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

RE-tail Therapy: Austin Junior League's Christmas Affair

Santa's Elves were working overtime at the Junior League of Austin's Christmas Affair yesterday. The Christmas Affair is one of the organization's biggest fundraising events and is held at Palmer Auditorium. My friends and I go every year. This year was great yet again.  Above a sweet ice blue & white Christmas display.  Plenty of merchants sell Christmas decorations at this event.
Bright blue, green, pink and cobalt blue with white designs in this shop are currently very "in."  I was tempted to buy some cups but I refrained because I have no idea what I would do with them.  Still I was tempted because the colors and design were just so pretty.

Same store with picture frames in similar bright designs.  The poncho is also really in this season.

My friends, Kathleen & Linda, modeling a blue coat with white embroidery that we thought our friend, Martha, would like.  The coat was very different because the tint increased from the top to the hem, so it was ice blue on the top and a dark grey on the bottom.
Plenty of rustic Christmas decorations were for sale.  The Santas here were beautifully crafted.

Artwork from P. Carter Carpin's Serious Whimsey in Richmond, Virginia.  All I could think when I saw this display was that I wanted it all.  I LOVED the colors and the designs.  The small pieces were $70, some of the larger pieces were about $150.  The prints were I think $30.
I loved the turquoise birds on the brown backgrounds. Some of the pieces had small print designs within the shapes to add even more visually.  

My friend, Kathleen, modeling a child's knitted cap shaped like an owl for us.  We were choosing between the 3 equally precious color combinations  (turquoise and pink, pink and black and pink and green.)  Kathleen bought one for her daughter and I bought one for my niece.  Later we saw the same hats were for sale at another booth for slightly less (don't you hate it when that happens?), but the color combinations there were not as vibrant, so I think we both felt our purchases were better and worth the price difference.

I loved this Christmas display.  The silver and green was very appealing, but then there were more aged looking pieces mixed in that really pulled me in.

These "aged" models must have been all the rage at Market, because they were at 3 different stores.  Here they were $18.99 each which was the least expensive I saw them.  I was tempted to buy one, but then I remembered how I was trying to unclutter my house and I reconsidered.  I am toying with the idea of going back for one of these today.  I still want one even though I need another knick knack like a hole in the head.

Very different dresses for little girls from Ga Ga in Austin.  These dresses have vintage scarves as part of their skirt design with tulle underlay. Very precious.  They run around $98 and no two are alike. Since this store is in Austin, if I decide one of these dresses is a must-have, I will visit their store in South Austin.

A pretty white and silver Christmas display.  White and silver displays were popular.  Feathers were very popular this year, too. Feather pins, feather Christmas ornaments, feather headbands etc. 

Your Heart Giftique in San Antonio, Texas.  A close up of some of the jewelry and hair accessories they were selling in front of the booth.

A pair of turquoise and brown cowboy boots from the same booth.  Aren't they beautiful?

A new santo for sale at the booth for Southwestern Elegance in Kerrville, Texas.