Easy DIY Holiday Crafts using Free Things you have around the house or yard

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Every holiday, there is the desire to dress up our home for the holidays. But I don't want to spend a bunch of money on decorations - which for all intents and purposes are "nonessential."

So we rotate our decor items, mix and match, re-purpose, and find things from nature to add to our regular decor.

Here are a few ideas for you:
 This is a cookie stand that we fill with different items each season. The pinecones (free) are always present. We spritz them with essential oils to scent the room. For Christmas we add various ornaments, candles, and gold baubles. In the fall, we add little pumpkins and gourds. For spring/summer we add little lemons and limes, cherries, and oranges.
These black candle holders sit on our dining room table all year long. We just swap out the tops. For most of the year, they hold big cream colored candles. At Christmas time, they are topped with hurricane vases from the dollar store filled with salt and a couple inexpensive ornaments. Salt is an essential nutrient and something we store for emergencies. This is just one other way to store that important mineral.
 You can make easy and inexpensive decor by using pie and cake plates to hold all of the fun stuff that falls from trees - like acorns, walnuts, hickory nuts, etc. In this case, our pie stand is holding sweet gums and a few faux acorns.
 Chalkboard paint turns any ordinary frame into an endless supply of decorating ideas. This frame was $3 at goodwill. I change out the phrases regularly and decorate around it accordingly.
 Make a pine cone wreath or centerpiece. These are just pine cones from the forest - heated for a while in the oven to kill any crawlies, then hot glued together. Easy!
 When I trim our birch trees, there are always so many fantastic branches to discard. Some of them head to our burn pile. But many of them find their way inside. This vase is filled with nothing but birch branches. I also have a few of these with red twigged dogwood branches. They make a great statement piece.
 I filled this large vase with clothes pins for decorating in our laundry room. We don't have a clothesline, but I think pins are an essential tool to have "just in case." Why not use them as decor while they are being stored?

Here is  the same vase of pins next to our uber decorative cat food supply. Of course, pet food is not exciting, but it's an essential item. Why not keep it in the house (and away from mice!) by putting it in a nice lidded glass jar. Labeling it makes it seem like it's "supposed to be" out and on the counter. The vase next to the cat food is full of hickory nuts and dried out roses. I save all vases and flowers people give me. Some dry out well and are used for random decor. Some crumble and get composted. Either way - FREE.
 We had a scrap of wood laying around, so we made a maple leaf nail art. I plan to frame this eventually so it doesn't look so rough.
 We made this deer from wood that had fallen in our forest. He is mostly birch wood and the legs are random branches from the forest floor.

 Speaking of birch... When we trim our birch trees, I am left with a lot of branches. I use them to fill vases and add vertical interest to outside planters, but I also found they make other things too. I made this Minnesota out of birch branches cut into approximately 1 inch sections and glued together with hot glue. I like to pair it with my chalk board sign.
There are many things you could make with little bits of birch. My daughter made a few little deer. You can make ornaments, animals, fruit/vegetables, vase fillers, almost anything.
This velvet pumpkin was made with scraps from another project and filled with cotton balls.  I fill all plush things with cotton balls because they are useful and about the same cost as batting. In an emergency, I can cut them open and use the cotton. The stem is from a butternut squash we ate for Thanskgiving.
This pumpkin looked much better "from a distance" and in real life. You can see in the picture it is just a bunch of canning rings tied together with a red string. When I need my rings, I can just cut off the string. Until then, they are sitting in storage and might as well be used. The top is from another butternut squash (I love those.)

Key Power Most Compact 12000mAh Battery Power Bank

Monday, November 30, 2015

If anyone in your family uses a smartphone or tablet, then I'm going to recommend you put a  Key Power compact battery power bank on their list for the holidays.

We received a battery power bank for review purposes and couldn't be happier with it! It's much smaller than your typical battery bank but holds an impressive 12,000mAh of charge.

That's enough power to charge a smart phone multiple times and a tablet a couple times. The unit charges with a standard usb cord and uses usb outlets to charge your devices.

The product works great and is a life saver when you are out and about and out of battery! But... there are a couple complaints as well.

First - the product only comes with a usb to micro usb cord. I have another battery power bank that comes with a multi-cord for apple/old apple/and micro usb. Having options is always a good thing. Second - one of the outlets is 1A which is too slow. I think both outlets should be 2A.

But all in all, it's a great product for the price and super useful.

I received a free power bank for review purposes. No compensation was received and no affiliate links are found in this article.

Chloe Cubic Zirconia Earrings Review

Sunday, November 29, 2015

With the improvements in cubic zirconia products, I'm truly surprised that people buy diamonds at all anymore. I have seen really stunning pieces that look fabulous and cost almost nothing!

I recently had the chance to review a pair of CZ earrings and was super happy with them. They are big and bright. They sparkle in the light. They are affordable!

I would buy them again and would be happy to get or give them as a holiday gift.

I received a complimentary pair of earrings for review purposes. No compensation was received and no affiliate links can be found in this post.

Acacia Wood Curved Baguette Serving Tray Review

Friday, November 27, 2015

Earlier this fall, we received this acacia tray for review. It's a nice little tray - 12x5" with a beautiful dark wood stain. We used it to hold little mini pumpkins on our mantle and are now using it to hold Christmas candies.

It's a versatile tray - obviously useful for serving food, or as home decor. The craftsmanship is fantastic. If you decide to get one, keep it nice by only washing by hand. A dishwasher will split and destroy the wood.

I received this tray for free in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was received and no affiliate links can be found in this post.

UpNature Neem Oil Review

This fall, I put Neem oil on my Christmas list. I wanted to use it for it's insecticidal qualities. As luck would have it, I was offered a chance to review a bottle of neem oil. Since it's now winter, I am unable to inspect it's insect killing properties until the garden wakes up next spring.

I am, however, able to open it up and and try it's hair smoothing potential. Until I received this neem oil for review, I had no idea it was often used for improving frizzy and rough hair.

I'm not a huge fan of the scent.... but I did find it worked as well as any other hair oils (argon, coconut, olive) for smoothing out my hair. I like having multiple options. But I am most excited about this product's potential as a more eco-friendly pesticide. I will update this review in the summer when I have had a chance to employ it in the garden.

I received a free bottle of neem oil for review purposes. No compensation was received and no affiliate links are found in this article.

Suuchi custom made scarf review

As the weather turns colder, my interest in scarves grows exponentially. I have a ton of great scarves to wear for different occasions. I even tend to wear scarves in the spring and on cool summer nights. So when I had the chance to review a custom made scarf from Suuchi, I was excited about it.

Who wouldn't want to add another scarf to their collection. My experience picking out the scarf was daunting. I had a tough time navigating their website, but extremely great customer service using their chat window. Computers were not my friend that day, but the chat person helped straighten out all the issues and my scarf was ordered.

Within a few short days, the scarf arrived at my door. It's very well made and is nice and heavy. It's a huge scarf with a lot of versatility. I chose to wear it folded over in an infinity scarf fashion, but I noticed it was large enough to wear as a full head/neck/upper body scarf. There is a lot of fabric involved!

Overall, I am happy with the experience, but I would probably spend more time carefully considering the color options before making my selection. I ended up choosing a pattern I thought would look "professional" but when I had it in my closet I realized I had nothing that would match with it. I should have shopped for my closet instead of what I thought I wanted to look like at the moment.

If you are interested in shopping Suuchi - they make more than just scarves. They also make jackets, skirts, blouses, and dresses. If you run into trouble or have questions, their chat window is super responsive. Happy shopping!

I received a free scarf for review purposes. No compensation was received and no affiliate links can be found in this article.

1 lbs. of Rabbit Hole Hay 1st Cutting Timothy Hay Review

If you've ever had to find quality rabbit hay, then you know what a chore that can be. Just like everything else, there is a huge difference in quality and freshness. Buying at the big box stores generally results in a subpar experience. But travelling to a quality source isn't always ideal either.

Enter the internet. We had the chance to review the Rabbit Hole timothy hay - available almost anywhere with a few clicks and a few days to ship.

The first thing I noticed when I opened up the box was how fresh the hay smelled. The more you can smell something, the more nutrients it contains (protein/nitrogen). The same works in reverse when your rabbit turns this hay into manure. Rabbit manure smells less than horse or cow because it contains less available nitrogen. Of course, it will break down over time to release that nitrogen - making it an excellent (and non burning) plant/garden fertilizer.

This hay was very fresh and apparently tasty... I did not taste the hay, of course. But our rabbit was more than happy to go for it. And as all rabbits do, she turned it into a fantastic manure that will go to feed our various shrubs and plants.

I received a box of hay for free in return for an honest review. There was no compensation received and no affiliate links are included in this article.

Candle Holder with Romantic Love Quote Review

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

As an adult, one of the most exciting parts of the holiday seasons is decorating. Yes, really! I've found that it's quite fun to have holiday decor for each season. I pull out specific items for their holiday and then put them away again later. Most items pull double duty in some way or are practical yet stylish at the same time.

I have just a few thing for Valentine's day, so when I was offered the chance to review this romantic candle holder, I thought it was a good idea.

The holder is a silver color and says "Love is just a word until someone gives it meaning."

That's perfect for Valentine's day. It's also perfect for candle lit dinners, anniversaries, bubble baths, and other times when you want to set a romantic mood.

In person, and with a candle flickering inside, it's quite beautiful. I would recommend you try to find an LED flameless candle to go inside just so you don't burn or stain the inside of the holder. It's a nice decorative piece.

I received  this item at a discount in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation and no affiliate links are found in this post.

Kohree Set of 3 Melted Edge Flameless Ivory Wax Pillar Candles with Remote Control Review

When we moved out of our last house, I was shocked at what I found behind our picture frames. Soot! Actually, the soot was all around the picture frames and the wall behind was clean. I was mortified and spent hours cleaning it off.

From that day on, I refused to burn candles in our homes. Now, we also know about the detrimental health effects of burning chemical candles and so we stick to all electric lighting.

I have a wide variety of decorative electric candles - some controlled by remote, others not. So when I had the opportunity to review this set of flameless LED candles, I was pretty excited. These candles are made of wax and look "melted."

They are controlled by remote (and run by 3 AAA batteries). You can set them on a timer or just turn them off and on. They flicker.

They are a great set. They smell a little like crayon, but only if you put them to your nose. Otherwise, they are pretty much scent free.

Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.

Valdler Antique Wooden Embossed Flower Pattern Jewelry Box Storage Organizer Pack of 2 Review

Monday, November 23, 2015

As we prepare for the holidays, I'm at a loss at what to give kids who are more attached to screens than anything else. Toys no longer hold their appeal. So when I had the chance to review this set of 2 wooden antique boxes, I thought they would be make the perfect gift.

They are unique little boxes that fit inside each other. The antiquing gives it mystery and excitement - like a treasure box. They are well made and can be used for a myriad of things - keeping treasures, holding jewelry, love notes, rocks or gems.

They are quite small, but that means they will take up less shelf or cupboard space. You can buy larger ones and sets that come with 3 boxes instead of 2.

I am happy with the set and I think my children will see their potential as treasure boxes.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above in exchange for review from Giveaway Service website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Reference ID: pm2d3d8c545a23b695eb7bb60084baa5be
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