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Home Sweet Home

Decorate for Winter with These 7 DIY Crafts

When the holidays end and the decorations go back into storage, the house can feel quite empty! Fortunately, many fun and easy winter décor ideas make for simple DIY projects that the whole family can enjoy. 

From rustic wooden centrepieces to soft sweater upcycle ideas, these seven projects will transition your home from cold to cozy in no time.

Macrame Snowflakes

A cozy decorating option during any season, macrame creations are especially welcoming in the winter months. If you’re new to macrame, try this beginner’s tutorial here and stock up on the necessary supplies. Once you have a general idea of the process, follow this guide to make a lovely macrame snowflake. You can vary the size and colour of these creations and display several in your living room or entryway! Macrame is sturdy, so you can easily store these snowflakes with your other holiday décor when the season is over and pull them out again next year.

Mason Jar Snow Globes

Mason jars are popular these days—from canning to home décor, it seems everyone is using them! You can find jars at most grocery and craft stores or simply recycle any you’ve received from friends and family during the holidays. A winter snow globe is a great way to add a bit of whimsy to your side tables, and you can easily repurpose any small holiday decorations (such as trees from a Christmas village) to use in these creations. Here’s an easy tutorial for making a snow globe that uses clear Elmer’s glue—the added viscosity means the glitter will float down more slowly, adding to the beauty and fun! You can add a personalized touch by displaying a photo inside the snow globe instead of small decorations. Choose a wintery photo memory for an added seasonal touch!

Sweater Pillows

Adding texture to your living space is one of the best ways to make the inside feel warm even when the outside is freezing. Instead of purchasing new pillows or throws, you can upcycle an old sweater (or thrift store find!) and turn it into a pillowcase. There are several easy-to-follow tutorials here (using sewing machines or just stitching by hand), so find a sweater that matches your wintery colour scheme and get to work!

Photo: FreshSplash via gettyimages.com

Frosted Bottles

Create various tablescapes and mantle decorations using frosted bottles as the base; the glass will resemble snow and can hold twigs, evergreen branches, or even taper candles. If you cluster several bottles of different shapes and sizes together, you’ll create a layered look that helps add depth and dimension to your space. This tutorial uses wine bottles as a starting point, so don’t be afraid to use any colour of glass for your display—a primer spray will cover anything! Epsom salt is an inexpensive and easy way to get that textured snow look on the outside, but you could use white glitter or even confetti for a different finish.

Log Candle Holder

After your holiday centrepieces and candle holders are packed away, replace them with a rustic DIY log candle holder. Almost any log will work, but something with a flat side or end is best for display, and birch is a lovely wood that’s easy to sand and cut. You can create a long piece for holding tea lights or try something smaller that could hold a single candle in the middle of additional wintery items for a nice centrepiece. Spraying the logs with paint or glitter can add an extra touch of sparkle!

Snowflake Garland

Garlands are an easy way to make a big statement in your living space. For a wintry feel, make a garland of snowflakes to hang from the mantle or around window frames. You can create snowflake shapes and colours using craft sticks or purchase snowflake ornaments/foam shapes to string with miniature twinkle lights for an illuminated look. Be creative in your space and hang your garland vertically instead of horizontally if you need a focal point in a bare corner.

Snowflake Coasters

Sometimes you want more subtle décor in a space, so adding small pops of interest around the room is a great way to decorate without going overboard. These snowflake coasters are not only decorative but useful as well! You could easily incorporate a different design—pine trees, mittens, hot cocoa—the choices are endless!

If you’re looking for some winter DIY décor inspiration, start with one of these projects today!

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Home Sweet Home

How to Create a Photo Wall Collage

A wall collage or gallery wall is a great way to display your favourite photos and memories in your home. It may seem daunting, but if you follow a few simple tips and tricks, you’ll have a professional-looking focal wall in no time.

Start with a theme.
Wall collages look tighter and more cohesive when the elements fit together around a unifying theme. Whether it’s family vacations, nature shots or a special event like a wedding, pick one subject to curate your photos and stick to it.

Use quality photos.
While taking photos with your phone is convenient, once you blow up and print them, these images won’t be of high enough quality to display like artwork. For first-rate photos that look fantastic in print, try a camera from Canon. Available at Henry’s, the brand has a range of cameras for all levels of expertise that give you more control over lighting, autofocus and creative possibilities.

It’s all about lines.
What’s the secret to sharp, Pinterest-worthy wall collage? Make sure your frames or canvases share similar lines across the space. Imagine a grid going across the space, with different pieces sharing a few grid lines. For example, the outer edge of the frame at the bottom-left corner should line up with the inner edge of the wooden letter in the top-left corner.

Mix up the aesthetic.
Variety is appealing to the eye, so it’s important to incorporate some diversity into your collage, whether it’s a statement piece like an antler set, quotes on wood blocks or a range of frame sizes. If you want to stick to only photos, make sure to mix it up to create visual interest and keep the eye engaged.

Test out your layout.
Practice the “measure twice, cut once” rule but for hanging. Start by experimenting with a few layout options on the floor before even thinking about hammering a nail. Play around with it, snap some pictures and take a day or two to sit on it. You can even try putting the outline of your layout on the wall in painter’s tape. Once you’ve decided, a level is your best friend.

www.newscanada.com

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Home Sweet Home

Tips for Outdoor Decorating

Before heading outside for holiday decorating, have a plan in mind so you’ll be prepared to deck the halls safely. Here are some tips to consider:

Look up and around
When installing lights, be mindful of your surroundings and locate overhead powerlines. They may be hidden within trees. Always keep you and your decorating tools such as ladders and extension poles three metres away from powerlines. Electricity can arc and direct contact is not required for serious injury.

Add colour
Lights come in all shapes and colours. Consider a palette that goes with the outside of your home and even the neighbourhood. You can collaborate with your family and neighbours on a fun look this year.

Plugin safely
Make sure that your electrical décor is approved or certified and for outdoor use. Remember, it’s best to plug electrical decorations into GFCI-protected outlets. This ensures protection from a potential fault with decorations.

If you don’t have GFCIs, you can use a portable one or hire a licensed electrical contracting business to install one permanently. And remember to ask for the business’ ECRA/ESA licence number to ensure they do the work safely and legally. It should be on their website, trucks, quotes and business cards.

Green your cheer
While it is fun to brighten up outside, be mindful of energy use. Set a reminder or use an approved automatic timer to turn décor on and off.

www.newscanada.com

Categories
Home Sweet Home

Stand Out With These Unique Holiday Decorating Ideas

Celebrate the holidays in style! These holiday decorations are classy yet bold and are sure to bring out the “ooos” and “ahhhs,” and maybe even a round of applause! 

Thinking beyond the traditional reds and greens and trying new colours will help you stand out. Plus, you can surprise your family with decorations in the most unexpected places in your home. These unique and warmly wonderful decorations are sure to catch the attention of even the most discriminating holiday elves.

Let it Snow

No matter where you live, cascading Christmas lights will be the centrepiece of your front yard. Most options have LED lights that turn on and off in sequence, creating the illusion of falling snow. You can connect strings of lights together, and many options are waterproof for outdoor use. That way, you can also use them on your patio or in your garden.  

You don’t need a big budget to have some of the best decorations on the block! These Do It Yourself Christmas Light Balls in multiple sizes and colours are replicas of balls seen at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Made from a little wire and LED lights, the balls look amazing when randomly scattered across your lawn, with or without snow! 

Magical Memories 

Giant outdoor ornaments will delight guests of all ages! Festive, fun, and larger than life, most options have a flat base for sturdy positioning on your front porch. No one will be able to walk past giant, life-size ornaments without taking a second look. Plus, they make an excellent backdrop for family photos. 

Nothing is more awe-inspiring than a shooting star. This two-foot Shooting Star Christmas Light has a 20-foot tail illuminated by 400 clear mini lights. The tail has five separate strands of lights, creating the illusion of motion. Create some magic by hanging between two trees. 

Create a cozy spot for reading a holiday classic in your window seat with a gauzy drape strung with LED lights. 

Trim the … Stairs?! 

Many garlands available are prelit and can be mounted on your staircase without requiring extension cords or proximity to an outlet. They often come with white LED lights, berry clusters, pinecones, and red velvet bows. Some options are even equipped with a timer that turns the lights on at the same time every day!

Self-adhesive stair stickers are fun for everyone! Just peel and stick! You can find these at many retailers and choose one of several designs, including snowmen, Santa, trees, and reindeer. You are sure to garner a smile every trip upstairs!

Photo: imaginima via gettyimages.com

Trimming the Tree Extraordinarily

Make your tree stunningly blue-tiful! Choose blue holiday lights instead of the usual red, green, or white. You can also look for different shapes such as balls, finials, onions, ginger jars, and teardrops, plus a mix of glossy, matte, and translucent finishes. 

You might also want to go with pink or purple lights or ornaments for an even more stand-out look!

Hold onto precious memories of your children with a handmade keepsake ornament. Easy and fun to make, many options allow you to preserve your child’s handprint on a holiday-themed ornament. They are sure to become life-long family treasures!

Holiday Love in the Least Likely Places

Decorate your table with holiday-themed table runners and placemats. Many options on the market include all your holiday favourites, including Santas, reindeers, snowmen, and more. 

Even your bathroom can get into the spirit with things like holiday-scented candles, decorative towels and soap dishes, or even a Christmas-y shower curtain!   

Mantles with Flair

Transform the lanterns you already have into magical holiday decorations for your mantle. Fill your vintage lanterns with pinecones, candles, greens, and even your child’s drawing of Santa or a pretty holiday card. 

You can also add flameless wax candles of all colours, shapes, and sizes to create a warm glow with a faux flame that mimics the light of a real candle.  

Now that you’ve added some fun, unique, and creative decorations to your collection, you are ready to start decorating. Put on some festive music, pour yourself some hot chocolate or a favourite coffee drink, and let the spirit of the holidays begin!

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Women's Health

Feng Shui: Create Peace & Balance for a Stress-Free Home

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that uses energy, balance, and natural elements to bring harmony to a space or environment. Many of these elements have become a popular basis for home decorating and organizing. We spend a lot of time in our homes and ask a lot of our spaces. We want them to welcome guests—and be a restful space where we sleep and relax and a place to inspire us when we need to be productive. 

Below, we explain basic Feng Shui concepts and some easy ways to create a balanced, stress-free home that meets the goals for each space.

Qi 

At the heart of Feng Shui is Qi, the energy that connects all things. In Feng Shui, the goal is to allow Qi to flow through your home. This is done by:

  • Designing a free path from your front door into your home. 
  • Keeping your home free from clutter.
  • Having a minimal amount of furniture.
  • Letting natural air in whenever possible.

The Five Elements

Another key component of Feng Shui is the five elements: earth, metal, water, wood, and fire. Incorporating each of these elements in your home may bring a sense of balance and harmony. 

Photo: GSPictures via gettyimages.com

Here is a brief description of what each element adds to your home and life along with examples of how to bring each element to your house:

  • Earth is said to bring stability and help you and your home feel grounded. Decorate with items in earth tones (browns, greens, rusted red, grey, beige), photos of landscapes, pottery, or containers with sand, crystals, rocks or stone. 
  • Metal is associated with beauty, joy, and efficiency, as well as focus and clarity. You can incorporate metal with furniture, planters, sculpture, frames, and even throws and pillows with silver, brass, or bronze-coloured materials. 
  • Water assists with intuition, abundance, movement, and cleansing. Bring in these elements with black and dark blue colours, calming photos or artwork of water, aquariums or fish bowls, mirrors, objects with wavy textures, or water features like fountains. 
  • Wood represents flexibility, growth, new life, and health. This is best incorporated with live plants, bamboo, and wood furniture, as well as green, blue, and teal colours. 
  • Fire ignites our inspiration, passions, emotions, and action. The colour red brings in this element, as do fireplaces, candles, and lighting. Red, in particular, should be used sparingly and not in rooms where you want to create a sense of calm. 

Negative Symbolism

Just like we want to fill our home with items and colours that bring a sense of peace and calm, we want to remove items that provide negative energy.

  • Emotionally charged objects in your home cause negative energy that can lead to stress or overwhelm. This includes clutter or that gift someone gave you that you don’t like but feel bad throwing or giving away. Unfinished projects, reminders of the past, and other people’s belongings can also be emotionally charged.
  • Mirrors in the wrong places can have negative symbolism and wreak havoc on the energy in your home. According to Designer Katrina Lee, the 5 Places Not to Hang a Mirror include across from the front door where the chi will be sent right back out and in the bedroom, which can invite a third party into your room! 

Are you ready to create peace and balance throughout your home with these Feng Shui ideas? Minor adjustments using these ideas and perspectives can make a huge difference in how you feel about and in your home.

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Home Sweet Home

Rich Colors and Natural Textures: 7 Fall Centrepiece Ideas

As you begin to decorate your home for fall, try a simple DIY centrepiece for your table this year. By focusing on the colours and textures of the season, you can easily incorporate natural items and décor that you already have to achieve a stunning look for less! 

Here are seven easy ideas to inspire your creations.

Glass Cloche

The best thing about using a glass cloche for a centrepiece is that it’s easy to switch the décor year-round without much effort! Invest in a medium to large cloche so that you can style the inside with a variety of items. For fall, use small pumpkins, berries, faux or real leaves, and acorns. You can also add candles to mix up the height of the items. Experiment until you have the look you’d like—don’t be afraid to stack pieces and fill the cloche up towards the top if you’d like a more abundant look. Place it on your table and enjoy the elevated feel you’ve given to these everyday fall items.

Mini Pumpkin Floral Vase

Flowers make a great centrepiece year-round, but to add a festive fall touch to the arrangement, try using mini pumpkins as a vase! Simply cut out the top and clean the inside, then fill with some water and cut flowers. Change the water daily to avoid mould. You can use white pumpkins for a neutral arrangement or use traditional orange to really highlight the season’s colours. Choose flowers that are on the smaller side, like mums, so that they don’t overpower the mini pumpkins.

Candle Wreaths

Try these easy wreaths if you’re looking for an easy way to dress up the candlesticks or pillars that you have on hand. Using a faux greenery stem (eucalyptus is a nice fall foliage), cut lengths that will make a circle slightly larger than the base of your candles, then use floral wire to attach in place. Paired with gold or orange candles, these simple wreaths will add the perfect pop of life to your tablescape. Try incorporating candles of varying heights to give more interest to the display.

White Pumpkins with Affirmations

Sometimes the simplest décor helps your message stand out best! If you want to emphasize positive affirmations, gratitude sayings, or even display some autumn poetry verses, this easy white pumpkin centrepiece is a great option. Small white pumpkins are easy to find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market this time of year. Arrange them on a cutting board, tray, or fall-coloured table runner and attach these leaf tags with your words of choice. Need space for longer writings? Print out the text and display it in a gold frame nestled amongst the white pumpkins.

Photo: CatLane via gettyimages.com

Amber Bottles with Wheat

One way to incorporate the rich colours of autumn into your centrepiece is by using amber bottles. The deep orange-brown-gold tone of this glass is the perfect backdrop for otherwise neutral décor like wheat stalks or other dried grasses. The amber bottles are also an ideal vessel for miniature lights. They create a night glow that’s cozy and warm, perfect for celebrating the season.

Oranges and Pinecones

For a simple, easy, and colourful fall centrepiece using only items around your house, try displaying small oranges, pinecones, and some candles down the middle of your table. The fruit gives that brilliant pop of colour while also being an unexpected item—we usually see orange show up in leaves or pumpkins this time of year. The contrast between this bright colour and the darker, earthy pinecones lends balance to your table, and candles dotted throughout will add a welcome glow in the evening.

Farmer’s Market Basket

Celebrate the abundance of fall by showcasing your local harvest as a centrepiece. A wooden crate or basket makes the perfect base since it won’t compete with the colours of your fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Using kale or other greens to layer on the bottom and sides of the basket helps add some depth to the arrangement, while pops of colour from oranges, apples, pomegranates, and pumpkins add visual interest. If you have space left, add small jars of water and some cut flowers between the food.

No matter the occasion this season, you can easily create a fall-inspired centrepiece yourself using things around your home and yard as inspiration. Try one or more of these creations today!