November 30, 2011

Deck the Halls: Customized Vintage Instax Album!

I take a lot of photos this time of year. Mostly they're either on my cell or with my instax, since they're the simplest to carry around in my purse. What about you?

When I bought Cory the Instax Wide for Christmas in 2009, I didn't realize how big the actual camera would actually be, but we are smitten with it nonetheless. I always try to find new ways to use our instax shots, but knowing me, I will have more photos than what I know what to do with!

I was thrifting a few weeks ago and found a vintage photo album that was designed to hold small photos and I knew it would be perfect for our instax wide photos! Here's how I personalized it for our upcoming seasonal photos!

Materials needed:
  • vintage photo album
  • scrap faux metal shelf liner (contact paper) or whatever color you have
  • scissors
  • Sharpie/permanent marker
Step 1:
  • Before you start actually writing on the contact paper, try practicing your lettering. I found out the hard way and went through... a lot... of contact paper ;).
  • Write out whatever you want the cover to say that will represent what is inside. Mine says "Our Holiday 2011" because I know I want to only store holiday photos in it.

Step 2:
  • Begin carefully cutting out your letters.
  • As you go, peel off the back of stickers and place them appropriately on your cover. This will allow you to keep an eye on spacing and adjusting your letter size if needed.

Step 3:
  • Take a look at your customized album! Pretty!

Step 4:
  • Snap a few photos and place inside! Don't forget to write your captions!

This sure would make a pretty pairing for that special someone you're gifting an Instax camera to this holiday!


P.S. Here are other Deck the Hall posts!

November 29, 2011

Deck the Halls: Cranberry Apple Pie

I always try to change up what part of the meal I bring to each of my family gatherings. Most of the time, I try to keep it simple, but add an unconventional twist. Today's Deck the Halls post is a delicious recipe for cranberry-apple pie!

This year for Thanksgiving, I was asked to make a dessert, but wanted to go beyond the customary dishes. I checked out the local market and found a crate of delicious, vibrant red, organic cranberries. Those beauties inspired me to toss them into an apple pie recipe I had sitting around and the end result was absolutely delicious! Each family member raved over how perfectly sweet and tart the pie tasted; a perfect match to the savory main course dishes!

  • pack of Pillsbury pie crusts (Crusts and I don't always get along... they fail nearly every time. If you have the talent, feel free to use your own pie crust recipe!)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 big apples (Gala or Granny Smith) peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries (you can supplement dried cranberries if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small triangles 
  • 1 sheet of aluminum foil (about 12 x12)


1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. 
2. Button the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Place the bottom pie crust to fit in the pie plate.
3. In a large bowl, mix the sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add sliced apples, cranberries, and orange juice. Mix well so the apples and cranberries are covered by sugar mixture.
4. Spoon fruit mixture into pie plate on the crust. Be sure to adjust apples and cranberries so they fit into the plate snug. Once you have the fruit in the plate, place the triangles of butter throughout the dish. 
5. Lay your second crust over the top of your pie and pinch the edges to the original crust. Be sure to pinch the crust all the way around.
6. Place piece of aluminum foil on the oven rack, and then place pie plate on top. This will catch any juice drippings.
7. Bake pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
8. Reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 35 minutes. 
9. Remove from oven once the juices begin to bubble on the edge of the crust and the crust is a delicious golden brown.

Let cool for about 2 hours before you serve the pie. This will allow all the juices to finish cooking.

We loved pairing this with a rich vanilla bean icecream, but I'm sure it would be delicious just by itself!


November 28, 2011

Deck the Halls: 4 Ways to Pom-Pom your Holiday!

Today's Deck the Halls post is all about pom-poms! Fun!

Over the last few years, pom-poms have become a holiday staple. Each year I see more innovative ways to use pom poms as gifts, accessories, and gift wrappings.

Today I want to share 4 ways you can incorporate pom-poms into your holiday! They're all pretty easy, so feel free to go grab a little helper!

Part 1:
Make Pom-Poms
  • Use pom-pom makers to make whatever shapes and sizes of pom-poms you like. (Don't have pom-pom makers or don't know how to use them? Go here for a quick tutorial!)
  • be sure to leave about a 5inch tail of yarn for each pom pom.
Now, let's turn them into something pretty!

  • Make an array of pom-poms in whatever shapes and sizes you like best. I chose to make my pom-poms in traditional holiday colors: burgandy, green, and cream.
  • Collect a few spare findings-- hair barretts and 1 inch nickle pins
Pom-Pom Gift Wrap
Need to add a little cuteness to your wrapped gift?

Step 1:
Wrap your gift with your desired material.
  • Take a long strand of yarn (to match the pom-pom or not) and fold it in half.
  • Use the doubled-stand to wrap around your package.
  • Continue to tie off the yarn as if you were tying a bow, but tie a regular square knot to secure the yarn.

Step 2:
  • Use one of the extended strands of your pom-pom to go under the yarn on the package.
  • Tie a square knot tightly (as if you were tying your shoes) and slide your pom-pom in place.

Step 3:
  • Place your pretty package under the tree!

Pom Pom Statement Hair Piece
(This is my favorite! I can't wait to wear mine to a holiday party in a few weeks!)

For this project, you will need a small or medium sized barrette and  3 small pom poms (or enough to cover the barrette)

Step 1:
  • Open the barrette and feed one of the pom-pom's yarns through the hole on the right side.
  • Once you have it positioned closely to the barrette, tie two square knots to secure it in place.
  • Cut the strands of yarn remaining off, only leaving enough to hold the knot.
Step 2:
  • Follow the same instructions for the middle pom-pom, but instead of sliding the yarn through the hole, you are going to slide it through the middle barrette portion.

Step 3:
Follow the same instructions for the last pom-pom, but instead, slide the yarn through the last hole on the end.


Pom-Pom Brooch

Maybe you're not into statement pieces, but the idea of pom-poming your outfit is appealing. You can pom pom on a smaller scale by making one of these super-easy brooches!

You only need 1 pom-pom and 1 pin.

Step 1: 
Feed one stand of yarn through each of the outer holes in the pin.

Step 2:
Slide the pin so it snugly fits against the pom-pom.
Tie square knots to secure the pom pom and pin together.
Cut the extra length of yarn off.
(*NOTE* You could always place a dab of hot glue to secure this even more)

Step 3:
Pin this brooch to your favorite sweater, cardigan, or bag. You could even clip this onto your gift packaging as well!

Simple Pom-Pom Ornament
So you have all those pom-poms left over and no where to put them? Not a problem.

Step 1:
  • Take your left over pom pom. Hold the two strands of yarn apart.
  • Begin tying a square knot with about 2 inches of yarn between the knot and the pom-pom.
  • Tie another square knot to secure it.
  • Cutt off remaining yarn strands.
Step 2:
Hang your new ornament from your tree!

Want more pom-pom fun?


November 27, 2011

Hi there!

Hi there, everyone!

Over the past month or so I have had quite a few new followers on both Twitter and the blog, so I wanted to have a proper welcome.

(waves hand really fast)

Welcome aboard this crocheting train! I'm happy to have you in my little corner of the world and I want to make you feel especially welcome.

Here's a little ditty about who I am and what I do with my time.

This is a photo of me and my husband celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary this past July.

This is the story behind the name Donna's Decembers. I can't believe how far it has come in just 2 short years.

Love to read? Me too. Check out my book recommendations.

Planning a road trip? I love to travel, especially short weekend trips. They're the best.

Other than that, I really hope you enjoy your time here.
Please introduce yourself in the comments! Where are you from? Are you a crafter? What is your craft of choice?


P.S. There will be a Deck the Halls post every day this week! Come back for more holiday DIYs, recipes, and inspiration! It's going to be so good!

Deck the Halls: Felt Light Bulb Ornament DIY

I'm back with another ornament DIY for our Deck the Halls series!

This isn't as simple-minded, but the end result is so cute you won't be able to pass it up. Today I'm going to show you how to make a felt light bulb!

Materials you will need:
  •  colorful sheets of felt--you can get at least 3 ornaments from each piece.
  • pencil or felt-tip pen
  • white piece of tissue paper or tracing paper
  • embroidery floss
  • scissors
  • needle
  • NOT PICTURED: Poly-fil fiber stuffing

Step 1: Using your tissue paper or tracing paper and pencil, trace a simple light bulb stencil. I used this stencil for free.

Step 2: Cut out your light bulb stencil and use your felt tip pen or pencil to trace it on to your chosen piece of felt. Be sure you trace it so the point of the bulb is near the end of the piece of felt. (as shown below)

 Step 3: Fold your felt so you will have two sides to your light bulb. Once your felt is folded, begin cutting out your light bulb, leaving the bottom end as a fold.
(I wasn't very careful about my edges, but if you want you could use standard sewing pins to help guide your cutting.)

 Step 4: Thread the needle with the color of your choice and tie off with a square knot (I went with pink because I wanted the stitches to stand out). Begin stitching by feeding the needle through the inside of the fold and then out--this will hide your square knot. It is nice when someone lends a paw to help out with this step.

Step 5: Begin stitching across the "metal" part of your light bulb. I back-stitched for this entire project. Need a back-stitch refresher? Go here.
When you're back-stitching across to mock the metal ribs on an actual light bulb, make sure you don't stitch the fold down--you will need that space for your hook later.

Step 6: Continue back-stitching around the bulb until you have about 1.5 inches remaining.

 Step 7: Grab your poly-fil and begin stuffing a little into the light bulb. Be sure you don't over-stuff as we still need to sew the light bulb closed!

Step 8: Hold the sides of the light bulb closed to continue back-stitching the bulb closed.

Step 9: Once you are finished stitching, bind of your thread using the technique in this post.

With the remaining thread on your needle, slide the needle through the fold of the light bulb to tie a knot for your ornament hook.
Hang and display!

If you follow this DIY and post your results, leave me a link in the comments!

P.S. Want to see more Deck the Halls posts? Go here.

November 26, 2011

Deck the Halls: Easy Garland Ornaments

I'm so excited to present you with my Deck the Halls series! December is a very special month for me as it is the month of my grandmother (Donna) and I shared our birthdays! I have been doing a lot of brainstorming and thinking about making this December EXTRA special and I think you will like what you see!

Check back every day between now and December 31st for a little something to help you cozy your house, warm your bellies, or prepare a gift! 

Today I want to show you a super easy DIY project you can whip up in a matter of minutes. This DIY would also be easy to do with a house full of cousins or out-of-town guests who need something to keep them occupied!

Materials Needed:
  • tinsel or garland of your color choice
    • I went with a muted gold & silver combo from Target, (my main decorating colors for Christmas & New Years). It was only $6.99 for 12 feet, but you could get bargain tinsel at your local dollar store.
  • scissors
  • clear plastic ornaments from your local craft shop.
    • I picked up a handful of these from Michael's in all shapes and sizes.
    •  At most, I think I spent $10 on 10 of them.
    • (warning: avoid using clear glass ornaments as you run the risk of breaking them) 

Step #1:
  • Gently pull the metal clasp at the top of your ornament so it slides out from the plastic

Step 2:
  • Using your scissors, cut about a 6 inch piece of garland. You will make a little bit of a mess while doing this.
  • Slide one end of the garland into the plastic ornament.
  • Use your scissors to push the rest of the garland in to the ornament gently.
    • NOTE: If you're using glass ornaments, please be VERY careful during this part.
 Step 3:
  • Make sure your garland is all the way stuffed down into the ornament. If you don't think it is full enough, feel free to add more to your liking!

Step 4: 
  • Pinch together the metal prongs on the top of the ornament and gently slide it back into the plastic ornament.

Step 5:
  • Hang the ornament on your tree or tie it to a wrapped gift as a little extra!