10 Amazing DIY New Year’s Decorations

If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year, then decorating your home is an important part of the preparations. A beautifully decorated home will help get your guests in the party mood and make it a night to remember. Instead of spending a fortune on store-bought decorations, why not have a go at creating your own using the following 10 ideas?

1. Make a piñata


Make a Piñata
Piñatas are not just for children’s birthday parties. Inflate a large balloon, and then cover it with paper mache. Leave it to dry out thoroughly overnight. Pop the balloon, and decorate the outside. Fill the paper mache with sweets, party favours or confetti. You can also create custom piñatas using balloons of different shapes and sizes.

2. Decorate your champagne bottles


Decorate Your Champagne Bottles
Make your champagne bottles extra special. Coat the outside of the bottles in glue before dipping them in glitter. You can also use glitter pens to decorate the outside of the bottles. Once the bottles are empty, they can be used as candle holders.

3. Design your own party hats


Design Your Own Party Hats
Party hats are an essential accessory for New Year’s Eve and are simple to make at home. Cut some large triangles out of colored paper, and fold them into a cone shape. Decorate the outside of the hats using glitter and tinsel. You could also write each person’s name on the hat and use it as a place setting.

4. Make drink stirrers


Make Drink Stirrers
Create some customized drink stirrers using just straws, pipe cleaners and tinsel. Bend your pipe cleaners into various shapes such as stars, numbers or letters, and wrap them in tinsel. Stick them onto straws before placing one inside each glass of champagne. You can also make candy cane stirrers to boost your festive mood.

5. Use origami to make string lights


Use Origami to Make String Lights
There are many easy-to-follow tutorials online that show you how to make 3D shapes such as stars or cubes using origami. Take some colored paper, and create whatever shapes you like. Decorate the outside of the shapes, and fix them onto a string of fairy lights to create custom string lights. Although it may take the time and effort to make this decoration, you will make beautiful string lights that will last for many years.

6. Recycle your Christmas decorations


Recycle Your Christmas Decorations
Instead of throwing away your old and damaged Christmas decorations, save them all up to create your New Year’s décor. You can cut up pieces of tinsel to make sparkly confetti or cover Christmas tree baubles in glitter. Make sure you recycle wrapping paper to make streamers.

7. Decorate some shot glasses


Decorate Some Shot Glasses
Purchase some paint pens in bright colors, and use them to decorate your shot glasses. If you have many glasses, you can paint each person’s name onto the glass. You can also decorate the glasses using glitter pens, tinsel or any other shiny material you have to hand.

8. Make a glitter ball


Make a Glitter Ball
Make a glitter ball to hang from your ceiling or use as a centerpiece. Purchase a cheap paper lantern from a store, and decorate it using glitter, tinsel or even aluminium foil. Alternatively, you could glue aluminium foil squares onto a balloon.

9. Hang a party backdrop on your wall


Hang a Party Backdrop on Your Wall
Create a party backdrop for your guests to take pictures in front of. Hang strips of tinsel in vertical lines across one wall to create your back drop. You could also glue large sequins to a big piece of cardboard and hang it on the wall. Take a Polaroid photo of each of your guests in front of the backdrop so you can present them with the photos at the end of the night as a keepsake.

10. Create a balloon ceiling


Create a Balloon Ceiling
Buy a small canister of helium and blow up enough balloons to cover your entire ceiling. Tie strings to the balloons and decorate the strings with glitter, stars and tinsel. Release the balloons so that they float up to form an eye-catching effect.

Making your own decorations is far more rewarding than simply purchasing ready ones from the store. You can also personalize them with the names of your guests or use any photos you have. Involving your kids in preparing the decorations will make a fun project for the whole family and is a great way to get them interested in arts and crafts. Do you have any other ideas to share with us?

10 Amazing DIY New Year’s Decorations

If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year, then decorating your home is an important part of the preparations. A beautifully decorated home will help get your guests in the party mood and make it a night to remember. Instead of spending a fortune on store-bought decorations, why not have a go at creating your own using the following 10 ideas?

1. Make a piñata


Make a Piñata
Piñatas are not just for children’s birthday parties. Inflate a large balloon, and then cover it with paper mache. Leave it to dry out thoroughly overnight. Pop the balloon, and decorate the outside. Fill the paper mache with sweets, party favours or confetti. You can also create custom piñatas using balloons of different shapes and sizes.

2. Decorate your champagne bottles


Decorate Your Champagne Bottles
Make your champagne bottles extra special. Coat the outside of the bottles in glue before dipping them in glitter. You can also use glitter pens to decorate the outside of the bottles. Once the bottles are empty, they can be used as candle holders.

3. Design your own party hats


Design Your Own Party Hats
Party hats are an essential accessory for New Year’s Eve and are simple to make at home. Cut some large triangles out of colored paper, and fold them into a cone shape. Decorate the outside of the hats using glitter and tinsel. You could also write each person’s name on the hat and use it as a place setting.

4. Make drink stirrers


Make Drink Stirrers
Create some customized drink stirrers using just straws, pipe cleaners and tinsel. Bend your pipe cleaners into various shapes such as stars, numbers or letters, and wrap them in tinsel. Stick them onto straws before placing one inside each glass of champagne. You can also make candy cane stirrers to boost your festive mood.

5. Use origami to make string lights


Use Origami to Make String Lights
There are many easy-to-follow tutorials online that show you how to make 3D shapes such as stars or cubes using origami. Take some colored paper, and create whatever shapes you like. Decorate the outside of the shapes, and fix them onto a string of fairy lights to create custom string lights. Although it may take the time and effort to make this decoration, you will make beautiful string lights that will last for many years.

6. Recycle your Christmas decorations


Recycle Your Christmas Decorations
Instead of throwing away your old and damaged Christmas decorations, save them all up to create your New Year’s décor. You can cut up pieces of tinsel to make sparkly confetti or cover Christmas tree baubles in glitter. Make sure you recycle wrapping paper to make streamers.

7. Decorate some shot glasses


Decorate Some Shot Glasses
Purchase some paint pens in bright colors, and use them to decorate your shot glasses. If you have many glasses, you can paint each person’s name onto the glass. You can also decorate the glasses using glitter pens, tinsel or any other shiny material you have to hand.

 

8. Make a glitter ball


Make a Glitter Ball
Make a glitter ball to hang from your ceiling or use as a centerpiece. Purchase a cheap paper lantern from a store, and decorate it using glitter, tinsel or even aluminium foil. Alternatively, you could glue aluminium foil squares onto a balloon.

9. Hang a party backdrop on your wall


Hang a Party Backdrop on Your Wall
Create a party backdrop for your guests to take pictures in front of. Hang strips of tinsel in vertical lines across one wall to create your back drop. You could also glue large sequins to a big piece of cardboard and hang it on the wall. Take a Polaroid photo of each of your guests in front of the backdrop so you can present them with the photos at the end of the night as a keepsake.

10. Create a balloon ceiling


Create a Balloon Ceiling
Buy a small canister of helium and blow up enough balloons to cover your entire ceiling. Tie strings to the balloons and decorate the strings with glitter, stars and tinsel. Release the balloons so that they float up to form an eye-catching effect.

Making your own decorations is far more rewarding than simply purchasing ready ones from the store. You can also personalize them with the names of your guests or use any photos you have. Involving your kids in preparing the decorations will make a fun project for the whole family and is a great way to get them interested in arts and crafts. Do you have any other ideas to share with us?

10 Easy New Year’s Crafts for Kids

New Year’s Eve is often associated with partying, staying up till midnight, and having a drink or two. As the clock strikes midnight, champagne bottles are popped open and the drinks flow as everyone in the room celebrates a chance at new adventures in the new year. Although this is the common party for most adults, children should have an option for celebrating on New Year’s Eve as well. Here are 10 easy New Year’s Eve crafts that any kid will enjoy.

1. Noisemakers


Noisemakers
The last thing most parents want to do is hand children something to make more noise with, but it’s New Year’s Eve and exceptions should be made. You can help your little ones make a simple noisemaker with two plastic cups, some beads, and tape. Simply have the children color whatever designs they like on the cups. Fill one cup with beads, marbles, or pebbles, and tape the two cups together by their tops.

2. Bubble wrap noisemakers


Bubble Wrap Noisemakers
If there are two things children love, it is making noise and popping bubble wrap. With some paper, crayons, and a roll of bubble wrap, you can help the kids have a little fun with this noisemaker. Let the kids color designs onto a roll of paper, lay out the bubble wrap on top when they are done, and roll the two together. The kids will have a colorful noisemaker that will entertain them until the last bubble pops.

3. Tissue paper confetti trays


Tissue Paper Confetti Trays
This one takes some effort and can get a little messy, so start early and don’t skimp on the cleaning supplies. First, you’ll need a few cheap plates and some tissue paper. You can have the kids tear pieces or cut pieces from the tissue paper and glue them into place on the plate in whatever pattern they like. Let them dry for a few hours and you’ll have some festive plates to serve snacks on later in the evening.

4. Confetti eggs


Confetti Eggs
Confetti is a must-have item at every New Year’s Eve party. After all, what’s a party without a bunch of confetti to clean up the next day? You can start by making the kids a nice scrambled egg breakfast in the morning. Be careful to crack open only a small hole on top of the egg. Rinse and dry the shells. Let the children dye the eggs just like at Easter, and then fill them with confetti when they’re done.

5. Collage for the New Year


Collage for the New Year
All you need for this activity is basic art supplies. Let your children cut out the numbers of the year from a heavier paper stock. Then watch as they unleash their own creativity by decorating each number in a different fashion. Paste all four numbers onto one piece of paper and you have a great sign to welcome the new year.

6. Looking back, looking forward


Looking Back, Looking Forward
Adults aren’t the only ones that have achieved goals and hope to reach new heights in the coming year. Your children might have aspirations as well. Encourage those aspirations by helping them with a simple resolutions form. Have them list basic information about themselves on the top of the sheet, and then write out highlights from the year gone by. These can include finishing 1st grade, scoring the winning goal in soccer, or doing well with chores. Then have them list a few goals they’d like to achieve in the coming year.

7. Countdown balloons


Countdown Balloons
This craft offers a fun way to turn the countdown into a day-long game. Select a few balloons early in the morning and fill them with small items. These items could be confetti or candy, whatever you choose. Inflate enough balloons to represent each hour in the day after 12pm. As each hour passes, have the kids pop the balloon to reveal the prize inside.

8. Countdown bags


Countdown Bags
As an alternative to countdown balloons, you could also have your children create countdown bags. What you put inside the bags is up to you. It could be candy or it could be clues in a day-long treasure hunt, it doesn’t matter. Create and cut out clocks indicating various times of day after 12 pm. When the time arrives (as marked on each bag), open the bag and enjoy!

9. Tiaras


Tiaras
Tiaras and crowns are a favorite among kids. With some gold and silver pipecleaners you can have the children build their own crowns and tiaras to wear during the party. If they want to string beads into the pipecleaners or create extra cut-out attachments, it will only add to the creativity of their head piece.

10. Time capsule


Time capsule
This one is perfect for the whole family. All you need is a family picture, a mason jar, and some memories. Have each member of the family put their own little token inside the jar, and glue or tape a family photo around the outside of the jar. Make sure to write the year somewhere on the jar, and then open it a year later or 10 years later, the choice is up to you. Take the time to bond with your children and select meaningful mementos to place in the capsule.

New Year’s Eve is a day for celebration and being with friends and family. Alcohol is usually involved, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options out there for families looking to offer their children something fun to do too. Let your kids have some fun on New Year’s Eve and keep them busy with these great crafts. If you have any other ideas, let me know.

10 Reasons to Use Fairy Lights All Year Long

Whether it’s a cold winter night or a warm summer evening, the presence of fairy lights can bring enchantment to the atmosphere of your home. They aren’t just for Christmas! If you’ve ever watched fireflies at night in a meadow or in grove of trees you know the magical feeling they bring. In old European tales carried down through the ages the presence of fairies was always signaled by tiny lights that covered a glen or raced along a mysterious path, and if a person peered into one, they would be sure to see a fairy within. These starry lights soothe the heart and lift the imagination.

In a still famous 1935 film (now on DVD and YouTube) based on Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the bower of the King and Queen of Fairies is filled with scintillating light. The effect was way ahead of its time. It also featured ballet sequences by Bronislava Nijinska, music by Felix Mendelssohn and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and starred Olivia de Havilland, James Cagney, and Mickey Rooney in a tour de force as Puck. But it is the fairy lights that dazzle and linger long after the film is done.

Why not create such a feeling in your own environment? Here are just a few of the ways you can transform a room with light.

1. Fairy Light Vase


Fairy Light Vase
One method interior designers use and which is easy to do yourself is to add fairy lights to a crystal vase and then have them climb up decorative branches with flowers or berries or just on their own high above the edge of the vase. Just be sure the wiring is white and not black or green to get the best effect.

2. Brighten a Dark Place


Brighten a Dark Place
Is there a room that’s connected to a dark hallway? Surround the threshold and frame of the door with fairy lights and let some of them cascade onto a table in the darkened area. In seconds you have a welcoming alcove.

3. Magical Bath


Magical Bath
No matter if your bathroom is small or large, stringing fairy lights along the wall edges or windowsill, around the bathroom mirror, or along the back of a vanity table invites the feeling of well-being. Add in aromatherapy, a bubble bath and your favorite music, and time will drift away, along with all your stress.

4. Lighting Up a Bookshelf


Lighting Up a Bookshelf
Photo: Joe Buckingham

Weave lights along a bookshelf, winding the long strand among the books. Move down the shelves one-by-one, leaving a few lights on each until the strand is used up. This arrangement is easy to change so that you can revisit your arrangement when the mood strikes you. It may also bring enough light into the room to read by.

5. Light as a Centerpiece


Light as a Centerpiece
A simple adornment for a dining table could be a glass bowl in a color you like filled with fairy lights. The lights reflect off the faces of those gathered together. This heightens people’s enjoyment of the meal and each other’s company, not unlike being in a cozy restaurant.

6. Creating a Happy Mood


Creating a Happy Mood
This next recommendation may sound off the wall, but it is guaranteed to lift your spirits if you’re feeling low… Drape a few strands of fairy lights around your shoulders while you watch a show or read or work on your computer. See how you feel after a few minutes. You’ll be surprised…

7. Fairy Lights as Curtain Décor


Fairy Lights as Curtain Décor
Place several long strands of fairy lights behind a translucent curtain so they hang down from the rod to the floor. Even in the daytime there is a diaphanous effect.

8. Creating a Graceful Chandelier


Creating a Graceful Chandelier
If you have a chandelier with just a few lamp bulbs in it, wind strands of fairy lights around and through the sections of the lamp. The effect brightens the whole room and makes your chandelier a centerpiece.

9. A Garden Bower of Light


A Garden Bower of Light
In a garden, whether it is on a balcony or in a back yard, you can set out strands of fairy lights and weave them among the railings or through trellis slats or hang them from low tree branches. Like the 1935 movie, you now have your own magical world to inhabit.

10. Fairy Lights and Paper Lanterns


Fairy Lights and Paper Lanterns
Small paper lanterns make wonderful covers for the fairy lights and you can create all kinds of moods and themes for any occasion with them. Artificial flowers work well for this, too.

Choose one of these methods and leave the lights on for a few hours. When you shut them off at last, it feels as if something is missing! That’s the effect they can have.

The beauty of fairy lights has something to do with their unobtrusive size, with the myriad of reflections they send out, and with the feeling of peacefulness they can inspire. In our rushed lives, moments of stillness can be powerful.

Do you already use fairy lights as part of your décor? If not, do ideas come to you now about how you can enhance your living space? Let us know in the comments, for sure.

10 Benefits of Using Feng Shui to Design Your Home

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of creating harmony in an environment. The premise is that by following a specific floor plan, by placing objects in your home or office in certain locations, and by using special colors, among other features, you can bring a greater peace and serenity to your space. It is also used to empower the energy of work, love, money, and spiritual well-being.

In this article I am not going to give the history of Feng Shui, but rather show how it is used in practical ways. However, for anyone interested, there are many books and Internet websites available on this beautiful practice that you can explore and thus deepen your understanding of its principles.

Benefits of Using Feng Shui to Design Your Home
A home has an ambience, a feeling about it anyone who enters it will sense, even unconsciously. You have often experienced this when you have visited someone. You are aware instantly of your own emotional reaction to a room. I don’t refer to a critical reaction of the decor, which is just subjective opinion, but instead to something deeper. You have a feeling of gladness or perhaps something melancholy. You might feel irritable or worried. You can also feel that you are in the midst of light and serenity.

Feng Shui describes the causes for each emotion, and a Feng Shui expert can provide remedies if the room has anything discordant or inharmonious going on. Another way more familiar to western people would be to say the room holds a certain vibration, and those “vibes” affect us strongly for good or ill. With Feng Shui, you can ensure a positive outcome. To those who study and master the art, it opens the way to prosperity and well-being at every level of existence.

First, to make the premise more accessible, here are just some features of home interior décor and construction that in Feng Shui would be seen as negative and in need of attention and correction:

Feng Shui
One of the most popular illustrations of this lies in what happens when someone enters your house. Do they face a closet door? A mirror? A short hallway leading into another room? Or is there an extended hallway that leads straight to the back door? If this last aspect is the case, then all the energy coming into the house from the front door will whoosh right through the house and out the back door, and if it is valuable energy – or chi, as it is so often called in martial arts and meditation – it never has a chance to enhance your home and add something beneficial. The same thing happens if stairs face the front door – the chi races up or down the staircase and doesn’t have a good path to follow.

The center of your home is the most important area, and from it all the other aspects of chi flow. If the center room is a bathroom or bedroom, it will not help improve the energy or contribute to a positive ambience. Those rooms cannot be the central focus. Energy flow can stagnate.

Feng Shui 2
Setting one side of your bed up tight against a wall prevents sleep from being beneficial. It is also advisable not to place the bed under a window, and to make sure the end of the bed is not facing the door to the room. All of these cause an unhealthy energy to flow through the room. In addition, television in the bedroom disrupts your eventual rest with its constant emission of EMF rays. The ads and programming can alter and reduce essential deep sleep.

What if rooms have doors directly opposite one another? It is considered a setup that encourages conflict among people in the house.

Mirrors facing one another can create a subconscious aggression in their effect, a kind of attack or bombardment on the senses. It can be lovely in short intervals, but as a constant décor, it decreases serenity.

Feng Shui and Your Floor Plan
Feng Shui and Your Floor Plan
Advocates of Feng Shui point out that where certain rooms are in your house is very significant. Feng Shui consultants use a Bagua map, which explains how life situations can resonate with a particular compass direction. Each direction has a specific color, Feng Shui element, and area of life that apply:

North: Work/career path
South: Fame and reputation
East: Family and health
West: Children and creativity
Northeast: Spiritual growth and self-cultivation
Southeast: Money and abundance
Northwest: Helpful people, blessings, and travel
Southwest: Love and marriage
The idea is to adjust the arrangement of rooms and objects so as to suit the purpose of each compass point for your home, to enable the optimum life experience materially, emotionally, and spiritually. If, for example, you seek money and abundance, you would use specific related elements of Feng Shui to create the necessary environment in the southeast corner of your home.

Of course, such a floor plan is ideal. But what if your floor plan can’t accommodate this in every respect? Feng Shui offers are ways to improve the chi anyway. Here are ten ways to benefit your home environment using Feng Shui:

Do you have the problem of a long hallway between the front and back doors? If you place objects in the hallway, small tables, decorative objects, a lamp in the ceiling, hang ribbons or other decorations, the energy is prevented from flowing out the back door. It is, as it were, given a change in direction.
Move your bed into a more Feng Shui position, leaving space on both sides, using a headboard to push the top of the bed against a wall instead of a window, ensuring the foot of the bed does not face the door.
Feng Shui 3
If you multitask in the same room, create a different space for one of those tasks. For example, if your passion is to write, create an area where that is all you do. Put things in it that signify writing to you, books that matter, excerpts from famous and admired writers, notepads, a table, pens. If you use a laptop, don’t connect to the Internet while you’re in this space. Let it be a well-lighted but quiet place just for you and for doing what you love.
Hang an object from the ceiling between doors that exactly face one another. Wind chimes are an excellent choice.
Place fairy lights in a dark space.
Place things that really matter to you in a prominent position in each room so you can’t help but see them when you enter.
A lot of windows can reflect energy to the outside. Hang crystals on the window to deflect the energy and send it back into the room.
In the kitchen, put a mirror over the stove or sink so you can see what is behind you when you are working in those places. This brings an unexpected peace of mind.
In whichever room of your house represents money, place an object of great value to you, something you treasure.
Feng Shui 4
Near the entrance to your front door, on the inside, set up an object that represents happiness to you – something that makes you feel good and that suggests prosperity. Perhaps it is a model of a gold frog, a small Buddha, a painting of a rainbow – something that gives you a positive feeling.
Plants are very beneficial Feng Shui in every room. Much more is available concerning the direction a house faces, its overall layout, the external terrain, the presence of a garden or a fountain – each aspect can contribute to “good vibrations.”

Here is something to test out. Look around your own home and see if there is a space that gives you a negative feeling, one that makes you feel less energy (energy=chi) or makes you feel overwhelmed in some way. Alter it according to the Feng Shui aspects described briefly in this article. Keep things this way a couple of days. Do you notice anything different in how the space begins to feel for you? Let us know in a Comment, for sure!

A Green Box of Ideas for Earth Day

Earth Day is great for discussing with kids what can be (or used to be) found on Earth, why it is there, and what can be done to protect it. I only wish more people did that regularly, instead of limiting it to some one-day activity, and while there are lots of fun Earth Day ideas, most don’t seem effective unless related to something you will do, or at least use, on a regular basis. So I thought of a different kind of project, the one that would encourage us to have more Earth Days on our calendar of activities.

The Green Box
As much as I’m fond of organizing things nicely, but still tired of coping with a tornado of objects being scattered around daily (most parents are familiar with that natural phenomenon), it’s not surprising I would come up with something like this. The Green Box originally was what shoes came in, but with some glue and pictures cut out of magazines, a box can be turned into a work of art. Besides being decorative and symbolic, it can hold all those treasures of natural origin you and your kids collect during walks or holidays: stones, twigs, acorns, seashells, etc.

If you have shoeboxes of different size, you can simply place the smaller ones into the biggest, so that your storage space is neatly divided into several parts for sorting these art and craft materials. Just made sure I could snap a photo of it before it starts overflowing and we will probably have to make another “treasure chest”:

The Green Box
Any small bottles or containers we plan to re-use also belong there, along with loose buttons, toy parts or other odds and ends that inspire some decoration or construction ideas. Instead of being discarded or scattered, they go to the Green Box now – so natural and recyclable materials share a home. Before, all these things could be found on any shelf, among toys, next to books or clothes, and almost anywhere around the house. I was quite patient and tolerant about their invading every possible space, and even tried to gather them into some biscuit containers, but whenever something ended up broken or lost, I was often blamed for throwing out a unique valuable. Now such objects have a new green home, and a definitely brighter future.

Where ideas live
Where Ideas Live
Green is symbolic, but this or any other color doesn’t have to dominate – you can mix different colors and use any pictures of flowers, foliage, fruit, insects, landscapes, or natural textures for your creative design of the box. As for ideas of what can be done with all those riches you collect there, they literally start springing out of the box the very moment you begin filling it! Better still, you start noticing more things around that deserve a new life or a creative makeover. For example, as seen on this photo, a painted yogurt container and a mug with a broken-off handle are filled with soil to grow small plants, while a shampoo bottle holds some colorful pencils. Here are some more ideas of projects for Earth Day:

Make a tree
SONY DSC
You have probably seen the lovely Coffee Tree decorations made using a cone or a round foam base. These are not easy for the kids to make, but since my son wanted his own coffee tree, I decided to simplify the process. A flat shape cut out of cardboard makes it easier to glue coffee beans on:

Make a Tree
The cardboard from boxes that’s hollow inside is perfect for this, as well as for adding other decorative elements by dipping them in glue and sticking them in like this:

Coffee Tree
That’s how we made a tree and a sunflower with leaves and petals cut out from yellow paper and scraps of magazines left over from decorating the Green Box:

Sunflower
Some like it in the pot
Some Like It In the Pot
While it would be great to plant trees or sow seeds together in your garden or backyard, you can also experiment with pots or window boxes. Another fun thing to do is to decorate the pots or potted plants you already have at home:

Pot
Sponge painting
Sponge Painting
Natural materials such as dried leaves can be used for creating a picture, but these weathered skeletons of leaves that delighted me with their fancy lace texture turned out looking not too lovely when glued onto paper. It was a gloomy black-and-white thing that really lacked some color, and it was disappointing. A piece of sponge is perfect for such situations when you need small or fuzzy color accents on top of something that’s already painted or fixed on your “canvas”. Sponge daubs of different colors made this picture come alive. So keep a piece of sponge in your box – and in case your kids tear a sponge again while playing in the bath, it just turns into something useful for art. Sponge painting is a great technique that’s always fun, at any age!

Would you like to suggest some more ideas for projects involving those “hidden riches” we adults often fail to notice? How do you store and showcase them, what are your favorites and what makes them so special?

9 Beneficial Uses of Blue Glass in the Home

Creating a peaceful environment in your home isn’t just good for people who come to visit – it’s good for you, too! One way to enhance the feeling-tone of your space is to add objects of blue glass.

The color blue is well-known for its calming and soothing effects. It also offers psychological benefits. Because of its association with the sky and ocean that surround us, we feel relaxed in our minds and hearts, which can inspire our creativity. Another factor is that blue encourages the feeling of trust in those who look at it.

Beneficial Uses of Blue Glass in the Home
Glass is a medium of light. If you have ever been in a glass factory and watched how they fire glass into a myriad of shapes and colors, you know how amazing the process is. Glassblowers are artists, and even when you see them create their brilliant pieces, it seems like magic. Glass reflects the light. That is its appeal. It can dazzle us with the intrinsic beauty of whatever design it has, because of the light it holds.

Blue glass combines the power of color and reflected light. Its presence can add a casual or elegant touch to your décor and help you create a lovely and calming ambience. Here are nine ways you can use blue glass to enhance your interior décor.

1. Blue abstract glass art


Blue abstract glass art
Blue abstract glass art can spotlight an area and draw the eyes to it like a magnet. Place such art on a stand or on a table with nothing else around it. The color and object take over the territory and add an element of serenity to that space.

2. Moroccan blue glass candle holders


Moroccan blue glass candle holders
Moroccan blue glass candle holders and blue glass jars with candles floating are marvelous for bath or bedroom, but they can also have great effect outdoors on a trellis shelf or garden cart on a patio or deck.

3. Crystal bottles


Crystal bottles in dark blue
Crystal bottles in dark blue and in varying shapes are a superb alternative for perfume or to store essential oils used in aromatherapy. This color protects the ingredients, and the crystal brings a feeling of elegance. Every time you use one of these bottles you will sense a quiet happiness.

4. Use blue crackle glass bottles for windows


Using blue crackle glass bottles for windows
Using blue crackle glass bottles for windows is an older style of décor that is coming back into vogue. At one time you could often enter a home and find crackle glass on windowsills above and below – on sunny days the room they were in would sparkle. Cobalt blue bottles work just as well, however, for they, too, filter the light, and can add beauty even on overcast days.

5. Blue fishing floats in netting


Blue fishing floats in netting
Blue fishing floats in netting can be hung on a wall or placed in a small basket in the kitchen on top of a counter or hung from the ceiling.

6. Vintage glass bowls


Vintage glass bowls
Vintage glass bowls are unique pieces that can be filled with colored stones or antique glass marbles. Some such bowls were made of Carnival glass, which was originally created as a much less expensive alternative to Tiffany glass. It was the rage in America in the early and mid-twentieth century. Pieces can still be found online and at antique shows. Its surface shifts according to the density of the light that strikes it. At times it can look like a scintillating jewel.

7. Blue glass paperweights


Blue glass paperweights
Blue glass paperweights pick up lamplight as well as daylight. They can be scattered around, even just two or three, but each place they are set will catch the eye and add a serene feeling to the room.

8. Blue glass mosaics


Blue glass mosaics
Blue glass mosaics can add a stunning touch to a wall area or on the edge of a mantle. You can cover an end table with them or place them around a mirror. Ready-made mosaics made of pieces of blue glass can be purchased, but creating them yourself will add a unique aspect. You can choose your own surface and use a simple but durable household adhesive (these generally are not hazardous or complicated to use). Mosaic glass tiles are inexpensive, too.

9. Cobalt blue glass panels


Cobalt blue glass panels
Cobalt blue glass panels work wonderfully in your doors and in windows. Tiffany made this famous, taking the idea of stained glass out of churches and adding highly acclaimed designs and styles to the patterns of glass. The glass would be set in a port window in a hallway or on a stairwell, or as an intricate lampshade. The light would change at different times of day, rays entering a room and creating a feeling of calm and soothing the viewer with its beauty. Pieces of stained glass or plain blue glass are available at most art supply stores (without the Tiffany price tag).

Our home really is our castle – it’s where we go to rest and recharge our mental and emotional batteries. It is also where we go because for us it is a place that is familiar, a haven from stress and all the things we have to do day-to-day. So we need to give ourselves an environment that makes that haven feel special – and even if we can only do it in one part of the house, a place reserved just for us, it will improve our spiritual and emotional state, for sure. If you have other ideas for using blue glass in this way, do let us know in the Comments!

Letting Go of Things That Hold Memories: 4 DIY Ideas to Try

Whether you need a seasonal closet cleanout, or a major re-organization of your living space, there’s that much dreaded rule: “Get rid of stuff!” You know, the things you don’t use or need – and it’s not that hard to find some that are in a poor condition, of quality that won’t last, or items that fail to meet your changing criteria of style and comfort. It’s more difficult with anything that was never meant to be necessary or useful, but had an esthetic or sentimental value, or has turned from functional to sentimental because it belonged to somebody special. There are also things that may seem usual, or even outdated, but they have been your reliable companions during some important periods or events in your life.

Letting Go of Things That Hold Memories
You can find lots of nearly identical advice assuring you that memories are not things, so nothing will happen to your memories if you stop holding on to what appears to be their containers. It makes sense, but it has mostly failed to help me. I find it extremely difficult, bordering on impossible, to part with the things that are much more than just material objects, or functional items. It’s like betraying good friends, and I admit this is my problem – but also my inspiration, as I don’t feel nice about burying them in their containers, either.

Uncertainty, guilt and sentimental issues make people tuck such things away into the back of a closet or a drawer, or sentence them to years of basement, garage or attic imprisonment. I also used to do this, but I have a different philosophy now: either I display a memorable object and give it the attention it deserves, or I can’t hold it hostage. I allow it to step into the spotlight, or else out of my house. Perhaps it sounds just as harsh and challenging as the “get rid of things because they are not memories” advice, but it works for me. It helps me pick the things I value the most to display them in my house, while letting go of other ones, or keeping only a part of them to turn it into something else. Why not give them a new life? Here are some ideas:

Kids’ Artwork
Kids’ Artwork
Parents are delighted with every scribble their little ones produce, but no wall space would be enough to showcase all that art – so some people have boxes of such masterpieces piling up over the years. Even if you are not a fan of scrapbooking, you can use kids’ artwork as a great background for your family photos – just paste it onto the self-adhesive pages of photo albums, and place photos next to it, or on top of it (in this case you may need some glue). If your kids are still small, this is easy and fun to do together. If they have already grown up, you can take photos of whatever is stored in boxes as a memory of their childhood years, and store it as digital images instead.

Furniture
Furniture
If antique furniture is collecting dust in a basement, it’s a shame. There are many ways to make it look as good as new, or perhaps even better than in its prime days, so that it can be a part of your interior. You can look for ideas online, or find experts who can help you. However, if you don’t wish to invest in the renovation of some old furniture, or to bring it into the house, you can bring it outside instead and turn it into something entirely different!

Clothes
Clothes
We all have favorite items of clothing, or the ones we consider “lucky”. They are usually quite worn-out, old-fashioned, or don’t fit any more. If letting go of clothes you can’t wear is difficult, look for ways of repurposing them. There are lots of places to find ideas and inspiration, both online and off, and ways to turn jeans into skirts, handbags, backpacks, or a bunch of tops and t-shirts into quilts and colorful rugs, to list just a few. There are literally hundreds of suggestions to choose from, but my favorite is keeping some parts of my old clothes to be used as decorative elements in other projects. True, I may be still holding on to a piece of cloth, a lacy trim or a handful of buttons, but at least I don’t have to keep the whole thing.

Pottery, Figurines, Toys, Souvenirs
Pottery, Figurines, Toys, Souvenirs
Or whatever else you’ve already got standing on every flat surface in your house, so there’s no room for more. These may be small and cute objects, gifts and things bought when traveling overseas, but they group into the most numerous and powerful legion of sentimental clutter – no wonder it is so hard to battle against. If you can’t easily part with a pile or a box of these things – at least not all at once, take them outside and use them as garden décor.

1
A colorful flowerbed can make anything look wonderful – from cracked plates and cups to candlesticks, vases, glassware, baskets, toys and whatnot. Those who are lucky to have a yard can discover great artistic potential in nearly everything they don’t want to keep in the house anymore. Those who are not that lucky can experiment with adding some sentimental décor to potted plants, and perhaps with making a part of their room or balcony look like a garden spot. That’s what I find the “old furniture holding plants” idea especially great for, even though it’s mostly used for outdoor decorating. It’s perfect if you’d like to have a mini-garden in your apartment, or just something to surprise your guests with. Just don’t forget to line the surface with polyethylene film before adding the soil.

2
Before I started looking for ways to give sentimental objects a new life, I often felt awful about them, or the moments in the past they symbolized. Simply getting rid of things sometimes helps changing the way you feel about them, but not always. Writing a new story for them is often better. Have you ever tried this?

7 Unique DIY Summer Ideas for Kids

Summer is great for DIY projects because of the abundance of natural materials and time to collect these – at the beach, during walks, hiking and travelling, or in your own backyard if nowhere else. Ideas are also often found right on the spot, as many stones, twigs, roots and shells resemble something (or someone?) else so closely (or perhaps will resemble, with just a few simple details added.)

Hunting for such treasures is fun, keeping and displaying them as trophies and souvenirs that remind you of your summer adventures is also fun. You will certainly be lucky to find some, but most of the time natural materials will look like nothing special (at least to us, adults), and will require more imagination to be combined into something creative. However, you might as well just give a handful of shells to your kids and ask them what do these look like, or what can you do with them – you may be surprised at the answers. Here are some simple DIY summer ideas for your kids to try:

1. Shell Art


Shell Art
It will be definitely more fun if you pick up not only the perfect-looking shells at the beach, but also the ones that are broken or polished by the surf until hardly resembling their original shape. It’s no surprise that shells work so great for underwater-themed art projects, but they can also be used to look like a variety of other things, such as flowers, butterflies, birds, or animals.

2. In a Bottle


In a Bottle
If you have some transparent containers your beauty products came in, or small shampoo and shower gel bottles from your favorite hotels, you can turn them into decorations. This is fun to do if you like the idea of travel souvenirs being filled with other travel souvenirs, or finally putting your collection of travel-size products into good use, and perhaps just storing small items in a pretty way.

Those containers can be filled with small stones and shells, sand, dried flowers, seeds, beads, and even crayon shavings or scraps of colorful paper, yarn or fabric. They can be displayed on the shelves or in small baskets, and used for decorating flowerbeds or potted plants. Making a succulent planter and then decorating it is also a nice DIY idea, as succulents are easy to mix, to care for, and extremely hard to kill. However, you can just use the bottle decorations for any potted plants you already have in the house.

No-hassle

While simply displaying natural materials of different sizes and textures in boxes, baskets, containers and flower pots may be the easiest way of using them for decorating, some people will complain that this may turn into a mess at some point. The others will often complain that they don’t have any time, any materials, their kids don’t have any patience, and all the DIY projects are too complicated. Oh, really? As long as you’ve got kids, and they’ve got toys or other small objects they like playing with, you’re all set:

3. Decorating the Room


Decorating the Room
You don’t have to paint the walls a different color to give the kids’ room a fresh look – adding a few details can instantly delight its owners, especially when they make the decorative elements themselves. This dolls’ clothing line will make any usual drawer look great – or any other spot where you can safely fix a string between point A and point B (shelves, doors, storage boxes, curtains, etc.)

It may actually be used not only in the rooms blessed with dolls and girls, but for creatively displaying anything you like – ornaments for holiday or party decoration, small toys, photos, drawings, pictures cut out of magazines, letters to form a motivational word or a phrase. Just make sure such lines don’t get in the way when moving around or accessing things, as some kids may want to cover an entire room with these, like spiders. If they do, you can suggest another similar project to them:

4. Hammock for Soft Toys


Hammock for Soft Toys
This is really easy when you have the main thing already mentioned above – some point A and point B that the two ends of a scarf or a piece of cloth can be tied to. Now, what if you don’t (or they are all taken by “lines” already)? Wrap a scarf around the footboard of the bed, or wrap and tie a piece of thick elastic band around the door, then tie the ends of the scarf to it. You can also mask the elastic band with another scarf or a piece of cloth. The hammock for soft toys is ready!

Please note these weigh more than dolls’ clothing, so pick the smallest ones if you are relying on the elastic band only. If you are using something stronger, like a wall coat rack or hooks, any bigger ones and even dolls or toy cars are welcome. This is also a great idea for the entryway or mudroom if the wall looks bare because the coats have been put away.

5. Mini Hammock


Mini Hammock
If you only have a point A, but no point B anywhere close, or if something in between those would interfere with opening doors, accessing your clothes, books or art supplies, opt for a mini-version of the toy hammock using a regular clothes hanger. You can mask the hanger itself with the loose ends of the scarf, or decorate it with something else. This construction is removable and can be placed on closet doors or drawers. Your kids can still get their clothes and books easily, or move their soft toys to a different “sunny spot” when they feel like it.

6. T-Shirt Pillows


T-Shirt Pillows
Everybody has some favorite clothing items, but while adults can wear those till they turn to rags, kids often grow out of them faster. Are they unhappy about that favorite T-shirt becoming too small? Turn it into a decorative pillow for their room, and unhappy kids into happy kids instantly! Just slip it over a small pillow, and while you can certainly sew the bottom of the T-shirt together if you like, you can simply leave it like it is for a super-easy, no-sew DIY project that takes just a few seconds of your time.

Alternatively, tie the sleeves and the bottom corners of the T-shirt with ribbons, lace, loom bands bracelets, or whatever else you consider matching. Kids love the result, anyway, but if you choose not to sew anything, the pillows can “borrow” any of their T-shirts, not just those that are not wearable anymore.

7. Swimsuit and Top Pillows


Swimsuit and Top Pillows
The pillows can also “wear” tops and swimsuits, for a typical summer look and a bright touch to your interior or garden furniture. Not to mention the scarves – or are they all occupied by soft toys already? Such pillows can even have a different outfit every day for maximum fun in no time! Enjoy the summer!

As a parent, you probably know how it’s hard to cope with that constant “I’m bored.” While there are many kid-friendly summer activities, DIY projects can do the trick as well, especially on a rainy day. So the next time your child whines, “I’m bored,” give some of these simple ideas a try.

8 Wallet-Friendly Updates to Make to Your Home

Looking for a cheap, simple and DIY way to enhance your home’s beauty? I’ve got a few wallet-friendly yet creative ideas for you. When it comes to upgrading any house – be it modern or old – the possibilities are endless. However, most of us don’t even think of any home improvement when we make ends meet only and don’t have extra bucks for new furniture or luxury decorations. Stop worrying about money. All you need is tons of creativity and a little bit of cash. Try some of these ideas and enjoy your hard work but beautiful house in the end.

1. Make some DIY decorations


One of the cheapest ways to improve your house is to add some bright and unique decorations. If you have kids, ask them to help you create some unusual things that they think will make their rooms and your entire house more beautiful. It can be your new family tradition to decorate your home at the beginning of each new season. If you live alone, it’s still a great tradition to establish. Pick some bright leaves when walking in the park today and let your creativity and hands do their job.

2. Add a splash of color to your old sofa
If you can’t afford to purchase a new sofa, why not upgrade the old one? Add a few colorful pillows to it and your sofa looks like new. There’s no need to throw your old pillows away. You can either alter them or purchase some bright pillow covers. Of course, the best option is to make your own ones, but it takes some time and effort.

3. Paint your flower pots
If you have many flower pots, consider updating them to make your windows look brighter. It takes time and efforts, not to mention that you’ll need to spend a few bucks on paints, but the result is well worth it. Certain flowers improves our health while beautifully decorated flower pots can make the house look more comfortable.

4. Add a shelf with books
DIY shelves beautify many homes these days. If you don’t have any open shelf in your house, it’s time to make a few to keep all your books in one place as well as display all your DIY decorations, knickknacks and pictures. You won’t recognize your room, I promise!

5. Paint your walls bright colors
Painting a room doesn’t take much time or money, and you can always paint it over. The trick is to choose bright colors like light green, orange, yellow, turquoise, coral or light pink. Actually, you can choose any color that you are sure will boost your mood this fall season. If you don’t have time or desire to paint the whole wall, add a splash of color to it. From circles, rhombus and triangles to flowers, animals, skies and sun, you can draw and paint whatever you like.

6. Hang a new set of curtains up
If you don’t have time for crafting, purchase a new set of curtains to give your home an absolutely new look. Again, look for bright mood-boosting colors to make your house a positive and happy place to live in.

7. Paint your front door an eye-catching color
If you want to draw more attention to your house, paint your front door a bright color of your choice. If you have some drawing skills, use them to make your front door the most creative one in your neighborhood or even the whole city. Purple, mint, green or light blue are a few options to consider.

8. Install crown molding
It’s easier to buy modern crown molding, but you can make your own one. Crown molding can bring harmony, elegance and comfort to any room of your house. It takes some time and effort, but you will be highly satisfied with the result of your work. Ask your husband or neighbor to help you install crown molding. Not only will you add visual interest to your house, you’ll add value as well.

These are just a few simple updates you can make to your home this week. Home improvement doesn’t have to be expensive and difficult. With a little bit of creativity, cash and effort, you can make your home feel and look cozy in a matter of a few hours. What are your wallet-friendly home improvement ideas? Let us know in the comments section.