Christmas Breakfast with Colourful Sun Print Napkins

This year we’re trying something different. Instead of big gift ideas, we’re adding small touches to make festive family get-togethers a little more special. DIY sun print napkins make a Christmas breakfast look cheerful, and the guests can take them home with them!

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED FOR COLOURFUL SUN PRINT NAPKINS

Christmas-Breakfast-with-DIY-Sun-print-Napkins

Difficulty: easy

Time: 40-90 minutes including drying time

YOU NEED:

  • White Napkins (one for each guest)
  • Flowers of your choice
  • Sun Colour Paint (We used red)
  • Paintbrush/small roller
  • Water

Summer-Christmas-with-DIY-Sun-print-Napkins

STEP 1:

Soak clean napkins in water then spread them out on a table in the sun. Protect the table with plastic sheets because the paint can stain the surface too.

STEP 2:

Pour a little sun print paint into a roller pan or container, dip in your paintbrush and paint the napkins. Work speedily, because the paint dries quickly.

STEP 3:

Summer-Christmas-with-DIY-Sun-print-NapkinsArrange flowers onto the painted napkins and let the paint try. The sun print takes 30-60 minutes to develop fully.

STEP 4:

The napkins are ready to use once their dry, but it’s best to make sure their colourfast. Put the napkins through one wash and dry cycle then they will be good to go!

Summer-Christmas-Breakfast-with-DIY-Sun-print-Napkins

That’s it! Now you can place them on your festive table for a colourful Christmas breakfast, with a delicious brunch. Alternatively, make a few napkins per family unit, wrap in gift paper and put it underneath the tree, ready for unveiling later. Whichever you choose, remember that the festive season is about spending time with loved ones. So, don’t stress and have a good time!

Have a happy Festive Day!

3 Easy DIY Christmas Gift Ideas for a Stress-Free Season

Mid-December is when shopping mania sets in. Frantic shoppers dash through stores in search of this year’s special gift. But, why put yourself through the trauma? An easy DIY Christmas gift can be even more special than its store-bought counterpart while taking up less time and much less stress. We’ve put together three quick go-to gifts to cater to any skill set. Dazzle your friends and family with homemade cookies, cordials or succulent planters!

Here’s what you need for three easy DIY Christmas Gifts

Difficulty: easy 

Time: between 5 – 30 minutes per item and 1 hour for all three

1)  Mini Succulent Planters – for the Green Thumb

Give a little love the natural way!

succulent box easy diy christmas gift idea

YOU NEED:

  • A wooden box *
  • Potting soil
  • A succulent or two **
  • Broad ribbon

* You can use any container; old teapots, watering can, cookie boxes are just a few that come to mind.
** Pick a few succulents from your garden. Succulents can grow roots from their leaves, so, don’t worry about the plant dying.

STEP 1:

Take a container (or make your own box), make sure it’s dust-free and clean, and fill it up to halfway with potting soil (you can use soil from the garden).

STEP 2:

Nudge the succulents into the soil, softly and roughly in the middle of the container. Then add more soil to 1cm below the top of the container.

STEP 3:

Make a festive bow with the ribbon, tuck it in at the side of the box then you’re done! Yay! Slide your Christmas card in between the ribbon and the box. Or, spike the card into the soil! It’s a gardener’s gift after all.

2) Rainbow Cookies – for the Sweet Tooth

Spread a little festive cheer with sweetness.

hundreds and thousands cookies-easy DIY gift idea

YOU NEED:

  • 100s & 1000s Cookies
  • A box with a lid
  • Tissue paper
  • Festive ribbon

COOKIE INGREDIENTS:

You can use your favourite vanilla cookie recipe, bake the cookies, glaze them with icing/white chocolate and sprinkle with hundreds and thousands. Or, use Foodlover’s hundreds and thousands cookie recipe like we did!

If you have cookies, follow the steps, or scroll down to make your cookies first!

hundreds and thousands and white chocolate cookies-easy DIY gift idea

STEP 1:

Line a cookie tin with tissue paper and leave enough paper to cascade over the sides of the tin.

STEP 2:

Place your awesome cookies inside, (you can even add a few sachets of your favourite coffee or tea bags!). Bring the cascading tissue paper to the top of the cookies, and softly twist to cover the baked goodies.

STEP 3:

Cover with the lid, add the ribbon and Christmas card and get ready to see happy faces!

For those baking from scratch, here are the ingredients:

hundreds and thousands cookies-easy DIY gift idea

  • 175g butter
  • ⅔ cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180g white chocolate, melted
  • ½ cup hundreds and thousands

METHOD:

hundreds and thousands and white chocolate cookies-easy DIY gift idea

  1. Mix the butter, sugar and flour until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  2. Blend in the egg and vanilla until it forms a dough-like consistency.
  3. Lightly knead the dough on a floured surface, then place in a container, and refrigerate for half an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170°C then roll out the dough between two baking sheets.
  5. Cut out your choice of cookie cutter shapes (a tree or star would be awesome!), then place the raw cookies on a lined baking tray.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, take the cookies out of the oven when they are a light golden colour and let them cool.
  7. Spread the cookie tops with melted white chocolate and dip in or sprinkle with hundreds and thousands and let them set.

3) Rosewater Cordial – for the Life of the Party

A tasty cordial is such a simple gift idea. But, it’s so delicious you might want to keep it for a party yourself. Germarie made a pretty pink cordial, by modifying a tasty Woolworth’s recipe.

rosewater cordial with strawberry easy christmas gift idea

YOU NEED:

  • Homemade rosewater cordial (recipe below)
  • A glass milk jar, or a glass bottle with a screw top *
  • Ribbon
  • Gift box (Optional)

* Pick a bottle with chalk paint square on it, or paint a small square onto the bottle. The chalk will help you to write on the bottle.

ROSEWATER CORDIAL INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 300 g strawberries
  • 1 lemon’s juice
  • 2 tbsp rosewater
  • 1 1/2 cups water

STEP 1:

First, make the cordial. Bring sugar, lemon juice and strawberries to a simmer until the sugar had dissolved. Remove from heat, let it cool then add in the rosewater. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve for a clear cordial.

STEP 2:

Pour the blend into your glass jar. Write “Rosewater Cordial” on the chalk bit, tie it with a pretty ribbon, place in a gift box/bag and it’s ready for mixing. Keep it light with soda and a dash of lemon; mix with bubbly for a version of Kir Royale, or if you want something stronger, spirits and soda!

rosewater cordial with strawberry easy christmas gift idea

That’s it – three gifts within an hour! You can have fun while making gifts for others. I find it way more therapeutic than running in a shopping mall, although I’m often guilty of sprinting through the isles on the 23rd!

Happy festive season, and remember to take it easy!

Glühwein Poached Pears With Spiced Mascarpone Cream

Nothing smells like Christmas as citrus, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. I know that these warming spices seem out of place when we celebrate Christmas in a warm country like South Africa, but there is something about this smell that warms my heart and makes me want to switch on fairy lights.  Just making this delicious dessert is enough to put you in the festive spirit –  my whole house smelled like Jingle Bells! And it is so good that I licked out the pot. I had to wrestle the spoon from one of my children! This recipe for Gühwein poached pears with spiced mascarpone cream comes from Nadia Lim, and it is absolutely delicious served cold. So get ready for a traditional Christmas dessert, served chilled as it should be on a hot Christmas day!

gluhwein poached pears

How to Make Glühwein Poached Pears With Spiced Mascarpone Cream

You will need

For the Pears:

  • 750ml red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice (with no pulp)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (or seeds from 1 vanilla pod)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • peel and juice of 1 orange
  • peel and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 firm pears

For the Spiced Mascarpone Cream

  • 1 cup mascarpone (you can also use double cream or double cream yoghurt)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

peeled pairs

Method:

Place all the ingredients for the poached pears, except for the pears, into a medium saucepan and heat.

While the liquid is heating, peel the pears with a knife or vegetable peeler and slice a bit off the bottom so that they can stand upright.

Place the pears on their sides in the liquid and bring to the boil. The liquid should just about cover the pears.

Reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently, partially covered, for 1.5 to 2 hours, until the pears are tender and have absorbed the lovely colour and flavours of the wine and spices. Turn the pears once or twice while cooking to ensure that they colour evenly. You must also keep an eye on them to make sure that the liquid is not reducing too fast and allowing the pears to burn to the bottom of the pot.

Remove the pears from the liquid and allow to cool. Then turn the heat back up, reducing the liquid for 10 more minutes, until thick and syrupy.

Mix the spices with the mascarpone cream.

gluhwein poached pears with spiced mascarpone cream

To serve, drizzle the syrup over the pears and served with the chilled spicy mascarpone.

Happy Feasting!

Gift Idea: Make A Pretty Floral Frame Mirror

Ideas Magazine asked us if we could make something pretty for their Handmade Christmas edition, and so I scoured my Pinterest pages for ideas. I saw this gorgeous little floral frame mirror from Anthropology earlier this year and immediately fell in love with it. When I saw it again in my DIY project ideas folder, I knew it was the ideal project for the magazine! It’s the perfect gift for a special friend or something that you can make to adorn your home this festive season.

Anthropology metal flower mirror

 

How complicated: easy

How long: 5 hours

Make A Gorgeous Floral Frame Mirror

You will need:

  • Round mirror with fixing bracket at the back (we got ours from Mr Price Home)
  • Cardboard circle, about 2cm smaller than the mirror’s edge, and some Prestik
  • 1 roll craft metal
  • Spray adhesive
  • Flowers and leaves template
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Spray paint (we used Krylon Color Master in Rose Gold)
  • Embossing tool
  • Wood glue

 

STEP 1:

craft metal and spray adhesive

Create a double layer of craft metal by fixing two layers together with the spray adhesive. Allow to dry.

 

STEP 2:

craft metal and paper flower templates

Roughly cut the flowers and leaves from the template, leaving some space around the shapes. Then trace the shapes onto the craft metal using a pen. Use the same shapes several times – we cut out about 20 flower shapes, seven branches and five leaves.

 

STEP 3:

craft metal and thread cutters

Cut out the traced shapes on the metal sheet using a pair of scissors. Take care not to cut yourself on the sharp edges!

 

STEP 4:

craft metal and mirror spray paint

Fix the cardboard to the centre of the mirror with some Prestik. Then place all the metal shapes and the mirror on a covered surface, and spray with the spray paint. Allow to dry before finishing with a second coat.

 

STEP 5:

craft metal flowers

When the flowers are dry, use the embossing tool to shape the petals gently. Play around with bending the petals up or down to find the flower look you want.

 

STEP 6:

craft metal flowers on mirror

Arrange all the flowers and branches on the mirror. Once you’re happy with the arrangement, fix everything onto the mirror with the wood glue. Allow to dry overnight.

An Alternative Christmas Tree with Recycled Plastic Pom-poms

Coming up with an original and alternative Christmas tree every festive season has become quite challenging! I have done cookies, clay, feathery birds, shells and bows – anything to not have a traditional tree. And it’s not that I don’t like traditional trees – I just prefer to do something different. So after Tenille and I ventured into plastic pom-pom territory earlier this year, we decided to do a pom-pom tree. And since my sister, Baker & Maker Anélle, is crazy about colour (check out her house if you don’t believe me!) she provided the perfect location for the project.

This project ticks all the boxes:

  • it’s fun to make;
  • it’s festive and colourful;
  • it’s super affordable;
  • and it recycles plastic!

It’s a bit time-consuming, but it’s a great project to do with the kids – or friends and sisters as it turns out! And it gets rid of all those plastic bags you end up with because you forget your shoppers in the car. Or is that just me?

How To Make A Plastic Bag Pom-Pom Christmas Tree

You will need:

  • plastic bags or various colours – we used about 60.
  • scissors
  • tea and cake (or wine) – this is not compulsory, but it does help!

STEP 1:

plastic bag cut off handles

Cut the handles off a plastic bag.

 

STEP 2:

cut seam off plastic bag

Cut off the bottom seam.

 

STEP 3:

spread open plastic bag

Spread the bag open.

 

STEP 4:

Fold the bag as shown and cut into strips. Bundle the strips together and then, using one of the cut-off handles, tie the strips together.

 

STEP 5:

christmas pompom tree diy alternative christmas tree ideas

Fluff it out to create a pom-pom.

STEP 6:

pom pom on tree

After you’ve placed lights on the tree, start to add the pom-poms by tying them to the branches of the tree. We tied them in a spiral around the tree, starting at the bottom with three rows of pom-poms. We then gradually thinned it out towards the top until there was a single layer reaching the tree topper.

pom pom tree

 

pom pom tree

pom pom tree

pom pom tree

pom pom tree final touch

To top it off, Tenille made this gorgeous multi-coloured pom-pom. It’s absolutely perfect!

colourful pompom tree topper

pom pom christmas tree

We didn’t get a picture of all three of us together (although we did manage to get the dog in!) – but from all of us here at Homeology, we hope you have a total pom-pom ball in decorating your tree this year!!

Happy Getting in the Festive Spirit!!

 

Christmas Gift DIY: Mandala Tattooed Wooden Plates

My mom did a lot of craft projects when we were young which had a massive influence on all 4 of her girls. To this day, our hands can make, fix and prettify anything. Our winter holidays were spent sewing, painting and being creative – those are some of my fondest childhood memories! One of the things that Mom taught us were wood soldering. We created little wall hangings and personalised anything made of wood, and I remember the amazing smell of the pine that softly burned under the soldering iron’s tip. It was during a recent sort out and throw out session that I discovered the soldering irons in a box. And when Ideas Magazine asked me to come up with a Christmas gift DIY, I jumped at the opportunity to use them! I found the acacia side plates and platter at a homeware store and decided that they had the perfect surface to create something beautiful on.

Christmas Gift DIY: Mandala Tattooed Wooden Plates

You will need:

  • Wooden bowl or plate. A wooden chopping board will work as well!
  • Mandala design
  • Lemon juice and kitchen towel
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Wood burning tool with a sharp-angled point
  • Piece of off-cut wood to clean your soldering tool’s tip with

 

STEP 1:

Use a round object like a bowl to draw the outline of the mandala. Find the centre point and divide the circle into quadrants. Then add similar patterns to each quadrant – it’s very therapeutic! If you prefer, you can also download a mandala design here.

 

STEP 2:

Use the lemon juice and paper towel to wipe any oil or residue from the wood and allow to dry.

 

STEP 3:

Draw the mandala design onto the wood. Start with the centre point and draw the X and Y axis before you start filling in the patterns.

 

STEP 4:

Carefully burn the pattern into the wood using the wood burning tool. It is advisable to wear a mask over your mouth and nose so that you don’t inhale the smoke.

 

STEP 5:

When the tip of the wood burning tool gets covered with residue, wipe it clean against the offcut wood. You can also use this as a practice block for smaller details.

 

STEP 6:

Rub out any pencil lines that may still be visible and give the plate a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth before wrapping.

 

Happy Gift-Making!

Step-by-step images by Ed O’Reilly for Ideas Magazine

Printed Custom Gift Bags Christmas DIY

When it comes to the end of year busyness and Christmas craziness, we don’t always get to do everything that we set out to do. I always intend to come up with a simple, but unique, way to wrap up the Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, I so often end up doing it last minute. Of course, much of the shopping happens last minute too, forcing the wrapping to be even later! This year, you can use this easy little hack to make your own printed custom gift bags.

Make your own DIY custom gift bags for Christmas by printing on paper bags

What you need:

Plain paper gift bags
A4 scrap paper or cardboard
Masking tape or washi tape
Your own custom designs, names or Christmas greetings. A simple message done in Word or Paint is sufficient. (Or you can download the files designed for this post at this link)

Print DIY custom gift bags at home

Tape the paper bag to your scrap paper, with the front of the bag facing up. If your design goes right to the edge of the page, be sure to tape the under side of the bag to avoid printing onto the tape.

Taping the bag onto the paper allows for the design to go right to the edge of the paper bag as the printing border then falls onto the scrap paper. It also feeds more easily through the printer. Although higher-end printers may be able to handle the bag on its own, when I tried feeding the bag straight into the printer it made the most horrible crunching sound and jammed! Not fun!

Make your own DIY custom gift bags for Christmas by printing on paper bags

Once you’ve printed out your own custom gift bags, simply remove the tape gently and get wrapping your gifts!

Print DIY custom gift bags onto any paper bags at home

I love the difference in the effects of printing onto brown paper versus white paper bags. While I always prefer all my gifts to be wrapped in the same way, using the same designs on different colours of paper bags keeps the look uniform, while adding variety to each person’s gift.

Do you have any gift wrapping tips? We’d love to hear them!

Make your own DIY custom gift bags for Christmas by printing on paper bags

Wishing you the best Christmas season of relaxation and joy!

deborah-signature-featherly

P.S. If you like the animal Christmas tree ornaments, you can find the tutorial for them here.

Watercolour Christmas Wreath DIY

I believe that Christmas isn’t complete without the wreath on the front door or in our case, above the fireplace. This Christmas wreath DIY is a super easy one that simply looks and smells lovely and uses my favourite foliage: penny gum. As a child, my best friend and I used to make floral wreaths with daisies. These fond memories have always stayed with me and get triggered as soon as I see a wreath.

You will need: 

 Penny gum (available at your local florist)

Prickly blooms or ‘fynbos’

Florist wire

Ribbon

Copper craft paint

Hat pin

WREATH1

Easy as pie

Follow the same steps that I showed you in our mini wreaths tutorial. Make a circle with your florist wire and thread the penny gum and whatever else you are using through the loops. Secure them by doing another layer of wire to catch all the loose ends. End off with ribbon and dip the ends in copper craft paint. I even dipped some of the prickly flowers in the paint to add to the bling.

WREATH2

Hanging around

We placed our wreath above the fireplace as this will be the first thing guests see when they enter through the front door. What a lovely way to say welcome!

WREATH3

Door to door

After our shoot I simply had to hang the wreath on my front door! Yes, this is where all the good props ends up.

WREATH4

I think I am going to make this my seasonal wreath. I’ll add different elements true to the specific season and have it proudly displayed all year round.

Why not make smaller wreaths for your table as well?

MAIN_wreahtssml

You will need: 

Florist wire

Thin-stemmed penny gum branches (you can buy these at your local florist if you don’t have a friend with a tree)

Ribbon

Hat pin

SML_WREATHS1

Merry go round

Bend the florist wire into a circular shape and secure the end by threading it round. Start the wreath by putting the stem of the penny gum branch into one of the loops created. Now simply twirl it around until it ends. I didn’t let mine go all the way and left a ‘naked’ wire section at the top for the ribbon. It kind of reminds me of a roman wreath!

SML_WREATHS2

Needles and pins

I have a disturbingly large collection of hat pins at home. I simply cannot resist them and have found 101 uses for them. This time I’ve used a hat pin to secure the broad ribbon at the top of the wreath.

SML_WREATHS3

Let it shine

I wanted to echo my copper-dipped cutlery so I added a touch of copper craft paint to a few of the penny-gum leaves just for fun.

SML_WREATHS4

Hang on

These fragrant little wreaths are the perfect welcome at the back of each guest’s chair around the Christmas table. If you have a formal seating arrangement, you can go one step further and add the names of guests to them.

SML_WREATHS5

You can also make mini versions of these wreaths and use them for Christmas tree decorations – the possibilities are endless!

Happy styling,

margaux

Nolene_Van_Staden

Watercolour Christmas – nail polish mug DIY

I’ve seen a few examples of this nail polish mug DIY technique on the internet and was so intrigued that I’ve decided to try it for myself. The results were simply stunning! Who would have thought that nail polish can achieve this lovely watercolour look? And it’s pretty simple to do as well!

You will need:

Ceramic mugs and bowls

Selection of nail polish (not the quick drying type)

Water and container for dipping

Toothpicks

Paper towel

nailpolish1

Preparation station

Add water to a flat container. Use a disposable container as you won’t be able to use it again after this exercise. Add a few drops of nail polish to the water and break up the colour dots by dragging a toothpick through it to form a pattern.

nailpolish2

Dunk it

Now simply dip your ceramic bowl into the water and give it a twirl so that the nail polish sticks to the surface. It is amazing what happens to the nail polish when it hits the water. It creates a thin plastic-like film around the colour areas. I found it fascinating.

nailpolish3

Mugged

Repeat this process with any old ceramics you have in the house. It’s lots of fun and makes pretty and inexpensive stocking fillers.

nailpolish4

High and dry

Leave them to dry overnight on a piece of paper towel.

nailpolish5

Wrapped up

Wrap them in tissue paper and boxes combined with nice ribbon. It will be very cute if you add a tag that tells the recipient that this item was hand-made by you. People seem to appreciate that more!

nailpolish6

Please note: The crockery is not going to be food-safe, so don’t use this technique to decorate the inside of a plate or bowl that intend to eat out of. Make sure that you use CPG (ceramics / porcelain / glass) podge (the baking kind) over your designs to ensure their durability. And it’s best to wash by hand and avoid using them in the microwave.

Happy styling,

margaux

Nolene_Van_Staden

A little Christmas Card DIY

I am not sure how many people actually send Christmas cards anymore. Our lives have become to instant with email and messaging that a card in the mail is very old-fashioned and almost unheard of.  And it is so sad really, because it is lovely to get a card, and equally as lovely to give one – especially one that was hand-made! It says “You’re special” and “I’ve taken the time to make this for you.” As kids we used to do it all the time, but now a hand-made card is a rare thing. But I think it’s time to bring it back into fashion with this easy Christmas Card DIY!

While playing with the watercolour paints for the portraits tutorial, I made a little cutout of a Christmas Tree and stenciled it onto card stock. I then wrote a message with a calligraphy pen, a simple and lovely touch. This is such a simple technique that the kids can make them too – and score serious points with Granny and Grandpa!

You will need:

Thick cardboard

Stencil * or acetate and a craft knife

Watercolour paint

Paint brush

Calligraphy pen

Glitter, sequence and other decorations if you like!

Step 1:

watercolour Christmas card DIY 2

Carefully place the stencil onto the card – I purposefully placed mine off-center to create a bit of added interest!

Next, using the watercolour, apply a line of paint along the 1 edge of cutout.

Step 2:

watercolour Christmas card DIY 4

Using water only, wash the paint across the rest of the cut-out.

The paint might go underneath the stencil a little, but don’t despair – it’s all part of the look. The beauty is in the imperfections here!

Step 3: 

watercolour Christmas card DIY 5

Write a personal message, wish or greeting on the card using a calligraphy pen or marker.

You can even adorn your tree with some glitter or sequence if bling is your thing!

* You can easily make a stencil yourself:

watercolour Christmas card DIY 1

Use a market to trace the outline of the graphic you want to use onto acetate. Then, using a craft knife, cut it out. Easy as that!

Try different stencils: Christmas trees, snow flakes, reindeer, Christmas baubles, anything that you like really.

But make a card and give it to someone this Christmas – it won’t go unappreciated!

 

Happy Merry-making!

germarie