Christmas Craft: Frosted Lanterns

Lanterns are a classic way to brighten up your holiday decorating, but buying them in bulk can get pricey. You can get this same look using glass jars and simple crafting materials.

Materials

  • Glass jars
  • Self-adhesive stickers
  • Painter’s tape
  • Frosted glass spray paint
  • Double sided tape
  • 22 Gauge wire (about 32 inches per jar)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Tweezers
  • Protective gloves
  • Battery operated candles

Instructions

  1. Create a pattern on the jar using painter’s tape and stickers.
  2. Spray the jar lightly and evenly with frosted glass spray paint. Be sure to wear gloves and work outside in a well-ventilated area.
  3. When the spray is dry, use tweezers to carefully peel off the tape and stickers. Try not to touch or scrap the frosted area. Let the jar sit for an hour, then add the handle.
  4. Use needle nose pliers to cut a piece of 22 gauge wire. Wrap it around the neck of the jar once and twist it thoroughly into place. Take the excess wire and create a loop, twisting the end securely to the other side of the jar, creating the handle.
  5. Put a small square of double sided mounting tape on the bottom of a tea light and place on the bottom of your lantern. Use battery operated candles if you plan to place your lanterns near greenery or children and pets.

These sweet, simple lanterns will light your entry way, brighten your home, and provide a warm welcome for holiday visitors.  

Christmas Craft: Wine Cork Reindeer

It’s always fun to add new holiday decorations to your overall design, and this season you can recreate a classic figure with a fresh, new twist. Reindeer made from wine corks and twigs are inexpensive and easy to make. And just like snowflakes, no two are alike.

Materials

  • (4) 2” Dry twigs
  • (1) 1” Dry twig
  • 2 Dry twigs that branch off
  • Raffia
  • Drill and 5/32 drill bit
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • 2 Wine corks
  • Small red bead
  • Green sheet moss

Instructions

  1. Drill 4 small holes into one side of a wine cork. These will hold the reindeer’s legs.
  2. Flip the wine cork over, and drill one more hole on the other side near the end of the cork. This will hold the reindeer’s neck.
  3. To make the head, take the second cork and drill a small hole near the end of it. Then flip it over, and drill two more holes on the other side.
  4. Add a dab of hot glue and then push a 2” dry twigs into each of the four holes in your first wine cork to make the reindeer’s legs.
  5. Add hot glue and a 1” dry twig in your second wine cork.
  6. Then attach the two corks together, creating the reindeer’s body.
  7. Next, add your reindeer’s antlers. Put hot glue in the top two holes of the head, and add the twigs that branch off.
  8. To really give your reindeer personality, add a small red bead for his nose, then tie a charm or bell on the raffia and hang it around the neck.

Create a small holiday herd and place them in a bed of moss, or hang several in your tree. These fun, festive reindeer are sure to add holiday cheer to any room in your home.

Springtime Project: Tussie Mussie

Learn how to create your own tussie mussie, inspired by fashions and the language of flowers during Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901). During this era, flowers were considered a more modest adornment than jewelry for a young woman. A tussie mussie was sometimes tied with a ribbon, but could also be carried in a cone-shaped, decorative silver holder. They're still used today for some bridesmaid bouquets.

Creating a Tussie Mussie

1. Start with the bushiest flowers first and add in additional flowers in a crisscross pattern. Rotate arrangement with each new flower added. 

2. Vary the height of each flower and remove excess greenery along the stems. Cut long stems for a petite and feminine look. 

3. Measure ribbon at 18-24 inches, cut and wrap around base. Tie a traditional bow and cut tails by folding the ends of each ribbon in half.

4. Find the perfect spot to display your arrangement! Whether used at a placesetting, or as an accessory, these simple arrangements are a beautiful way to incorporate fresh spring flowers into your decor.

Springtime Project: Olmsted Basket

Biltmore's gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as his last great commission. Gentleness, charm, and naturalness are keynotes of Olmsted's style. The picturesque and pastoral elements of Olmsted’s gardens can be recalled in our miniature landscapes, which our Floral Team uses throughout Biltmore House and other areas of the estate as a way to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside.

Creating an Olmsted Basket

 

1. Choose your container. This can be a basket, ceramic bowl, brass dish, or wooden box; anything deep enough to hide the pots and give you room to create. Line the container with polyfoil or a garbage bag to protect from leaks.

2. Choose your plants. The size of the pots are determined by the size of your container, but 4″ pots are most commonly used. It's best to use plants with similar requirements such as light, water, humidity, and temperature. Use some tall and low plants, some upright and some spreading to add depth. Ensure the pots should have drainage holes to protect from soggy roots.

3. Be creative! Use natural materials such as moss, rocks, twigs, gourds, and berries to create interest with different textures. 

4. Choose the perfect spot in your home to display your creation. From room accents to tabletop centerpieces, these long-lasting designs are a perfect way to brighten up your space.