12 Days of Christmas Crafts and Recipes: filled ornaments

Almost as exciting as receiving greeting cards in the the mail are the arrival of holiday catalogs from my beloved home stores.  I love to flip through them slowly, dog-earing my favorite pages, and take in all of their holiday goodness.  In particular, Pottery Barn catalogs are filled with lovely ideas and I especially love their use of reindeer moss for decorating. For today’s craft, I’ve created a truly simple and elegant, nature-inspired ornament.

homemade glass ornament pinecone filler christmas craft easy inexpensive

Start with a glass or plastic ornament, insert some reindeer moss as a soft base, add a clipping from your tree trimming, and gently scatter mini pine cones.  Do you hear the pine needles crunching under your feet as you walk through the forest?

Here’s what you need:

clear plastic glass ornament homemade DIY gift christmas craft

  • glass or plastic clear ornament
  • mini pine cones
  • reindeer moss
  • tree trimmings
  • long tweezers (or something else to help insert your filler -  I used dental cotton pliers)

No instructions needed!  Finish off with a long piece of twine and tie into a bow to hang.

clear plastic glass ornament homemade DIY gift christmas craft

Tips: Everything Christmas is on sale at Michael’s.  The ornament and mini pine cones were $2 total after discounts and I had leftover reindeer moss from this project.

Almost as exciting as receiving greeting cards in the the mail are the arrival of holiday catalogs from my beloved home stores.  I love to flip through them slowly, dog-earing my favorite pages, and take in all of their holiday goodness.   In particular, Pottery Barn catalogs are filled with lovely ideas and inspiration.

Sheet Moss Wreath

pottery barn moss wreath do it yourself diy craft project spring decorations ideas

Alright, I admit it- I’m addicted to making wreaths! These circular wall ornaments add a simple elegance to seasonal decorating that I just love.  So without further ado…The Pottery Barn-Inspired Sheet Moss Wreath.

Need some Spring in your home but don’t want to spend $49 at Pottery Barn to do it?  Try this simple, though slightly messy, craft to make your own modern moss wreath.

Here’s what you need:

pottery barn moss wreath do it yourself diy craft project spring decorations ideas

  • straw wreath form
  • 2 packages sheet moss
  • glue sticks and hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • olive colored thread

Here’s what you do:

Find a nice spot outdoors for this craft – the moss can get messy! Cut sheet moss into ~3″ wide strips.  Use hot glue gun to secure strips tightly to straw wreath form.  Fill in any uncovered spaces with appropriately cut pieces of sheet moss.  Once wreath is covered, use thread to wrap around wreath form in a decidedly haphazard fashion.  The thread will help to keep moss from shedding and also adds some textural interest.

pottery barn moss wreath do it yourself diy craft project spring decorations ideas

Cost: $15 – a $35 savings from the Pottery Barn retail price!  Sheet moss and wreath were purchased at Joann’s with 40% off coupons and I have 85% of the second sheet of moss left for another project.


O (tabletop) Christmas Tree

This time of year holiday catalogs fill our mailboxes.  Unfortunately for a lot of us, decking the house for the holidays with gorgeous items from Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate & Barrel and Williams- Sonoma just isn’t feasible.  What I try to do every year is browse through the catalogs and get inspired to create my own decorations and replicate the store’s classic style for much less than retail!

west elm david stark twine wrapped tree craft

Twine Wrapped Tree


If you browse through my other posts, you’ll see that I love to decorate with twine by wrapping it around things.  I love the texture it creates and the organic look of it.  Recently, I was flipping through a West Elm catalog and saw these modern trees (above) and thought, what a great thrifty craft!  And can be made for SO much less than the sticker price!

What you need:

  • craft spray glue
  • newspaper
  • styrofoam tree form
  • jute twine
  • hot glue gun

west elm twine wrapped tree christmas craft

Here’s what you do:

  1. Create a workspace with newspaper.
  2. Secure twine to the top of tree with a spot of hot glue.
  3. Apply spray glue in 2-3 inch sections and wrap twine around form of tree, making sure twine is taut and avoiding gaps between wraps.
  4. Finish by securing twine to bottom edge with hot glue.

Note: It is important to start wrapping from the top of the tree, as wrapping from a larger to smaller diameter direction can be frustrating – the twine will want to roll toward the smaller diameter area.  So, start from the top!

west elm twine wrapped tree christmas craft

Cost: $5! Twine was purchased from the 99 cent store and the styrofoam tree was purchased at Michael’s with a 40% off coupon for $4.  That’s a savings of $45 from the West Elm retail!

Red Berry Tree Topiaries

red berry tree tabletop tree topiary craft

Decorating with red berries during the holidays is one of my favorite looks.  Unfortunately, good quality topiaries can be hard to find, especially if you like to shop the after Christmas sales for your holiday decorations – oftentimes, berries are missing, chipped or scratched. Here’s a way to have a beautiful topiary, on the cheap, with little effort! Comparable topiaries (like the one on the left) can be found at Target for up to $29 per tree!

What you need:

  • wire cutters
  • tree topiaries
  • red berry picks
  • silver (or gold) spray paint
  • bright green reindeer moss
  • terra cotta pots
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks

red berry christmas tree topiary craftred berry christmas tree topiary craft

Here’s what you do:

  1. Use wire cutters to remove berries from their stems. Make sure to save one berry with a 3/4 inch of stem for the top of the tree.
  2. Place sole berry with stem in top of tree, leaving 1/3-1/2 of an inch visible.
  3. Secure first layer of berries below top berry with hot glue, making sure to place them as close together as possible, eliminating as much of the background as you can.
  4. In sections, starting at the edge of your most recently placed berries and working outward, cover rest of the tree with berries.
  5. Spread newspaper to create a large workspace.
  6. Use spray paint to coat terra cotta pots, using short strokes and spraying another layer (after first coat dries) until pot has a uniform coating.  Make sure to flip the pots after waiting for them to dry and spray the upper rim.
  7. Place berried topiary in newly painted, dry pot.
  8. Attach reindeer moss with hot glue in sections to exposed areas of base.
  9. Display and enjoy!

Cost: less than $10 per tree,  not bad! AND you have leftover silver spray paint for other holiday projects!

red berry christmas tree topiary craft

Tip: Michaels has wonderful sales throughout the month of December – most things holiday are often 40 -60% off!  I purchased my red berries at a 50% off sale, so each pick was only $0.49 (I used 17 picks total for two trees).  Spray paint and pots were cheapest at Home Depot – only $5 for everything.  An even less expensive, and less time consuming, way to do it would be to find silver pots that you like at discount stores like the Dollar Tree or 99 cent store.  And don’t forget your 40% off mailer coupons at Michaels for things that aren’t on sale!  My reindeer moss (which is the same color and look of the stuff they’re selling at Pottery Barn for $14 per bag!) was only $3 with my coupon.  Thrift and discount stores (like Tuesday Morning) are also wonderful places to find craft materials for pennies on the dollar – I actually found my topiaries at a thrift store for $1.99 each!


Fall in Love with Fall

pottery barn vase filler craft projects

Its that time of year again when everywhere you look, the rich colors of autumn abound….if you live anywhere but Southern California, that is!  Unfortunately for us, palm trees stay green and lawns aren’t littered with gorgeous crimson,  rust or gold falling leaves.  So, what’s a girl to do to bring in the fall season?  Get crafting, that’s what!

After last holiday season, I picked up some clearance items from Pottery Barn in preparation for decorating this year.  Among my finds were life-like acorns and preserved leaves in gorgeous hues for only $2.97 a box!  There is so much you can do with these simple vase fillers!  Here are a couple of easy projects to get those creative cogs turning.

Leaf Coasters


photo coaster project pottery barn vase filler leaves

What you need:

  • a set of photo coasters
  • preserved, or artificial, leaves
  • tweezers
  • scotch tape

Here’s what you do:

photo coaster project pottery barn vase filler leavesphoto coaster project pottery barn vase filler leaves

  1. Choose  four different leaf shapes in four different colors, selecting leaves that are comparable in size to that of your photo coaster insert.
  2. Lay your selected leaf on the cardstock insert to position.  If your leaves extend beyond the edges of the cardstock, use scotch tape to wrap the tips around and secure to the backside.
  3. Using tweezers, gently slide the cardstock into the plastic insert, being careful not to wrinkle or damage the secured leaf.

Photo coasters can be found at many stores.  These have a very simple design and were given to us as a wedding gift.  They can be found at Crate and Barrel for $20 for a set of four.

Cost: $3 (with lots of leftover leaves for other projects)!

Golden Wheat and Leaf Wreath

golden wheat grapevine wreath leaf craft

What you need:

  • grapevine wreath
  • dried wheat stems
  • preserved, or artificial, leaves
  • fall foliage craft stems for colorful accents
  • hot glue gun
  • glue sticks

golden wheat grapevine wreath leaf craft

Here’s what you do:

  1. Pre-arrange wheat and leaves to ensure full coverage of your wreath
  2. Hot glue 10-12 leaves on wreath in a scattered, yet deliberate, way, as if they fell on the wreath naturally.  You still want some of the grapevine wreath peeking through between leaves.
  3. Cut your wheat stems to half their original length for ease of insertion.
  4. Insert wheat stems into grapevine wreath horizontally, as close to 180 degrees as you can.  This ensures the wheat lays flat against the wreath and does not stick out.  Use hot glue as necessary to secure rogue wheat stems.
  5. Cut buds off of your fall foliage stems, leaving a 2-3 inch stem. Insert into wreath at various points, making sure to even out the color distribution.
  6. Turn wreath over and snip any length of wheat stem that protrudes from the back or can be readily seen.
  7. Hang and admire your handiwork!

golden wheat grapevine wreath leaf craft

Wheat was purchased at a farmers market for $2 a bunch, wreath and foliage stems were purchased at Joann’s (foliage was 70% off after Halloween!).  Remember to check for coupons for your craft stores!  I was able to use a 10% off transaction coupon the day I bought these!

Cost: $12!

Flowers with Acorns and Lentils

pottery barn vase filler acorn craft projects

What you need:

  • 5″ square vase
  • one box of acorn filler
  • few handfuls of dried lentils
  • plastic water bottle
  • Exacto knife
  • autumn colored flowers

Here’s what you do:

pottery barn vase filler craft projects pottery barn vase filler acorn craft projects

  1. Place plastic water bottle inside square vase, centering it.  Fill square vase with acorns around water bottle to determine proper height, mark.
  2. Remove plastic bottle and use Exacto knife to cut water bottle to marked height.  Smooth cut edges with scissors, if need be.
  3. Center the cut bottle in square vase again, this time filling lower 1/2 inch or so of square vase with dried lentils to stabilize plastic container.  Fill acorns around plastic bottle, making sure there are no gaps where the plastic bottle can be seen.
  4. Fill bottle with water and arrange cut flowers.

Cost: $3 + the cost of flowers

Apothecary Jars with Fallen Leaves


glass apothecary jar leaf filler craft home decoration

What you need:

  • preserved, or artificial, leaves
  • glass apothecary jar

There isn’t an easier craft than this!  Simply take a handful of leaves and place into jar, making sure to fluff them so they are not crushed.  Put on display and enjoy!

Cost: $3 + cost of apothecary jar (check discount stores for deals on these…I found mine at Ross for $5.99!)


Wicked Wreaths

feather wreath Halloween craft

Add some frightful fun to your home decor this Halloween with a couple of spooktacular wreaths!

bleached moss wreath Halloween craft

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • feather picks
  • bleached moss
  • plastic spiders
  • grapevine wreath
  • styrofoam wreath
  • hot glue gun with glue sticks

For the feather wreath, arrange your feathers prior to gluing to make sure you have enough material to cover the entire face of the wreath.  When arranged, insert the individual picks into the grapevine wreath, bend the ends that stick out of the back and secure them with glue.  You can buy more picks to cover the entire wreath, but I think it looks nice with the grapevine background.

feather wreath Halloween craft

For the mossy wreath (original idea from Martha Stewart), as for the feather wreath, lay out your moss prior to gluing to ensure you have enough to cover the styrofoam completely.  Once ready, apply glue to the styrofoam in 2-3 inch sections and press moss  gently against the hot glue to secure.  Adorn the finished wreath with black plastic spiders for an extra creepy effect.

bleached moss wreath Halloween craft

Tip: Make sure to use your 40% off Michael’s coupons for purchasing the wreaths if they aren’t already on sale.  For the feather project, make sure fall accessories are on sale – these were 50% off, so in total, I only spent $6 for 12 feather picks.  The bleached moss was a clearance item at Pottery Barn that I scored for $2.97/bag.  I ended up using two bags on a 12″ styrofoam wreath.

Cost: $10 per wreath!