Welcome to the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Workbook, a collection of easy and creative projects from the December issue. Here, you'll find step-by-step instructions and free downloadable patterns for six quick crafts (including candles, pillows, and garlands) that will bring holiday cheer to your home.
Add some natural-theme holiday embellishments to a set of decorative pillows with linen appliques. Cut the acorn and tree patterns from white linen and hand-stitch the patterns onto the pillows for a handmade look.
Simple leaf shapes can be used to make a pretty, natural-looking wreath. Use our pattern to trim 70-80 leaves from linen. Add a dab of hot glue to the stems and layer them onto a wire wreath form as shown. Finish the decoration by gluing a length of blue velvet ribbon onto the top, tied into a neat bow.
You can craft these decorative paper cones in minutes. For instructions on how to make the paper cones, see the next slide.
This colorful cone is made from decorative or scrapbook paper and contains a sweet surprise.
1. Download the cone patterns, available below (click the link after step 5) and cut out to use as patterns, enlarging them with a copier if necessary. Trace the patterns onto heavyweight gift wrap, scrapbook papers, or decorative papers, and cut out.
2. For all cones: Crease and fold as shown on the pattern. On the long edge place three pieces of double-sided tape (or three dabs from a glue stick) on the creased section -- this will form the seam on the inside of the cone.
3. To make a smooth-sided cone (patterns on pages 1 and 2 of the download): Carefully roll into a cone shape, pressing the creased and taped edge to the interior of the cone to seal. The cone on page 1 folds on the bottom to hold candy. Place a small bag of candy inside the cone, fold in the tabs, and secure with a large round sticker.
4. To make a pyramid-shape cone (pattern on page 3 of the download): Fold and attach adhesive as described in step 2. The cone folds on the bottom to hold candy. Place a small bag of candy inside the cone, fold in the tabs, and secure with a large round sticker.
5. To finish the cone projects, use double-sided tape to attach a die-cut star to a toothpick; insert in the top of the cone.
Use homemade beeswax candles with a paper-covered matchbox as a perfect holiday party favor. For instructions on how to make the candles, see the next slide.
These easy-to-make candles make perfect party favors for a holiday gathering. Cut a sheet of beeswax (we got ours at toadilyhandmade.com) into an 8x8-inch square. Lay a 10-inch wick on the wax's edge, leaving 2 inches of the wick free. Tightly roll the wax around the wick, pressing the seam when finished, and trim the wick to a desired length (1/4 inch is standard). To make them ready for party favors, tape a band of pleated parchment around two candles. Use ribbon or baker's twine to tie a scrapbook paper-covered matchbox to the candles, tucking in a sprig of evergreen if desired.
These fun pillows will bring a white Christmas to your home even if it's warm and sunny outside. Print out the snowflake patterns and tape them to freezer paper. Cut out the patterns using a sharp blade with a self-healing mat underneath. Iron the freezer paper to the fabric of two 20-inch-square pillows, with the shiny or waxy side down. Place cardboard between the fabric layers so the paint doesn't bleed through.
To prepare the paint, mix 1 part fabric paint medium with 2 parts fabric paint in assorted colors (we used silver, gold, and light blue). Lightly apply paint around the stencil; let dry overnight. When dry, gently peel off the freezer paper.
Arrange a festive bouquet for the holidays with an assortment of poinsettias, begonia leaves, anemones, ranunculus, and amaryllis. For step-by-step instructions on how to create this arrangement, see the next slides.
We used a compote dish to display the flowers in this arrangement. First, secure a floral frog (a disk with small spikes on one side) to the bottom of the dish with floral clay. Add a couple inches of water, then lay lengths of branches or vines (we used seeded eucalyptus and elderberries) around the lip of the bowl so they trail over the side, forming a framework to support the flowers. Press the cut ends into the floral frog, making sure that the foliage doesn't fall below the water line.
Once you've added foliage to the bottom of the dish, add the larger elements to support the arrangement. Place poinsettia bracts and begonia leaves around the perimeter, allowing them to spill over the front.
To complete the arrangement, tuck festive flowers (we used anemones, ranunculus, and amaryllis) among the branches and stems already in place. To completely fill out the arrangement, add more greens and berries among the flowers as needed. It might be difficult to reach the floral frog at this point, but make sure that all the stems reach down into the water.
Editor's Tip: Clustering two or three of the same flower has more visual impact than scattering single blooms around the bouquet.
Add some spice to a plain holiday garland by using florist's wire to attach brightly colored poinsettia bracts. Display the garland prominently by draping it across the fireplace mantel, and complement the greenery with red, silver, and off-white ornament balls placed neatly on footed dishes and under glass cloches.
This arrangement, set in a wooden tray, makes a great gift. Layer boxwood stems to create the base, add a handful of small oranges or clementines, and arrange a small vase of bright roses and parrot tulips. Fill the tray with bottles of champagne or other specialty items to complete the gift.