tutorial ~ make a box using a Christmas card

I have made little boxes from Christmas cards for a long time. Easy to make and useful, besides! I use them as gift boxes for small items, to fill with goodies to tuck into stockings, to wrap favors for guests, etc. Use your imagination! I’m sure you can think of many ways to use these special little boxes.

To begin, choose the card you would like to use. The larger the card, the bigger the box can be.

make a box from a Christmas card

It’s fine with me if a card has writing on the inside, as long as it doesn’t disclose any private information. I find it charming to open a little Christmas card box and see evidence of someone’s Christmas greetings inside. If, however, you don’t want writing inside your box, use a card with no writing or use two card fronts to make your box.

make a box from a Christmas card

Cut the spine from the front of the card.

make a box from a Christmas card

The back of the card needs to be about 1/8 inch less than the front on one long side and one short side. If you trim the sides too much, the bottom of the box will be too small to fit snugly under the top.

make a box from a Christmas card

Here I have stacked the smaller white back on top the purple front of the card, the other sides being even, so you can see how much smaller it needs to be. Not much smaller than the front.

making boxes from Christmas cards

The next step is to score the sides of the card. For boxes with one inch sides, I use this handy ruler and a scoring tool, scoring each side of the front and the back.

make a box from a Christmas card

If you want taller sides than one inch, use an acrylic ruler to measure the size you want.

make a box from a Christmas card

If you look closely, you can see the scored lines.

making boxes from Christmas cards

You can draw pencil lines before scoring if you want to. I find that an extra step, but it can make the cut lines easier to see in the next step.


Cut from the sides just to the other line.


Now it’s time to glue the tabs. Glue should be placed on the outside of the tab and the inside of the box.

make a box from a Christmas card

I find clothespins make handy clamps to hold the tabs until they are dry.

make a box from a Christmas card

Remove the pins carefully. If they are stuck, wiggle them back and forth to help release them. The best plan, though, is to be sure there is no extra glue where the pins may stick.

make a box from a Christmas card

Bottom and top, finished.

make a box from a Christmas card

Top and bottom put together.

make a box from a Christmas card

Another box I made this evening.

make a box from a Christmas card

If you want a deeper box, choose a large card.

make a box from a Christmas card

Use an acrylic ruler to score the sides as deep as you want them.

make a box from a Christmas card


make a box from a Christmas card

Pretty boxes.

make a box from a Christmas card

Whenever I need a little container, I reach for a cute little box. This one was made to be used as a shadow box, but I haven’t done that yet. The little boxes are great for containing small objects on the craft desk.

Christmas card box

This one is holding ornament toppers, which I need for some decoupaged ornaments I’m working on.

make a box from a Christmas card

Have fun making your own little Christmas boxes!


mid century putz houses

As you may know, our son and his wife were here this past week from Seattle, Washington. We had a great visit. The day after the Open House, we had a family Christmas with them. Everyone was here and it was a lot of fun. We exchanged gifts with them, as they will not be here on Christmas day.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, my daughter-in-law and I spent a lot of time in the craft room, working on a project I started for her in December of 2012. Her favorite design style is mid century. I had found three patterns on retrorenovation.com for mid century style Putz houses. The site has nine patterns now and we’re going to make some of the other houses, too. I drew the other two patterns myself.

These are the five houses as I left off with them two years ago.

mid century Putz houses

We put roofs on all of them and also attached them to bases. Julie began embellishing some of them.

mid century Putz houses

I drew the pattern for this house with the carport, using a picture I found online of a little mid century house in St. Louis. The link is here: http://www.beltstl.com/tag/mid-century-modern-ranch/. It’s the fourth picture on that site.

mid century Putz houses

I also drew a pattern for this house. I saw a gingerbread cookie online with this design. The link no longer works. Julie came up with the idea of the corrugated roof. So cute!

mid century Putz houses

I love the overhang on the A-frame roof. The link to the A-frame pattern is here: A-frame pattern

mid century Putz houses

The ranch house mid century…cute as it can be. Here’s a link to the pattern: Ranch Mid Century

mid century Putz houses

Another cute mid century ranch

ranch mid century putz

I made a paper mock-up of the butterfly ranch house. We didn’t make this one in cardstock yet, but Julie took the pattern home with her.

mid century Putz houses

Now they’re ready to pack for the trip to Seattle. Julie will add Christmas embellishments, driveways, sidewalks, and landscaping. She plans to set up her own little cul-de-sac on a shelf where the kitty can’t get to them.

mid century Putz houses

It was wonderful to get back into the craft room and spend time with another craft enthusiast! Thanks for all the fun, Julie!


christmas open house 2014 ~ downstairs

A beautiful day for a great open house. We had about 190 guests. A few drove quite a ways to be here and we thank them for that gift. It was wonderful to see you!

We thank everyone who had a hand in getting ready for this big day. My sister Genny, my daughter Sarah, sons and daughters-in-law, our granddaughter, our dear friend Laurie who dropped by Saturday to help clean…lots of helping hands!

After two and a half inches of rain on Friday, we were glad to see Sunday’s weather. Sunny during the afternoon. A high in the low 40s. Very nice. I am sure it encouraged attendance. DH and I both totally forgot about taking pictures. We were so busy greeting guests. If anyone has pictures from the open house, I would be grateful to have them. My new friend Dana gave me permission to use the pictures she took. Thanks, Dana!

Ready for company! I wish you could see it at night. There’s a tree in almost every window.

our house

The main attraction in the living room is the Family Tree. I love tinsel on a Christmas tree! I wish a picture could show you how beautiful it is at night, with the lights on and the tree rotating.

living room Christmas tree

The nativity in the living room is backed by a Christmas tree.

living room nativity

In the dining room, you will find the cookie table with punch. Coffee is set up on the buffet in the same room. By the way, the window looking into the kitchen may seem odd placing, but the kitchen used to be a back porch, added to the house in the early 1920s, more than fifty years after the house was built.

cookie table

One of the frames on the table is a list of gluten free goodies. The other is a guide to truffle flavors.

gluten free / truffles

The dining room has the Snow Tree and also a smaller decorated tree on top the cupboard, which you can see in the picture of the cookie table. Our younger daughter put the snowflakes on the windows. She planned to do the top half, too, but was sick for several days and not able to finish the tops of the windows. She’s feeling better, so maybe this week!

snow tree in the dining room

The “library” serves as our family room. The tree in the bay is the Nativity Tree. All the ornaments are nativity related. This is an older picture, but the tree is pretty much the same each year. Just more ornaments. :)

Nativity tree

I made the ribbon for the Nativiy Tree years ago. It contains the Scripture from Luke 2:1-20.

Luke 2:1-20 ribbon

The Three Kings Tree is also in the library.

Wisemen tree

Snow White was totally enamored with her six week old second cousin. She petted him, followed him around, and declared him “SOOO-OH Cu-UTE!” to anyone who would listen. She said he was the first baby she ever got to touch. He seemed to make quite an impression! His mama was sweet about sharing her little one.

second cousins

From the library, you can enter the “music” room. So called because it is the room where our piano resides. This room had three trees this year. One large and two smaller. The large tree is the Bubble Light Tree. Along with light strings and bubble lights, it is decorated with mouth-blown figural glass ornaments, vintage Christmas postcards from DH’s side of the family, and fifty candles in candle clips. Never lit, of course!

bubble light tree

The small tree on the table in the music room is new this year. It is decorated with vintage bead garlands and dark green ornaments. Two battery operated LED light strings brighten the tree.

music room trees

The other tree in the music room is a small tree decorated with vintage ornaments given to me by my mother-in-law. The pictures on the piano are Christmas pictures of our children when they were much younger. The shelves over the piano hold my collection of Christmas china. I like to collect one place setting each of different patterns rather than a set of one particular pattern.

music room

From the music room, we can walk down the hall of the addition. Our children’s baby pictures hang here. I wrap them during the holidays as gifts. Which they are!

baby pictures wrapped as gifts

Across from the baby pictures, on the counter, a deer hides in a basket.


And the aluminum tree nearby displays part of my collection of vintage ornaments.

aluminum tree in addition hall

This little tree in the laundry room holds more vintage ornaments.

laundry room tree

A thrifted nativity sits on the laundry room counter.

laundry room nativity

The blue and silver tree in the downstairs guest room…

blue and silver tree

Another aluminum tree sits in the corner of the guest room.

guest bedroom

In the guest room, I display some vintage Putz houses that my son and his wife gave me for Christmas a few years ago.

vintage Putz houses

This room is also where the Putz Tree is. A white tree with light blue beads and ornaments. And, of course, my Putz houses.

Putz tree

We’ll head back down the hall, through the music room, and into the kitchen. The kitchen tree is on top the fridge and decorated with candy and cookie ornaments, blue beads, and blue and white lights.

cookies and candy tree on top the fridge

The six windows in the kitchen are hung with evergreen garland. My snowflake ornament collection is displayed on the garland.


During the open house, the chalkboard declared there were only eighteen days until Christmas!


I love this little beaded garland that hangs over the chalkboard. I found it online quite a few years ago.


I am going to close out this open house tour of the downstairs with pictures of our amaryllis. I had hoped they would bloom for the party, but one opened a few days later and the other one has not yet opened. They were bought at the same place, planted at the same time, and treated exactly the same as they sat in the sun on the kitchen counter. But one is way short and one way tall! Go figure!



This post took a long time to write. I was too tired the day after the party to compose it. The next two days I was happily occupied in the craft room with my daughter-in-law as we crafted mid century Putz houses for her. A long post on that soon! And there were pictures I didn’t include. I hope to post some of those as I post more Christmas tree stories. I will work on a tour of the upstairs tomorrow. :)


christmas tree countdown ~ the twins’ tree

Our youngest daughter switched bedrooms and we decided to turn her previous bedroom into a room for the twins when they stay overnight. The built-in bunk beds are perfect for the girls.

The room was painted blue, with a green ceiling, and some brown trim around the bed. Because Snow White LOVES! pink, we decided to paint the green with pink. Here’s what it looked like “before,” when our friend Paul was building a banister for the bunk beds earlier this year.


And “after” the green went pink. The green ceiling stayed green.


Snow White is all about blue, so the blue walls were right up her alley. I put pink curtains in Rose Red’s bed and blue ones in Snow White’s bed. We also put pink curtains on the windows and rolled out a new rug for the floor. And I had to come up with a new tree idea for this room. I have always wanted to do a tree with a spiral of color and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. The tree is nine feet tall, the ceilings are twelve feet (perfect for the built-in bunks!). My brother and his wife gave us this tree when the lights quit working. Genny and I took all the pre-lit strings off and redid the tree with warm white LEDs.

twins' tree

Our middle daughter, who has been a wonderful helper this Christmas season, made this large wreath to hang on the wall over the twins’ dresser.


And a smaller wreath to hang on the door to the bedroom.

twins' door wreath

DH put up the circle garland around the room. I made that in 2011 to hang in the dining room windows.

"snow tree" in the dining room

All in all, the girls’ room came together very well. They love the new touches and the spiral tree was very popular at the open house. Last, but not least, Buttercup thinks it’s a great place for a catnap.

twins' room

Only fifteen days until Christmas!


menu plan monday ~ december 8, 2014

We had a big day yesterday. About 190 people attended our annual Christmas Open House. Thanks to all who came. We so enjoyed seeing you, meeting first time guests, and enjoying the holiday spirit with everyone! Next post is about that!

Our younger son and his wife are here from Seattle, Washington. They will visit until Wednesday, then head to her parents’ home for a few days, before flying back to Seattle. Yesterday all five of our children and their families were here at the same time. I love it when we can all gather together. This evening we plan to have a gift exchange with our son and his wife while they are here. So everyone will be back again this evening. Love this time of year!

The menu has to be planned with some consideration of the week’s events. This should take care of it.

Ham or Turkey Sandwiches
Crackers and Cheese
Three Cheese Spread
Veggies and Beau Monde Dip
All the Christmas Cookies and Truffles you could care to eat…

Baked Ziti
Green Salad
Garlic Bread

fake baked ziti

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Heat Free Chili

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

Fridge Food

Beef Roast / Carrots / Potatoes in the Crock Pot
Green Salad
Steamed Green Beans

You’ll find more menu and recipe ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

Only 17 days until Christmas!


christmas tree countdown ~ living room tree

DH took this picture of the tree in the living room.

living room Christmas tree

This is our family tree. It holds the kids’ ornament collections, our family ornaments, the ornaments the kids’ have made during grade school, etc. It is beaded with a double strand of red beads, decked with popcorn and cranberry strings, and finished with silver tinsel icicles.

living room tree

We make popcorn and cranberry strings because the tree my mother put up always had them. I asked my Dad last week why she always made them for the tree. He said a lot of people used popcorn and sometimes cranberries to decorate their Christmas trees when he was a child. Both his and my Mom’s parents used them on their own trees. Snow White enjoyed making them with her Great-Aunt Genny two years ago.

stringing popcorn and cranberries

The stained glass angel in the window behind the tree was made by our dear friend Gary.

stained glass angel

Our oldest daughter’s baby shoes…

DD#1's baby shoes

If you peek inside the tree, you may catch a glimpse of our wood gnome sitting on a branch. My mother gave him to me thirty-five years ago, the year our first child was born.

Wood Gnome

This tree doesn’t change much, year to year. A few new ornaments each year, but basically the same. This picture of Rose Red was taken five years ago. She was delighted with the tree! The fact that it revolved just made it that much better!

she loved the tree

It’s time to think about getting your own tree up if you haven’t yet. Only eighteen days until Christmas!


christmas tree countdown ~ chalkboard tree

This is the third year in a row that we have done a chalkboard tree. The chalkboard is in the room we call the “music room” because that’s where our piano lives. The chalkboard is painted on the wall with green chalkboard paint. It is a bit over eight feet tall. The ceilings are twelve feet tall.

The tree this year was going to have a Chrismon Tree theme, but I changed my mind and decided on a nativity scene instead. As I have done in the past, I googled for ideas. I searched < nativity coloring pages > and found some great inspiration there. Coloring pages make good design choices for the chalkboard tree. They are easy to reproduce and to color in. Genny does the work of transferring the ideas to the actual chalkboard. It takes hours and hours to finish, but we always love the end result.

Chalkboard tree 2013 / The Twelve Days of Christmas

Our first chalkboard tree was done in 2012. It was a Scandinavian themed tree, inspired by the blog A Legg Up.

We may consider the Chrismon theme again for next year, but I’m also already thinking about a Christmas toys theme…could be fun!


christmas tree countdown ~ blue and silver tree

The Christmas tree in the downstairs bedroom has been dubbed “the blue and silver tree.” It is located in the 1960 addition to the original house. This addition has 8′ ceilings, so the tree is 7′. It is decorated with mostly silver ornaments, many of them with an old-fashioned theme, and some blue ornaments. It has silver bead garlands, a sprinkle of silver tinsel icicles, and glittery picks for the topper.

You can read about my experiment in spray painting this tree at this link: thanks, hgtv!

Blue and silver Christmas tree

Many of the ornaments for this tree are thrifted. My sister Genny haunts the thrift stores this time of year, finding some great items. Here are some pictures of the tree that I took a previous year.

blue deer

church in the valley

guest room tree

pinecone ornament

I’ll tell you a funny story about the silver ornaments that started it all… One year our church had a Vacation Bible School with a camping theme. They asked for the loan of artificial Christmas trees so they could set up a “forest” for VBS. We sent quite a few trees over. When VBS was done, friends gathered our trees for us and brought them back. DH took them back up to the attic where they waited for the holidays to roll around. When they did (roll around that is), we put up the twenty-plus trees that we usually decorate. Lo and behold, there was an extra tree. We could not figure out where this tree came from. We are sometimes given trees by people who are buying themselves a new tree and know how many we have up. They figure we can always use more trees. Which is right, in my book. :) So we decided someone had given us the tree. I didn’t have any ornaments for it, so we bought a bunch of cheap silver ones and did it all in silver. We set it up in the dining room.

The first week of December, we went to church to decorate the tree there. DH and I looked all over the church for that tree. Then it dawned on both of us at the same time! The tree in our dining room was the church tree! We had a good laugh over that, then had to go home, take the deocrations off, and take the tree to church to decorate it there. That left me with a lot of silver ornaments which I didn’t use for a few years. Then, in 2008, we redecorated the addition and suddenly the room had a blue theme. When it was time to decorate the tree, the Victorian tree we had used before no longer fit the room. That’s when I pulled out those silver ornaments. Silver and blue. Perfect for the guest room. We add a few new/thrifted ornaments each year and it is filling out beautifully.

For a tree with humble beginnings, it has come a long way. Most guests pick the blue and silver tree as one of their two top favorite trees in our home. It’s one of my favorites, too!


christmas tree countdown ~ ornament tree

The ornament tree is in the craft room. We’ve had it for several years.

This year it displays 60 of the ornaments I’ve made using the pictures from Christmas cards.

Twenty-some trees to go. I’ll post another one tomorrow.


menu plan monday ~ december 2, 2014

Just a reminder of what the weather was a few days ago…kids outside without coats, windows open…didn’t last long!

Now we’re back to freezing drizzle and sleet. I don’t like that part of winter! Here’s the menu for this week. Quick and easy, keeping in mind we have a busy weekend ahead of us.

Pan-Seared Tilapia
Steamed Green Beans

Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Green Salad

Chicken Spinach Quesadillas
Avocado Sour Cream


Spicy Shredded Pork
Homemade Rolls

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Deli Sandwiches
Veggies and Dip

You’ll find more menu and recipe ideas at Menu Plan Monday.