How to Make a Pretty Christmas Wreath from Yarn

yarn wreath

I didn’t come up with this idea. I originally found it in “All You” magazine.But I did mine a little differently. Instead of just regular yarn, I used the fuzzy, wavy kind.

What you will need:

wreath aupplies

  • A Styrofoam wreath (I used the 16 inch size)
  • A ruler
  • Yarn in two colors
  • clear tape
  • marker
  • scissors
  • straight pins
  • A pre-made bow (not shown) You can also make your own bow if you prefer.
  1. On the back of your wreath, measure off and mark with a marker where you want your colors to start and stop.start on back of wreath
  2. Start at your first line and tape the yarn. Then start wrapping the yarn around the wreath until you get to the next line. Cut and tape or use a straight pin to secure the yarn to the back of the wreath.
  3. Use your next color and wrap til you get to the next line. Cut and secure the yarn to the back. Continue until the entire wreath is completed.switch colors on wreath
  4. Attach the bow with straight pins and hang! Since the wreath has a Styrofoam base, it’s easy to just push it on a nail back or hook.

yarn wreath

Cute and easy!


Article by Cathy Ratcliffe







Make a Pretty Centerpiece for Any Season

christmas candle

I was trying to think of a pretty centerpiece to use for my Thanksgiving table this week. In the past, when my mom was alive, she always sent a nice bouquet of flowers the day before Thanksgiving. I always looked forward to them but we would have to move them when it was time to eat because they would take up needed space on the table.  I wanted something that didn’t take up much room so we could enjoy it while eating.

I went to my local craft store and wandered the aisles for inspiration. I didn’t want to spend more than $20 and I was hoping to find something that I could use for other seasons.

I had a loose idea of what I wanted to do and walking through a craft store often helps me gel things together.

Here’s what I bought:

candle supplies

I got 2 candles, 2 cylinder glass containers, a gold berry garland and a bag of small Christmas balls. The large cylinder vase is 6 inches around and the smaller cylinder vase is 4 inches around.

With my coupon it came to just under $20.00.

First, I decided to make a candle centerpiece with Fall leaves so I went out to my backyard and picked up a few and put them in the big cylinder so they went around the smaller cylinder with the candle inside.

If you have kids, you could get them to collect the prettiest leaves they can find to help you make the centerpiece. It’s an easy  and cheap way to bring Autumn into your home. Here is what it looks like:

candle with leaves


I wanted to go a little fancier for my Thanksgiving table, so I cut up a length off the gold berry garland, wrapped it around the smaller cylinder and here are the results:

candle with gold berries

Simple and elegant! I used the rest of the garland to decorate my TV cabinet. This one could actually be used for Christmas too if you wanted but I decided I wanted a different look for Christmas. I changed the candle to a red one, and filled up the space between the 2 cylinders with the tiny Christmas balls. Here it is:

christmas candle


I’m really loving this Christmas centerpiece. I still have plenty of the balls lefy over so I may go back and get some more cylinder vases and candles and make them for gifts.

Also, I’m thinking I can just keep this on the table and change it up according to the season or holiday. Like for Valentine’s day, I’d keep the red candle but maybe put some little red hearts around it. For Spring, I could use a pastel candle or put the cream colored candle back in and add some small pretty silk flowers in it. For Independence day, use the red candle and add some red, white and blue stars or confetti.

The possibilities are endless!

One caution: make sure whatever you put in between the 2 cylinders isn’t high enough to fall over into the candle.

So what do you think? Do you like this idea?



Article by Cathy Ratcliffe




Planning Thanksgiving Dinner – Tips To Make Your Holiday Easy

Thanksgiving dinner

Photo Credit:

Even though we know they are coming, the holidays seem to sneak up on us every year. I know there have been years where I waited to the last minute to plan Thanksgiving and Christmas and have been completely stressed out.

Well, no more! I want to enjoy the holidays too! So I have started to plan for them as early as possible. Of course Thanksgiving doesn’t need as much planning as Christmas but it still needs to be organized and planned.


Between 2 Weeks to 10 Days Before Thanksgiving:

  • Contact everyone who you want to come to Thanksgiving dinner and see if they still plan to attend.
  • Tell your guests the time and if they want to bring a dish, add that to your menu list with a note who is bringing it.
  • Decide on your menu. If you plan on getting a frozen turkey, you can take advantage of any sales you see and buy one now. Just be sure you have room in your freezer.
  • For turkeys, plan on 1-2 pounds per person. That sounds like a lot but some of that poundage will be bones and some may be for leftovers if you want them. If you don’t want leftovers. just plan for a pound per person. But personally, I’d rather have too much than not enough so I always go for anout 2 pounds per person.
  • Look at your guest list and make sure there are things on there for everyone to enjoy. If there will be children there, be sure there are a few kid friendly options. Fortunately, most kids love the typical Thanksgiving dinner. If there will be vegetarians there, make sure there are some options for them.

A Week Before Thanksgiving:

  • By now you should have a finalized guest list and have your menu completed.
  • It’s time to start the grocery shopping and cooking. Buy anything that can be stored without it going bad such as canned and packaged foods.
  • You can also buy anything that can be frozen now. If there are any dishes that do well freezing and reheating, you can buy the ingredients and make them now, such as some pies,casseroles, etc.

Several Days Before Thanksgiving

  • Clean out your fridge to make room for everything.
  • Make sure the tablecloth and table linens you plan to use are clean and pressed. You can go ahead and put those on your dining room table now if it won’t be used until Thanksgiving day.
  • Clean and polish your china and silver.
  • Finish buying anything on your grocery list that still needs to be bought.
  • If you bought a frozen turkey, take it out and let it thaw out in the refrigerator. It will need approximately 3 days to thaw.

The Day Before Thanksgiving:

  • Do all the food prep work that you can now such as cutting up veggies, and make anything that can be made ahead of time today.
  • Prepare all your desserts today.
  • Anything that was made awhile back and frozen, take out now and thaw out in the fridge if needed.
  • Set the table with china, silverware and drinking goblets.

Thanksgiving Morning:

  • Prepare your turkey and stuff it  and put in the oven. These should be quick and easy is you already prepared your stuffing the night before. Put it in early so you will have time for any other dishes that need oven time afterwards.
  • Cook any side dishes on the stove or have ready for the oven as soon as it’s available.

Adjust this schedule for how you celebrate Thanksgiving.The important thing is to plan ahead and do as much as you can ahead of time to make Thanksgiving day easier for you. Recruit any willing helpers (spouse and kids) to help too.

By following this schedule, I have much more time on Thanksgiving day to enjoy my family instead of being stuck in the kitchen.


Article by Cathy Ratcliffe




What Not to Do: How to Be an Easy Target for Home Burglary During the Holidays

burglarIs it a crime these days to use your best judgment, be informed and keep your home as safe as possible while you are traveling over the holidays? In 2008, there were more than 2 million burglaries in the United States, according to the FBI. Don’t want to be a statistic? If you’re oddly more than fine with getting pilfered, read on.

Hide In The Dark

Make it easy for burglars to hide by keeping the outside of your house as dark as possible. Don’t install flood lights, motion sensors or decorative lighting to make them insecure or help neighbors keep an eye on your home. Also: forget about trimming overgrown hedges. Burglars love having dense shrubbery to blend in with while they are peeping in your windows and you want to help them out.

Don’t Use Your Fancy Alarm System

What’s the point of using one of those anyway? They are annoying. Even if you have an alarm system, don’t set it! This is especially helpful for burglars who peer in through windows to see it is disarmed. Say you live in New Mexico, for example. You are probably thinking home security isn’t a big deal, right? Don’t bother to check the statistics (5,465 burglaries reported in 2010) – just occasionally remember to lock the front door and you’ll be fine!

Be Obvious

While out of town this holiday, make sure to make it obvious you are gone. Don’t bother contacting the post office or paper boy to put a hold on your mail. Instead, let newspaper piled on your door step and fliers jammed in the door signal that you haven’t been home in days. Snowbanks or unkempt landscaping? Not your problem. This just tells burglars you’ve been gone for awhile and probably will be for a few more days.

Another tip: Leave cardboard boxes of expensive appliances, gaming systems, new TVs and other fun stuff piled out on the sidewalk. This lets burglars know all about your fun, new gadgets that are sitting unprotected in your vacant home.

Forget to Lock Up

That includes windows in the kitchen and on the second floor, garage doors and back porch entrances. Burglars probably won’t think to just try the door, right? If they knock and you don’t answer, they might just walk away. Convicted burglars told Michelle Crouch from the Reader’s Digest that they always knock before they walk right through the front door. But maybe they’ll forget to try your house on the days you forget to lock up.

Broadcast Your Departure Dates

Make a Facebook announcement that you are headed out for the week and can’t wait to enjoy your family and friends in Iowa. Update on Twitter occasionally letting burglars know how many days until you’ll be home. As long as you let all of your online friends (and strangers) know, you are safe. Just don’t bother telling your trusted neighbors you will be gone because there’s no need for them to watch your house for suspicious behavior.

Keep Valuables In The Open

If you can remember, stash cash in your sock drawer and jewelry in the bedside table. Keep guns in a visible case and other valuables out in the open so burglars can see them right through your window that’s missing curtains because you forgot to close them before leaving. Nothing says “I’m Yours” like an empty house with shiny gadgets on display.
Mary Reed Mary researches and writes about developments in web design, hosting and development. She is a freelance web designer and content provider and loves her home with a view of the San Francisco Bay.