My Christmas Experiments (updated)

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UPDATE: 11/26/2013- I have been collecting corks this past year to make this project. Those cork Christmas wreaths seemed a little too ambitious for me since I don't have any experience in "cork art."  I am not finished yet but wanted to post my progress as the holiday approaches.
Basically you just need a hot glue gun, a bunch of glue sticks (I probably used over 15 sticks for this size,) a bunch of corks (make sure you count them before you start gluing.) So you start with the middle line in this picture I believe it is 15-16 corks wide. The ones directly below and above are just one cork short creating the tree effect. After I finished gluing all the rows I glued the rows together. Some of them I had to break in half and glue half on at a time because the glue was drying before I could get more out!! The synthetic corks did ok gluing to each other but kept falling apart when I tried to mix them with the real corks. I glued these with mostly the red color sticking out on one side to give me sort of a blank canvas on the other side. I am considering painting the other side with red, gold, and green paints. I think for the purple side I will add some crystals to certain corks as "ornaments" and maybe a festive colored bow on top!

The bottom line about this project: It was easy but as I was doing it I was afraid I didn't have enough corks! Get a lot of glue sticks and maybe wear a glove or rubber thimble. Making a tree at this size made my thumb blister using this little hot glue gun I have. I love the outcome!! It is a great Christmas or possible year round decoration!! I am making mini versions as ornaments to give as gifts!! Very personal and cheap!! I like cheap!!

Cork Christmas tree decoration! 

More fun cork crafts!! This year I am doing christmas on a budget. While I might have might the giant christmas tree for  myself I was able to put together something fun and mini to give out to everyone!! So far I've had a great response from these mini cork tree ornaments. People like having something handmade and meaningful for their tree! I've even got some requests to make them for purchase!! So fab!!

So these are really easy to make. For 1 cork tree you will need..

  • 14 real cork corks. 
  • Red, Green, and Gold paint (acrylic) 
  • A few rhinestones, sequins, or shiny objects that could be glued on for oranments (optional)
  • Some kind of thin ribbon to glue on to hang the trees. 
  • Hot glue gun and extra sticks
Start by gluing together corks, you will need 2 rows of 3 corks, 1 row of 4 and 1 row of 2. Glue them on top of each other in this order from the bottom up, 3 corks, 4 corks, 3 corks, 2 corks. Glue one cork on the bottom as the "tree trunk." Glue a ribbon loop with the tied side at the bottom on top of the row of 2 corks then glue 1 cork on top of that as the star. Doing it this way will ensure the ornaments life as an ornament because the ribbon will be extra enforced. Then you can paint as you like. This could be a fun activity to do with kids as it's practically free and memorable. The corks I used on this tree came from a winery we went to in Israel so it's almost like a free souvenir from the Holy Land!!

(Better photos to come)

Where do I get corks? 
-First of all don't buy them..
-Check any local restaurants that serve wine and ask the bartender if they can keep corks for a week or 2 and then you can come pick them up.
-Anywhere that does wine tastings you can do the same thing. Grocery stores, wine shops, and even liquor stores.
-If you go to a winery.. beg them for all the corks you can get out of them. This is usually where I get my mother load. I tell them that I make really cool cork crafts and they just give me a garbage bag worth.
-Save every single cork from wine that you drink..or if you know a friend who drinks a lot of wine ask them to save them for you as well.
-If you are still having trouble try emailing some wineries they will ship them if you pay the handling and it's much cheaper than buying them on ebay or at Michaels!!

I spend a lot of time on maybe too much time. It takes time and dedication to weed through all of the so-so links and things that actually work! One of my favorite things to do every holiday is to pick out some fun new crafts or recipes to do. Since this is a food blog I will be posting about some of the things I cooked. Although I forgot to take pictures of some things I have some great things to show you!

I couldn't find the link for this but I remembered seeing a picture of a snowman pizza and thought Hmmm... I could do that!! So guess what I DID IT!! Super simple and super cute I can't wait to make fun shapes or faces with pizzas in the future. All I had to do for this was buy a small pack of pizza crust (I got about 4 servings out of this enough for Jay and I), a can of pizza sauce, and some black olives. Then I just got creative!! My boyfriend had some leftover peppers in the fridge so I used that for the face and of course he wanted pepperonis so I made sure to put them under the sauce so it didn't ruin my masterpiece! The dough was really pliable and easy to shape. I have made a lot of questionable pizza dough from scratch before so I decided to go with the package stuff this time and it worked in my favor.

SO excited for the next holidays I want to make an Easter Egg pizza!!

The next thing I made I was hesitant about. I don't know why I didn't think it was going to work but I just had no faith in this. These peppermint plates are basically like the coolest thing ever!! We had went to a few grocery places to find the green ones. Pretty much all you do is unwrap them, lay them out close to each other and bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes or until you have your desired look. I found websites that used it with parchment or wax paper. Personally I am more in favor of the wax paper because after the plates cool you can peel it off and they are not sticky on the bottom from the wax. Where as the parchment paper they are really sticky on the bottom. My friend Lucy and I tried to make these swirly green cookies to put on the plates but they didn't come out that great so I will just post a pic no recipe. 

I had limited greens available so the idea is for them to be like ornaments. I made circle ones later too will post pictures if I can find them.   

See the cookies are dry and cracked!! They were OK but I would not recommend this recipe we improvised a little and probably used too much flour when rolling. So I made some regular Christmas cookies and iced them with Jay! :) 
Here are a few these are WAY more entertaining right?

This is my christmas tree on a budget. My large lavish tree is stuck upstairs in the garage attic and I cannot get up there at this time. I found a cheap fake tree we used to use when we were kids and found some random things around the house to make it festive!! Get creative!! I've got a poinsetta hair flower at the top, an old discolored bow I found in the garage, some ruffle trim I was going to use to line a pillow case, some sparkly fabric I found in my fabric drawer, a silver glitter leaf thing I found in my sisters room, some discounted christmas ribbon I found in my ribbon box, and ornaments from a box in the basement left from my ex-step mom! Practically free christmas tree!! I'm happy!! Oh an in the bottom right corner there is a DIY hot glue snow flake ornament that isn't finished yet!! I kind of like it plain though?


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