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Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 | 2 comments

How To: Homemade Christmas Orbs

How To: Homemade Christmas Orbs

If you walk up Rosecrest Ave (between Commonwealth Ave. and Russell Rd.) in the evening you will see something pretty amazing — 10 or so glowing Christmas orbs, each a different color, hanging high up in the trees like magical balls of holiday cheer. They are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. These are the work of Del Ray residents Hilary and Andy Schmidt who constructed the orbs out of chicken wire and Christmas lights (and a few other supplies). This past weekend, Hilary showed me and my neighbor Heather how to make them. Hilary got the idea to make the orbs while living in North Carolina where there’s a tradition of entire neighborhoods decorating their trees with the hand-made balls. After moving to Del Ray three years ago, she decided to keep that tradition going — and it’s already spreading on her block. Before we started with the demo, Hilary showed us a few of the orbs they were planning to add to their display that...

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Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

Upcycling Holiday Cards into Luminaires

Upcycling Holiday Cards into Luminaires

On a recent visit to UpCycle Creative Reuse Center (UpCycle CRC), I noticed the boxes and boxes of used vintage and modern holiday cards and wondered how I could reuse them in my holiday decorating.  Then I remembered a project from the book Simply Green Giving, where you create luminaires with used cards. So I brought a big stack of cards home and started by sorting them into vertically formatted designs and into similar sizes. I had to trim mine a little. I also chose themes for each luminaire – birds for one, religious iconography for another, secular images for another… I then used a hole-punch to make holes along the sides of each card, about 1/4 inch apart. Next, I threaded some twine with an embroidery needle and started to sew the sides together. After the first try, I learned to thread loosely so that the sides could fold to form the standing square shape. I placed a battery-operated candle in each luminaire (for safety), which work perfectly to cast a glow...

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Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 | 2 comments

Danish Holiday Cheer in Del Ray: SKÅL!

Danish Holiday Cheer in Del Ray: SKÅL!

Katie and I stopped by Rachel and Christoffer’s Del Ray home to see their traditional Danish holiday decorations and look on as Rachel made Scandinavian mulled wine and sweet treats. Their craftsman bungalow has the clean, uncluttered style that’s typical in Danish homes, making the glowing festive holiday tree, greenery, and advent candles even more captivating. We left with warm bellies full of mulled wine and holiday cheer or as it’s know in Denmark, hygge! Danish Christmas Tree Rachel and Christoffer decorate their live Christmas tree with traditional paper hearts and the paper cones that they fill with small gifts for their three young children. In Denmark, the Christmas trees are usually Firs with longer needles and more defined shelf-like layers, so that instead of stringing lights, they can safely burn candles. Rachel hangs the traditional candle holders, but she won’t light them. Danish æbleskivers How lucky we were to receive an invitation to watch Rachel make these amazing æbleskivers, a cross between a doughnut and a pancake. Rachel gave...

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Posted by on Dec 15, 2011 | 4 comments

Make, Freeze, Swap: How to Host a Soup Exchange

Make, Freeze, Swap: How to Host a Soup Exchange

I was very excited when I received my invitation to attend the third annual soup exchange hosted by my friend Lori. She gave some serious thought to the logistics of the event and in year three, she pretty much has it down to a science. What’s a soup exchange? It’s when several invitees make a different kind of soup each. At the event, everyone exchanges some of their soup with the others to take home. Simple as that. Lori did some online research and discovered that these events are quite popular. There’s even an annual soup swap day on January 21. You can go about the exchange in many different ways. Here’s how we did it this time around: Lori sent out an evite and got 8 respondants, each of whom shared a soup recipe with her. Mine was mushroom barley. A week before the exchange, she sent out these instructions: 1. Make soup – enough for at least 6 cups per person, including you. That’s 48 cups! 2....

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