Have I mentioned that I love Christmas?

Not the sappy Christmas music on top 40 radio (or even XM — does anyone else hate the XM Christmas music stations as much as I do? ) or the futility of trying to drive anywhere near a shopping mall on a Saturday, but rather, the cozy way Christmas fills up our house.

The sweet woodsy scent of our tree reaches all the way to our bedroom. We get to eat dinner on Christmas dishes every night. (And by dinner last night, I mean cereal. Sorry, husband. At least it was in a Christmas-y bowl.) I love going through an Advent devotional each day, curled up in bed with FCL. And I love the way decorations soften the walls of our house and make me want to stay under a quilt watching Holiday Inn (or this) and drink hot tea all day long.

I’d like to take a brief moment and apologize to Marisa Martin, Jill McCleskey, Katie Witthauer, Michelle Bloch, Katie Dixon, Claire Hardin, Melissa Galbreith, Susan Russell, Courtney Wright, my husband, and anyone else who has ever lived with me during the month of December, for subjecting you to an inhumane number of viewings of this particular movie.

Now back to business. Here are a few other crafts I’ve been working on:

1. Cedar Wreaths — I didn’t want to pay the money pretty greenery usually costs at the garden shop, but I love the look of wreaths and garland on the outside of a home. We have 6 cedar trees in our front yard, so I mined them for branches. Supplies needed: cedar, fir, or pine branches, wire wreath frame (about $1 at Joanns), floral wire, and pliers.

Wind each cedar branch around the wire frame, securing it in two places – at the base of the stem, and again near the end of the branches, so that it lays more or less flat against the frame.

To secure the branches, cut floral wire into two inch sections.

Once each wreath was full enough with cedar to my liking, I wrapped a strand of Christmas lights around each one and slapped them on the windows! Please forgive the ghetto look of the unlevel mini-blinds seen through the window.

2. Burlap and Sparkle — Next, to pizazz up some brownish-gold garland I usually string around a couple of doorways in our house. I used to hang colored ornaments on it, but trying to stay with neutrals while re-using things I already had, I took some plain glass ornaments from Target and stuffed scrolls of cut burlap down into them. This, mixed in with gold and silver balls, lent just the right natural quality to give it some interest.

Clear balls with burlap would be really cute hung from branches collected from your yard and suspended on a wall — or intermixed with branches or clear vases of dried leaves or white fall flowering plants as a table centerpiece.

3. Pine Cone Chair Sash- The last project I tackled was probably the easiest. Supplies: burlap, jute twine, pine cones.

To change up the look of the dining room chairs (which I also use as sewing machine chairs, i.e. this shot) for the holiday, I cut strips of burlap leftover from Sprout’s nursery into long pieces (maybe 1′ x 4′- I didn’t measure at the time).

I then simply looped them around the chair like I was going to tie a knot, but didn’t. Instead, I ran some jute twine under the top row of tines on a pine cone and tied it around the sash created by the burlap. I saw this done somewhere recently with a large jingle bell instead of a pine cone. Cute.