How to Make a Keepsake Ornament

If you’re like me, you hold onto Christmas cards from prior years, either because they have meaning to you, or because they are too cute or beautiful to toss into the recycling. Or both. Below is an excerpt from my craft book, 12 Days of Christmas Projects, showing you how to recycle those Christmas cards into keepsake ornaments.

In this example, I used a card that had a cutout along the top edge, so added glitter to the background behind the bears’ heads.


  • old Christmas cards   
  • white cardstock
  • glue stick
  • safety scissors
  • pencil
  • ribbon or yarn
  • glitter
  • hole punch
  • something round to trace around (about 3” to 3.5” across, such as a large glass or coffee mug),  or a large circle punch (usually cuts a circle about 3.5” across)
  • gold or silver glitter pen
  • Mod Podge or similar water-based sealer/decoupage glue (optional)


  1. Gather all your supplies. Cover the area where you are planning to work.  
  2. Look through your Christmas cards for the ones you would like to use. Place the glass upside down on the card(s) and position it until you find the area you think would look best on your ornament. Trace around the glass with a pencil. Repeat this on each card for as many ornaments as you plan to make.

Note:   If you would like to make a keepsake ornament for a particular card, also place the glass over the area containing the signature and/or sentiment written by the sender and cut that out as well. This will be used on the back of the ornament.

3. Cut out the circles you have traced. If you have a circle lever punch, use that instead. The card illustrations or photos will be the front of your ornament. The signature or sentiment, if you choose to use one, will be the back.

4. Next, trace the same size circles onto the white cardstock, twelve circles for each ornament you plan to make. Cut or punch them out. These will make up the interior layers of your ornament(s).

5. Take the circle made from the Christmas card, locate the top of the illustration and then take your small punch and punch a hole about a ½” from the edge. Line up your ten layer circles one at a time beneath the top circle and line up the punch in the existing hole, punching a hole in the layer beneath. Repeat with all layers. This is done to ensure the holes are all in the same place. Make sure you do the same to any signature/sentiment circle, if you are using one.

6. With your glue stick, place an even coat of glue on a circle, making certain not to miss the edges. Line up the next blank layer and press firmly into place. Repeat until you have all layers glued together. Place an even coat of glue on the last layer and line up your card/ornament front and press firmly into place. If you are making a keepsake ornament, place an even coat of glue on the back side of your ornament and line up the signature sentiment facing out and press firmly into place.

7. Once your ornaments have dried, sprinkle glitter onto a paper plate, a piece of foil, or the baking parchment. Run the glue stick around the outer edge of your ornament and roll the ornaments edgewise through the glitter. Lay the ornament(s) aside in a clean space to dry once again.

8. On the blank backs of the ornament(s), write a fun holiday sentiment or personalize with the name of someone you plan to give the ornament to as a gift for their own tree.

9. Cut your yarn or ribbon into lengths about twelve 15” long.  Cut as many lengths as you need so you have one for each ornament you’ve made. Slip the ribbon or yarn through the hole at the top of each ornament and tie a knot about 3” above the ornament, then tie the remaining length into a bow.

10. Your ornaments are ready to hang!

12 Days of Christmas Projects (How to Make Twelve Simple & Delightful Holiday Projects to Inspire, Enjoy & Give) is available at the following on-line retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, (as well as others) and can be ordered from your local bookstore.

Perfect Timing

It’s never too early to get organized for the holidays, even in 2020. We’re all already stressed out enough, and we certainly shouldn’t let the holidays do us in. I came across this common sense article which had a lot of helpful tips and a lot of nice photos 🙂

Who knew snowmen could be so ding-dang cute?

I just found this crafter on YouTube. Who would have thought something so cute could be created using rice, socks and hot glue? And she does it in fifteen minutes or less! I love the backdrop in the lead-in. All those items on the shelves are simply wonderful. I’m a wee bit jealous, lol.

How-to: Gingerbread Man Paper Mache Ornament

This is an excerpt from my how-to Christmas craft book, 12 Days of Christmas Projects, which is available now at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other on-line retailers, as well as for order from your local bookstore (support local!).

Gingerbread houses and gingerbread men are iconic when it comes to the holidays. This gingerbread man is made from paper mache and is meant to be hung on your tree as a jolly reminder of the season. I have made mine the thickness of my particular cookie cutter, making for a hefty (although fairly lightweight) decoration. You may make yours as thin as an actual cookie, or anywhere in between. Just remember that the thicker the paper mache, the longer the dry time. I also used strips of fabric for his scarf and as a hanger to add to the primitive style.

This project doesn’t have to be limited to a gingerbread man, as you can use other cookie cutters such as stars and Christmas trees, or whatever you have that will work. If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can roll or press the paper mache flat and cut out the paper mache around paper stencils.


  • plastic sandwich bag
  • gingerbread man cookie cutter
  • instant paper mache
  • baking parchment
  • Mod Podge or similar sealer/decoupage glue and sponge applicator
  • strips of fabric, ribbon or yarn
  • safety scissors
  • plastic drinking straw
  • sand paper or sanding sponge
  • brown, black and white acrylic paint and paint brush
  • white school glue and glitter (optional)
  • adhesive pearls available at your craft store (optional)


  1. Gather your ingredients and prepare your work space.
  2. Prepare a small quantity of instant paper mache according to manufacturer’s directions. (Hint: I prepare mine in a plastic sandwich bag for small jobs, where it can be mixed and also stored for a time.)
  3. Place your cookie cutter onto a square of baking parchment cut to exceed the size of the cutter by about 2” on all sides.
  4. Using a little at a time, press the paper mache into the cookie cutter, making sure it is pushed to the edges. Add more bit by bit until you have filled the cookie cutter (or to whatever level you wish).
  5. Gently push one limb at a time and the head as you carefully remove the cookie cutter. This make take several times around from limb to limb to head to limb to limb while you work the cutter up, since you don’t want to yank it all at once as your paper mache will become misshapen or rip apart. However, if this does happen, you only have to repeat step 4 using the same paper mache.
  6. Press your plastic straw into the upper center of the head and turn to remove a section of paper mache. This hole will later house the ribbon for hanging.
  7. Press two tiny balls of paper mache onto the body for “buttons” or, in the alternative, apply adhesive pearls as buttons once you have painted your ornament. 
  8. Set the gingerbread man aside to dry on the piece of baking parchment. Depending on the thickness, this may take up to several days, so plan accordingly.
  9. Once dry, lightly sand your creations to remove rough edges and then paint with brown paint. Paint the buttons black (or whatever color you choose), or apply the adhesive pearls. Although the pearls have an adhesive back, I would recommend an additional dab of glue to make sure they stick to the surface of your gingerbread man.
  10. When the paint has dried, you may give the color more depth by “antiquing” it. Mix a few drops of black paint with water or floating medium and coat the ornament. Wipe down while still wet with a paper towel to remove any excess. The darker color will fill cracks and indentations to give it a more “antiqued” look. Let dry.
  11. To create a “piped” look, outline the gingerbread man by squeezing white school glue from the bottle to follow the shape of your ornament. Sprinkle glitter on the glue while wet. Let everything dry.
  12. Coat the ornament(s) with Mod Podge or other acrylic sealer. Allow to dry again.
  13. Cut an 8” strip of fabric (or ribbon or yarn) and tie around the neck of your gingerbread man like a scarf.  Cut a 12” strip of fabric (or ribbon or yarn) and slip through the hole in the head and tie for hanging.

12 Days of Christmas Projects (How to Make Twelve Simple & Delightful Holiday Projects to Inspire, Enjoy & Give) is available at the following on-line retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, (as well as others) and can be ordered from your local bookstore.

10 Favorite Holiday Movies I’d Watch Any Time of the Year

This may seem a little late in the season, but as the title says–I’d watch them any time of the year. Does anyone care? Probably not. But I would highly recommend all of them. Here goes, and not necessarily in this particular order (and please remember, this is only my personal opinion, so no need to get testy if you don’t agree…):

  1. The Holiday (Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Rufus Sewell) – If you watch this on a dvd and are feeling a little down, be sure to play the scene in the tent made from sheets over and over again to snap you out of it.
  2. A Christmas Carol (Dr. Who Christmas special, with Matt Smith as The Doctor) – unique take and strangely uplifting.
  3. The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe (another Dr. Who Christmas special with Matt Smith–are we detecting a pattern, here?) – splendid story and the last scene brings on the humany wumany happy tears.
  4. A Charlie Brown Christmas – even after all these years, I still cry a bit when Linus describes what Christmas means and again later, as the children sing at the very end of the cartoon. I think it’s all of 24 minutes long, so that crams quite a lot of emotional boo-hooing into a short period (happy tears, though).
  5. The Man Who Invented Christmas (Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce) – If you’re a fan of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, you’ll enjoy the film depicting the events leading up to his creation of this wonderful tale.
  6. The Santa Clause – the first one only. Not so much a fan of the second and third, although the scene in the gymnasium in the second movie always gets me.
  7. A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott (need I say more?)
  8. A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart (again, need I say more?)
  9. Angela’s Christmas – touching, cute, heartwarming.
  10. And, well, any of the Harry Potter movies. Not Christmas movies, per se, but I do love the scenes of holiday magic. Honestly, I enjoy the entirety of each movie, but we’re sticking with Christmas for now.

If you have other favorites you’d like to add to this list, please feel free to post a comment! If I haven’t already seen them, I’ll happily keep them in mind for this year.

Christmas Lighting – Don’t I Wish?

Check out the treehouse. My favorite of the bunch. Wish I lived there…

Here are some wonderful ways to light up your home for the holidays. Once again, I have borrowed a blog from another source and re-posted it here–just in time for holiday decorating. I must say, my favorite is the tree house! Enjoy and be inspired.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore
(a little fun for the holidays with this great holiday classic)

Twas the Night Before Christmas 2
‘Twas the night before Christmas

when all through the house not a creature was stirring
when all through the house, not a creature was stirring

Not Even A Mouse 3
Not even a mouse.

Stockings were Hung
The stockings were hung by the chimney
with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

Children were Nestled
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

Mama and I
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

Moon on the Breast
The moon on the breast of the
new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,

Miniature Sleigh
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

When out on the Roof
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

St Nick close up
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

Went Straight to his Work
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

Miniature Sleigh 2
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Merry Christmas, everyone!
You all know the poem, but I added a variety of my own illustrations to this blog for fun. One day I would like to illustrate the entire poem in the manner in which I had begun to do so, with “when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” (at the top)
Who knows? I may surprise myself one day. : )

Wish I was here…

What a beautiful and inspiring home this is, with it’s lovely and not overdone holiday décor. I hope you enjoy this blog and the fabulous photos as much as I did.



Holiday mood-making (re-post)

In the spirit of the season, I thought I’d share. The very first suggestion about playing Scrabble or Harry Potter Clue on a Tuesday night inspired me right away, lol. Happy reading!