3 Ways to Use Corn Husks in your Holiday Entertaining

Corn husks bring a harvest touch to your cheese plate. I love corn husks. I’m not really sure why. But I do know I love the color, I love the texture and they instantly make me think of fall. They are pretty dang versatile and can be used in tons of ways. Today I have 3 ways to use corn husks in your holiday entertaining.

3 ways to use corn husks in your holiday entertaining.You can find corn husks at your local supermarket in the Mexican foods aisle. They are usually by where the packaged spices are. There are a bunch in the bag, enough for several crafts.  They come stuck together so you have to pull them apart once you take them out of the package. They can be a bit gritty and dusty so give them a good shake over the trash before using. You can also quickly run them under water. If you soak them, they just become more pliable so you won’t damage them.

Tuck corn husks on to your serving platters. 1.  you are most likely going to have a cheese platter at your holiday parties. I mean, it’s cheese. People like cheese. You don’t want to disappoint the people, do you?  Sure you could just plop the cheese on a plate or platter but what is the fun in that. For this cheese plate I laid down some corn husks and then some leafy greens to add more color. By tucking them in the corner it also added a little bit more height which pleases the eye. And it kind of looks like this cheese plate is wearing a crown, doesn’t it? Crowns are fun.

Corn husk wrapped candles create a warm glow for your holiday entertaining. 2.  Candles provide great ambiance when you have people over. To make the candles more seasonal, just wrap the glass container with corn husks and trim them. I imagine these are highly flammable so make sure that the flame is not coming to the top of the vessel. I used kitchen twine to tie on the corn husks but you could use just about anything. How cool would a leather cord look? The answer is cool.

Use corn husks to wrap a candleholder to add a festive fall touch.And when the candle is lit, a glow shines through the corn husks and is super warm and inviting. Wrap all different sized candle holders and place them all down the center of the table. Super cheap, super simple and totally classy and holiday inspired.

Corn husk feathers add a lightened up fall element to a place setting. 3.  Corn husks can be easily cut and shaped so you can really do just about anything you want with them. I have even used a curling iron on them to curl them when making corn husk flowers…Here I made a feather for a place setting add-on. Since the corn husks have little ridges, writing on them didn’t really work but you could still use them as part of your place setting. I’ll be sharing this tutorial over on Babyshower.com later this month!

Corn Husk feathers for holiday place settings.You could even make these feathers in to a garland and hang it on your wall or from your mantle. Have you used corn husks before? How do you use them?

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10 Ways to Put Your Style in Your Holiday Decor

Use a color palette that you love, don't be dictated by what decor the stores have to offer. #ad*Today’s post is sponsored by Thymes, but my love for their Frasier Fir collection is all my own! My pine addiction is pretty much lifelong…

Holiday decorating is always hard for me. I don’t love holiday decor. Can I confess that the holiday fragrances are more magical to me than the decor? And I also don’t love that unless you go on a real hunt for cool, less traditional decor, you are stuck with whatever look the stores are selling that year. Thank goodness some of the larger stores are really stepping up in the design area and there are usually some good finds. Over the last few years I have been taking the time to go through the decorations in the garage and getting rid of the things that were bought on a whim, but I don’t love. (A few things I am holding on to simply because the smell reminds me of some awesome childhood memories). I’m trying to grow our collection to include things we are really drawn to and fit our personal style. Today I’m sharing 10 ways to put your personal style in your holiday decor.

1. Pick a color palette that YOU like. While most stores bombard you with decorations that are green, white and red, you can go in a different direction. Whites and silver, with a little sparkle, like in the image above) make for a super wintery look. Similarly, if you love hot pink, add it! Either diy something store-bought or let your friends and family know what you are looking for so they can help you scout out those harder to find decorations.

Make sure you add in your own style to your holiday decorating. #ad2. Don’t pack away the great pieces that you love the rest of the year. Figure out how to incorporate the pieces you love and still have your house feel holiday ready. Create little vignettes for visual interest. And see if there are ways to play up the holidays. Done right, a sleigh bell swag draped on this horses’ neck would be awesome and seasonal appropriate.

Mix in unusual plants to give your house a festive feel. #ad3. Try new plants and flowers in your home that have a holiday feel. Whether they are real or faux, go for something different. Look for berry-like stalks or even forgo flowers and use just greenery. Trader Joe’s is the best for finding unusual, seasonal plants and flowers. Even using just a small amount, mixed in with your usual decor will change the look of the room and have it feel more festive. And that simple Thymes Frasier Fir Pine Needle candle adds the perfect winter look to pair with unexpected foliage.

Add small touches to the things you have around your house all year to bring them in to the holiday spirit. #ad4. Look for great vessels, that match your holiday decor aesthetic, and use them to house your favorite succulents. Tuck in a few berries or even rosemary sprigs to take them from summery desert to wintery and lush. The modern looking white woodgrain soap dish from the Frasier Fir collection would be perfect for a succulent arrangement!

Use your log holder or magazine tote for holiday greens for a festive touch. #ad5. Add some flair in unusual places. Pine branches and glittery, decorative picks add warmth and whimsy to a room and is unexpected when placed in a magazine holder. Skip the usual mantle garland and instead add your greenery around the room at different visual levels. While most things are set on tables or shelves, don’t forget to survey your floor space to see if you can style something on the ground as long as it won’t impede your usual traffic.

Your Christmas tree isn't the only place for ornaments, especially ones that are fragrant. #ad6.  For a lot of us, our trees go up much closer to December 25th (here in CA they dry out and die if you get them too early) which means that we don’t get a lot of time to enjoy our favorite ornaments. There is no rule against using ornaments on house plants. And you get to have your favorites up earlier so you can enjoy them longer.  This Botancial Ornament does double duty as both decoration and room fragrance.

Think outside of the box with your decor.  #ad7.  There are standard phrases used to share holiday cheer, like Noel, Merry Christmas, etc. But I took a cue from my kids, and their excitement for the season, to use a new word for our wall decorations.  I mean, with all the presents and the treats and fun events that happen over the holidays, could there really be a better word? Also these mini mylar balloons are a super fun, celebratory way to decorate. They make your room feel like a party.

Tuck holiday candles throughout your normal decor. #ad8.  Tuck holiday themed candles around your living space to play up the season. Candles, like this one from Thymes, are really nice looking and don’t steal the attention from the style of your room but rather blend in with it. They special holiday scents with a variety of decorative candles so I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that fits in with your style. Some of the gingerbread items come in this gorgeous amber-colored glass!

Choose a signature scent for your house during the holidays. #ad9.  Choose a signature holiday scent. For me, I’m a pine girl all the way. My soaps, candles, etc. are all in this scent. This year I’m using Thymes Frasier Fir collection. The scent is a mix of fir needles, cedarwood and sandalwood.  All of the products layer nicely together to bring a subtle scent to the house all season long. They even created home care products in this scent so even my cleaning can feel more seasonal. I love this reed diffuser set for the smell but also because the reeds mimic the pine needles to me. And like I mentioned in number 6 above, we don’t get our trees for a while. I have to get my pine fix in! And the smell just makes me happy. Yes, I could use it year round, but for me, pine IS the holidays. But if it isn’t for you, they also have gingerbread with spicy notes of cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, yum.

Smells always evoke memories for me, but especially around the holidays. I can easily think of the various smells found in my mom’s boxes of holiday decorations. There’s the Avon candle from when she sold their cosmetics. There is the smell of the ornaments and the tissue they are wrapped in. There is peppermint from the candy canes that get put away with all the other decorations, inadvertently, every year. And there’s pine. Always pine. The scent that I look forward to all year. It signals the holiday season and the joy that I get to share with my own family now.

Don't forget to add a holiday touch to your kitchen. That is where you spend a LOT of time at this time of year! #ad10. Don’t forget the kitchen! I don’t know about you, but the kitchen rarely gets decorated for any holiday. BUT that is where you spend a lot of time during the holiday season with all your baking and holiday hosting. So from this year on, I will be switching to my favorite scent in the kitchen too. And this white, faux wood holder, that this sink set comes in, is sleek and chic but feels wintery. While I can’t say that this will make me look forward to doing the dishes, I  do know when I smell the Frasier Fir, I will have a moment of joy.

Thymes holiday studio sample kit with purchase of $25. #ad Head over to the Thymes site to check out all their amazing scents and shop for yourself or others on your gift list. Once there, you can redeem your exclusive offer for a free Fragrance Studio Sample Kit with any purchase of $25 of more! Thymes creates fragrances that are a mix of familiar and intriguing rooted in botanical perfumery. Drawn from nature, their unique formulations are artfully crafted to create products that are skin-compatible, environmentally friendly, effective and a pleasure to use.

Thank you for supporting the brands, like Thymes, that let me keep blogging. Especially the ones that make the most glorious pine-y fragranced products that make me swoon.

Easy Halloween Decor Ideas

Bright and white Halloween decor. #sponThis post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian. Head to their site to learn about “The Legend of Hallowaiian.”

My kids are so excited about Halloween this year. They have been wanting to decorate for the last few weeks. But since Halloween is my least favorite holiday I have been stalling. Then we found this awesome neon green skeleton. He reminded me that the decorations don’t need to be so gory and dark.  And because the decorations are only kept up for a short period of time I like easy Halloween decor ideas. And if they are inexpensive, that’s even better. When I saw these colorful, cheap, plastic vampire teeth it just made sense to do something with them. This super easy Vampire Teeth Garland couldn’t be easier.

Bright colored plastic fangs for an easy Halloween garland. #sponAll you need is some string and a pack of plastic vampire teeth. The teeth come in all kinds of colors depending on where you buy them. They even have a glow in the dark version which would work great if you had darker walls.

Yarn and plastic teeth are all you need for quick and easy Halloween decorating. #sponInstead of tying a knot, I did a simple loop around each side of the fangs with the yarn.

Black, white and bright Halloween decor. #sponAnd then I simply tied the other ends to my backdrop poles. This set up would work really great as a photo backdrop for your Halloween party. And of course you should set out extra teeth to use as props in the photos. Just make sure each person takes their teeth with them after they’ve used them. Because, ew. You can easy just keep these as garlands on the wall by adhering them with some washi or masking tape. How adorable would a black and white striped tape be with these?!  When taping your garlands, just make it look intentional. Create a small “x” with two pieces of tape on each end. Not only will this help to hold the string a little better, but no make it look like you designed it that way and didn’t just stick it up on the wall with tape.

Easy Halloween Decor with plastic fangs #sponThese teeth are always a favorite in my household. The persona my youngest son takes on when he has these in his mouth is hilarious. What do I not enjoy? The slobber.

Vampire teeth garland for cheap and easy Halloween decorating. #sponNeed some other quick and easy Halloween ideas? Here are some of my past posts:

Fang Mobile

Easy Wire “Boo” Sign

Clove and Orange “Pumpkins”

Neon green skeleton for fun Halloween decor. #sponI don’t know if you have seen it yet, but King’s Hawaiian launched “The Legend of Hallowaiian” at the beginning of October. It is fantastic! From the moment I saw their pineapple carved like a Jack-o-lantern, I fell in love! Their Hallowaiian.com site features TONS of fantastic Halloween party ideas for everything from the food (because, duh, it’s King’s Hawaiian and you want to eat at much of that as possible) to party decor ideas. They have created such a fun campaign with these aloha-inspired concepts. It’s so clever and full of fun – a true representation of the Taira family.

Vampwich sandwich idea from King's Hawaiian's "Legend of Hallowaiian"I mean, how cute are these vampwiches?!  And what is even better? You could win a trip for 2 to Hawaii just by sharing your own Halloween party! Just upload a few photos from your big bash and you might just win a glorious trip to the beautiful island of Lanai!  See full contest rules here.

For serious, this campaign makes my heart so happy and I’m glad to share it with you. Thank you for supporting the brands, like King’s Hawaiian, that let me do what I do.

Halloween Vibes Playlist

Props from Knott's Scary Farm. I have to say that Halloween is not my favorite holiday. I actually really hate how gross everything is. This year when we went to pick out the kid’s Halloween costumes, we stood at Party City for an hour staring at the costume wall. Either the costumes were totally whack or they were super gory. I’m just not going to have my 5-year-old walking around the neighborhood in something with fake blood splatters. I also don’t love the overtly themed Halloween songs they play every year. Sure, you have to hear Monster Mash, but I’d rather listen to something with a Halloween vibe, that is still good music.

Here are some of my fave songs that I made in to a Halloween playlist for your listening pleasure. It’s a little moody and melancholy with a few goth influences. But your ears will still like it. I’m sure of it.

Image is from my photo walk at Knott’s Berry Farm when I got to go in their prop warehouse and found some of their Halloween Haunt decorations.

DIY T Shirt Designs for 4th of July

DIY spray painted kid's t shirt for 4th of July.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comFourth of July is coming up quickly!!  Every year we participate in our communities bike parade and so we like to dress a little festive.  For the last few years we have made our own t shirts.  We make DIY t shirt designs and each boy gets a different one.  They are super excited to wear them on 4th of July.  The boys usually continue to wear them after the holiday but we don’t spend a ton of time or money on them.  They are just a fun way for my family to be patriotic and celebrate together.  

Easy iron-on kid's shirt for 4th of July.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy oldest son helped me to design his shirt.  He even fiddled around with Illustrator getting the alignment just right.  This kid sure likes things a certain way.  I wonder who he takes after with that…

Easy kid's t shirts for celebrating fourth of  July.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI found our blank t shirts at Target and both were on sale for $5 each.  Such a great price for the base piece.  I was so glad they had the colors of America in stock. 

Use spray paint for a DIY kid's 4th of July t shirt.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI used my favorite technique of spray painting on my youngest son’s shirt.  I’ve done these before and they come out messy, cool, and not as dark as if you were to use fabric paint.  I first printed out “USA” on a piece of computer paper and then made a stencil using some craft plastic.  

Make a simple stencil from craft plastic and then use spray paint to make a quick and easy 4th of July craft. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com

I put a magazine in the inside of the shirt to keep the paint from seeping through.   Then I used spray adhesive to adhere the stencil to the shirt (don’t use too much or you end up with some on the shirt when you peel it off!)  I used a plastic grocery bag and tape to make sure the res of the shirt was covered and out-of-the-way of the over spray.  Then I did one pretty heavy spray of the black spray paint.  I let it dry and then removed the tape, bag and stencil.  Grab a simple blank t shirt and add a patriotic design for 4th of July.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou can see that in some areas the spray paint seeped a little bit.  I think that works perfectly with the tie dye effect of the shirt.  I certainly wouldn’t dream of starting over just to not get those few little spots.  You can also see some of the blue showing through the letters which I think looks kind of cool.  Of course if you want a more finished product, just use normal stencils and fabric paint and carefully paint your design.

Kid's t shirt for 4th of July made easy with a simple iron on design. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnother of our go-to methods for making 4th of July shirts is to use iron ons.  My son and I first created our flag inspired design on the computer and then printed it on t shirt transfer paper for dark-colored shirts.  Then we just followed the directions on the transfer paper to iron the design on.  

Quick t shirt for fourth of July.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI love how this one came out and so did my son.  I can’t wait for them to wear these on 4th of July as we celebrate with the rest of our community!  Do you dress up for 4th of July?