New Year’s Resolution: Learn to Sew

Every year is an opportunity to learn a new skill or hobby. If you have been wanting to learn how to sew, but don’t know exactly where to start, look no further than this post. Tree Classics will guide you through the process, from choosing the right thread and needle to adding decorative stitches on your fabric.

Step 1. Prepare the Essential Sewing Tools

Sewing entails having the right kind of equipment at your disposal. It would be easy to grasp, and eventually master, this craft if you have the following:

Sewing Machine

A good sewing machine is the most important thing you need to create beautiful garments and accessories. It wouldn’t hurt to use a secondhand sewing machine for as long as its parts are working. If this is your first time to operate a sewing machine, this post will guide you through.

Spools of Thread

You need a variety of threads; each type of fabric or sewing style will require you to use a specific type of thread. Click here to learn about the different types of threads and how to choose the right one for your sewing project.

Needles

Make sure to use the right kind of needle to avoid creating uneven stitches or damaging the fabric. Before you start sewing, double-check the size of your needle to ensure it suits the size, texture, and weight of your fabric.

Sewing Pattern

Draft a sewing pattern to ensure that your finished product will fit you perfectly. You can either draw and cut or download an array of patterns.

Iron and Ironing Board

Aside from polishing the seams, pressing a sewn garment blends the fabric and thread. Take note of these important tips when pressing to avoid damaging your fabric and its design.

Step 2. Learn to Sew a Seam

A seam is a line of stitches holding two pieces of fabric together. Learning how to sew a seam is the basic step in sewing. The finishing and durability of your sewn item will depend on how you made its seams. Click here for a tutorial on sewing seams.

Step 3. Study Different Kinds of Stitches

Some stitches are used to structure a fabric, while others are meant to strengthen and embellish it. Having knowledge of a variety of stitches will enable you to create embroidery designs and a clean finish on your garment.

Step 4. Start with Small Projects

Learning how to sew is no different from trying a new recipe. Start working on simple projects, like a coaster, bib, sunglasses case, and pillowcase to name a few. Blogs that feature sewing tutorials and projects will help quicken your learning pace.

Step 5. Sewing Projects in Under 30 Minutes

Start your sewing lessons with these fun and easy projects. Once you’ve mastered sewing, you’ll find that these items would take only 30 minutes or less to make.

Sunglasses Case

Choose a fabric of your choice to combine with fleece. Cut the fabric and fleece into squares, and then sew them together along their short sides. Fold it lengthwise and stitch the longer sides to create a tube. Thrust the fabric into the fleece so that the latter becomes the outer layer of the case. This tutorial will show you how to embellish your sunglasses case.

Baby Bib

You will need three fat quarters of a fabric, two matching Velcro strips, and a bib pattern. Trace the pattern on each fabric, cut it out, and then start sewing your bib like this.

Standard Pillowcase

A standard pillowcase will require a yard of fabric and a rectangular pattern measuring 22 inches by 32 inches. Fold the fabric lengthwise, trace the pattern, and cut it out. Pin the edges of the fabric, and then start sewing a seam along the pinned area. Click here for the complete tutorial on sewing a pillowcase.

Drawstring Bag

Before you start on this one, determine the size of your drawstring bag. Cut a piece of rectangle that is twice the width of your bag from a fat quarter of fabric. Fold the cutout crosswise, and then sew the edges together. Follow this step-by-step guide to making a cute drawstring bag.

Full Gathered Skirt

Making your own clothes offers a unique sense of pride that you can’t get from shop-bought clothes. This nice full skirt requires two yards of knit fabric and an elastic that fits around your waistline. Cut two rectangles from the pieces of fabric to make the skirt, and one long rectangle for the waistband. The length and width of the cutouts should be in proportion to the size of your waistline and desired length for the skirt. Click here for the full tutorial.

If you’re new to sewing, these tips and pieces of information will guarantee the success of your first sewing project.

How To Make DIY Snow Globes

Christmas snow globes add a magical touch to your home. These accents feature snippets of the snowy outdoors and other sceneries in nature. The great thing about snow globes is that they are actually very easy to make!

Customize a snow globe scene by picking out the elements you want, giving it your own style and personal touch. Follow these steps to make a do-it-yourself snow globe that you can add to your Christmas décor.

The materials you need are:

  • A glass jar
  • Glitter and/or fake snow
  • Distilled water
  • Glycerin or light corn syrup as substitute
  • Super glue adhesive
  • Sandpaper
  • Any plastic figurine
  • Any miniature tree, bottle brush tree or plastic evergreen tips

How to Make your Snow Globe

Step 1. Test the lid of the jar to make sure that water does not leak from it. Or else, your snow globe will dry up before you know it.

Step 2. Sand the inside part of the lid until it gets rougher for the super glue to stick better. Glue the bottom of your figurines and/or miniature tree onto the inside of the lid. Let them dry.

Step 3. Fill about three quarters of the jar with water. Add a few drops of glycerine or corn syrup to make the water denser, thus making it easier for the glitter and/or fake snow to float on longer. The more drops you add, the slower they fall.

Step 4. Try to close the jar with the lid. If the liquid rises up too much because of the added volume from the figurines, take some of the water out and make sure that there is enough room for air.

Step 5. Add a teaspoon of glitter and/or fake snow. The amount you add will depend on how big your jar is. Increase the amount as you see fit.

Step 6. Screw the lid tightly. If you want to seal it permanently, put super glue on the lid’s edges. Shake or tip the jar upside down then back again, and enjoy the snowy scene!

Decorating Ideas for your Christmas Stockings

Stuffed Christmas stockings are always so nice to wake up to, making Christmas mornings even more exciting for the family. Inspire charm and cheer in your home by spicing up your Christmas stockings this holiday season with these decorating ideas.

Sequins for Sparkle

If you are recycling unused socks for Christmas, and you want to give it some shimmer, sew sequins onto them for embellishment. Using a variety of colors will give each a festive touch. Make sure to cover the entire socks with the shiny sequins to make them glitter from any angle.

Colorful Accents

Metallic Christmas baubles are not just for the Christmas tree – they can go with a lot of things as well. Adorn your Christmas stockings with small colorful Christmas balls just like tassels. These accents not only add a playful touch, they also draw attention to the stockings, tempting anyone to take a peek even before Christmas day.

Evergreen Leaves

There is something enchanting about evergreens that will keep you wanting them on every part of your home for the holidays. Add a vibrant touch to your stockings by stuffing some evergreen leaves after completely filling them with treats. This finishing touch makes the stockings more interesting to look at. Allow the evergreens to peek through the opening so others can appreciate the beauty of nature even with just a tiny part of it.

Ribbons

Add a finishing touch to your Christmas stocking with a ribbon. Choose a ribbon color that contrasts with the socks for it to stand out. Patterned ribbons look great on stockings with solid color, while plain ribbons stick out better on patterned fabrics.

Personalized Stockings with Embroidery, Paint or Applique

Customizing each stocking will make it easier for the giver to know where to place each treat. But more importantly, it makes each stocking special for the owner. There are many ways to label each stocking – you can have them embroidered, sewn with name appliques, or painted. Whichever way you choose to create personalized Christmas stockings, it’s always a heartwarming feeling to know that everyone in your home is well-accounted for.

Christmas stockings are exceptional pieces of holiday decorations because of the thought that comes with hanging and filling them up. Give them your personal touch and style to make them one-of-a-kind for a more special Christmas morning.

Christmas Traditions Explained: The Candy Cane

Candy canes are in high demand during this season. In fact, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) informs that the candy cane sales of the US candy industry will climb swiftly this month, as people start decorating their homes.

Contrary to its popularity nowadays, candy canes were unheard of back in the 17th century. People at the time would decorate their Christmas trees with fruits and straight, white, sugary sticks. Legend has it that these sugary sticks were redesigned by a choirmaster in Germany to make them look like a shepherd’s staff. But even then, it took two more centuries before the candy cane acquired its red and white stripes.

At present, this holiday candy comes in a variety of color combinations, but the traditional red and white remains the favorite of many people. Aside from their delicious taste, candy canes make lovely Christmas tree ornaments. They are also used as pretty accents on other holiday decorations.

In the succeeding paragraphs, you will see four Christmas decorations inspired by the traditional candy cane.

Candy Cane Candleholder

6572651707_36d2aa5135_b

Candle-holder with candy cane decorations.

Turn your ordinary candle into a pretty table accent with a unique candy cane candleholder. You just need four candy canes and a few minutes to make this tabletop décor. Hold your candy canes upside down, apply glue on each one of them, and then press them against your candle. Let the glue dry for a few minutes before putting your candy cane candleholder at the center of the dining table for all to see.

Stockings with Canes

5271402311_880f3608be_b

Fill your holiday stockings with candy cane treats.

Here’s one candy cane décor that your kids will love to do with you. Get five colorful Christmas stockings and insert a cylindrical container into each one of them. Put your candy canes inside the containers, then arrange the stockings on your mantel or hang them if you wish. These simple decorations will surely delight your family and guests.

Sweet Wreath

2139005021_ec1bfe5db2_o

Use candy canes as decorations on your Christmas wreath for a whimsical look.

Highlight your candy cane’s red and white stripes against the lush foliage of a classic Christmas wreath. Form different shapes with your candy canes before sticking them on the wreath. On the other hand, you can simply attach them as they are to obtain the natural beauty of this décor.

Snowmen on the Tree

5287946677_081dac7193_b

Make your Christmas tree more festive by adorning it with snowmen and candy cane ornaments.

A tree that’s rich with round and shiny trimmings will appreciate a little contrast courtesy of this candy cane snowman. You’ll just need a white felt paper for the snowman’s body and another color of your choice for its hat and shawl, two beads for its eyes, a fabric glue, and two candy cane handles for its arms. Make as many snowman ornaments for the kids to hang on the tree.

This holiday season, explore the many ways you can decorate your home with candy canes.  What Christmas ornaments in your home were inspired by a candy cane? You may share them below.

Photo by Chris Burke via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by Alice Lim via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by Lori L. Stalteri via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by Nancy Sims via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Photo by Christopher Cornelius via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Christmas Decorating Tips: Pet-Proofing your Tree

Decorating for the holidays is a fun and worthwhile activity that all members of the family – our pets included – look forward to each year. Our pets, too, get excited by bright and festive seasonal decor. Sometimes, however, we tend to pick holiday decorations that aren’t really safe for our furry friends. This could lead to various accidents involving your pets, such as ingesting Christmas ornaments and getting shocked by electrical wires, brought about by their curiosity and playfulness.

Christmas Dogs

Celebrate the holidays safely with your furry friends.

Make your Christmas display safe for your pets by following these simple decorating tips from Tree Classics. Learn to avoid house accidents by choosing the best Christmas decorations that are not only beautiful but pet-friendly as well.

Keep Your Christmas Ornaments Away from Your Pet’s Reach

Similar to how adults keep dangerous objects away from children’s reach, the same goes for your pets. Certain Christmas ornaments, such as Christmas balls and tinsel, are made from hazardous materials that could cause intestinal blockages if ingested by pets. Shards from broken Christmas ornaments could also injure your pet’s paws, mouths, or any part of their body.

Avoid Using Edible Christmas Ornaments

While edible Christmas ornaments make adorable decorations, these can cause a serious problem for your pets. These are too enticing for your pets and they might start snagging them off of your Christmas tree, causing it topple over. There is also the chance that your pets might mistake non-edible ornaments for edible ones and ingest them. These include holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants that have been proven to be poisonous to animals.

Spray Pet-repellent Scents and Flavors

Christmas trees make a very fascinating plaything for pets, especially for cats. There’s something about the artificial tree that cats just can’t help but climb up the branches and try to reach the top. Often you’d be left with a toppled Christmas tree and a big mess to clean, not to mention an injured pet to care for.

Keep this from happening by making your Christmas tree less attractive to your pets. Before your place your decorations, spray your tree with a scent or flavor that is repellent to pets. Some examples you can try are clove oil, citrus oil, bitter apple, or even a mild hint of vinegar. Try out different scents and see what works best for your pet.

Place Paw Repellents and Climb Blockers

Using paw repellents and climb blockers are another great way to keep your pets from ruining your Christmas tree. Cats hate walking on anything that makes a lot of noise. Placing a layer of aluminum foil or any material that crackles below the tree base can give your feline friend just enough annoyance to keep her away from your Christmas tree.

Discourage your pet from climbing into the branches by covering your tree with a dark mesh or plant netting. This will make it harder for their paws to get a good grip on your Christmas tree. You can also use these climb blockers on the Christmas presents to keep them from getting damaged.

Secure Light Strands and Power Cords

For owners who have puppies or kittens that are still teething or chewing, make sure to keep them away from Christmas lights and other electrical connections. They might mistake them for chew toys and start gnawing at the cords. Always remember to tape any expose indoor and outdoor wires to the wall or the sides of your house. Avoid placing Christmas lights on the lower branches of your Christmas tree so that your pets cannot reach them.

Keep your pets safe and secure this season by following our o pet-friendly Christmas decorating guide. With these practical tips, you can help make your holiday celebration fun and enjoyable for everyone in the family.

Photo by Carmen Rodriguez via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Ask Santa: Father Christmas Answers Questions from His Fans

Everybody knows Santa as the jolly old man in a bright red suit. This holiday season, however, Tree Classics is giving everyone a chance to get to know the man behind the beard.

As Mr. and Mrs. Claus, together with their reindeer and Little Helpers, get set to deliver presents on Christmas Day, Father Christmas takes a break from his busy schedule to answer some of your most interesting and tongue-in-cheek questions to bring in a little cheer! Watch Santa share a few wise words and a couple of jokes here and there in our Tree Classics Ask Santa campaign. Here’s a sneak peek:

To watch more Ask Santa clips, visit Tree Classics’ Ask Santa Page.

Sweet Pies Everyone will Enjoy

When it comes to pastries, pies are arguably one of the most versatile dessert and snack options available. Depending on the type of stuffing used, pies can be a delectable treat or a filling meal on its own. One thing is for sure though; each bite of this scrumptious grub is sure to satisfy your tummy with a burst flavor. Here are four of Tree Classics favorite sweet pie recipes.

Healthy Breakfast Pizza


Start your day right with a slice of this healthy and delicious breakfast pizza. Featuring a flavorful mix of fruit and berry toppings, one generous serving of this pie is enough to charge you with different vitamins and minerals to last you the whole day. A nice alternative to the usual breakfast cereal, this recipe is also available with a gluten-free version.

S’mores Pie


Enjoy more s’mores with your snacks with this awesome recipe for chocolate pie. A rich thick layer of melted marshmallow and two kinds of chocolate crown this special pie, giving you a mouthwatering treat to cap off your meals.

No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake


Give your favorite pie a new and delightful twist with this easy to prepare cheesecake recipe. A chocoholic’s dream dessert, this recipe combines the satisfying taste of cream cheese with Nutella‘s world-famous nutty and chocolatey goodness. And since there’s no baking needed, you can even let your kids in on the fun in preparing this sweet treat.

Mojito Pie


For a delectable dessert that packs a punch, this mojito pie might just be the treat you’re looking for.  Inspired by the famous alcoholic drink, this pie lets you enjoy the sweet and tangy taste of lime and mint with a little dash of rum. The result is a cool and exciting flavor that is sure to liven up your spirits.

Satiate your craving for a sweet delight today with these four luscious pie recipes from Tree Classics.

Wonderful Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes for Your Home

Thanksgiving is just around the bend, and what better way to show your appreciation for family and friends than by treating them to an awesome turkey feast. With so many delicious recipes to choose from, it’s no wonder why this famous fowl continues to be the main entrée for countless Thanksgiving dinners.

In this edition of Tree Classics Favorite Recipes, we present five different ways to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey. With these easy to prepare recipes, you can enjoy this palatable poultry season after season.

Maple Roast Turkey


For a sweet and savory delight, try out this roast turkey covered in thick maple syrup and butter rub. An all-time New England favorite, this roast recipe features a stuffing made of sausages, apples, and cranberries. Dip your maple roast turkey in its special gravy to enjoy a burst of flavor.

BBQ Turkey


Satisfy your craving for a tangy turkey meal with this easy to prepare barbecue recipe. The secret to this delectable treat is filling the turkey with dry white wine. After putting in all the stuffing, pour 750 milliliters worth of white wine into the opening until the bottle is empty. This allows the meat inside to cook evenly while roasting the turkey.

Turducken


Enjoy the succulent flavors of three meats in one with this turducken recipe. A hat trick when it comes to turkey roast, this recipe lets you combine turkey, duck, and chicken meat into a single dish. After seasoning each meat for the roast, you then stuff the duck with the chicken, then stuff the turkey with the duck.

Citrus Turkey Brine


Here’s a sure-fire recipe for people who prefer their roast moister. Marinate your turkey overnight in brine with lemon and orange wedges. This allows the meat to absorb the citrus favor, giving you a juicier and tastier roast turkey.

Mayonnaise Turkey 


If you’re looking for a new spin to the classic roast turkey, then this recipe is for you. Aside from making the stuffing taste creamier and tangier, you also get to enjoy the health benefits of mayonnaise with your turkey feast. This includes Omega-3 acid for a healthier heart and Vitamin E for better looking skin.

This Thanksgiving, celebrate your family and friends with a hearty and satisfying turkey dinner. What are your favorite turkey recipes? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below.

Christmas Decorating for the Procrastinator

Decorating for the holidays is not as complicated as it may seem. Contrary to popular belief, Christmas decorating is more about the practicality of your theme than achieving that perfect holiday look. With a stylish theme, careful planning, and a collection of your favorite Christmas decorations, you can quickly turn your home into a charming Christmas paradise. The following Christmas decorating tips are designed to make this task a breeze.

Porches and Entryways


Start your holiday decorating this season by sprucing up your porch and entryways. Since these are practically the first places people get to see when they enter your home, a nice and heartwarming welcome is sure to get them in a joyful mood.

Create a lovely greeting for your guests by placing a Christmas wreath and garland on your doorway. Staples when it comes to holiday decorating, artificial wreaths and garlands can instantly liven up spaces courtesy of their lifelike evergreen foliage.

While some Christmas wreaths and garlands already come with classic embellishments, you can still go for an undecorated pair if you want to feature your own decorating style. Adding a few red ribbons and Christmas ornaments can easily make your display more festive and adorable.

Dining Room


Another excellent spot to showcase your holiday decorating style is the dining room. You can make your Christmas dinner more fun and enjoyable by adorning this space with timeless holiday décor.

Transform your dinner table into a vision of Yuletide elegance by crowning it with this beautiful Christmas centerpiece. With its lush foliage and luscious berry accents, this centerpiece infuses your holiday tablescape with the classic charm of nature for a bountiful Christmas feast. You can also pair it with a Christmas garland table runner to complement your nature-inspired Christmas dinner table.

The dining room is also a great place to set up your Christmas tree. With various shapes and colors to choose from, you can turn your tree into a charming backdrop for your Christmas dinner table or the main attraction of the entire room. Make sure to plan your decorating theme wisely so you can maximize the appeal of your holiday accents.

Living Room


To wrap up our holiday decorating tips, let’s now focus on brightening up your living room. With most families choosing to end their Christmas evening in the living room for the annual exchanging of gifts, it is only fitting to make this room as warm and cozy as possible.

For your holiday mantel, hang a nice pre-lit wreath and garland combination and a few votive candles to enhance the warm and inviting brilliance of your fireplace.

For your Christmas tree centerpiece, choose a classic evergreen to complement your rustic holiday theme or go with pristine white foliage so you can showcase your colorful ornaments. Flocked Christmas trees are also a popular choice for this coming Yuletide season because of their cool wintry appeal.

Christmas decorating is not as intimidating as many people might think. With these simple and easy to follow holiday decorating tips, you can easily make your dream Christmas home a reality even with short amount of time.

Christmas Tree Trends to Look Out for in 2014

Artificial Christmas trees offer homeowners a chance to decorate their homes with evergreens without any hassles. Compared to live Christmas trees, artificial trees retain their nature-inspired beauty no matter how many times you use them. They are also available in various shapes and colors, allowing you to create a different look for your display year after year.

To help you choose the next look for your Christmas tree this season, Tree Classics presents three of the most popular Christmas tree trends for 2014. Make your display stand out by choosing the best Christmas tree decorating style to match your tastes.

The Versatility of Black and White Christmas Trees


White Christmas trees are an excellent choice in creating a whimsical holiday display. The pristine white foliage acts like a blank canvas, highlighting your vibrant Christmas ornaments. This Christmas tree is adorned with pink and blue Christmas balls and stuffed animals that match the overall theme of the room.


On the other hand, black Christmas trees match well with metallic accents. Holiday decorations, such as gold and silver Christmas balls, instantly stand out from the dark foliage. Black Christmas trees also look more dramatic, especially when paired with LED lights. The warm ambiance from the LEDs creates an image of bright stars in a dark winter sky.

The Timeless Look of Gold Christmas Trees


Aside from red and green, gold is another classic color typically associated with Christmas. This metallic color exudes the timeless elegance of the holidays. As an accent, gold can easily make any decoration shine, but as a centerpiece, it can become a breathtaking Christmas display.

The Wintry Charm of Flocked Christmas Trees 


Turn your home into a wintry wonderland by choosing a flocked Christmas tree for your display. Whether you choose a classic evergreen or an immaculate white tree, a flocked Christmas tree can bring an enchanting atmosphere to any room courtesy of simulated snow on the foliage. The frosted tips also complement the warm brilliance of LED lights on Christmas trees.

This Christmas, create the perfect Yuletide display for your home by choosing your favorite Christmas tree design. With these decorating ideas, you can easily bring new life to your family tree season after season.