Christmas made beautiful with Echo Park

I am not quite sure how it started, but it has become a tradition in my family that I decorate the Christmas table. I have to admit that I am usually scrambling at the last minute to come up with some ideas for centerpieces or napkin rings, scrounging through what is left of Christmas decorations at the local craft store with a day or two to spare. But this year, when my beautiful new package of Echo Park Season’s Greetings paper arrived, I decided to see if I could at least break the “last minute” part of this Christmas tradition. So, after spending some time using this beautiful paper to spruce up some recycled materials, I am happy to present the Christmas 2011 Christmas table by Scrappy Canuck – 6 weeks early!

Napkin Rings

Although each one is created with the back side of the Holly paper, each one is a little different!

The idea behind these little creations came awhile ago when I was trying to find a way to create a party favour that could also be useful. These little napkin rings, created out of a recycled plastic wrap tube, have a magnetic embellishment that can be removed by guests to take home with them. The best part is that when Easter comes around, I can simply pull out the ribbon wrapped rings, some more pretty Echo Paper paper like Springtime, some magnets and voila – I will have a new set of napkin ring party favours for Easter dinner!

Materials

  • Empty plastic wrap tubing cut into 1″ pieces (you will be able to get 11 out of a standard roll)
  • Echo Park Season’s Greetings 12×12 paper scored every 1/4″ and cut into 1″ strips (you will need 1 strip per napkin ring accessory) so 1 sheet will actually make 12 rosettes!  I used side B of “Holly” for my rosettes.
  • Ribbon cut into 12″ strips (1 per ring)
  • Magnets (2 per ring)
  • Seasonal word stickers from the Season’s Greetings Alpha Sticker sheet
  • Other ribbon and accessories for embellishments (I used Celebrate It Noel ribbon and glitter leaves)

Back side of the Napkin Ring embellishments...guests can take them home!

Start simply by gluing one magnet on each of the rings you have cut out of the plastic wrap tubing. Take a strip of ribbon and wrap it around the ring (I find that wrapping at a slight angle gives great coverage and a great effect) and secure at the end. Using a 1″ strip of EP paper that has been scored, create and embellish a rosette.  The Echo Park Season Greetings seasonal words that you can find on the alpha sheet are a perfect size for the middle of your rosette. Glue a second magnet onto the back of your rosette and attach to the ribbon wrapped ring.

Oh, and don’t forget to remind your guests to take their beautiful magnets with them at the end of the night.  Or, if you love them too much to part with them, carefully put them away for next year.  You can still reuse the rings for all sorts of different celebration!

Christmas Tree

Who knew the cardboard from a cereal box could be turned BACK into a tree!

Earlier this year, I saw a version of this paper tree at Sunflowers and Dragonflies and thought that it would make a beautiful centerpiece. I did want to change things up a bit and see if I could create a bit more of a tailored look, and use recycled materials instead of a foam cone. So, there is currently a box of cereal in the pantry that is now only a bag of cereal. And how ironic is it that the cardboard was recycled to make a tree! ;)

Materials

  • A large piece of flexible cardboard shaped into a cone. I used a large cereal box that, when formed, created a 15″ high cone shape.
  • 4-6 sheets of Echo Park Season’s Greetings paper scored every 1/2″ and cut into 1″ strips. I used 5 sheets to vary the patterns used on the tree – remember, because this beautiful paper is double sided, you will already get two patterns from each piece of paper.
  • Rhinestones and other embellishments as desired

It even has little lights to brighten up the Christmas table - these ones are battery operated so the power pack sits right inside the tree.

Start by cutting 8 of your 1″ strips into 2 pieces – one that is 7″ and one that is 5″. Put the 5″ ones aside. Starting at the base of your tree, loop the strip back on itself and glue into place on your cardboard cone so that the loop just touches the bottom of the cone (I used a glue gun for a quick and firm adhesion). You may need more strips to finish this layer depending on the circumference of your cone.

Once that row is complete, cut 8 more of your strips into two pieces – 6″ each. Use these strips to create the next 2 layers of your tree.

Take the 5″ strips that you placed aside earlier, and use them to complete the next two layers of your tree. Continue with 4″ strips if there is still room at the top of your tree.

With any leftover strips, cut each one in half lengthwise and use to fill in any spaces in between your loops. Have fun decorating your tree with rhinestones (like the clear ones on this tree that I coloured with a red Sharpie) or even real Christmas lights like the battery operated ones I found at my local Loonie store (that’s what we call a “dollar store” in Canada). I know – it’s a little loonie.

Christmas Crackers

Some recycled patterns and paper towel rolls look fantastic when wrapped in Echo Park! And you can personalize the gifts inside for each guest!

When my husband joined our family, he introduced us to the fun tradition for Christmas crackers. Every year since then, we have laughed as we have struggled to pull apart the crackers, laughed harder as we have shared the jokes and “goodies” we have found inside, and laughed even more as we have tried to get those little paper crowns on some pretty big heads. This year, I decided to create my own Christmas crackers to coordinate with my other table projects.  And although I had a lot of fun making these cute crackers that also act as place cards, the best part was finding little individualized treats for all my family members and making paper crowns that might actually fit!  They will really be little gifts in themselves!

Materials

  • Paper towel rolls cut into 4″ pieces – 1 for each guest
  • Tissue paper cut into 12″ X 6″ rectangles – you could also use recycled patterns for a beautiful effect!
  • Pieces of Echo Park Season’s Greetings paper cut into 4″x6″ strips
  • 6″ strips of Echo Park Season’s Greetings paper cut from the “Border” paper
  • Ribbon – 2 strips per cracker cut to 10″
  • Treats and goodies for each guest that will fit in your tubes - traditionally, you will find a joke, a paper crown and a little treat.
  • Cracker snap (optional) – the fun little strips that make your crackers snap as they are pulled apart. These were actually really difficult for me to find in Canada. Michael’s used to carry them, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this year. US and European residence should be able to find them online (just google “Cracker snaps”).

A little bit of Glossy Accents to make the fussy cut mistletoe pop! These Christmas crackers act as place cards too!

If you are using cracker snaps, start by centering these inside your roll and tape in place. Place the treats, crown, jokes or other goodies inside the roll.

Center the roll on your tissue paper strip at one end and roll up. Secure with a little piece of tape or glue.

Take your strip of EP paper, and roll it over the tissue paper where the tube is located. Secure in place with glue.

Use your two strip of ribbon to tie off each end of the tube.

Using the “Border” paper, add a strip on one end of the cracker as an embellishment. Add the guest’s name using the alpha sticker sheet and embellish as desired.

So there you have it – this year’s Christmas table. I think these projects will give us something to admire, to talk about and to laugh about! And who knew that with just a little bit of Echo Park paper, I could give a little Christmas spirit to some recycled materials! Thanks Echo Park!

I would love to know if you have any crafty holiday traditions in your family – leave a comment to let me know!