Decorate with Crafts

16 Ways to Wow!

Gather your greenery, round up your ornaments and get ready to give your home a big helping of Christmas character with these dynamic decorating hints from the Country Sampler stylists.

1108wDWC01 A Hutch of Class
1. Dream up a theme.
"Create a cohesive look by using the same motif over and over," Catherine advises. "We particularly like to use snowmen because they can stay out past Christmas." In this vignette, frosty friends gather in front of a swag atop an antique hutch that's filled with more snowy accents, including a round painted plate and a trio of square plates on stands.
2. Make time for texture. "Fabric, wood and metal are the cornerstones of a well-rounded arrangement," Sally-Jo says. "We decorated the shelves of the hutch with wood plates and boxes, folded quilts and a green wood tray holding shiny red metal balls to get an assortment of textures." A painted sign at left brings in another dash of wooded whimsy.
3. Open some doors. The stylists extended the decorating real estate of the cabinet by opening the door and hanging a knit stocking from it. "This is an especially good idea if you don't have a mantel," Catherine adds.
4. Shine a light.
Adding an element that sparkles, glows or otherwise catches the eye, such as the miniature house lined with tiny lights, brings another dimension to a display. 
5. Think architectural. Salvage-look pieces, such as this garden-gate-inspired card holder, give a bold boost to walls and provide extra space for yuletide decor, including fabric candy canes or a wall pocket.
6. Take a bough. Spruce up an ordinary wood chair with a bouquet of evergreen tied onto the back.

1108wDWC02 Mirror, Mirror
7. Maximize with mirrors.
"Even small mirrors make rooms feel bigger because they extend the visual space," Catherine says. "If you think a mirror is too plain, hang an ornament, a vintage postcard or a plaque on it for additional interest." For even more dynamic decor, hang a bold wreath on an antique mirror, such as the one shown in the photo at left.

1108wDWC03 St. Nick Fix
8. Make a merry mix.
"When you have a character- or symbol-based theme, you can play with different styles of accents, such as retro, folk art and traditional," Sally-Jo says. "To really pull it off, pick pieces within the same color family so they feel like they belong together." Here, vintage-postcard images mingle with resin figurines and a bright red Father Christmas with a real-hair beard. 
9. Bring out some star quality. In this mantelscape, white wood star decorations spread among the Santas add a little extra pizzazz and echo the rust-colored star held by the St. Nick figure at left. Red, green and white twinkling lights wound around the garland bring in extra sparkle.
10. Layer away! "Simple elements, such as a chippy antique frame, add so much dimension to a display," Sally-Jo says. "Here, we used an old frame to give more presence to a small figurine. It layers well with the mirror and the Santa wallboard in front." A wood sign hung off-center balances the large frame in the vignette.

1108wDWC04Works of Hearth
11. Trim your tree with personality.
"Whether it's big and front-and-center or small and in the corner, have at least one tree that showcases your style," Sally-Jo says. "You can make it unique with muslin ornaments, picture frames, stockings, a barn-star topper or anything else that reflects what you love." Berry sprays peeking out at various spots add more visual pop to this prim-inspired tree.
12. Bring out some festive furniture.
"You can make a big difference by swapping one piece of furniture, such as exchanging an ottoman for a sleigh-shaped table," Catherine says. "To bring out the seasonal charm of this table, we topped it with an arrangement of holiday-themed candles and a Santa figurine." If your budget or storage space doesn't allow for more furniture, try new slipcovers or accent pillows instead.
13. Listen to your hearth.
The mantel isn't just for stockings anymore! "We accessorized some cute stockings with a small village of terra-cotta houses and trees," Sally-Jo says. "When displayed together with a swag, all those items turn the space into a real conversation-starter." Add more interest to a mantelscape by filling stockings with greenery and candy canes or by hanging additional ornaments alongside a stocking on a decorative holder.
14. Stack the deck.
To dress up the rest of the hearth, give visual heft to a child's sled by perching it on a black footstool that contrasts with the background. Tie on a muslin star ornament for an extra bit of holiday cheer.
15. Keep it together.
"Don't let all those little gifts get lost under the tree -- there might be something important in there!" Catherine says. "Gather all the pint-size packages in a wicker basket for a display that's attractive and useful." 16. Forget stocking-stuffers! Fire up your fireplace style with decorative stockings filled with a bounty of seasonal fare.

Visit our Craft Fair online for more information.

Let it Snow sign, Rusty Star Sign Co.
Fabric candy canes, hanging snowman and Blizzards family fabric snowmen, Country Whims
Decorated pine garland, Cindy's Workshop
Lighted Christmas house and tin snowman plate, Simply Country
Square Christmas plates with stands, Saltbox Hill
Snowman stacking boxes, Gainers Creek Crafts
Jingles snowman and Simon snowman, Kindred Spirit Primitives
Wood tray, Colonial Accessories
Star Garland wall hanging, Choices Quilts
Twinkle Holly Star quilted throw, Country Store of Geneva
Multi-Star quilted wall hanging, The Primitive Corner
Garden gate message grille, Mammy's Mercantile
Reindeer stocking, Sugar Bush Primitives
Wall pocket with pine, berries and pinecones, Country Spirit

Pine wreath, Country Spirit, see ad page 181

Merry Christmas sign, Rusty Star Sign Co.
Pine and berry garland, The Primitive Corner
Williraye Studio Father Christmas, Old Mill Originals
Retro Santa, Classics & Country Home Decor
Metal star stands, Allyson's Place
Vintage Santa wallboards, Jan's Junction
Williraye Studio Simply Santa figurine, Old Mill Originals
Silicone light strand, Silicone Bulb Shoppe

Terra-cotta houses and tree, Auntie Em's
Snowflake mantel stocking hanger, M Works Metal Art
Quilted stocking, Stephanie's Sewing Room
Decorated pine garland, Cindy's Workshop
Farmer's Market basket, Joanna's Collections
Oak sled, Steve's Woodshop
Black Shaker stool, The Old Country Cupboard
Sleigh table, AA Table Co.
White tinsel tree belsnickle, The Livery Stable
Believe votive blocks, Things in the Cupboard
Jar candle and metal star, Britches N' Bows Country Store
Snowman papier-mache box ornaments, With Hand and Heart
Etched-glass snowflake ornament, The Back 40 Boutique
Handstitched primitive ornament, Changing Times
Clothespin snowman ornament, Country Friends
White bird clip ornament, Country Spirit
Snowman gift-card holder ornament, Country Whims
Needle-felted Santa ornament, The Flower Lady's Farm and Woolery
Handmade frame ornament, Folkart Gatherings
Winter Goodies snowman ornament, Green Gables Primitives
Snowman ornament, Liberty Creek Mercantile
Ho-Ho Santa ornament, The Plum Patch
Muslin star ornament, Prairie Harvest Arts
Holiday stocking with greenery, Tracy's Creations

Christmas tree, Kuipers Family Farm, 815-827-5200,

Written by Elizabeth Preston
Photographed by Brian Nightengale & Maurice Victoria
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad & Catherine Parker
Produced by Dennis Morgan