Decorate with Crafts

Cabin Fever

Buffalo checks and classic Christmas motifs inspire our Country Sampler stylist to put together a fresh take on a log-home holiday.

There’s something about a log cabin that makes it the perfect setting for a country Christmas celebration, and the Parker City, Indiana, home of Holly and Chad Budreau is no exception. "My favorite time in the cabin is Christmas," Holly enthuses. "We have all the family parties because everyone wants to be here for the holidays."

The home wasn’t always so inviting -- the cabin-style abode was in need of some TLC when the Budreaus purchased it in 2014. "Other than the exterior wall, the fireplace and the kitchen cabinets, we gutted it and started from scratch," Holly notes. "Even though we didn’t build this home, we feel like it’s ours."

Holly describes her design style as "rustic, eclectic farmhouse" and says she finds many of her furnishings secondhand, often picking up items for a steal and repainting or repurposing them. "I love being able to reuse something, and I try to buy used before new," she reflects.

In her previous home, Holly put up a single tree and added a few festive touches, but moving to the cabin unleashed a passion for holiday decorating. She keeps an eye out for Christmas decor all year long and, to date, has accumulated 53 boxes of seasonal swag. "Maybe I got a little carried away, but this house just screams Christmas," she explains.

With a little help from Country Sampler stylist René Haines, Holly found ways to further enhance the rustic appeal of her rooms. Read on to discover 15 creative choices sure to make your home feel as cozy as a Christmas cabin.


1. Tree transport. Lend cheer to an old wagon with a coat of red paint, and use the vehicle to display a petite tree surrounded by greenery and bright berries.
2. Stand-up salutations. Assemble festive holders for vintage greeting cards from spools, wire and ribbon. Wrap a length of wire twice around a pencil to form a double loop, and then twist the wire ends together to form a stem. Hot glue the stem into the top of a wooden craft spool covered in plaid ribbon.
3. Group chic. Gather several smaller decorations on a tray made from an old frame backed with lengths of painted barnwood. Add a decorative candle, like this electric example, to bring a warm glow to the scene. Anchor the arrangement with a bold buffalo-check runner.


4. Pine pairing. Repurpose tomato cages into merry make-do topiary trees. Turn cages upside down and twist the stakes together to make cone shapes. Wrap with basic evergreen garland to cover the wire. Perch each pine on a buffalo-check bucket. Buy premade containers or cover your own buckets in similar fabric. Accent the topiaries with cranberry-and-popcorn garland or fairy lights, and station a pair alongside a whimsical sign that picks up on the same pattern. Swap the sign for a coordinating cedar and berry wreath for more texture.
5. Lumberjack lounge. Dress a neutral sofa for the season with a bright jolt of color via a buffalo-check throw and pillow that connect the seating area to the mantel display.
6. Sweet simplicity. Keep the focus on prettily patterned stockings and a cinnamon star sachet with the clean lines of classic wrought-iron hangers. Mix in a delicate garland crafted by stringing red beads, jingle bells and white ribbon-trimmed spools on jute roping. Spare but stylish detailing allows other elements, like a vintage-style ceramic tree and collectible Santa, to shine.
7. Well seasoned. Include a few elements that can remain on display after Christmas day, such as a winter sign and resin ice skates. "That way, the house won’t look for bare when you put all your decorations away," René observes.


8. Fabric firs. Convert scraps of coordinating plaid or checked fabrics (or even an old flannel shirt) into decorative trees. Make a simple pine-tree pattern and use it to cut two tree shapes from each fabric. Place the shapes together, right sides facing, and sew around the perimeter with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving an opening at the bottom for turning, stuffing and inserting a "trunk." Turn the fabric right side out and add fiberfill. Insert one end of a short dowel rod into the opening and glue shut. Insert the other end of the rod into a ribbon-wrapped spool and glue to secure. Create trees of varying heights and use them to surround an aptly designed sign. Play up the tree-farm connection by stocking your vignette with a mason-jar centerpiece and stacking block set that both feature a pine-toting pickup truck graphic.
9. Back in black. Mix in a few black furnishings, like Holly’s repurposed wine cabinet and her peg shelf, which is the perfect spot for hanging baskets of greenery and a classic Santa sign. Though not particularly Christmassy, black provides a dramatic contrast to wood walls and traditional holiday colors. Ground the scene with a coordinating rug, but be sure to use rug-grip tape for a landing location like this one.
10. Gift by number. Build excitement with a gift countdown. Wrap a selection of small goodies in muted kraft-paper coordinates and embellish with ribbon and large paper numbers. Display them in orderly stacks throughout the room.


11. All the trimmings. Stitch together a sewing theme to round out a tree decked in ornaments sporting a woodland motif and touches of red. Add ring and pendant ornaments made by stringing various sizes of beribboned spools and alternating with red beads. Knot the jute at the end for a pendant and create a hanging loop at the top, or tie the ends of the jute together to form a ring. Embellish some with a coordinating ribbon bow.
12. Look out below. Select a primitive tree skirt in muted holiday hues to highlight the homespun flair. Place an attention-grabbing element, like this jaunty jalopy bearing a bed full of greens, amid the gifts to draw the eye to the floor-level display.
13. Make way for magic. Let guests know you are all-in for the enchantments of the season with blocks that spell it out. Arrange them atop a buffet brimming with other jolly decorations, including Santa-suit-red candlesticks and a candy-striped runner. Situate a folk-art painting of a wintry village on the wall to boost the charm.
14. Berry festive. Accent checked candles with holly berry candle rings that increase their visual footprint. Prop a candy dish on a scale and encircle it with a candle ring as well to spread the cheer. Fill out a tabletop grouping with a metal sleigh packed with tiny wrapped gifts as if it were ready for a Christmas Eve flight.
15. Circle round. Assemble small wreaths to coordinate with your decor by threading a variety of craft-store or vintage wooden spools and red beads onto lengths of annealed wire. To close each loop, wrap the circled wire around itself. Weave tiny garland around the wire in between the spools and beads to fill out the wreaths. For a final flourish, attach a red-and-white checked bow to the bottom of each wreath.


Glittered tree and red-and-black buffalo-check runner, Country Village Shoppe
Gumdrop Snowman cream wax candle sleeve, black wooden base and 6-watt flame-tip bulb, Primitive Home Decors

Old-Fashioned Christmas sign and red buffalo-check pillow and throw, Country Village Shoppe
Black wrought-iron stocking hangers, Primitive Home Decors
Cinnamon hanging star, Barn Owl Botanicals
Ticking stockings with buttons and windowpane stocking with pom-poms, Piper Classics
Winter vertical sign, Hare Hollow
Blue Coat Santa with pantry boxes and feather tree, The 13th Colony, LLC
Christmas green ceramic Christmas tree (large), Cindy’s Hand Painted Ceramics
Faux cedar and berry wreath, Design A Wreath by Simply Country

Primitive Farm Fresh Christmas Trees pallet sign and red truck primitive stacker block set, Gainers Creek Crafts
Christmas mason jar centerpiece, Pink Silo Co.
Santa with Wreath tavern sign, Impressions on Market
Black and Tan Star rectangle braided rug, Primitive Home Decors

The "Busy Village" acrylic painting, Mt. Top Folk Art
Believe blocks, DMZ Designs
Red-and-black buffalo-check candles and berry and holly candle rings, Country Village Shoppe
Red metal candlesticks, Home Decor for Your Style
Tin sleigh, Piper Classics
Red metal truck with three seasonal magnetic decals, greens and bow, Smicksburg Drying Shed
Tea Tree Skirt, Powers Mill Primitives

Written by Lisa Sloan
Styled by René Haines
Photographed by Matthew Owen