Decorate with Crafts

Pure Confection

Inspired by the sweet treats of the holiday season, the Country Sampler stylists cook up charming accents for a rustic kitchen.

At Christmas, one of the greatest gifts is time spent with family. That is certainly the case for Amelita and Darus Hime, who look forward to their large blended family gathering at their Portland, Indiana, home. "All the kids come home for Christmas, and the kitchen is where everyone hangs out. It's my favorite part of the holiday," Amelita says.

It's no wonder the whole family is drawn to the couple's recently remodeled and expanded kitchen. The room is cozy and inviting, thanks to features such as the cabinets and island built by Amelita's brother using wood from her former in-laws' barn. The rustic feel was inspired by the discovery that the home was built around an 1880s log cabin, which had been obscured for years under lath and plaster. One of the room's walls was once an exterior wall of the cabin.

The home's style suits Amelita's decorating preference, which tends toward the primitive. Special pieces include a pie safe made by one of Darus' relatives and the washstand that once stood in her own parents' kitchen. The stairway was even designed to accommodate that cherished piece.

To further enhance the kitchen's appeal, Country Sampler stylists René Haines and Carolynn Geesaman cleverly sprinkled the room with delectable displays in traditional Christmas colors.

Keep reading to discover their 17 enchanting ideas for celebrating the sweetness of the season.

Pure Confection

1. Impish arrangement. A vintage-style cookie tin makes an apt base for a gathering of greenery, berry picks, candy canes and ornaments, with what appears to be a mischievous elf diving in for a treat. To create the illusion, make "elf legs" by bending a wired candy cane in half and gluing a small boot ornament to each end.
2. Tip of the hat. Bring in an unexpected item to showcase little treats, such as the top-hat tree topper that elevates a dish of sweets. "A piece like this can be used for more than just decorating a tree," Carolynn says.
3. Rising to the occasion. Place smaller decor in an attention-grabbing spot, like this elf perched atop a two-level riser, which doubles as a stand for sugar-cookie "trees." His partner frolics nearby on a quilted throw turned cozy table cover.

Pure Confection

4. Baker's choice. Trim a small wool tree with ornaments made from tiny baking cups in alternating layers of red and white. Fold each cup in half twice to form a triangle shape, placing a dab of hot glue inside to hold the shape. Layer and glue three triangles together for each ornament. If you like, add red polka dots to the white baking cups with a marker. Glue a twine loop to the top for a hanger, covering the ends with a jumbo star sprinkle. Clip the ornaments to the tree with mini clothespins. Surround the tree base with a tabletop tree skirt and petite packages. This pint-size setup is the perfect addition to a room that is not large enough for a full-size tree.
5. Orna-mint-al accents. Make cupcake pedestals from melted peppermint candies and candy canes. Crown the pedestals with goodies, like these cupcakes topped with white chocolate and a peppermint ball.
6. Snow glow. Give plain glass votive holders a dose of winter whimsy by coating the outside with spray adhesive and rolling each one in sparkly faux snow, pressing it lightly to adhere. Wrap the snow-coated holders with red and green ribbon and adorn them with holly and ivy to complete the festive transformation. Set each votive holder atop a tiny saucer from a child's tea set and surround the base with miniature foil-wrapped presents from a crafts store.
7. Jolly groupings. Select a standout piece, such as a primitive Santa, to preside over a vignette, or pile an assortment of simple holiday decorations in the compartments of a lazy Susan to maximize their impact.

Pure Confection

8. Sugar coated. Turn large mason jars into glowing decor. Base coat the outside of the glass with cream-colored chalky-finish paint and add detailing with red chalky-finish paint, creating patterns ranging from candy stripes to polka dots. Fill the jars with battery-powered candles or twinkle lights.
9. Crowning glory. Draw eyes to the top of a cabinet with an engaging display of prancing reindeer figures combined with trailing greenery and a seasonal sign.
10. Fun fabrications. Try textiles to add a soft touch to wood pieces, such as the folded quilted throws that balance the decorative items on the upper shelves of this pie safe and the coordinating stocking that lends charm to the open door. "Stockings are not just for mantels," René explains.
11. Santa land. Create a small grouping of related Christmas collectibles, like these vintage Santa mugs and matching punch bowl, bringing in elements used nearby -- pinecones and wee trees, for example -- for a cohesive look.
12. Trees that please. Give a lift to smaller bottle-brush trees by placing or gluing them on inexpensive holiday candles. The patterns and height variations make a dynamic backdrop for a folk-art elf.
13. Gift basket. Pile wrapped packages into a basket and slide it below a tall piece of furniture. It will festively fill the empty space and provide an extra spot for stashing gifts.

Pure Confection

14. Colorful countdown. Assemble a hanging Advent calendar that incorporates red, white and green ribbons of varying widths and lengths. Tie one end of each ribbon around a horizontal bar. (A peg rack or towel bar would work just as well as this washstand.) Affix a printed paper number from 1 to 25 to each ribbon and tie a small candy to the loose ends.
15. Chocolate bar. Welcome guests for a winter warm-up by creating a hot cocoa station. Contain powdered cocoa and a scoop in a Santa pitcher surrounded by containers brimming with toppings, including jars of peppermints and marshmallows attached to the tops of painted and repurposed candlesticks. A ribbon-wrapped tin fitted with greens and a battery-powered candle paired with a candlelit wreath on the wall cast a warm glow over the sweet spread.
16. Forever green. Choose a living tree in lieu of a faux fir. Hide the potted base within a cute container, such as an olive bucket. Keep it watered and plant it at winter's end. René decked this tree with bead garland, snowflakes and ornaments made by gluing assorted hard candies together. Overhead, a lantern shines with candies instead of a candle.
17. Jingle garland. René alternated sleigh bells with pom-poms and ribbon to fashion roping on the beam near the staircase. The bells are a nod to the Santa sign and the themed holiday sentiment on the adjacent wall.

For more information, visit our Country Marketplace online.

Orville's Ornament and Clarence's Candy Cane elves, Country Village Shoppe
Farmhouse cookie tin, Homespun Blessings
Tree topper hat, Nana's Farmhouse
Lone Star Plaid large wall hanging/throw, Choices Quilts

O'Wooly Christmas tree pattern and kit, The 13th Colony, LLC
Red Diamond Square 24-inch tree skirt, Choices Quilts
Red wool Santa with sheep, Nana's Farmhouse
Galvanized lazy Susan organizer, Primitive Home Decors

Believe sign, Three Sisters Cottage
Red Diamond Square stocking and wall hanging/throw, Choices Quilts
Evan the Elf, The 13th Colony, LLC

Santa timer taper candle and holly wreath with red mica candle and holder, Glory Days Mercantile
Santa Claus print on wood, Impressions on Market
Sleigh Bells Ring wood sign, Hare Hollow
11" x 9" lantern, Smicksburg Drying Shed

Written by Lisa Sloan
Photographed by Ryan Hake
Styled by René Haines and Carolynn Geesaman