Decorate with Crafts

Snow Place Like Home

Learn how to put winter decor into festive groupings that will feel fresh all season long.

With a mix of Christmas and winter favorites, the Country Sampler stylists show how easy it can be to create a holiday scene that will last all season long.

Snow Place Like Home

Christmas comes just once a year, as the saying goes, but any true country decorator knows that the effort put into preparing for it often extends far beyond the holiday itself. And, considering how much energy goes into making this time of year so magical, isn't it logical to create displays that extend the longevity of your seasonal scenery?

Country Sampler stylists Debbie Plantery and René Haines agree wholeheartedly. "Just because December 26 rolls around before you know it, that doesn't mean your displays have to feel outdated right after Christmas," Debbie says. "By incorporating wintry items, such as snowmen, greenery and solid-red accents, you can keep your home looking fresh until February."

Of course, that's not to discount the importance of Santas, angels and other traditional yuletide fare. "You can always just remove or replace those holiday icons," René says. "Take out a Santa figure and put in a pillar candle, or substitute a red velvet bow with a homespun one."

To show rather than tell their seasonal suggestions, Debbie and René brought their ideas to Tammie and Brian Imel's Markle, Indiana, home, a converted 1940s dairy barn that the couple turned into living space 18 years ago. The house offers the perfect backdrop for creative displays. "I decorate every room, mostly with nature- and woodland-themed things, like reindeer and pinecones, with pops of red," Tammie says.

Inspired by Tammie's preference for naturals as a starting point, Debbie and René share these 19 merry and bright ideas. We're sure you'll find a way to make these holiday hints your own!

Snow Place Like Home

Snowman, Oh Man
1. Close the door. Set a snowman up with a cozy place to spend the season -- place it inside a lantern filled with faux snow lit by a strand of white lights. For added glow nearby, spray flocking onto a round vase and place a battery votive inside.
2. Reflect your style. Give a wall mirror a seasonal boost by attaching a country-as-can-be accent, such as this wreath topped with a welcoming painted snowman, homespun ribbon and rusty jingle bells.
3. Fashion a plan. Sometimes you don't have to look any farther than your mudroom or hall closet for seasonal decor. "Hunt around for red or white knit mittens, hats and scarves," René advises. "We piled a bunch here alongside ice skates, faux snowballs and a wood mitten stretcher."

Snow Place Like Home

Joy to the World
4. Get happy. "Joy is a theme that can be carried through the whole season," René says. To honor the sentiment, she decorated this antique dry sink in the Imels' living room with a tobacco-cloth banner, a wood print and a cute cutout.
5. Soften up. Give a grouping a soft touch with an oval runner as a base layer.
6. Dish it out. Incorporate your dishware into your decorating: Tie a twine bow around a stack of off-duty plates, or set candles inside red-and-white dip bowls.
7. Push petals. For an out-of-the-box addition to a display, place mini trees in salad bowls. René created these trees by inserting fresh greens into floral foam and dotting them with carnations.
8. Fill up on fun. Continuing the use of dishware as decor, René filled a white soup tureen with bright red ornaments and a few sprigs of greenery. "Even simple ideas can make a big impact," she notes.

Snow Place Like Home

Jar and Away
9. Go low. Contain a centerpiece in a low tote such as this scrap-wood caddy, which Brian made and the couple sell through their business, Union Farm Goods. Ground the grouping by setting it atop a small braided rug.
10. Switch off. Imagine ways your accessories can swap places -- here, Debbie placed battery-operated tapers in glass bottles, which would usually host natural fare, and replaced a traditional candle with pinecones inside the lantern.
11. Play tag. "Another innovative idea is to use gift wrap in your decorating," Debbie says. She spelled out a seasonal word on chalkboard tags and attached them to the bottles with greens and bells.
12. Do what you're label. Debbie continued the tag trend via a fabric-topped jar decorated with a prim label, which mimics the lettering on the Imels' vintage hog scale in the background.
13. Let it snowman. Don't forget the whimsy -- invite a cute snowman accent to lend a friendly face to a vignette.

Snow Place Like Home

Winning Entry
14. En-joy the season. Enliven your entry with an oversize accent made from simple materials. Borrowing the joyful theme from René's living room grouping, Debbie put the word to work in a major way in the Imels' back entry, where she hung a sign she crafted by nailing together wood slats and adding white craft letters and a wreath.
15. Hang around. Balance out an accent light, such as Tammie's industrial-style sconce, with a stenciled sign that brings in a pop of Christmas color.
16. Hide the evidence. "When you have so many people coming in and out of your house at the holidays, it's nice to be able to keep things close at hand but tucked away," Debbie says. "Here, we just supplemented the storage in the cabinets and drawers with holiday-themed tins."
17. Shop around. Debbie picked up on the tins' vintage graphics with accessories gathered from around the house, including a weathered corbel and an old hymn-number caddy from a church.
18. Be a sweetheart. Candy canes and other minty treats provide inexpensive filler that tastes as good as it looks.
19. Get comfortable. Why not give people a soft place to land when they're removing their snow boots? Put some colorful pillows and a poncho or blanket out on a mudroom or entry bench to help visitors shake off the winter chill.

For more information, visit our Craft Fair online.

Country Snowman wreath, Tracy's Florals
Wintry snowman with wool coat, Homespun Blessings,
Child-size mitten stretcher, Farmhouse Primitives

Snowman sign, Impressions on Market
Jingle-bell Joy, DMZ Designs
Large holly runner (shown reversed), The Basket Shoppe
Joy hand-printed tobacco letter banner, Glory Days Mercantile

Battery-operated timer tapers, Glory Days Mercantile
Small sepia lantern, Valley Flowers and Gifts
Christmas jumbo label, Blue Cupboard Primitives, LLC
Braided rug, Colonial Braided Rug Company

Mistletoe sign stencil, Scrappin' Along Craft Stencils
Mixed cedar and juniper wreath, Valley Flowers and Gifts
Set of three round tins, Home Decor For Your Style
Dark Moss and Mistletoe Cream throw pillows, Simply Quilt Crazy
Dog with Red Wagon and Tree hooked pillow, Williamsburg House, WI

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: handmade wood tray on dining room table, Union Farm Goods,

Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Photographed by Scott Campbell
Styled by Debbie Plantery & René Haines