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Christmas Crafts

Dollar Store Ornament Wreath

by Jennifer Wieland
Ornament Wreath

FTC Disclosure

I love decorating for Christmas! I have been known to have an upstairs and downstairs tree. I have a big holiday train that goes around the main tree. There are knickknacks, tchotchkes, and other decorations galore. As my love of decorating for the holidays grows though I have to be more conscientious of not going overboard with spending on decorating. To do this I decided that this year I was going to make some new decorations and that they were going to be affordable too. The first thing I decided I needed was a new wreath for my door. My old one met an untimely demise last year at the hands of my two youngest boys.

I decided to head to the dollar store and see what I could find. Upon entering the store I immediately spotted tubes of ornaments and that made me remember that I had some at home already from Target’s Dollar Spot from last year. I grabbed a few extra tubes of ornaments and a nice, big, sparkly bow that I found and I had the makings of one pretty wreath.

Ornament Wreath Supplies

Supplies for the wreath.

Ornament Wreath

1 wire hanger
70-90 ornaments depending on size
1 large bow
glue gun
hot glue sticks
needle nose or regular pliers

Take the tops off of each ornament and add a bit of hot glue on the sides of the top of the ornament and then place top back on. These ornaments are cheap and they will pop off from the tops if you do not do this step.
While the ornaments are drying, form the hanger into a circle and unwind the top of the wire hanger to open it up. Start adding ornaments on in any fashion you want. When you reach the end use the pliers to twist the hanger closed again. Add the bow to the top and hang up your wreath.


Sugar Free Mint Gum Candy House

by Jennifer Wieland
Mint Gum Candy House #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and it’s advertiser. #GiveExtraGum #shop

Now that Thanksgiving is finally here this week it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. I love Christmas! I take such joy in finding the perfect gift for everyone on my list and not forgetting the stocking stuffers like gum, chocolates, and little trinkets. I enjoy making holiday decorations with the kids and displaying them throughout the house. Seeing their little faces light up when something they have made or helped to make is such a joy to me. For the last few years we have added making a “gingerbread” house to our holiday decor.

Now, let me tell you a little something about our ‘gingerbread” houses. You see, I have tried making them from real gingerbread and well, I have never once had any success. Hence, why the tradition of us actually making the houses is only a few years old. A few years ago the kid’s school offered us the ability to come in and make graham cracker gingerbread houses with the kids. These were fun and easy and we all loved it! I still wanted a big fancy house though but I knew gingerbread was not the answer for me. Then last year I found a silicone gingerbread house mold. When I saw it a light bulb went off in my head and I knew that my gingerbread house would not be gingerbread at all but instead a full candy house.

Fast forward to this year and I knew I was going to do a full candy house again but in more detail than last year. I decided that my main materials this year were going to be chocolate again and I was going to add in Extra Sugar Free Gum too. I picked Extra Sugar Free Gum in specific flavors because I wanted gum in green, a couple blues and white flecked with blue. Now I already had cake boards and loads and loads of chocolate but I needed the Extra Sugar Free Gum so I headed to Walmart. I knew I would find the Extra Gum flavors I wanted and that the price would be great for the gum and other goodies I needed.

 Walmart Extra Gum #shop

Now for those of you who may be intimidated by gingerbread houses then this is the thing for you. If you can microwave or use a double boiler then you have the most difficult part down. I melted the chocolates I wanted to use for the house and filled the mold. I had the molds on baking sheets so that I could rap them on the table a few times to remove air bubbles form the chocolate once filled. This also helps to level and smooth out the chocolate. I then simply popped them into the freezer to solidify. Assembling the house pieces is easy. No worrying about icing consistency. Nope, more melted chocolate and a can of condensed air is all you need. Melt your chocolate in a pastry bag or plastic squeeze bottle and just place it on the edges to hold the pieces of the house together. Now in order to avoid sitting there holding it together and therefore, making the rest of the chocolate melt all you need to do is let it set for a moment or two and then lightly spray it with the condensed air. The air is cold and helps to set the chocolate. Make sure to use some of the melted chocolate to secure the house to a cake board.

Mint Gum Candy House #shop

To decorate the house I kept it VERY simple. I used Extra Sugar Free Gum in Polar Ice, Spearmint, Peppermint and Smooth Mint. In addition to that I used a wee bit of fruit roll-up, various sprinkles, luster dust, more chocolate, some marshmallows, and one circular oat cereal. I cut down the Extra Peppermint Gum to fit the windows and make them look like glass. The Smooth Mint Gum was used to create the walkway and sidewalk.  I then pulverized the Extra Spearmint and Polar Ice Gums in my food processor separately.

The marshmallows were dipped into green melted chocolate and then rolled in the spearmint gum and topped with large round sprinkles to act as lights. I used white and green chocolate and the spearmint gum to make a garland around the door and again added sprinkles as lights there, around the windows and at the roof line.

#shop #GiveExtraGum House

I did some “landscaping” on the side of the house. Chocolate covered dried cherries were used as a rock border and the mulch filling was chocolate sandwich cookie sprinkles. To make the sidewalk and walkway really pop and look a bit icy I used a paint brush to dust on some silver luster dust. For the snow effect I covered everything I wanted snowy with melted white chocolate and then lightly pressed the pulverized Extra Polar Ice Gum into it.

#GiveExtraGum House #shop

To create my wreath I used an oat circular cereal and dipped it into melted green chocolate. I used a toothpick to make sure the whole in the center of the cereal was not covered in chocolate. I let it set up for a few seconds and then used the toothpick to pull up bits of chocolate to give the wreath some texture. I added some sprinkles and fashioned a bow out of a thin slice of fruit roll-up and applies it to the door with more melted chocolate.

What are some fun and creative ways you use Extra Sugar Free Mint Gum to brighten your holiday or someone else’s?

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