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Homemade holiday home decor

December 19, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

They might be as simple as cranberries and popcorn strung into chains, clove-ringed clementines, paper snowflakes or tissue angels - but crafting even the simplest holiday decorations together can make for joyful family memories.

Ideas abound for age-appropriate seasonal decorations and those that the family can make together.

Local crafters Judy Noland and Debi Price, who are making and selling wreaths and other items at City Farmers Market in Hagerstown this holiday season, suggested using items found around the home to decorate fresh or artificial wreaths. Materials such as recycled holiday cards and ornaments, acorns, pods, holly leaves and berries, natural grapevine, pine cones and colorful bows can turn a plain wreath into an attractive yet inexpensive addition to holiday home decor, they said. Gold spray paint can add glitz to pine cones and other natural materials, Noland added.

A wreath adorned with handmade holiday cards, children's drawings and family photos makes a great gift for grandparents and other relatives, she said. And children also will enjoy decorating kids-only wreaths and small Christmas trees with their favorite toys, handcrafted ornaments, drawings and other embellishments.

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"Let them decide what they want on it," Noland said.

Clear Spring Elementary School art teacher Priscilla Howard encouraged parents to check out decorating ideas in books such as "The Best Holiday Crafts Ever!" by Kathy Ross and Sharon Lane Holm. That particular book contains many holiday craft projects that use everyday materials, Howard said.

The Internet also offers countless decoration ideas. One Web site - What Works: Ideas for Parents on the Family Education Network at www.familyeduca

tion.com includes dozens of suggestions, grouped according to age level. Ideas include:

n Bell ornaments. Wrap a small paper cup with aluminum foil. Turn cup upside down and place a small hole in the top. Hold a bell inside of the cup and through the hole. Slip an ornament hook in and through the bell inside the cup. To finish, make a bow out of ribbon and tie around the hook at the top.

n Edible Christmas trees. Gather materials: one package sugar wafer ice cream cones, one container vanilla frosting, green food coloring and assorted candies, including lollipops. Put vanilla frosting in bowl; add a few drops of green food coloring to frosting and mix. Turn cones upside down on plates or cookie sheets. Make sure there is a hole in the point of the cone just large enough to push a lollipop stick through. Spread frosting on cone to create your tree. Decorate with candy "ornaments." Push a lollipop through the point of the cone (candy up, stick down) to top off the "tree."

Foods such as applesauce and cinnamon also can be used to make fragrant - but nonedible - ornaments. And it's always a treat to unwrap those nonperishable decorations that the family has made and saved over the years.

"It's certainly fun to look back on them," said Lynn F. Little, family and consumer sciences educator for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County.

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