Easy Christmas craft/DIY: Painted Goblets

Here’s a really easy Christmas craft if you are in the mood to make some floral arrangements! (Seriously – no excuses, just make one. I promise they are simple!)

You can use these anywhere you need a little Christmas floral accent, or even give them as gifts. They are so stinkin’ easy – you do not need to be a floral designer (there’s a shortcut) and guess what – they don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, festive, and fun! Here’s a sample:

Red painted goblet Christmas DIY

I had an idea around Halloween that I wanted black goblets for my spooky Gothic tablescape, but I didn’t want the cartoony plastic ones with fake bony fingers wrapped around them. I wanted cool, creepy looking drinkware that had a real haunted house vibe. I had some glass goblets that would have worked (one of each in several different patterns – why? Don’t ask.), but they were clear glass. I had the bright idea to spray paint them, but quickly realized they’d no longer be safe to drink from if I did that. I did not literally want guests dropping over dead from drinkware poisoning… so I ditched the “black goblet” idea and used the smoke colored ones I had from Dollar Tree instead.

But the idea of cool, creepy black goblets stuck with me, and I decided to go ahead and paint a few, and use them for floral arrangements. Here’s one just to show you the concept:

Black painted goblet

At that point I thought they were really neat and I thought, heck why not use up a few more of these goblets and turn them into a Christmas craft! So I painted a few red and a few gold back when the weather was still good, and saved them til I was ready to get the Christmas stuff out. (Hint: that wasn’t October, but I was – for once – thinking ahead!) Here’s how you can make this super-simple project!

Started with some spray-painted goblets! If it’s too cold to spray paint, try doing it in the basement (just wear a mask and/or ventilate well) or even paint outside but bring it in right away to dry.

Spray painted goblets for Christmas

Cut pieces of floral foam with your good kitchen paring knife and hot glue those down into the goblets. I did use two different types of floral foam for mine, because I used what I had on hand. I believe one type can be wetted for keeping flowers fresh, but we are using silk flowers and we will not be submerging them this time around. After cutting chunks and wedges of this material, I don’t think my knife is speaking to me any longer.

Add foam to the goblets

Now here’s the secret to why I say you don’t have to be a floral designer to do this project: You’re going to use ready-made faux-flower stems, bunches, and “picks,” so the design work has already been done for you! You can also use any Christmas craft stuff you already have on hand like ribbon, bows, jingle bell garland in a conveniently knotted mess, glitter (OH GOD, THE GLITTER!) etc.

Christmas picks and supplies

One of the easiest ways I add touches of Christmas around the house is just by sticking Christmas picks and baubles into existing vessels and floral arrangements. It Christmases up the house but I don’t have to redecorate the whole place to get a festive vibe. Plus it gives me something to hunt for around the house long after all the other Christmas stuff is put away, kind of like the confetti we used to throw around as kids on New Year’s Eve, which my mother would be vacuuming up even into June some years. But I digress.

ANYHOO… because I have a lot of gold-painted accents in my home already, I decided to make my gold goblets non-seasonal. This way, I could customize just by adding a Christmas (or even other holiday) bauble when needed. Of course, you can make yours any way you like! To do this, I just pushed ready-made bunches of silk flowers (acquired at thrift stores super-cheap) down into the foam of the gold goblets. Seriously, this cannot be any easier! Now the photo below is just for reference – trust me, you have to shove the stem all the way down into the foam unless you want it to be irrationally precarious.

Faux flowers in painted goblet
Ready-made silk flowers shoved into floral foam.

For the red goblet, I decided to make this one All-Christmas-All-the-Time. I started by hot-gluing a bit of thin gold ribbon around the rim. (Oh! I also hot-glued some PINK ribbon around the gold stem, as you can see above. ^ I really should add a bow to that one, but I’m still trying to get the hang of making a finger bow as demonstrated in numerous TikTok videos.) Again: gold ribbon as shown below.

Red painted goblet

I love anything Christmas-themed featuring branches and birds because, after all, isn’t Advent about preparing our hearts, making a nest for the Savior to dwell, like a bird preparing a nest for its young? I know – adorable! So I made sure to use a pick that had a little faux cardinal on it (because I mean, a real cardinal just wouldn’t be very practical – he’d be flying around all the time, hitting the windows and pooping everywhere, and besides my cat was here first so it really wouldn’t be fair.)

Goblet project: no real birds

Anyway, if you’ve read this far, you’ve already realized that this Christmas craft project involved 1.) Spray-painting goblets; 2.) Hot-gluing floral foam into said goblets; and 3). Sticking ready-made floral picks and faux flowers into the foam; 4.) Being intimidated by a cranky old cat; 5.) Making a nest for the baby Jesus because Advent; and 6.) Accepting the kudos and compliments of your friends and family because THIS CRAP YOU MADE LOOKS FREAKING AWESOME!

Completed gold goblet
Totally non-seasonal, just add balls or whatever Christmas means to you.
Completed gold goblet
Ok this one looks a little wonky now that I look at the pictures… that tall greenery has a “frosted” look to it, so it’s definitely a Christmas pick (to which I added baubles)… but, to be honest, right now it kind of looks like a rose-headed turkey with its tail all fanned out. Hmmm… you can’t un-see it, can you? Shit!
Finished red goblet
Insert baby Jesus wherever you like.

Here’s an image you can Pin if you’d like to save this easy Christmas craft for future inspiration!

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The nesting season

Nests in December

About 35 years ago, I had occasion to meet a most wonderful person – a Catholic nun named Sister Joyce Rupp – through my work at a local television station. During our lengthy conversation, she gave me a copy of a book she had written called Fresh Bread. The book is a lovely combination of poetry, essays, journaling prompts, and suggested verses for daily prayer, organized into the months of the year.

The theme in this book for the month of December has always stuck with me: it is about nests. From a Christian perspective, it is specifically about preparing a nest in one’s heart, making a warm and welcoming place for Christ to dwell. Here is the introduction to this theme, from Fresh Bread by Sister Joyce Rupp, OSM:

If you look high into the trees on December days (you) can see little bunches of nests everywhere. They remind me of Advent. Instead of getting a nest ready that will be round and welcoming for an egg and the future young life, I am getting a Christ-home ready within my life. I am trying to prepare a dwelling place for the Lord, a warm, well-hollowed, hospitable place where the life of my God will deepen and mature in me... Whatever the kind of nest, or wherever they are placed, they are hollowed as a dwelling place to receive the gift of life. 

I am very private about my faith, but even from a broader perspective this notion of nests and nesting, of making a more welcoming place within ourselves, resonates with me for a few reasons.

First, and perhaps most overtly, we are nesting in our homes – decorating for the holidays, creating warm and comforting meals, pulling the fuzzy throw-blankets tighter around us. We are making our physical space more comfortable, more hollowed-out, more hospitable for our own existence and for the friends and family we will welcome at this festive time of year.

More figuratively, during the Christmas season, we all seem to become oh-so-slightly better people: a little kinder, a little more compassionate, a little more generous. We are “nesting internally,” in a sense, making our hearts a bit more hospitable toward our fellow man.

It’s also important, I think, to make our inner nest a more welcoming place for ourselves: cut ourselves some slack, show ourselves more grace, allow room to make mistakes and not beat ourselves up over them. In other words, we deserve to dwell a little more comfortably – to feel more safe and nurtured – in our own heart-nest.

I like to think that perhaps we are focusing more on these inner nests because – as Rupp states in her book – actual nests are so much more visible in Winter: they are easily spotted in the branches of the bare trees, so perhaps are more top-of-mind figuratively (spiritually) as well as physically.

The questions I always come back to when pondering December (and Advent) as a nesting season are these: how ready is the nest of my heart? How can I make it more welcoming? Can I make room among the detritus that invariably finds its way into the structure of my nest (emotions, selfishness, personal baggage, etc.) to let in a bit of light and grace, and make a warm and welcoming space for myself and others?

And perhaps most importantly – what can I do to ensure that the nest I am making is strong enough, warm enough, and hollowed-out enough, to remain a welcoming place throughout the coming year?

What do you think about the concept of a heart-nest? Do you have specific ways you nurture your own heart-nest, spiritually or otherwise? I would love to know!

(If you are interested in reading Fresh Bread, you can find it here on Amazon. Please note: the preceding is an Amazon affiliate link. If you use my link to purchase the book, it costs you nothing extra but I do earn a small commission. I’ll be donating any commissions from this book to a local charity.)

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Easy Christmas Craft/DIY: Thrift flip for Santa’s boot!

Found this cute ceramic Santa boot at Goodwill awhile back, and I bought it to do an easy flip since my Christmas color palette leans more toward (wayyyyy more toward) pink, white, and gold. It’s a pretty good size, and in very good condition – certainly suitable for a floral arrangement, or possibly a seasonal pen cup. Here it is sitting on my painting mat:

Thrifted Santa's boot ceramic project

Now I’m not saying Santa would actually wear pink boots – I mean he’d have to change up his whole outfit, which I doubt he’s willing to do just for me. In fact, the only pink Santa outfit I ever remember seeing was this one on my own tree – I personally like this look, but he might not:

Pink Santa outfit

Still, if I’m going to have an object representing Santa’s boot, then I’m for sure going to make it match the rest of my Christmas decor! I actually did not paint the black part at all. I did cover one tiny scuff mark using black Sharpie. By the way, the paint I used for the pink part is Martha Stewart Crafts chalk paint, in the color Seashell. This is the same paint I use for my frothy pink Christmas village.

Martha Stewart chalk paint in Seashell.

Ok here is the boot all taped off. Now hear me out: I did it this way on purpose, even though it took much longer, because I really wanted to do a nice job on this so I wanted to get all the curves just right without finding later that I had missed a spot with the tape. It was so much better to do it in tiny pieces like this so I could carefully place each one.

Santa's boot, taped off.

Here it is after one coat. I ended up doing two. This step sort of makes me think I could do a lace ruffle under that top cuff. I suppose Santa wouldn’t like that either! (Hmmm….)

Santa's boot painted

Once all the paint was dry, I pulled off the tiny pieces of tape (admittedly not as satisfying as pulling off one long piece) and decided it needed something more.

Glitter. Yay!

This project needs glitter

Adding glitter is as simple as brushing on some plain old white glue (Elmer’s or… “Jot” brand, which is from Dollar Tree) and then dousing the whole thing with your choice of either fine powdery glitter or whatever size you like. I used a throw-away brush for this but I did rinse it out really well in hopes of re-using it later – you could also use a small sponge brush.

This project was so easy, I don’t even think you can call this post a proper tutorial. It’s literally just “buy a thing and paint it, then add glitter.” But I mean that’s precisely the point I’m trying to make – buy a thing and paint it! Add glitter! And make Christmas truly personalized by customizing the stuff you find so it fits your style, your color palette, and your taste.

Santa's boot pen cup
Santa's boot floral arrangement

Now keep in mind, I chose to paint my piece to make it go with my color scheme. But I could just as easily have painted peppermint stripes, or skipped the paint and added faux fur or ribbon or any other embellishments instead – or in addition!

What are your thoughts? Will you try your hand at customizing a thrift store piece? What are your Christmas colors?

As for me, I would totally be Santa’s helper, and work all night on Christmas Eve, if I could wear boots like these! Well, almost like these. I don’t think ceramic boots would be very practical for sliding down chimneys or leaping out of the sleigh, and I certainly don’t think they’d be warm. And if it’s one thing I really hate, it’s when my feet are cold.

Oh! P.S., here’s an image you can use if you’d like to Pin this Santa Boot *cough* tutorial *cough* for future inspiration!

Santa Boot craft pin image
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Happy Thanksgiving 2022!

Wishing a safe and blessed Thanksgiving to all my friends in the U.S., and a heartfelt “Thank you” for being part of this community, wherever you may be in the world!

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Windsor Fruit Thanksgiving Tablescape

Suggest a theme involving abundance or bounty, and I am all over it – if you look up the word “maximalist” in the dictionary, you’ll probably see my face. (And I hope it’s one of those old-timey line drawings, because I feel like you’ve really made it when your likeness appears as an old-timey line drawing in an ancient dictionary…)

Anyhoo, I seem to do an abundance or bounty-themed tablescape every year because for me that’s the vibe of the Thanksgiving season. Here’s this year’s “Autumn Abundance” table:

Inspiration pieces for this table were (oddly enough) my deep pink velvet pumpkin, which I made and immediately knew it had to be in a centerpiece, and the amazing silver-plated water pitcher I snapped up at one of my favorite thrift stores for like $6. (You can’t see it, but it has an engraved initial “D” on one side. Makes me wonder if it was perhaps a serving piece in a local hotel.) The rest of the centerpiece includes more handmade (by me) velvet pumpkins, faux flora, and a lovely irridescent Aynsley saucer.

Dinnerware is “Windsor Fruit” by Johnson Brothers of England. I love the “hand-colored” look of this pattern, and it lends itself well to the rattan texture of the charger and the tailored silver-and-leather look of the napkin rings.

These large green wine glasses are by Dollar Tree, and the flatware is my handed-down “Chandelier” by Oneida.

By the way, the tablecloth is a thrifted curtain panel – I wish I had a pair of these, I’d use them for their intended purpose somewhere in my home. In any case, the single panel makes a great abundance-themed table covering.

A few more views areound the table…

Here is the birds-eye view (I haven’t fallen off my step stool yet, so I keep climbing up for these shots despite having reached my 60th birthday this year!)…

… and of course the put-away shot, showing off how beautifully everything coordinates.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? My tiny celebration will be delayed a few days and I’m debating whether to re-set this table or go with my traditional choice of Royal China Currier and Ives. Decisions, decisions!

I’m sharing this abundant Fall table for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s amazing blog, Between Naps on the Porch. Be sure to click through for more inspiration, and save the image below to your Pinterest board for future use if you wish!

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