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SPECIAL HOLIDAY ISSUE / DIY

Crafty trimmings

Family-friendly projects from the hosts of 'Creative Juice.'

December 06, 2007|David A. Keeps | Times Staff Writer

WITH an Emmy-nominated show that runs on DIY Network and HGTV and more than 500 cheap and cheerful decorating projects under their tool belts, "Creative Juice" hosts Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza know their way around the crafts shop. Filian's front bedroom is stacked floor-to-ceiling with bins of ribbon, paper, hot glue guns, brushes and paints.

"We even rebottle store-bought glitter," Filian admits, brandishing a giant spice shaker filled with glistening silver flakes.

The holiday season is the costars' busiest, a time that unleashes their fervor for the art of crafts. Making your own decorations, they say, does far more than save money.

"Society has become very cookie-cutter-catalog and corporate," Filian says. "By creating something yourself, you are stepping outside of the box. Many people are throwing fun craft parties these days, and it's a very relaxing way to decorate."

Piacenza insists that holiday crafts can pull the family together, creating not only decor with sentimental value but also bonding experiences.

The team recycles extensively, repurposing ornaments, tinsel, greeting cards and leftover ribbon to create garlands and wreaths. Old packaging can become work trays for painting and glittering.

"We love the idea of going through closets and drawers and the garage for things to transform," Filian says.

Noting that holiday colors seem to be taking a twist toward frosted blues, chartreuse and crimson, the duo redefined the holiday palette while devising three quick kid-friendly projects for time-starved do-it-yourselfers. "We went with gold and silver, black and white," Piacenza says of the decorations shown here. "Glitz and glamour are always appropriate for the holidays, but our real goal was to create pieces that could last until New Year's Day."

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CHAIN LETTERS

A ye olde mantel garland for the season.

MATERIALS: Printed and solid black card stock paper or old holiday cards, a large decorative paper punch (the Marvy scalloped-edge oval punch used here can be found at scrapbook supply stores), a 3-yard piece of decorative ribbon, a hot glue gun and alphabet letter stickers.

INSTRUCTIONS: Using the punch, create three shapes made from the solid black paper and four punches from the printed paper. Attach letter stickers to the center of the solid black pieces to spell "joy." Center the "o" in the middle of the ribbon and attach with hot glue. Work from the center outward, alternating the printed punch-outs with the letters on solid paper.

HELPFUL HINTS: To minimize plastic wisps created by hot glue gun sticks, place them in the freezer before use. Instead of alphabet stickers, you can glue computer-printed letters to white card stock.

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KNOCKOUT DOOR

A feathered wreath that's square in a most pleasing way.

MATERIALS: One 14-inch-square foam wreath base; four black feather boas; 24 small gold, silver and pearl ornament balls; six silver silk-leaf clusters; four white velvet poinsettias; one fancy ornament; hot glue; wire cutters. All are available from craft and floral supply stores.

INSTRUCTIONS: Use hot glue to wrap the boas around the foam until the entire base is covered. (For a less permanent wreath, you could attach the boas with T-pins.) Trim the ends of the poinsettias with wire cutters and attach them to the wreath at each corner. Cluster three to five ornament balls and a few silk leaves using the attached wires. Arrange these clusters around the wreath in a balanced pattern and hot glue them into place. Attach the fancy ornament to an inside corner of the wreath, so that it falls in the center when the wreath is hung as a diamond.

HELPFUL HINTS: For the center ornament, you also can take an old ornament, applying a thin adhesive (Aleene's Tacky or Elmer's School Glue) with a disposable foam brush, then roll the piece in glitter. If feathers are not your speed, wrap the wreath with thick tinsel.

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WAXING POETIC

Decorated candles become pillars of the holiday.

MATERIALS: Pillar candles of various heights, gold star sequins, gold ring beads, small black beads and pearl head pins. All are available at craft stores.

INSTRUCTIONS: Use pearl head pins to pierce a hole in sequins or beads, pushing them into the candle. Or simply push a scrapbook brad into the candle. Arrange the sequins, beads and brads in a pattern, either random or symmetrical.

HELPFUL HINTS: Don't skimp on the candles: Buy thick pillars with one wick that will melt only in the center. Sequins, pins and brads can be found at craft markets, but sewing stores, fabric outlets and bead stores may carry more unusual baubles.

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