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Glitz & Glam

These fun craft projects add sparkle to ordinary objects





S 2013

Cooks in the kitchen

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Fresh, festive florals Cozy crafting

A Special Interest Publication of the Yakima Herald-Republic Nov. 28, 2013


Home for the Holidays


Fresh, Festive

Thursday, November 28, 2013 YH-R Holiday Gift Guide


Update those tired poinsettias and try some new botanicals for the holiday season By Alyssa Karas CTW Features

Whether the goal is to completely deck the halls or just impress your guests, floral arrangements are a festive way to celebrate the holiday season. While the traditional reds of poinsettias and greens of holly leaves are timeless, try turning up holiday florals with new colors, textures and placements. Floral arrangements don’t have to be exotic or tropical: Florists say some of the most beautiful and unique elements of a holiday arrangement can be found in your own backyard. Deb Karpfinger, owner of The Flower Lady in Wauwatosa, Wis., says that “bringing nature inside” and the “do-it-yourself vintage look” are popular now. “Everything is a really simple look,” she adds. Alethea Harampolis, co-owner of Studio Choo in South San Francisco, Calif., agrees. “We use a lot of succulents, sticks, twigs and pinecones. Think about if you’re taking a walk in the winter. What could you forage for and be able to bring inside?” Birch branches, curly willow, seed pods, winter berries, rose hips and “things that look like the end of the garden year” all provide a

natural-looking touch to decor, says Kathy Spear, owner of Kathy and Company Florist in Burlington, Vt. She adds, “Magnolia leaves have green on one side and brown on the other. The velvety look adds a whole lot.” Try adding a poinsettia bloom or some amaryllis with other natural finds for a dash of color among the brown, gray, white and burgundy. “The color palette is a little simpler this year because it is this vintage natural look,” Karpfinger says. “I don’t see a lot of bright things.” Natural arrangements don’t need to be meticulous, either. Beautiful pine branches of hemlock can be laid on their own. And unique containers could be hiding in your cabinets. “A lot of people have really beautiful china, water pitchers and things,” Harampolis says. “We tend to have people go into their pantry and look for things that hold water and are a little bit different.” If you’re looking for a splashy centerpiece, designer David Kurio recommends trying a “landscape” down the center of the table and placing miniature orchid plants and some fresh spruce in a shallow, narrow tray. “Then we also incorporate succulents, which you really associate more with the summer but if you get

Apothecary jars can be filled with a variety of decorative objects. those beautiful gray and greens of succulents, you can mix all of that together,” says Kurio, who owns David Kurio Designs in Austin, Texas. “And then work in maybe some natural crystals and some vintage Christmas ornaments and mix in a smattering of votive candles.” Terrariums and wooden trays also work as centerpieces. Karpfinger says they’re great for breaking traditional rules and mixing it up. “It’s kind of interesting because in years past, customers were afraid to mix gold and silver, or wood and glitz,” she says. “But now, anything goes.” One of her recent projects featured a simple wooden tray that combined

natural moss with sparkly rhinestones and ornaments. Trays and terrariums also make good family projects because they’re easily customizable. Besides the plant elements you’ll use, Karpfinger recommends asking each family member to contribute an item, which could be as simple as an old jingle bell found around the house. “It’s the whole mixing of textures: moss, branches, twine, anything textural, like burlap,” Karpfinger says. A visit to your local florist can help you add the final touches. © CTW Features


Home for the Holidays


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YH-R Holiday Gift Guide


Home for the Holidays


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Thursday, November 28, 2013 YH-R Holiday Gift Guide

You feature a menu for a treetrimming party in your book. Do you host many of those yourself? We do it every year. I’ve done it with just chocolate and cheese, or with cocktails and easy appetizers. We leave a big pot of meatballs or a roast chicken on the cutting board so people can pick at it. Just make sure you invite people who will actually trim the tree, instead of just chat!

Reveling in the Holidays Actress Ali Larter is a serial entertainer - on TV, films, and at home. She shares her favorite holiday memories, plus hosting advice for food and decor By Bettina Chang CTW Features


ctress Ali Larter is a serial entertainer – in TV, films and at home. She shares her favorite holiday memories, plus hosting advice for food and décor. “A reveler is someone who loves sharing their passion for good times,” reads the first line of Ali Larter’s new book, “Kitchen Revelry” (St. Martin’s Press, 2013). Larter certainly does so through this collection of recipes, entertaining tips and personal anecdotes. Larter is perhaps most well-known for her roles on NBC’s “Heroes” as sisters Niki Sanders and Tracy Strauss. This year, she is preparing to star alongside “Game of Thrones” actor Sean Bean in TNT’s “Legends,” a TV show created by Howard Gordon (“Homeland”).

For her, acting is “fun wearing different hats,” and she says she’s excited to work with Gordon who is known for “great, strong female characters.” Between those long months on the set, though, she spends her time hosting parties for friends and family. “I started traveling [as a model] when I was 18 years old,” she says. “Food was my way of connection and how I met new people when I was lonely. If I moved to a new city, it was a way to bridge that gap.” In “Kitchen Revelry,” Larter offers two menus per month for the calendar year, recognizing that “some months you want to throw fabulous dinner parties where you go all out, but other times you want to do turkey chili for a cozy night in.” Staying relaxed and stress-free is her goal. “I want to inspire people to throw parties and not worry about the final product,” she says. “You don’t

want to hide your mistakes in the kitchen. That’s part of the fun.” Still, not all of us are as practiced hostesses as Larter, who is now living in Los Angeles with her husband, actor Hayes MacArthur and son Theodore. Here, she shares her holiday memories and tips for holiday revelry. What is your favorite holiday recipe from this book? The rustic sausage and fennel stuffing for Thanksgiving is one of my favorites. We do a “friends Thanksgiving,” which started because my in-laws were in town and I had to cook my first Thanksgiving. I was totally petrified because my motherin-law is an incredible hostess. Her dinner parties are decked out to the nines. I was so nervous, so I invited my friends over a week before and did a trial run of the entire evening – I

What do you do to decorate the house around the holidays? My favorite thing is to pick out an amazing tree. I buy a lot of extra pine needles, like the Douglas fir, and decorate all through my house with cut pieces. With that, I also love to use red berries. I like having tons and tons of candles. Obviously, you have to be safe with them, but the more candles, the better. I put them all through the tables and mix them on platters where the food is. You can buy them in bulk and not spend as much money. What were the holidays like for you growing up? My mom always threw Christmas parties, and they were the best times of the year. Everyone came over from the neighborhood, especially your friends you haven’t seen in a while. I feel so lucky that my mom and dad made it a priority for our family to be together. That’s why I have such a connection to throwing dinner parties. I think it’s really important – to turn off that cell phone, get off that computer and be together. What’s your favorite Christmas decoration? I’m a total nerd about it – I love Christmas. Me, my sister, my mom and grandma have been giving each other different kinds of Santas and snowmen. I have a snowman collection and families of them all over the house!

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“I want my guests walking into a vibe that’s not pristine and perfect, because otherwise people feel on edge,” says actress Ali Larter. “It’s like taking the pressure off. I’m telling you, messy is good!” Here are some ways Larter creates a relaxed vibe at her parties: • For platters of food, don’t carefully space things out. Larter “artfully groups” the crackers, cheeses and grapes so it looks more inviting • Light the candles before people arrive so the room has a settled-in feel • For informal gatherings, leave something simmering on the stove (Larter offers a ricotta meatball recipe) so people can pick at it. • Strike a balance. In her book, Larter says a reveler is “one part Zen master, one part MacGyver, and two parts Rita Hayworth.” © CTW Features


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YH-R Holiday Gift Guide


Home for the Holidays

Whether your personal style is funky, classic, rustic or luxurious, sometimes you just want something different to show your guests for the holidays. These tips will either dress up or tone down your decor.

• Create a beautiful glassware display with what you have on hand. Collins glasses can serve as candle holders and upside-down martini glasses can elevate a display. A cake pedestal can serve the same purpose. • Bring out your best serveware. That serving plate your in-laws gifted you years ago has gone unused for far too long. Even if you don’t have food to put on it, use the platters for extra napkins, candles or décor. • Craft themed place cards for your guests. They’re easy and inexpensive to make, but thoughtful and personalized. Bonus points for attaching a small trinket that your guests can take home to remember the night!

• Use a spare platter to create a formal-looking wet bar. Set out every bottle of booze, mixer and garnish you have and put some ice in a bucket. Hang some twinkly lights nearby and set out all your cocktail glasses so they’ll sparkle.

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Home for the Holidays

• Leave treats and appetizers all around the home. Your guests can pick at food and candies no matter where they sit down. That way, they won’t linger near the dining table or in the kitchen while you’re preparing the meal. • Use your cooking tools as part of the food display to emphasize your homemade dishes. A nice wooden cutting board can display charcuterie and cheese. Show off your cast iron skillet – but don’t forget a trivet! • Burlap is your friend. It’s easy to work with and automatically gives everything a rustic feel. Wrap burlap around gifts and silverware, or use it as a tree skirt or tablecloth. Plus, it’s neutral so it will match with your existing color palette. • Include some DIY food items. Bake the cookies and cupcakes and set up a decorating station with extra frosting and sprinkles. You’ll give your guests something fun to do and ensure picky eaters are satisfied. © CTW Features


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Thursday, November 28, 2013 YH-R Holiday Gift Guide

Home for the Holidays

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BY Alyssa Karas CTW Features Can you create Christmas glamour with what you have on hand? Of course! These four bloggers share some of their favorite glamorous crafts – and their surprising origins from empty wine bottles, old CDs, freezer paper and some chicken wire. Snowy Wine Bottles [Photo courtesy of Tracie Stoll] With three wine bottles, a little ingenuity and not much time, Tracie Stoll created one of the most popular projects on her blog “Cleverly Inspired,” “I literally did that in about 30 minutes,” says Stoll, who lives in Prospect, Ky. “I was having some girlfriends over for the holidays, and I wanted something pretty.” Stoll used items she had on hand to create a sparkly, snow-covered centerpiece. “I like to make treasures from trash,” she says. Stoll gathered three empty wine bottles of varying heights from her recycling bin and sprayed them with white primer. After the bottles dried, she sprayed them with adhesive and then rolled them in Epsom salts. “I thought it was kind of cool because it made it look like snow,” she says. To complete the look, she placed the bottles on a tray and added a few sparkly sprays, some silver ornaments and votive candles.


Recycled CD Ornaments [Photo courtesy of Natalie Pirveysian] If you’re looking to easily add a touch of sparkle to your tree, try making an ornament out of old CDs or DVDs, like Natalie Pirveysian, who shares her ideas on her blog “Crème de la Craft,”

Sometimes for the holidays, you just want everything to sparkle. These homemade crafts dress up your table or tree This craft is great for making with kids or family: “I think with holidays especially, it makes it more personal,” says Perveysian, who lives in Los Angeles. “When you have family over and people are asking about your decorations ... It just makes everything a little more special.” For the project, you’ll need a clear glass ornament, old CDs, a glue gun, ribbon and some heavy-duty scissors. “It’s made of items people have around the house,” Perveysian says. “If you’re itching to do a craft project, you can reach into your drawers or your craft closet.” Begin by cutting the CDs into small pieces with a good pair of scissors. “They don’t have to be the same shape


Home for the Holidays

under the tree. While you’re waiting to open it, it adds to the decor too.” Each year, Garris chooses a theme and uses what she has on hand to create custom wrapping. Her glitter tags and boxes, for example, were easily made by using a foam pouncer (or any other round object), dipping it in glue or Mod Podge and then dabbing it onto gift boxes and tags. Finish by covering in glitter. For her black-and-white theme, Garris added splashes of gold to her gift wrap for added holiday cheer. “I really did use things I had on hand,” she says. “I used copy paper, freezer paper, and then all sorts of ribbons Glitzy Gift Wrap Here’s a craft that pulls double-duty. and sticks and leaves. Just whatever I had, mixed and matched.” “A gift that’s wrapped really pretty Garris wrapped her gifts in plain makes it so much more fun and enticing to open,” says Carolyn Garris, who paper, and then used heavy paper or crepe paper as ribbons. To embellish shares her ideas on her blog “homework,” Carolynshomework.blogspot. the wrapping, she used organza, com. “I’m all about gift bags too, but sequins and fake flowers, which she when something is wrapped beautispray-painted gold. fully it looks so nice on the table or © CTW Features or size,” she says. Put a small dot of glue on the CD piece and attach it to the ornament, making sure the shiny side is facing out. Continue until the ornament is covered, leaving a bit of space between each piece, and wiping away extra glue as you go along. Then put a ribbon inside of the ornament and close it. “The CDs give it a shiny element, which is why I gravitated to them,” she says. “It adds a little bit of shine to your home, to your tree, and it adds a little bit of color as well.”

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Thursday, November 28, 2013 YH-R Holiday Gift Guide



Thursday, November 28, 2013 YH-R Holiday Gift Guide

Home for the Holidays

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There’s no place like home kitchens for the holidays. Or that’s what it seems, at least, when guests congregate in the heart of the home to chat, snack and offer the host or hostess a helping hand. A crowded kitchen with a few extra cooks calls for extra preparation and organization. What it doesn’t call for, says Philadelphiaarea chef Tony Clark, is extra stress. “It’s the holidays and it’s more than just cooking,” Clark says. “You really want to make sure everyone’s enjoying themselves.”

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when they all gather for a holiday meal. “It’s much more fun when everyone’s involved,” he says. Clark’s relatives typically stick to tradition with familiar, family recipes. He purchases all the ingredients and completes any complicated cooking tasks before the guests arrive. “I try to make it easy, and never do anything too stressful,” he says. Plus, a bottle of wine is at the ready, opened when the cooking begins.


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Thursday, November 28, 2013 YH-R Holiday Gift Guide



Home for the Holidays share a Google spreadsheet, where all the different meals are listed,” Dang says. “It lays things out nicely for folks to know what they’ll be responsible for. It also shows you took the time to think about it and plan.”

at,” Dang says. “People are usually honored when you ask them to share their talents.”

Make a Plan

It’s important to make room for a deluge of food. Clean and strategically arrange your The Good Guest refrigerator and pantry ahead of People should also consider their time, Dang suggests. This time of cooking methods. If much of the year, beverages that need cooling meal will require the oven, they’ll (like sodas, beer, and wines) can need to plan accordingly. Oven rack be chilled outdoors or in a garage inserts can help maximize space and in order to free up precious save time. refrigerator space. One advantage of having many To make more room in the cooks in the kitchen? They bring kitchen, hosts can get creative by an array of skills and specialties. assigning guests to different stations Dang recommends hosts be mindful throughout the home. Two sisters of this, playing up their guests’ could catch up while chopping strengths. Let the aunt who loves vegetables at the dining room table, for instance, while the kids snap baking bring her mean cheesecake green beans outside. and give the cocktail-expert cousin Susie Crowther, a Vermont-based bar duty. Anyone who is cookingchef, teacher and author of “The averse can help with cleanup. “I think it all comes down to No Recipe Cookbook” (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013), says people knowing what people are good

Have some easy craft projects ready to go (like these homemade placecards) to keep older children occupied while the adults are busy in the kitchen.

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Home for the Holidays

A cramped kitchen can be an obstacle to any group cooking experience. Those who are short on counter space can make their mealtime easier with a few simple tweaks. The easiest way to add counter space is to purchase a portable kitchen island or cart. The bonus is that it’ll add visual appeal along with extra storage – but it is a relatively big purchase, so only do so if you plan to use it throughout the year. People should also look outside of the kitchen and utilize other spaces, says Jess Dang, founder of Cook Smarts, an online cooking resource. She suggests clearing clutter from counters by placing items on a dining table or a desk, or turning another room or the garage into a baking/food storage area with a card table and toaster oven. Tony Clark, a Philadelphia-area chef, says he likes to use the outdoor grill year-round. When preparing a big meal, that’s one less piece that needs the oven. The keys to working in a tight space, Clark says, are to keep the area clean and embrace simplicity. “Don’t overdo it,” he says. “People get stressed while cooking, but it’s not about that. You want to make sure you’re happy when you’re cooking the meal.”


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should feel comfortable asking for and accepting help. “I think nowadays, we don’t want to ask for help,” she says. “Throw that paradigm away. This is not the time for the one-woman (or man) show.” Instead, she suggests people embrace the mindset of working together as a community. Aside from making a dish or helping with cleanup, guests could contribute by bringing serving utensils, cutting boards or knives. “Have a list and just tell guests what to do. People like to give; it makes them feel important.” Most of all, Crowther says, people cooking together over the holidays should focus on the process rather than the product. “The keys are to have fun, be together and be open to the outcome,” she says. “You might ruin the dish, but you’ll have a great story at the dinner table.” © CTW Features

Thursday, November 28, 2013 YH-R Holiday Gift Guide


Home for the Holidays



Thursday, November 28, 2013 YH-R Holiday Gift Guide

Felt Triangle Garland


or the winter holidays, sometimes a cozier craft fits the bill. This project, dreamed up by blogger Alison Faulkner (thealisonshow. com), based in Provo, Utah, is quick and easy and can fit in with any color scheme. She combines it with a knit sweaterstyle garland that makes it all the easier to snuggle up near the tree or fireplace. “There’s nothing I love more than a good garland,” she writes. “I wanted to add some color to my tree this year, so I spent the afternoon whipping

A fun family craft that’s perfect to enjoy while you’re watching a holiday movie! these up. They also look great on a mantle or wrapped around a gift.” Here are Faulkner’s instructions for the felt triangle garland. Materials: • A sewing machine (you could do this by hand but it would be very time consuming, so if you can, borrow a machine!) • Scraps of felt in an array of colors • Scissors • Heavyweight thread

Directions: 1. Sit down to a fun holiday movie with a stack of scrap felt and scissors. Cut dozens of triangles and don’t worry about making them uniform. Just make sure they are not too narrow, because this will make them hard to sew. 2. Thread your machine with a heavyweight thread; this will make the garland more durable. You only

need to use the heavy thread in the top, not the bobbin. 3.Once you have about 100 triangles or more, chain-sew the triangles. To do this, start at the base of a triangle and sew a straight line to the tip, about one-quarter inch away from the tip. Then, with the foot of your machine down, slip the next triangle in place. Continue this until your chain is your desired length.

4. Trim off the loose threads and hang your garland. © CTW Features

Photos and craft adapted for use with permission from Alison Faulkner, The Alison Show,


Home for the Holidays

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