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Crafts, Guides, Home Accessories Ideas Published: December 19, 2016 | Updated: December 10, 2019

What a Bright Idea: Lantern-Wrapped Gifts

Who doesn’t love a bountiful gift basket? Nobody. What’s wrong with traditionally wrapped gifts? Nothing. But if you’re in the mood for something different: think lantern-wrapped gifts (as opposed to gift-wrapped lanterns!).

Whatever the occasion, be it the holidays, a housewarming, a birthday or wedding shower, shower them thoughtfulness and a touch of creativity with a delightful “stuffed lantern” filled with some of their favorite things.

For the Coffee Crazed


Those who are jittery without their java will surely thank you for satisfying their fix. A pound of ground coffee, assorted creamers, a travel mug and a soothing coffee-scented candle are just a few ways to perk them up.

For the Sweet Tooth

We all have one. The friend who loves that sugar rush. Indulge their obsession with a dreamy assortment of colorfully wrapped chocolates, cookies, taffies and other sweet nothings.

For the Bathroom Hog/Girly-Girly


Make that girly-girl’s day with a bevy of beauty indulgences…from makeup brushes, nail polish and lipstick, to soaps, scrubs and creams. She’ll surely be looking and feeling her best thanks to you.
Best of all, decorative lanterns keep on giving, even when their gift contents are long gone. Whether filled with candles or ornaments during the holidays, sand and shells during the summer or succulents come spring, they’re a delightful touch—and a charming reminder of you.

Crafts, Guides, How To Published: December 14, 2016 | Updated: October 5, 2018

Easy, Inexpensive Gifts—DIY Christmas Baubles

Introduce a touch of magic into your gift-giving this year. With a little preparation and a dash of inspiration you can make a homemade keepsake ornament that’s a true original!

What Yule Need:

  • Glass or plastic ornaments

  • ¼ inch ribbon, yarn or twine

  • Miniature succulents or air plants

  • Pom-poms or cotton balls

  • Sequins or glitter

Get Creative!

Now that you have the materials, it’s time to get crafting! The beauty of this project is that you don’t have to have any special skills or tools, just a few simple doo-dads and a few minutes to assemble the baubles.

Carefully open the ornament and add the embellishments (craft sand, glitter, sequins, pom-poms, moss, dried rosebuds, etc.) through the opening. Be careful, the opening is easily cracked.

Thread ribbon, yarn or twine through the loop so you can hang your creation.

Note: After filling orb, if the weight causes the hanger to detach, a dab of hot glue secures the ornament for hanging.

Joy to the World (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

The baubles are hung by the chimney with care. Aren’t you glad you made a few extra to spare? A gift for a boss or a friend or a spouse—something you made yourself, right in your own house.

Crafts, Guides, Home Accessories Ideas Published: November 14, 2016 | Updated: October 5, 2018

DIY Terrarium with Succulents

If you want to bring vibrant greenery indoors but are not looking forward to the upkeep, succulent terrariums are a great option. Not only do the plants require extremely little maintenance, but building the terrarium itself is a great way to exercise your creativity. Follow these easy steps to bring a touch of nature into your home!

To begin, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Glass container–this can be anything from a bowl or jar to a glass box (featured)
  • Pebbles or rocks
  • Activated charcoal
  • Soil
  • Variety of small, slow-growing succulents
  • Moss

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Step 1: Cover the bottom 1/4 of your glass container with a layer of rocks to provide drainage for the plants.

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Step 2: Fill in the pebbles with a layer of activated charcoal. Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, can be tricky to track down so check your local nurseries, online retailers or pet stores where it’s often used for filtration in fish tanks. Activated charcoal helps maintain the soil’s freshness, eliminate odors, remove toxins, and prevent the growth of bacteria.

Step 3: Top the charcoal with a layer of soil that extends halfway up your container. Be sure to buy the appropriate soil for the type of succulents you’re using. In our example, we used cactus soil.

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Step 4: Now for the fun part–you can finally begin arranging your succulents in the container. Start with the largest plants first, then fill in with smaller ones. Use care when pulling the plants from their original containers as succulents break easily. And remember to leave some empty (or negative) space so your plants have room to grow.

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Step 5: Once your succulents are arranged, top the soil with moss for a finished look.

Terrarium

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And voilà, you’re done! You created a stylish terrarium garden that brings the beauty and air-cleansing benefits of nature into your home. Keep your habitat healthy by storing it out of direct sunlight and watering as needed. Your plants will thank you!

 

Crafts, Fall Inspiration, Guides Published: October 9, 2016 | Updated: November 25, 2019

Easy DIY Fall Wreath

One of my favorite fall traditions is making a wreath for the front door. This year I decided to try something new and made my wreath out of an old picture frame. It creates the same warm welcome as a traditional wreath but dares to be different in such a fun and creative way!

Crafts, Entertaining, Guides Published: August 29, 2016 | Updated: February 13, 2020

Poor Weather? Have a Rainy-Day Staycation

“What do you mean it’s snowing? It’s almost March!”

There are plenty of ways to say it: We are staying in tonight. And we always feel upset, too — our weekend has just been taken away from us and now what is there to do? We’re here to tell you that staying in for the night is not always a bad thing! In fact, it can be the perfect time to reconnect with your family AND de-stress from that long work week. It’s just like a vacation… in the comfort of your home!

Since the weather outside is still frightful, we are her to help you find fun things to do at home! It starts with a space that is cozy and comfortable all year and the perfect night in is within reach. Here are some tips for making the most of a poor weather day.

Create a Comfy Spot

A warm gathering area is the foundation for a night at home, whether you are streaming a movie marathon or hosting a game night for friends. Select a spacious seating option that gives everyone a relaxing place to unwind during your staycation. Dress the space up with stylish throw pillows and blankets that also add to the comfort.

Get The Pizzas, Cause We’re Having a Party

Making dinner doesn’t have to be a chore this weekend, in fact you can make it the main event with some small touches. A personal pizza party is a great way for everyone to be creative by choosing their favorite toppings and making their own designs. It’s a fun way to get the family away from their phones and to enjoy a home-cooked meal that everyone made!

Find all the ingredients at your local grocery store. For the base, use whatever fits your preference — pre-made dough, gluten-free, and so on. Since it’s a personal pizza, add all the contents that make for a delicious meal.

Veggie Monster Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Bell peppers
  • Spinach
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Mozzarella cheese

Meat Lover’s Delight

Ingredients:

  • Pepperoni
  • Ham
  • Sausage
  • Mozzarella cheese

And We’re Off to the Games

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Now that you’ve enjoyed your own culinary creations and have settled into your cozy living space, it’s time for an activity. We’ve got the perfect solution: Family Game Night! Any game will do the trick—pick something that’s easy to learn but challenging enough to keep the whole group engaged. Depending on your choice of game, it’s a great way to test your mental and physical abilities, all while inspiring some friendly competition!*

Make Memories Last

Most mementos are stowed away in your home’s storage space, to be found years later covered in dust. Make those tokens and memories something that your family looks forward to! Time capsules are a sweet way to capture the memories worth sharing and to create an exciting reveal down the line. We recommend waiting a full 10 years until you retrieve the capsule.

Ways to create a time capsule:

  1. Use a simple plastic water bottle and seal the top with hot glue
  2. Completely drain a paint can and fill with items (decorate the outside with stickers or use the paint itself to make designs!)
  3. Our favorite, use an old trunk lined with metal on the inside. See here.
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What to fill it with. You can fill your time capsule with anything meaningful to your family. We love the idea of stowing away special family keepsakes such as current photo albums, favorite CDs and songs loved by the family followed by recordings of their voices, and even a family recipeExtras: newspaper clipping of current events and a wine bottle, to age deliciously over ten years!

How to bury it. Dig deep. You want your time capsule to be at least a foot down and then completely covered. This protects it from fire and weather damage as well as keeping your memories safe from prying eyes.

Be Careful! Choosing where to bury your time capsule can be tricky and even illegal—make sure that you are burying it on owned property; we recommend grandma’s house (if she’s planning on staying a long time) and putting a garden sign to mark the place. Other options: the attic, basement, or a local storage unit (anywhere that you will feel safe and remember to look!).

Share your favorite staycation pastimes with us by using #MyAshleyHomeStore! Your space might even end up on our Instagram feed. If you need more inspiration for creating a cozy space, browse our Pinterest boards.

*Ashley and Ashley HomeStore are trademarks of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.  All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.  Scrabble and the owner(s) of the Scrabble trademark have no affiliation with and have not endorsed or approved Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. and Ashley HomeStore or their products and services.

Crafts Published: April 14, 2016 | Updated: June 13, 2018

Start an Arts and Crafts Movement with Your Kids

Having your kids come home with handmade gifts on Mother’s Day is one of the perks of being a mom. But creating artwork together is way more fun. We are smitten with Sara of (sincerelysarad.com) and her adorable animal head plaques. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions and prepare to be amazed at how easy it is to make basic materials spring to life (with little or no skill). Let the kids roll up their sleeves and join in—it’s a craft project you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with.

Sincerely Sarad

Elephants and pigs and bears! Oh, my! Choose from a menagerie of animals to create your very own Trophy Wall.

Sincerely Sarad

Supplies for the plaque:

  • Plastic bowl
  • Wooden plaque 
  • Spray paint
  • Styrofoam balls
  • Glue gun
  • Cardboard (a cereal box works great!)

Sincerely Sarad

Spray paint the plaque.

Sincerely Sarad

Attach your pieces to the plate with a glue gun.

Supplies for the paper mache:

  • Newspaper cut in strips
  • Water
  • Flour 
  • Bowl

Sincerely Sarad
Create a paste with flour and water.

Sincerely Sarad

Kids love helping with this part: dip the newspaper strips in the paste and pull through your fingers to remove most of the paste.  Completely cover your creature with the strips, folding under to create a smooth edge all around.  

Sincerely Sarad

Allow to dry overnight and paint.

Sincerely Sarad

Glue your “trophy” to the painted plaque.

 Sincerely Sarad

Follow Sara’s lead to make the animals shown above or create animal heads of your own design. Share your results on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, we’d love to see them!