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Fab Four: My Favorite Holiday Craft Ideas from Martha Stewart Living Magazine

MSL covers and ornaments.jpgSome holiday craft ideas become part of our annual Christmas traditions. These fabulous four from Martha Stewart Living are the ones MiChelle Jones turns to again and again.

I frequently find inspiration in magazines. Usually it’s an outfit or decorating scheme I want to re-create, or a book or an exhibition I want to see.

Every now and then, however, I get out my art supplies and try a project based on something I’ve seen in a magazine.

Many of the projects I’ve attempted are from the holiday issues of Martha Stewart Living magazine and the results become part of my decorating or celebrating traditions.

Since Martha Stewart Living is kicking off its 20th anniversary with the December 2010 issue, I thought I’d look back at some of my favorite holiday projects from over the years. Surprisingly none of my favorite craft projects made the “20 Years of Good Things” feature in the current magazine. Hmph, editors, what do they know?

  • Translucent wrapping paper. Back in December 2001, Martha Stewart Living suggested wrapping presents in translucent paper. Simple enough. The special touch comes in making a series of folds and creases in the glassine or tissue paper to create patterns. This is a particularly effective treatment for books, magazines or anything else that comes in beautiful packaging of its own. My take on this is to use tracing paper leftover from design projects and to simulate a plaid pattern.
  • Fortune cookies. There were directions for making paper fortune cookies in that December 2001 issue too. The idea was to use the cookies as bill holders, sliding the cash and a New Year’s prediction inside. I like the cookies simply for the shape and use them as gift toppers on presents packed in “food” takeaway boxes with a holiday or birthday message as the “fortune.”
  • Snowflakes and doilies. Last Christmas, I combined two ideas I found in the December 2006 Martha Stewart Living magazine. One was paper snowflakes suspended with monofilament, the other was using paper doilies to adorn gifts. The doily idea was from a feature recapping 15 years of packing ideas and was originally used in a 2004 feature on Valentine’s Day gifts. I combined the two ideas when I topped dramatic snowflake paper with a large paper snowflake.
  • Shopping bag ornaments. These are probably my all-time favorites, from the December 2005 issue. Tiny paper shopping bags with twine handles and stuffed with tissue paper (such a lovely detail). That first year I used a lot of the tiny bags and I loved the homemade touch they added to the tree; last year I only used ones that tied into my red, silver and white color scheme.