Handmade items are all the rage, so why not try your hand at making your own decorations to get your home Christmas-ready? Here are two do-it-yourself projects to get you in the holiday mood.
Marzipan Snow Globe
By Ikea Singapore, 317 Alexandra Road and 60 Tampines North Drive 2
What you need
2. Marzipan moulds (optional)
3. Paint brushes
4. Food colouring
5. Markers that can draw on glass
6. Clear glass jar with a lid
7. Desiccated coconut
Ikea Singapore sells several of these items, such as marzipan ($3.90 for 200g); marzipan mould ($2.90 for three pieces - in the shapes of a Christmas tree, bell and snowman); paint brushes ($5.90 for a set of six); and clear glass jars with a lid ($6.90 each). The food items can be bought from baking stores, while the markers can be found at stationery shops.
1. Pinch off a sizeable amount of room-temperature marzipan and knead it. Then press the marzipan into the moulds to get various shapes.
If you do not have moulds, you can make your own shapes. For example, roll the marzipan into balls to create a snowman's body and cones to stack on top of one another for a Christmas tree. You can even make scarves, bow ties or a top hat for the snowman (photo 1). Make different-sized characters for variation in the snow globe.
2. Paint your marzipan figurines with food colouring. Dilute the food colouring with water if you find the colour too bright. Allow the pieces to dry for five to 10 minutes.
3. Use the markers and decorate the outside of the jar with festive images. For example, you can draw a tree with snow on its branches.
4. Once the figurines and drawings on the jar are dry, place the figurines carefully into the jar (photo 2) and sprinkle desiccated coconut on them to create a snow-like effect.
5. Seal the jar. The marzipan snow globe can be kept in a cool area.
Fresh Christmas Wreath
By Ms Dawn Quek, florist-owner at Dawn Q. Floral Design at 87 Upper East Coast Road. The store does customised floral wreaths and conducts wreath-making workshops.
What you need
1. Wire and twine
2. Wooden Christmas wreath structure, 30cm in diameter
3. A 1m-long strip of wide ribbon
4. Plants, those used for this version are: Chamaecyparis yellow leaves; Ilex x meserveae "Blue Prince" leaves; Phalaris, which has been dyed red; Skimmia japonica, spray-painted gold; Ilex verticillata, spray-painted gold; cotton flowers; pine cones
5. Clippers and scissors
6. A decorative bauble (optional)
The wooden Christmas structure is available at decorative flower stores at The Verge (2 Serangoon Road), while most plant wholesalers stock the plants listed.
1. Wind the wire around the width of the wooden structure and create a loop with the remaining part of the wire. This is now the centre of your wreath. The loop will allow you to hang it from a hook when it is finished.
Next, use the ribbon to tie a bow over the wire to cover it (photo 1).
2. Build your wreath with the Chamaecyparis yellow leaves as the base. When cutting the branches of the plants to stick into the wooden structure, leave about 6 to 8cm of the stalk. Do not cut it too short as it will fall out of the structure easily. If it is too long, the branch will stick out on the other side.
Stick the branches at an angle instead of vertically down and arrange them in a circular manner, following the shape of the wooden structure (photo 2). Also, make sure the leaves are not spread out too much.
3. As you go along, add the other coloured leaves and flowers to the arrangement. Mixed foliage, with contrasting textures and colours, create a more visually arresting wreath.
For the cotton flowers and pine cones, twine the base with wires (photo 3) and loop the wire around the width of the wooden structure. Tie a knot to fasten the flowers or cones and cut the excess wire. For variety, you can also use cinnamon sticks tied with ribbon.
When you are done with half of the wreath - or reached the bottom of the wreath - change the direction of the placement of the leaves. This will prevent your wreath from turning out with all the leaves facing downwards.
Both end points do not need to be levelled with each other - this will create an unfinished look.
4. String some wire through the bauble, loop it under the ribbon and make a knot so that it hangs on the wreath (photo 4).