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DIY party planner: New Year's Eve decor & recipe ideas

Posted by Melissa Massello December 30, 2013 01:30 PM
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Christine Meintjes/The Pretty Blog

Even if you dropped the ball for the ball drop, you still have time to throw together a fantastic New Year's Eve celebration. We scoured Pinterest for the tastiest, trendiest, sparkliest DIY decor, food, and cocktails for a fabulous end to 2013 and a festive hello to 2014!

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20 Last-minute gift wrap ideas using paper grocery bags & other household items

Posted by Melissa Massello December 24, 2013 08:17 AM

sweetest_occasion_duct_tape_ribbon.jpgPhoto: Duck tape ribbon, The Sweetest Occasion

It's Christmas Eve and all your presents are purchased, but suddenly you realize nothing is wrapped. No reason to run to the store when these 20 elegantly modern and eco-friendly gift wrap ideas cleverly use paper grocery bags (aka kraft paper) and other household items in festive designs, spreading holiday cheer without spending a cent — or leaving the house!

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DIY roundup: Last-minute holiday gifts, entertaining tips, & more from our archives

Posted by Melissa Massello December 23, 2013 01:00 PM
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Christmas may be in 2 days, but you still have time to make these homemade gifts, brush up your holiday table, and even put your feet up for a few minutes before everyone arrives. We rounded up our best 5 minute DIYs and tips to get you through the last minute rush:

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Maker Moment: Thursdays with Laurel & Christine Koh of Boston Mamas & Minimalist Parenting

Posted by Melissa Massello December 20, 2013 11:30 AM

Christine_Koh_Boston_Mamas.jpgPhoto: Christine Koh

Master multitasker takes on a whole new meaning when talking about Christine Koh of Medford, a violinist and brain scientist turned graphic designer, blogger, and author. Not only is this mother of two girls one of the top ranked "mom bloggers" on the Internet, through her popular local parenting blog BostonMamas.com (as well as a sought-after consultant to some of the biggest consumer brands in the country), she continuously inspires her friends and followers by finding the time to keep fit and craft — even during the holidays! — on top of her successful career. If you're hunting for that elusive work-life balance, Koh seems to have the roadmap.

With her new book Minimalist Parenting, co-authored with Asha Dornfest of Parent Hacks, now on shelves, we sat down with the force of nature herself to find out what drives her to make stuff and make time for it all — including how she manages to take Thursday afternoons completely off from work for quality DIY time with her older daughter, Laurel — in this week's Maker Moment.

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How to turn paperback books into cheap, chic Christmas trees

Posted by Melissa Massello December 18, 2013 10:38 AM

DIY_paperback_christmas_trees.jpgPhotos: Melissa Massello/Shoestring

As more and more Americans turn to Nooks and Kindles and iPads to read their favorite novels, paperbacks are turning into little more than craft paper — to the tune of tens of millions of books donated to Goodwill each year, much to the delight of resourceful holiday makers.

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Easy entertaining: Marinated feta from Central Bottle Wine + Provisions

Posted by Melissa Massello December 17, 2013 12:00 PM
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Central Bottle Wine + Provisions

If you're like us, you had grand plans of holiday entertaining and homemade gifts looking like a spread from Martha Stewart Living. Now, it's down to the wire and you've been alternately shoveling snow and attending parties every night for the past three weeks. There's still time to salvage your seasonal plans — make a few jars of Central Bottle Wine + Provisions Chef Stacey Daley's marinated feta tonight and next week, you'll have an easy appetizer or chic hostess gifts to bring 'round for Christmas!

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5 minute DIY: Festive food gifts using BNTO

Posted by Melissa Massello December 13, 2013 10:00 AM
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We clearly support DIYing holiday gifts and shopping small with local makers. So when we can combine the two into a fun, fast, and festive food gift that anyone can whip up, we're happier than kids on Christmas morning.

Here we have two options for seasonally sweet "in a jar" gift trends using BNTO, the latest innovation from Somerville-based Cuppow that turns a mason jar into separated compartments. We came up with a cozy hot cocoa mug and a twist on the Pinterest-popular baking-mix-in-a-jar gift. Here's how to make them in under 5 minutes:

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Where to shop locally for New England-made gifts

Posted by Melissa Massello December 12, 2013 05:11 PM

shop_local_boston_made_in_new_england.jpgPhoto: Farm & Fable

Whether you prefer shopping in person to online or are just gathering gifts at the last minute this holiday season, these Boston stores make shopping for an abundance of made-in-New-England wares as easy as a day trip by T.

Here's how to celebrate New England's centuries-old arts & crafts traditions as well as modern makers with these stylish gift ideas for everyone on your list.

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How to make clothespin reindeer ornaments, a classic holiday craft for all ages

Posted by Melissa Massello December 12, 2013 09:02 AM

how_to_clothespin_reindeer_ornaments_shoestring.jpgPhotos: Melissa Massello/Shoestring

Like many children, the first crafts I remember making with my mom were around Christmastime — specifically, dough ornaments and these clothespin reindeer ornaments, which I broke out en masse for nostalgic adults at last year's Cookie Swap for a Cause hosted by the Boston Food Swap. The reaction blew me away. Dozens of 20- and 30-somethings gathered around the activity table to make their own clothespin reindeers, cooing at tiny pom-poms and recounting their own holiday memories of crafting these and other ornaments with parents and grandparents.

If you're looking for a snow day activity for kids of all ages, or just a nostalgic nod to Christmases past to add to your tree this year, here's how to make an army of clothespin reindeers in virtually no time at all.

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Homemade cranberry holiday cocktails, three ways

Posted by Melissa Massello December 10, 2013 12:03 PM

cranberry_infused_vodka_shoestring.jpgPhoto: Melissa Massello/Shoestring

'Tis the season for holiday entertaining, and for lubricating to get through all those holiday parties and family interactions. It's also the natural season for New England cranberries, a fabulous time to celebrate our local bounty by showcasing them on your bar with these three seasonal cocktail recipes.

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Maker Moment: Crafting in times of crisis with Lei Ann Resurreccion

Posted by Melissa Massello December 6, 2013 09:52 AM

crafting_crisis_lei_ann_typhoon_haiyan.jpgPhotos: Lei Ann Resurreccion

In the crafting community, when crisis strikes we know exactly what to do: we make things & sell them to raise money for the cause.

In this week's Maker Moment, we're excited to introduce local fashion blogger, acupuncturist, Kung Fu instructor, avid DIY-er, and all-around Renaissance woman Lei Ann Resurreccion, who recently picked up her needles & hooks in epic fashion to make dozens of handmade baby hats as a fundraiser for the Philippines. Tomorrow in Watertown, Resurreccion will be selling her "woodland creatures" crochet baby beanies at the 3rd Annual Mount Auburn Club Holiday Fair for a $20 to $30 suggested donation — with 100% off the proceeds going to Typhoon Haiyan relief.

Want to learn more about this selfless local maker? Read on.

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Massachusetts manufacturers campaign for first annual Makers Monday

Posted by Melissa Massello December 2, 2013 03:28 PM

mother_freedom_made_in_massachusetts.jpgPhoto: Mother Freedom

As millions of consumers around the country frantically search for online coupon codes this Cyber Monday, a small but growing community of locavores have designated the first day back to work after Thanksgiving a different kind of shopping day altogether with the first annual Makers Monday.

Spearheaded by Detroit-based watchmaker Shinola, the Makers Monday campaign is an effort to raise awareness for American-made products and encourage more consumers to pledge to buy Made in USA goods this holiday season, thereby creating more US jobs and bolstering local economies.

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