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Holiday

Quick & easy 2-bite Irish soda bread muffins

Posted by Melissa Massello March 13, 2014 12:00 PM
irishsodabreadmuffins.jpg

Photo: Tara Bellucci

They say everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, and that's definitely the case here in Boston. Here's an Emerald Isle classic that's perfect for a St. Patty's Day brunch, but portable enough to take with you to the parade (because there should be something in your stomach besides Guinness). From batter to baked, these 2-bite Irish soda bread muffins will be ready to be slathered in butter in under an hour!

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9 DIY projects to make your Olympics party feel like an authentic athlete experience

Posted by Melissa Massello February 6, 2014 11:16 AM

9_sochi_winter_olympics_DIY_ideas.jpgPhotos (clockwise from top left): One Charming Party; Bow & Drape; New Dress a Day; Savannah Smiled.

When I was 14, I had the distinct honor of representing my country on the first ever Team USA for synchronized skating, traveling to Helsinki, Finland with Lexington's Ice Mates & Haydenettes, where we took home the international gold. There's nothing quite like standing center ice with your teammates, medal draped around your neck, watching your country's flag raised while the arena fills with your national anthem. I still get goosebumps & leaky eyes whenever I think about that moment, the pinnacle achievement of my athletic career, especially when I watch it happen for others.

Which is probably why, in the (cough, cough) 20 years since, I'm so passionate about hosting epic Olympics viewing parties. My friends know that, for the 17 days from opening to closing ceremonies, I will be glued to the TV or my laptop or both, cheering on every major and minor sport, rocking my best red, white & blue getups and recruiting others to do the same with me.

If you've also got Olympic fever, here are nine awesome DIY projects that feel authentic to the timeless athlete experience & that you can easily make at home in time for Opening Ceremonies tonight.

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7 guy-friendly DIY projects for Valentine's Day

Posted by Melissa Massello January 29, 2014 02:30 PM
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Photo: HollyDolly Blog

There may be a big game this week (and for that, we got you covered), but don't let that put you off your game with your guy or gal. Valentine's Day is a week from Friday, and there's still plenty of time to make your special someone something special. So put down those grocery store roses and drugstore chocolates and get creative, no glitter required.

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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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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
Stacey's Marinated Feta.jpg

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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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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