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Modern Design Blog

A blog about thought-provoking, forward-thinking modern furniture, lighting & decor.

Best Smelling Wood You Can Burn to Make Natural Incense

I’m sure you’ve seen incense sticks, they are sold everywhere from gas stations and  convenience stores to candle shops and bookstores, but did you know there are some woods you can burn that have a natural aroma which works the same way as an incense stick purchased from a store?

Palo Santo Wood

 

Incense has been used throughout the world for many ceremonial, ritual, traditional and religious practices. It also serves to freshen up a foul smelling space or give the space an extra delightful scent.

Cedar

Palo Santo

Sweetgrass

Bundled Sweetgrass

Sassafras

Birch

Pine

Cedar Wood Sticks

You can experiment with trees in your own backyard by breaking off a few twigs, lighting one end on fire and then blowing it out to smell the smoke that is produced. Use caution – we don’t want you getting burnt or causing any forest fires. Be sure to burn wood that is dry – avoid doing this if it has rained within the last couple of days.

 

December 27th, 2017 by Alexandra Christina

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Smart Tips for the Day After Christmas

It’s the day after Christmas, the kids are playing with their new toys, you are taking a breather after all the mayhem and it’s almost time for the new year. First, give yourself a pat on the back for doing a great job making Christmas extra spectacular this year – but there is still more preparations to be done! Don’t worry though – this will make things smoother for upcoming year.

Few Days After Christmas Checklist: 

If you have children, don’t let them open every single toy or gift they receive right away. A new toy every month or every couple of weeks will keep them entertained until Christmas rolls around next year. It also saves you from living in messy toy town for the next week and keeps the potential pleading for new things at a minimum.

Stock up on gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper, cards and christmas supplies for next year – all the Christmas stuff is marked down and clearanced – don’t wait too long though, shelves go practically empty by the third or fourth day after Christmas.

Receive gifts you weren’t crazy about or did the kids receive double of something? Create a space in your closet, attic or basement for any extra gifts to regift for next year. Some people think its tacky but I think it’s smart, it saves you time, money and it allows someone else to really enjoy something you were only slightly excited about. Just be sure to tape a note on it reminding you who it came from – you wouldn’t want to regift it to the same person who gave you it – there is a possibility their feelings might get hurt.

Tons of leftovers? Find places to donate extra food like shelters or food kitchens. Do your research and call beforehand, most places won’t accept food that isn’t sealed or already made but if you purchased extra canned goods or anything unopened, it feels good to give to others. If you have extra already prepared food, there are plenty of people who are still in need and if you live in a city and see someone in need, there is no reason not to offer them something to eat. If not, you could freeze anything you think might not get eaten in the next or so! 

Take christmas decorations down slowly. Why the rush to send Christmas out the door right away? Slowly start to put those santa graphic hand towels and snowflake soaps back in the closet. Wait until after New Years to take the Christmas lights down. Take the wreath off the front door at the end of January. Winter doesn’t end just because Christmas does, the lights, decorations and good cheer is also meant to keep us smiling through the rest of the cold and dark winter months.

Enjoy your gifts to their fullest and enjoy how much everyone is loving the gifts you gave to them!

 

 

 

Christmas Day: Make a Christmas Wish Tree

Christmas Day is finally here! Merry Christmas! 

While having a fully loaded christmas tree with an abundance of gifts underneath it is exciting – there are some christmas gifts that can’t come from a store. Revive the spirit of christmas today by creating a christmas wish tree that asks santa for a personal wish that can’t be bought. This is a great idea for christmas day parties or for a family activity on Christmas day!

What You’ll Need: 

  • 3 large branches or a Light Up Wire Christmas Tree or simply christmas lights
  • Clothes Pins
  • Index Cards
  • Pens

You can get a light up wire christmas tree from a craft store or hardware store. If you can’t find one you can always make your own or you can even simply use christmas light strung on the ceiling or wrapped around nearly anything. A friend of mine used 3 large branches found outside.

Use the pens and index cards for each guest or family member to write down something they wish for the upcoming year. This wish isn’t a material wish but a wish that comes from the heart.  Have them write down 3 gifts. One they want for themselves, the second to give to others (it can be specific people) and third for the whole world.

Have them use a clothes pin to attach their index card to the lights. If everyone is comfortable, have them share their wish or you can just leave them up there so as others approach the tree, they can see all the good tidings and merry wishes wanted and given for the year to come!

 

1 Day til’ Christmas: The Night Before Christmas Eve Checklist

1 Day til’ Christmas Countdown: It was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a – oops! we forgot to put out cookies and milk for santa!

It’s best to not wait until the last minute to get everything done before Christmas morning, especially if we have curious children who want to know if Santa is real or not – but sometimes with late deliveries, work, kids and preparations, it’s difficult to remember to get everything done. Below is a Christmas Eve checklist to make sure we have everything in order so Christmas Day is a merry day to remember!

Christmas Eve Checklist: 

Make sure the christmas tree lights are on!

Wrapped our gifts and hid them in the trunk of our car (this is the best hiding spot for kids who snoop around to see where the goods are).

Made a little area for Santa’s treats – use a small table or a fold up tv dinner table, put out milk and cookies, write a little note for santa. Don’t forget about the Santa’s reindeer! You and your kids can collect leaves, twigs and vines to put out for the reindeer to eat. 

Make sure to drink some of the milk and take a bite out of one of the cookies after the kids are asleep – leave a handmade and handwritten note from santa to your kids – make it extra special. Get rid of the reindeer food.

Make sure those kids are fast asleep – most kids get very excited the night before Christmas in anticipation for Santa, let them stay up an hour or more so they are extra sleepy, have them take a warm bath and give them some warm milk before bed. You can even play light, soothing music so they aren’t woken by any sounds.

Once you are sure they are fast asleep, quietly place the gifts under the tree

Don’t forget the stocking stuffers!

Make christmas breakfast the night before so you can just stick it in the oven to warm it on Christmas morning. This way you won’t miss any of the action.

Have a large garbage bag for recycling ready for the discarded wrapping paper to go in to make clean up easy.

Have your camera ready for christmas morning – take lots of pictures to see the smile on everyone’s faces!

2 Days til’ Christmas: Snowball String Christmas Craft Ornament

2 Days til’ Christmas Countdown: These beautiful christmas ornaments can be used to hang on your tree or used as decoration during the holiday season. They are fragile but very beautiful and easy to make!

Image result for starched string christmas ornament

What You’ll Need:

  • Balloons
  • Cotton String
  • Fabric Stiffener
  • Ribbons
  • Scotch Tape

Image result for starched string christmas ornamentBlow up a balloon to whatever size you want your snowball string ornament to be.  Tape the end of the string to the balloon so it stays put. Wrap the string around the balloon in whatever pattern you’d like, try a lacy, nest-like pattern.

Make sure to wrap it enough times so there aren’t too many large spaces. The larger the spaces the more fragile and delicate the ornament will be. Dip it in fabric stiffener.  Allow the stiffener to dry for the amount of time as per the directions on the bottle.

Pop the balloon using a sewing needle, knife or any other sharp object. Tie a ribbon to one end of your snowball string creation and hang wherever you see fit!

 

3 Days til’ Christmas: Make Holiday Slime for Kids

3 Days til’ Christmas Countdown: Apparently slime is all the rage these days, children of all ages love to make this gooey play thing – it reminds me of the gooey toys I used to get out of the 25 cent machines at the grocery store when I was little.

Recipe Courtesy of Growing a Jeweled Rose

The cool part about slime is that kids are learning how to craft it themselves and it’s usually made out of chemical free and natural materials! The downside is it gets very messy and sticks to everything so just give make sure you keep it contained to one room or outside if you can.

For a fun and festive activity this year, you and your kids can make Christmas slime!

I recommend kids ages 6+ for this activity! But it is still safe for ages 4 and up to play with – it isn’t toxic but to be safe, keep away from the ones who are putting everything in their mouth! 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 Cups of Elmers Red Glitter Glue
  • warm water
  • Cinnamon extract
  • 3/4 tsps borax
  • 3 bowls

In one bowl, combine 2 cups of red glitter glue, cinnamon extract and 1 & 1/2 cups of water. Mix together.

In the other bowl, combine 3/4 tsps borax and 1 & 1/3 cups warm water. Mix together.

Once they are thoroughly mixed in the separate bowls. Combine them together in your 3rd bowl and mix together. It is best to mix and knead the slime with your hands which is fun for both you and your kids!

Remove the slime from the bowl and find a clean and smooth surface where you can continue kneading the slime.

If the slime is sticky – take a small amount of borax and mix it in warm water until it dissolves. Add the mixture to the slime. Start off with a small amount and continue adding until the mixture is less sticky. You don’t want to overdo it so it becomes runny. 

The slime is sparkly, smells like christmas and super fun to play with!

Tip: If you want to keep the slime contained, grab a few small containers (recycled baby food jars work great) put some slime in it and have the kids press down into the goo until they hear a “fart” noise. A lot of kids find this hilarious – this is particular good if you have rambunctious children who may want to fling the slime around the house, this keeps them entertained while keeping the slime in a safe place!

 

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