10 Inspiring Homemaking Books

Are you feeling hum drum about homemaking? Take a look at 10 inspiring homemaking books that will encourage you to enjoy making a home for your family.

10 inspiring homemaking books

Homemaking is something that has become really dear to my heart. As I have grown closer to Christ, I actually see how important home is to a family. Homemaking has been made into some drudgery to be avoided in exchange for a career outside the home. That is not a slight by any means to the working mom. Working moms work very hard and both provide for their families and lovingly provide a home for family.

What I mean is, the idea of homemaking (yes, even for the working mom) has been demeaned and reduced to some sort of lower-status job. As I’ve grown older, I realize, it is actually one of the most important. Our children won’t really remember or appreciate what we did for a career, but they will absolutely remember the home you made for them.

When I lived in Europe, I was surprised at how much slower life was than in the states. I think many women would like to slow down and actually enjoy homemaking. So today I thought I would share 10 inspiring homemaking books. They vary slightly. Some are secular. Some are Christian based. Others focus on organizing and some entertaining. I’ve tried to vary a little bit. I’m sure I’ll be sharing other similar homemaking books in the future. Let’s get started.

1. Little House Homemaking

This book entitled, Little House Homemaking: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life by Melissa A Alink is a great book about simple living. In this book, she shares how to make a lot of your own staples like food and even household items like sunscreen, furniture polish, homemade anti-bacterial wipes, etc. The book additionally focuses also on recipes and homestead living. There is a lot of practical advice when it comes to running your own. I think it’s a great little encyclopedia for must have formulas and recipes when it comes to self-sufficiency.

2. Simple Farmhouse Life

I’ve been following Lisa Bass on her blog, Farmhouse on Boone, for three years now. If you don’t follow her and you are inspired by farmhouse living, you definitely should. Lisa curates a beautiful home and always shares DIY projects and this boo, Simple Farmhouse Life, is no exception. She shares simple sewing projects, delicious recipes, and natural cleaning which includes tons of recipes for natural cleaning products. Her photos are beautiful and clean. She even shares simple decorating and basic, natural gardening.

green potted plant in minimalistic bathroom with body care tools
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

3. Introduction to Home Economics

I am old enough to remember a time when we were taught home economics in school. I will be teaching my sons a lot of life skills as a part of our homeschooling. In this book,Introduction to Home Economics, veteran homemaker Mrs. Sharon White, shares how she runs her New England household. Her blog, A Legacy From Home is simple but very informative when it comes to old fashioned homemaking. I found this book more pragmatic and encouraging than ainstructional. Mrs. White is lovely and gentle with her words of wisdom. I think this book is good if looking for encouragement and advice as opposed to a step by step playbook of homemaking. Mrs. White actually has a whole series of Christian homemaking books. I would say that Mrs. White book is not very flashy and may even be a little old-fashioned for some readers, but frankly, I like it. It was like having a talk with my grandmothers, both of who have passed.

4. Home Management: Plain and Simple

Kim Brenneman is the author of Home Management: Plain and Simple.This book is really designed to be a manual for the woman who wants to know how to run an organized home. She covers a number of topics including budgeting, cleaning, organizing, etc. The author is a homeschooling mom of nine! She shares how she manages to be productive.

The most important topic she covers is how to actually get things done with kids. I know that early in my mom journey, I found it really hard to get things done with the demands of children and constant interruptions. She offers a lot of practical advice as well as how to stay on top of never-ending chores like laundry, dishes, etc and how to delegate chores to family members. The author also focuses on the fact that homemaking should be a way to honor and glorify God so there is also special attention to having the right attitude.

happy woman with rolling pin cooking at home
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

5. Gather At Home

Lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs compiled a book, Gather at Home, full of her favorite recipes, DIY projects and interior design. I found her recipes to be delicious and simple. Hibbs shares a great deal of information on entertaining including how to dress a table, etc. One thing I loved was how to make everyday events special for your own family. For example, she has ideas for a mother’s day brunch at home, family game nights even an evening outdoor barbeque in the backyard. The book is largely about making memories for your family at home. My only caveat would be that the lifestyle represented here is maybe upper middle class. If you are simple homemaker, on a strained budget, or offput by Pinterest-perfect living, this book may not be relatable.

6. White Cozy Cottage: Seasons

In the book, White Cozy Cottage Seasons: 100 Ways to Be Cozy All Year Long author Liz Glavan shares how to make a home a fun place to be. She shares to how DIY and repurpose old furniture and how to decorate even on a budget. She shares how to incorporate vintage, antique or farmhouse pieces into a modern home and also combines fun activities like setting up a hot cocoa bar for the holidays and how to use houseplants in your kitchen and home for a natural organic feel in your house. I enjoyed this book and it is actually a fun coffee table book as well.

7. The Hidden Art of Homemaking

This book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, has been an extremely popular book since its original publication back in the 1980s. Edith Schaffer, writes about homemaking from a Christian perspective and I’d say that if you are struggling to find joy and contentment or even purpose at home, this is a great book for you. Before Pinterest, there was Edith and the book is not about making your home picture-perfect. Rather, it is about the calling and ministry of being a homemaker. In the book, she explains why https://amzn.to/3uAo2nBhomemaking is far more than just checking chores off a list, but rather how to bring elegance, creativity, peace and most of all, Jesus into your home. If you need reassurance that your contributions at home matter, read this book.

8. Home Comforts

Home Comforts has been a valuable encyclopedia of homemaking art and skills for years. The book is written by Cheryl Mendelson who is a both a Harvard graduate and lawyer in New York City takes great detail to explain why housework is not “beneath us,” how it is necessary to enjoying your home life and painstakingly explains how to do housework chores. What nice is she doesn’t just explain the how. She also explains the why behind methods. She is very practical, good-humored and also provides a number of preventative routines to cut down on time and chores later. This book is perfect to read in full or as a reference.

young woman rolling dough for baking in kitchen
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

9. Theology of the Home

This book really resonated with me. Recently, as I have spent more time in scripture, I feel more called to embrace the calling of being a wife, mother and homemaker. This book is unique because while it focuses on practical homemaking, it uses a biblical lens of how by serving our families we are also serving Christ. If you are a Christian wife and you feel like the monotony of homemaking is beneath you, unappreciated, or even just dead in the doldrums of chores, I highly recommend reading this book for inspiration. Oh how we forget how important it is to build a home that nurtures both the body and soul. The book provides a Christian mindset for everything from meal preparation, to planning joyful gatherings and how to open up your home to those around you. The book has a lot sequel, Theology of the Home II which I think it also very good. I’ll include the links to both.

10. Vintage Course in Homemaking

This book, Vintage Course in Homemaking, is actually a peak into 1930s homemaking. If you are inspired by vintage homemaking and want to know how women of the past ran productive households, I think you may really enjoy this little gem. is available for free in kindle format if you have kindle unlimited. I’m not much of a kindle person. This book contains some unique advice such as how to care for the sick, how to furnish a home, manners and etiquette, and more. The book is full of common sense and practical advice but there is something incredibly charming about the vintage homemaking aspect.

Thanks for letting me share 10 inspiring homemaking books. I hope they inspire you the way they inspired me. Do you have a favorite homemaking book? I am started to keep an eye out for vintage homemaking books because I think they contained more helpful information in them. If you have any favorite books on homemaking? Share your suggestions in the comments below. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later and I’d love it if you subscribed before you go.

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25 Fabulous Fall Finds on Amazon

I’ve done a lot of the hard work for you! Here are 25 Fabulous Fall Finds on Amazon to get you ready for Autumn!

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps to offset the costs associated with this blog.

25 fabulous fall amazon finds

Yay! It’s fall, y’all. I adore Fall. It’s my favorite season and I love to decorate and get into the Fall season. Today, I’m rounding up 25 Fabulous Fall Finds on Amazon. Many of these items I have personally bought myself and others are on my wish list for this year. I’ve done a lot of the hard work for you by putting some of the best items here in one place.

Click on the link or picture to purchase!

25 Fabulous Fall Amazon Finds

1. Fall Plaid Blanket Scarf

It wouldn’t’ be Fall without donning the perfect Fall accessory – a plaid Fall scarf. Sweater weather calls for it. This beautiful plaid blanket scarf is just a mere $12.99 and comes in a variety of plaid shades.

2. Fall “Hello Pumpkin” Doormat

There is nothing quite so pretty and inviting as a Fall porch. Make an entrance statement with this cute “Hello, Pumpkin” Door Mat. I love the look of layered doormats particularly with a black buffalo plaid mat underneath.

3. Fall Olive Wreath

If you’re looking for a more natural look, this Olive Wreath is beautiful and classy. I think it pairs really well with a Buffalo Plaid layered door mat. This one has some of the better reviews and retails for $49.99 and is Prime eligible.

4. Rae Dunn Inspired Mug

Rae Dunn without the price? Yes, please. This super cute “Sweater Weather” mug is not eligible for Amazon prime, but its only $8.95 and has FREE shipping. I totally bought one for my sipping my pumpkin lattes this year. You could also use it to decorate a Farmhouse tiered tray.

5. Buffalo Check Table Runner

It wouldn’t be a Fall dining table without a gorgeous black and white buffalo plaid runner. The best part? It’s under $10! They also have it in grey check, orange and black check and even red and black check for Christmas time. My dining table looks adorable with it!

6. Buffalo Plaid Throw Pillows

Yes, more plaid. Can you tell I love it? These cute plaid throw pillows come in variety of sizes from 16×16″ to 26×26″ and a variety of shades including red and black for Christmas. What’s nice is that they come as a pair and they are just $10.99!

7. Pumpkin Patch Pillow Cover Set

If plaid isn’t you’re thing, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. I found this super cute set of Fall Farmhouse Pillow Covers. It’s just the pillow covers (not the inserts) and comes in 18×18″ for just $18.99 for 4 different coordinating covers.

8. Wooden Welcome Porch Sign

I’ve seen this floating all over Pinterest and I love it. It’s a cute wooden “welcome” sign for the porch. Just lean it near the front door. So cute. It would look great with pumpkins and that Hello Pumpkin doormat. Just sayin! It retails for $59.99 which is the same price I’ve seen on Etsy.

9. Fall Burlap Bunting

Seriously, bunting is the quickest way to make anything feel festive. That’s why I love this Fall Burlap Bunting. You can hang it across your mantle, over your dining or entertaining area, even take it outside for Fall entertaining. Just $10.99 and Prime eligible.

10. Galvanized “Gather” Sign

I love my galvanized gather sign. It’s one of the first things you see when you walk through my front door and I’ve received several compliments. The sign measures 23.5×11″ and is $19.99.

11. Double Sided Letter Board

I’m in love with this double sided letter board, y’all! I love having mine up. Every day I put a inspirational quote, mantra or funny saying. It also makes a great prop for photos on Facebook and Instagram. This one has a rustic farmhouse look and comes with some modern calligraphy letters and letters in white and gold. So pretty!

12. Wooden Nesting Crates

These cute Fall nesting crates are great for all kinds of things. Obviously, you can use them for decor around the house and filling with Fall florals and objects. But they also make a great photo prop in Fall photos. Since these are white, you can use them all year round.

13. Resin Thankful & Blessed Pumpkin

How cute is this? I found this beautiful Thankful & Blessed resin pumpkin and I’m totally getting it! I love the beautiful gold modern calligraphy! Just $18 and Prime eligible.

14. Rustic Pillar Candle Holders

I love these rustic wooden pillar candle holders. These are so cute on a coffee table, mantle or even on your dining table. It comes as a set of 3 in varying heights and is $31.63 on Prime.

15. Copper Moscow Mule Mugs

I love my set of copper Moscow Mule mugs. Yes, they’re typically for an amazing Moscow Mule cocktail, but I’ve used them to serve guests all kinds of things like hot chocolate, hot toddies, and warm apple cider. They’re always festive and charming. This comes as a set of 4 and are the classic hammered style.

16. Warm Fairy Lights

About a year ago, I discovered how to decorate with fairy lights and these warm fairy lights are one of my favorites. These are waterproof so you can even use them outdoors for an occasion. I like using them on my mantle and twirling them inside my mercury glass pumpkins. So pretty! This is 33 ft (100 lights).

17. Crocheted Boot Cuffs

One thing I love about Fall? Boots!! And who doesn’t love some cute boot cuffs to go with them? These crocheted boot cuffs come as a set of four in neutral colors – black, grey, cream, and beige. They offer different sets too. Some have button accents, tassels and different crochet patterns. They stretchy so they work with both short and long boots. Adorbs! Just $15.99 for the set of four.

18. Hunter Snow Boots

Speaking of boots – it’s boot season and one of my favorites is Hunter snow boots. These boots are great not just for snow, but for wet weather. They have a rubber sole for slip resistance. I love the classic black, but I have to admit that the Hunter Green version is my favorite!

19. Orange Fall Throw Blanket

The hubby and I love cuddling up by the fire in the fall and having a soft throw blanket is a must. If you need to refresh your throw blankets we love this super soft orange throw blanket which comes in seven different colors.

20. Farmhouse Blanket Ladder

What a cute way to showcase those beautiful Fall throw blankets than with this gorgeous rustic farmhouse blanket ladder. Just lean against the wall with a favorite throw.

21. Buffalo Plaid Apron

One of the things I love about Fall is all the amazing comfort food! So why not look cute making it? I bought this beautiful buffalo plaid apron. Whether you’re entertaining or just want to protect your clothes while you cook or clean, this apron is adorable. It actually comes in seven different plaid colors and it’s just $13 on Prime.

22. Wooden Candle Lantern

Because you can never have enough candles going in the Fall, I discovered this cute neutral colored wooden candle lantern. This makes a great addition to any table or mantle. But this lantern is suitable for both indoor and outdoor decor.

23. Eucalyptus Silk Garland

Eucalyptus is such a versatile botanical. I love using it during the Fall. This pretty eucalyptus silk garland is beautiful on a buffalo plaid or burlap runner. Just add cream pumpkins and candles for an instant elegant Fall tablescape.

24. Burlap Ruffle Placemats

These sweet burlap ruffle placemats almost look like chargers. They are a beautiful addition to a Fall dining table yet versatile enough to use throughout the year. These burlap ruffle placemats come in three different sizes up to 20″

25. Thankful Wooden Pallet Sign

This lovely “Thankful” sign is great to nestle into your Fall decor. It’s roughly 24″ x 7″ and is on solid pine.

That’s it! Those are my favorite top 25 fabulous Fall finds on Amazon. I hope you have a wonderful Fall. Be sure to tune in late November for my favorite Christmas Amazon finds! Until next time.

5 Fall Printables to Help You Decorate

Decorating for Fall just got easier than ever with these 5 Fall printables to help you decorate now available in the My Beautiful Mess Etsy shop.

5 fall printables to help you decorate

I love Fall. It’s actually my favorite season. The crunchy leaves. Warm fires. Pumpkin Spice everything. Yes, please. Decorating for Fall is one of my favorite things. On September 1, I’m ready to throw the decor up. Thankfully, my husband talks some sense into to wait until the end of September!

I love making printables to decorate with. Printables are images that you can print at home and frame yourself. For larger sizes, you can email them to your local print shop (like Office Max) or photo center (Shutterfly, Walgreens, etc). Then you take them home and frame them. You can use them year after year. If something happens to it, you can always print it again. It’s yours to keep forever.

I make and sell lots of printables on my Etsy shop. Today, I’m sharing 5 Fall printables to help you decorate.

Farmhouse Pumpkin Patch

Farmhouse signs are all the rage and I’ve made this cute pumpkin patch sign just for you! I mean who doesn’t love a pumpkin patch sign. When you purchase it, you’ll get it in two sizes – 11×14″ and 16×20.”

Harvest Truck Pumpkin Patch

Here is a different take on the pumpkin patch sign – a good old fashioned pickup truck full of harvest pumpkins! When you purchase this sign you’ll get it in two sizes – 11×14″ and 16×20.”

Pumpkin Patch Printable

Buffalo Plaid Fall Words

These are the things that immediately make me thing of fall. Over the last few years, I’ve fall in love with text signs. So I’ve decided to make this one and now I’m sharing it with you! When you purchase this cute sign you’ll get two 8×10 versions. One in PDF and the other in JEPG.

5 Fall printables to help you decorate

It’s Fall Y’all

Who doesn’t love Buffalo Check? I’ve made this chic Southern style pumpkin sign. I have mine in a distressed wooden sign for a Farmhouse look. When you purchase it on Etsy, you’ll get two files to print in an 8×10″ – one in JPEG format and another in PDF.

It's Fall Y'all Printable

Take Me To The Pumpkin Patch

I love plaid! That’s why I made this cute orange buffalo plaid pumpkin patch sign with lovely watercolor pumpkins in fall colors. This cute printable is available in a landscape 8×10″ size in JPEG format.

Check Out All My Printables

From printable signs and planners to handmade cards. Take a look at everything on the My Beautiful Mess Etsy Shop.

Looking for more printables? Take a look at my FREE printable page and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog where I send out a FREE printable every single month!

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How to Create a Guest Room They Won’t Want to Leave

This post, How to Create a Guest Room They Won’t Want to Leave, contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Hospitality is all about creating a home away from home. Learn how to create a guest room they won’t want to leave.

How to create a guest room they won't want to leave

Traveling is stressful. There is so much to remember when you pack, especially if you have a family. Commercial flights used to be nice, even fun. Now your knees are crammed into the seat in front of you and you’re forced to touch thighs of strangers in ever shrinking seats. Moreover, airlines no longer treat you like a person. If there is one thing you desire when you travel, it’s comfort. That’s why when guests choose to stay with us, I take it as a personal mission to make them feel comfortable. 

Create a Guest Room

Create the perfect guest room by making  your guest comfortable – and you make your guest comfortable by anticipating their needs. Basic needs are hunger, thirst, sleep, and personal and spacial cleanliness. I certainly don’t have all the answers. But today, I’m going to share what I do to make guests feel at home. 

Decorate you guest room for the seasons

Textiles & Bedding

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Getting a good sleep is pretty high on the list when it comes to comfort. Sleeping in a strange place causes most of us to repeatedly wake up in the middle of the night. Therefore, I strive to make guests as comfortable as possible. First, I provide the same quality of bedding as I do for myself. So my guestroom has quality pillows, Egypitan cotton sheets and belgian linen (Pottery Barn duvet and shams). I provide extra blankets and bedding in this beautiful custom Amish cedar chest. You never know if a guest will be too cold or warm in the middle of the night. Therefore, I provide a blankets and sheets of varying warmth. Which leads us to the next must-have item in your guest room. Black out curtains or curtains that block out the light reasonably well. Guests may nap during the day or need to sleep in. That being said, I also know that sleeping in a strange place with different ambiant noises and light can be challenging, so I also provide guests with the following:

  • Ear plugs
  • Sleeping Mask
  • Do not disturb sign (so I know they are choosing to sleep in)
img_3761

Clothes

It should go without saying, but consider providing a hamper and wastebasket for your guests. I’m often surprised how many times I don’t have this when staying with someone. No one wants to sleep in a mess. Give them a place to put their dirty clothes instead of the floor, on furniture or wadded up in luggage.

Wicker hamper

I had a job that required me to travel and I will tell you, I despise living out of a suitcase. This is why I always try to provide drawers, hangers and closet space for my guests. Offer guests as much comfort as you can.

You don’t need to purchase a luggage rack, although that’s a nice touch. But someplace to store their luggage (a corner, a closet, etc) is definitely nice so it’s out of their way. A table top ironing board and iron is helpful, but not necessary (Tip: Never, ever iron directly on a mattress. Mattresses contain a highly toxic fire retardant that can release carcinogens when heated and top bedding can ignite quickly.)

Food & Drinks

I’ve been surprised how many guests have mentioned they loved this, because it is such a small thing to do, but I create a snack basket for my guests. Let’s be honest, we all get a late night snack attack and when you do, you don’t really want to sneak into your host’s pantry – especially if you’re already in your pajamas or skivvies! Awkward. I get it. So I create a small basket of savory and sweet snacks. 

Some ideas could be: nuts, granola bars, chips, fruit snacks, chocolate, candy, popcorn, hot chocolate, tea, juice boxes, soda, fruit, chex mix, mints, etc.

Guest room snack basket

We have a refrigerator in our media room which is adjacent to our guest room, so I don’t worry about drinks too much. That is, except for water.

Have you ever woken up parched in the middle of the night? Everyone has. Moreover, they may take medicine or vitamins and need water to swallow them.

When you create a guest room, always provide a carafe of cold water with a glass. If you are worries about water rings on furniture, you can provide a tray and coasters.

I actually provide an in-room single-serve coffee pot. I’m a coffee and tea drinker. I know many people would love to have their coffee while they are getting ready for the day. On the other hand, some people just prefer to have that cup in the peace and quiet of their room. 

In room coffee pot, reading light and alarm clock

Entertainment

Obviously, a television is a great way to entertain your guests. Most people have streaming accounts so a TV and a Roku stick are great. That said, make sure to provide guests with your wi-fi network and password so they don’t have to burn through their data. I made and framed a cute wi-fi signed that I framed in the guest room. You can make one yourself or purchase this for your own room from my Etsy store or shop. 

wi-fi password sign

Should you choose not to put a TV in your guest room, I suggest putting an alternate form of entertainment like magazines and coffee table books. Make sure to provide a reading light or lamp. 

Guest room entertainment - books
Coffee Table Books

These days, everyone has devices, but I still provide a radio alarm clock or dock as a back up alarm. In addition, provide a visible outlet near the bed to charge up devices. A charging station really makes it easy for your guests. I’ve provided a link to the two I love.

Create a Guest Bath

There is a reason why hotel rooms don’t have cabinets in their bathrooms. It’s awkward to rummage behind closed doors that aren’t yours. Hotels always have necessary items within reach and in view. Guests want to know where to find things and don’t want to invade your privacy when they need things.

Let’s be real for a moment. There are very few things as embarrassing as being in a guest bathroom with no toilet paper. Having to call out to a host or ask a room mate to fetch you a roll is awful. Make sure there is more than enough toilet paper and towels than their stay requires and keep it in plain sight.

I’ve used floating shelves, but you could also use a toilet paper holder like these below. I actually have these in other bathrooms.

Necessary elements:

  • Hand towels
  • Bath towels
  • Wash cloths
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand soap
  • Body Wash

Thoughtful Elements

  • Fresh Flowers
  • Candle or air freshener
  • Cotton balls and cotton swabs
  • A basket of toiletries
  • Hairdryer
Soaps on top of a towel

I’ve traveled a lot in my life. 32 countries is nothing to sneeze at! But despite all my experience, it seems like I always forget something! I know how inconvenient it is to hunt for a store at 10 p.m. to get a toothbrush. That’s why I try to provide guests with a few things they might forget. 

In the bathroom, I keep a little basket of extras. In our basket: sunscreen, lotion, face cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tampons, maxi pads, disposable razor, facial tissue, lip balm, deodorant, contact solution, hairspray, body powder, trial size cosmetics, leave in-conditioner, dental floss, dry shampoo, etc. I basically don’t throw away samples I get. They wind up here to help out forgetful guests.

guest room toiletries

In conclusion, I seek to create a relaxing, refreshing haven for my guests. I hope I’ve helped you learn how to create a guest room. I would love to hear the special things you do for your guests, in the comments below.

The post Creating A Guest Room They Won’t Want To Leave first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Learn about how to create a Hot Chocolate Bar

DIY Christmas Swag

Christmas decorations can be so expensive! Make your own with this quick 30 minute DIY Christmas Swag craft.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

I have a love-hate relationship with decorating. It’s true. I fret so much about what to put on my walls, that sometimes they end up blank. This year, I decided to do a little something different than my boring old Christmas wreaths on my french doors. So I decided to put up swags. I found some in a store, but they were $30 each! Instead, decided to make them myself. I made these DIY Christmas swags for $14.97 including the suction cup hanger!

The longest part of this DIY Christmas Swag was making the bow. I finished both swags within 30 minutes. If you are using a preformed bow, it will probably take you about 5 mins each!

Supplies

  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Wreath hanger (suction cup hanger if hanging on mirror or glass)
  • 2.5″ Wired Ribbon or Pre-made bow
  • Large floral spray (approx 10-12″)
  • Floral wire or twisty tie
DIY Christmas swag supplies
Supplies

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Gather supplies. Using strong pliers, slowly bend the end of the floral spray to make a circle. This will allow you to hook it to a holder. Make sure it slips onto your holder and adjust as necessary.
Floral spray

2. Make a floral bow with 2.5″ wide wired ribbon. Wired ribbon holds the shape. I used buffalo plaid, but you can use any ribbon you’d like. If you aren’t comfortable making bows, you can simply purchase one at a local hobby or craft store.

3. Once you’ve made your bow (or even if you have purchased one). Make certain that you go through and puff out all your loops in order to make a full looking bow. 

4. Attach floral wire or a twisty tie to the back of the bow. You’ll then attach it to the floral stem. Wrap it tightly and securely.

5. Once completed, attach your finished swag to your wreath hanger.

Learn more about how to make Retro Sequin Ball Ornaments

The post DIY Christmas Swag first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Hot Chocolate Bar

A Hot Chocolate Bar is a fun way to entertain and feed your guests at the same time. It’s always a huge hit at my holiday parties. Today, I’m sharing how to create an awesome hot chocolate bar your guests will love. 

Hot chocolate bar

I love entertaining. I love creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere for family and friends to flock to. But even more specifically, I love when people are actually excited to come. When they start asking me months in advance if I will be hosting something, I know they enjoy it. For the last 6 years or so I’ve done a hot chocolate bar during the holidays. I’ve been shocked to learn how much guests love this. They’re talking about it even weeks after the event. So today I’m going to share how I create a hot chocolate bar.

I will share all the things I’ve learned through (mistakes and) the years. Guests naturally want something to do. They enjoy being entertained. Guests also typically wait to be served and even being the first one to slice into a dish can be awkward. So giving them something that they can’t wait to dig into is a great ice breaker. The hot chocolate bar also get your guests to serve themselves and be happy about it! It takes the pressure off you to constantly refresh drinks. I have found the hot chocolate bar is a total win all the way around! Let me show you how to do it!

How To Set Up Your Hot Chocolate Bar

Slow Cooker Recommendations

I recommend using a slow cooker to keep your hot chocolate warm over several hours. The size of the slow cooker is dependent upon how much you are serving.

There are 4 cups to a quart. Consider that one cup is about 8 ounces. Most mugs and disposable coffee cups are typically around 12 ounces which is greater than a cup. Also consider that guests may have more than one cup. Here is what I recommend:

  • 3-4 qt slow cooker for 8-12 cups
  • 5-7 qt slow cooker for 12-20 cups
  • 8 qt slow cooker for 20 or more cups

The slow cooker can hold more than I’ve recommended, but when the contents are piping hot, it is best not to fill the slow cooker to the rim. Always use caution when leaving hot appliances around your guests.

The Hot Chocolate

You may have your favorite hot chocolate recipe. However, if you’re struggling to find a good one, look no further. I have the best hot chocolate recipe you will ever find! It’s creamy and decadent. It’s absolutely delicious and always has rave reviews from my guests. I’m always asked for the recipe, so I’ve shared it here.

I’m going to give you a great tip: Reynolds Slow cooker Liners are the best invention ever! Okay, maybe not the best like electricity or running water, but still amazing. I don’t use a lot of disposable things, but I highly recommend these. They make cleaning your Crockpot a 30 second chore. They fit all slow cookers. No scrubbing or soaking your dirty slow cooker. Just put the liner in like you would a trash bag on a trash can. When you’re done, gather and toss in the trash. Easy! You can find the in the store near the Reynolds wrap and sandwich bags.

Cups and Mugs

For small get-togethers I recommend using glass cups or mugs. In an intimate setting, actual dishes create a cozy, personal atmosphere. Don’t be afraid to pull out your beautiful china that rarely gets used. If you’re saving it for the Queen, I hate to tell you this, but she’s never coming. Don’t save it. The time is now.

Disposable cups are great for large parties. Otherwise you will need to keep a constant supply of fresh cups. If you don’t have many, you’ll end up spending the evening chasing down used cups for washing. After many years of hosting I can tell you, people set their cups down and can’t remember which one was theirs, so they simply grab a new cup. It creates endless work for you if you’re hosting a large party.

If you’re hosting, particularly a large party, prepare yourself for spills. They can and will happen. I highly recommend doing what you can to minimize spills and the ensuing damage they cause. That means, getting disposable cups with lids! They actually do help. I also recommend getting sleeves for cups, because even though everyone knows hot chocolate is hot, burns still occur. Do your part as a host to make things safe. I’ve inserted a link on this page to the ones I use. They aren’t fancy, but the neutral color means I can use the unused cups for any other parties during the year.

Toppings

This is where the fun begins. For whipped cream, I just put the can of spray whip in a bowl with ice. The really fun part is watching your guests pile on chocolate mints, peanut butter, or marshmallows. Cherries, nuts, butterscotch and caramel are all great additions. Adults love when you provide liquors along with the toppings. Great options are rum, coconut rum (Malibu), Irish Cream (Baileys), Raspberry (Chambord), Hazelnut (Frangelico) and Coffee (Kahlua). In my Hot Chocolate Bar Printable, I’ve included different pairing recipes!

Here is a tip: I put the toppings in mason jars. This is especially helpful if you’ll be using your hot chocolate bar for several events. Fill your jars with toppings. Label them, so people don’t have to guess or taste test. Make sure to provide spoons or some utensil for serving and to avoid cross contamination. When not in use, pop the lid on and put it away or just leave it on the set up (if it doesn’t need refrigeration).

Decorations

The theme you do is totally up to you. My personal favorite is galvanized metal, buffalo plaid, and kraft paper, but feel free to try things out. If you are super uncreative and have no idea how to pull it together, look no further. I’ve made a Hot Chocolate Bar Printable to help you! Buy it and follow the instructions. Print the sign on photo paper and put it in a document frame or trim it down to size and put it in an 8×10 frame. Print out the labels on full sheet sticker paper. Then cut out and stick them to your favorite container. Pair with red napkins and accessories.

In the Hot Chocolate Bar Printable, I’ve included

  • A Buffalo Plaid Hot Chocolate Bar Sign
  • Labels for Toppings
  • Adult and Child-Friendly Recipes (to encourage creativity)
  • Shopping List

Other Stuff

  • Use a spoon rest to minimize sticky counters. (If you don’t have a spoon rest, a bowl or bread plate works just fine)
  • Always place napkins at your bar. Spills and drips happen.
  • Place coasters where your guests congregate to minimize damage to furniture. (Liquid and heat damages wood)
  • I suggest using stirs for people to stir their mix-ins. They create much less waste than disposable spoons.
  • Paper straws or wooden spoons also add a special touch.

That’s it! I hope this post inspires you to do something fun! I’d love to hear what fun things you do at your parties!

Learn more about the Best Hot Chocolate Recipe you’ll ever find!

If you’re looking for other tools to help you at Christmas, try my Christmas Planner Printable
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Christmas in our New House

Christmas decorating is always my favorite. I have several trees in every room. Even though its just the two of us, I think its important to make an effort to be festive and make traditions.

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