Its A White White DIY Christmas!

HAPPY DECEMBER!!!  The holidays are my favorite time of the year and they are heeeeeeere!  I have been itching to show you guys my Christmas decorations for this year because 1. They are so good.  & 2.  They are SO cheap!!

I was having a hard time trying to decide what colors to use.  I really wanted to do all white, but as you know, I sort of love color as much as I love air.  So there was that.  I wrestled with it for a few days and in the end I decided that doing all white would be a really fun challenge.

Then I sort of ran into a problem.  Do you know how few white tree decorations there are in existence?  Like none.  I was so surprised that everything was silver, or iridescent, but nothing was just plain white.  So I had to take matters into my own hands.

The other bigger problem is that I don’t love to decorate for holidays.  I hate spending money on things that I can only use for 1 month out of the year.  (For Frosty’s sake I have enough stuff to store with just my furniture hoarding, I don’t need to add holiday hoarding on top of it.)  So if it isn’t something that can be reused, or has been upcycled, I just don’t have a place in my grinchy heart for it.

Would you believe that I decorated my entire Christmas tree with Cocktail Straws,  Wire,  PVC Pipe, Kilz Primer,  and old ornaments?


Everything You Need to DIY a White Christmas


Just think what I could have done if I had been on the Christmas Craft Wars episode instead of the dang birdhouse one.

DIY White Christmas Decorations

Isn’t it pretty?

One of my favorite tree decorating secrets is to use 2 different sizes of bulbs.  First string your regular small twinkle lights, and then go back through with a few strands of frosted globe lights (these ones from Target are THE BEST!)  Check out the difference between the top of the tree and the bottom.



The different sizes make it look magical.

Instead of using a tree skirt, I used a small sisal rug that I picked up at Homegoods and topped it with a faux sheepskin.  Totally simple and I don’t have to put it away when the holidays are over.  In fact, I think I might turn it into this.

The garland is made out of PVC Pipe Rings (just like the ones I used on this dresser!) that my daughters connected together with gold wire.

PVC Pipe Garland VintageRevivals


Here is a shot of the tree unlit so you can see all of the ornament details.

DIY All White Christmas Decorations


The white ornaments were some old cheapies from last year that I sprayed with Kilz Primer.

DIY White Christmas Decorations


My latest obsession that you are going to be seeing a lot of on the blog is Himmeli.  Himmeli originates from Scandinavia and is a holiday tradition that is usually made out of straw and string.  It is made to give thanks and promote the next years crop growth.  The more detailed the better.  I love the openwork geometric shapes that you can make.

DIY Himmeli Geometric Ornament


I also became obsessively obsessed with making a Geometric Himmeli wreath after stumbling across this one on Etsy.  After staring at it for a long while, and trying my hand at a few different techniques, I came up with a way to make it, and then came up with a new design.

Himmeli Geometric Wreath Project


I cannot wait to teach you guys how to make your own.  It looks SO much harder than it is.  Ivie my 10 yr old is churning them out like it is her job, and if she can do it, you can do it.

Geometric Wire Wreath Himmeli

DIY Geometric Himmeli Wreath

Just tell me that you are not DYING over them!?  Guess how much they were to make?  Just guess.



I picked up a few Norfolk Island Pines at Home Depot ($19.00 each) for some live greenery, and I am planning on not killing them so that they can live with us forever.  We will see if I have the skills to pull that one off.

To spruce them up a little I wrapped them with the same frosted globe lights that I used on the Christmas Tree and painted the burgundy plastic planters with primer.  (I am extremely obsessed with the matte finish right now, and there is no spray paint on the planet that can touch the coverage that Kilz has.  So I just primed everything.)

Modern Christmas Ideas

I also replanted a white poinsettia in a glass vase and learned a little lesson.  Do you know why they always use cellophane around the planters that they come in?  Well its not just to make it look pretty.  It is because they are very frageeelay and any stem that is not lightly supported will break off from the main stem from the weight of the flower.  So now you know, and if you are replanting expect that to happen to some of the lower hanging flowers.

A few weeks ago I found this awesome ram’s head at Homegoods and dubbed him Ned the Christmas Ram.  He needed to live inside a wreath and so I whipped this one up with wooden dowels.  (Tutorial coming this week!)

DIY White Christmas Dowel Wreath White Ceramic Ram Head


And I ask you, what Christmas would be complete without a little bit of Mandilicious humor?  I used the shadow box frames from this project and made the Ho Ho Ho Yo sign.

DIY White Christmas Decorations Ho Ho Ho Yo Signs

DIY White Christmas Decorations

The gold chest is just one of the treasures from the best thrifting day of my life.

Nothing is safe from the reach of my Kilz.  I will Kilz your guts.  The nutcracker was on clearance at Ross.  His red and green paint was chipped and he needed some love.  So I ripped off his hair and taped off his face and gave him a coat of primer.  Then I glued his hair back on and gave him a walnut for being so brave.


DIY White Christmas Nutcracker


I love these vintage glass bells that I found at the thrift store for $1.00.  I wish that there were more than 4 because they are just so sweet.

Vintage Hand blown Glass Ornament


My favorite part is that this is such a handmade Christmas.  You can spend all the money in the world on decorating for the holidays but spending time working on these projects with my girls trumps ALL of it.

DIY White Christmas Decorations

DIY White Christmas

This week I will be posting tutorials for all of the projects, so we have all of those fun dates coming up.  You bring the hot chocolate,  I will bring the motivation.

And then next week kicks off another year of Its A Very Mandilicious Christmas with a week of DIY Gifts that you can make for your uber favorite people!  (Check out last years gifts here!)

(Psssst!  Love the wall pattern?  I used a Sharpie!! Here is the tutorial!)

UPDATE:  Tutorials are live!  Check them out below!

DIY Geometric Wreath Tutorial

How To Make A Wooden Dowel Wreath

DIY Geometric Ornament Tutorial vintagerevivals

Holiday Hack Elf On The Shelf

Love Your Guts


  • Dale 02.12.2013 at 13:07

    OMG I am still laughing at “So I ripped off his hair and taped off his face and gave him a coat of primer.” Sounds like a first date gone horribly wrong! Really looking forward to the Himmeli wreath tutorial!

  • Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts 02.12.2013 at 13:34

    Knocked it out of the park – wowza!!

  • Julia@Cuckoo4Design 02.12.2013 at 13:44

    I don’t know how many times I wrote this in the comments already but here it is again: “YOU RULE”

  • Pam @ Simple Details 02.12.2013 at 14:11

    Crazy creative and awesome, Mandi!!! Thanks for the tip on lights, too! :)

  • Debbie 02.12.2013 at 15:03

    Love it all!

  • Tisa 02.12.2013 at 15:11

    Incredible! Your style has really evolved over the years. It’s great to watch you. You also made me laugh so much I had to re-read some parts to be sure I hadn’t gone mad!

  • Vanessa Barker 02.12.2013 at 15:13

    These are all so amazing!!! You’re Christmas decor looks so magical. Thanks for sharing.

  • kiki comin 02.12.2013 at 15:17

    holy crap..that is AMAZING. all. of. it. :)

  • Natalie @ A Turtle's Life for Me 02.12.2013 at 15:22

    Bizarrely fabulous!! The more I read, the more I loved! Can’t wait for the dowel rod wreath post!

  • Lisa E 02.12.2013 at 15:25

    Love your creativity. Great job as always!

  • Ali Henrie 02.12.2013 at 15:27

    Soooo good! love everything about it.

  • Kristin @ 02.12.2013 at 15:29

    Love it Mandi :) So fun and fresh! xo Kristin

  • Ashley @ hither and yon 02.12.2013 at 15:49

    Gah!!! I love it so much! All of it!

  • Jessica @ Decor Adventures 02.12.2013 at 15:56

    Two different size bulbs?! Genius! Hmm, I may not even need to put on ornaments this year…

    And I can’t wait to find out about those wreaths..when I make some, they might just stay up all year.

    Fabulous style Mandi, as always!

  • Aimee 02.12.2013 at 16:30

    I think the “Ho Ho Ho Yo” art might be my favorite thing I’ve seen this season. I might just have to borrow that idea!

  • JOanna 02.12.2013 at 16:32

    Love the Himmeli! So glad you’re obsessed because I so want to make one myself but it looks so intimidating. Can’t wait for the tutorial!

  • Sarah 02.12.2013 at 16:43

    Love all these decorations! Where is your tree from?

  • nancy @ owen's olivia 02.12.2013 at 16:43

    gorgeous mandi! the tree is awesome and congrats on doing it on such a small budget! i like it all, but i have to admit. i am kind of bummed about the metal wreaths. as a small business owner myself, i would be so disappointed and hurt if someone knocked off a design from my shop. i wouldn’t feel as bad if if those wreaths came from a big box store (absolutely weird and possibly hypocritical, i know) or from a blogger who originally designed it and shared the tutorial, but i try to stay away from knocking off small businesses who work hard to make a living. (i’m not perfect and have knocked off in the past, but i’m trying to be better and hoping to influence others to make better choices. YOU can make a difference with your large readership!) i hope you will reconsider your decision to share the tutorial (or at least share a tutorial with a new design so it doesn’t affect HRUSKAA). i understand not everyone shares this same idea i have, and i hope i have not offended you or your readers. that is not my intention, but copying has become more prevalent.

  • Suzanne 02.12.2013 at 16:47

    LOVE it all!!! Seriously! And can’t wait to see the tutorials for those geometric wreaths!

  • jamie@kreyv 02.12.2013 at 17:09

    I am SO in love with your tree (and everything else, of course). My fave is the garland. My tree needs a little somethin’ somethin’ and this just might be it!

  • Cammie 02.12.2013 at 17:19

    I LOVE your Christmas tree legs! We bought our first tree, after 10 years of marriage and 3 kids, the other day and I don’t want a tree skirt but I despise the tree base. Did you build yours? Do you have a tutorial?
    Happy Christmas!

  • bonnie 02.12.2013 at 17:31

    This stuff is great! Can’t wait to see the tutorials!

  • m.a 02.12.2013 at 17:38

    OH MY GOD, THIS IS FATE. i was just at target yesterday, and i ran across these sparkly teal geometric ornaments that sell for $2/each… and i didn’t get them because hello, $2/each!?!

    i can’t wait for the tutorial, because i am all over it. i recently re-did our parlor, with teal and orange being the predominant colors… and our previous ornaments will be way clashy! so i am thrilled that you are gonna show us how to make these happen!!!

  • Petra 02.12.2013 at 17:59

    Great timing! I just made my first two himmelis yesterday and find myself quite obsessed. Can’t wait to see the patterns you used!

  • Jessica @ Dear Emmeline 02.12.2013 at 18:10

    so so fun!! you never cease to amaze me with your fearless decorating awesomeness!

  • Denise 02.12.2013 at 18:11

    It looks fabulous Mandi…Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  • Necole@seriouslysassymama 02.12.2013 at 18:35

    You are super creative. Seriously!

  • Jennifer@The Chronicles of Home 02.12.2013 at 19:11

    Beautiful! Very excited for the wreaths tutorial, they are fabulous!

  • Laurie 02.12.2013 at 19:49

    I adore the little deer under the tree too. Now I have a new mission: must find a woodland animal to reside under my tree!

    This all looks darling. I should try a project like this to get me in the mood for the big decorating push. I need a little motivation!

  • Kathryn 02.12.2013 at 19:57

    $4??! I was super pleased with my hack till now. Can’t wait to see how you did it and made it easy because mine was a pain in the rear.

  • sarah m. dorsey 02.12.2013 at 20:22

    Oh my gosh, LOVE it all!!! So many great ideas!

  • Gwen, The Makerista 02.12.2013 at 20:23

    Yes, yes and yes! What an amazing job, Mandi! I really love it all. I have to ask, did you build the base for the Christmas tree? That might be one of my favorite things!

  • caroline [the diy nurse] 02.12.2013 at 20:48

    Can’t wait for the tutorial! Those wreathes have me swooning. Great as always :)

  • Vidya @ Whats Ur Home Story 02.12.2013 at 21:01

    Your tree is beautiful. I’m doing a DIY tree too this year and I have the himmelis on mine too! :) Will post pics by next week.

  • Nicole 02.12.2013 at 21:29

    Mandi you are SO talented! Everything is just gorgeous!! And the comment about the nutcracker is hilarious – you gave him a walnut for being so brave, hahah! Makes me want to go rescue an ugly nutcracker from Ross :) Can’t wait for the tutorials!!

  • Christen @ DIY Swank 03.12.2013 at 00:26

    Stunning and you made me laugh! Love every bit of it.

  • Megan 03.12.2013 at 01:10

    I love everything you put on your blog. Period. This post is so inspiring, it almost makes me want to toss all the mash up family ornaments out the window and start over with white. Lovely. Can’t wait for the coming tutorials. You inspire me, lady.

  • Ruth 03.12.2013 at 01:11

    I love the wreaths! Please share soon. I do agree with the commenter above about the etsy thing/and maybe there being
    A conflict for the etsy seller. If there is a good way to do it
    Where everyone is happy, that would be cool.

  • Steph @ Crafting in the Rain 03.12.2013 at 03:38

    This is SO you…I love your white tree–nice job :)

  • Kate 03.12.2013 at 04:50

    Dude. I LOVE it! You did an awesome job!

  • tristie 03.12.2013 at 05:07

    do a giveaway that is “Mandi’s Christmas in a box” would you? Ha! Love it all. I think if you are resourceful and creative enough to figure out how to make things instead of buy them, it’s your perogative. There are those who read this blog who will click on the link and just buy the wreath because they don’t enjoy that process but want the look. You gave the source credit, so it’s win/win.

  • tristie 03.12.2013 at 06:38

    ..and i like your tree base. I just made one for a mini tree I have! Bet you didn’t know that you inspired someone with your tree stand! THANK YOU.

  • Mindi 03.12.2013 at 07:34

    I LOVE it Mandi! Seriously, it is so pretty, and I am loving all the white! You are amazing!

  • Yvonne @ Dress This Nest 03.12.2013 at 08:10

    I LOVE the PVC pipe garland! So fun and original.

  • Draven 03.12.2013 at 08:27

    “The other bigger problem is that I don’t love to decorate for holidays. I hate spending money on things that I can only use for 1 month out of the year.”

    YEESSSSS! I thought I was the only one that felt this way, lol. Thanks for keeping it real.

  • Carmen 03.12.2013 at 10:38

    Mandi, I’ve been reading your site for a few months, and really love your style and sense of humor. But, like a few other commenters, this post raised a real issue for me. I’m sure that your wreath “hack” didn’t come from a place of malice, but as a small business owner/former Etsy seller myself, I think people may disregard just how hurtful this kind of post can be. And I don’t even mean in a financial sense, I mean in the sense that it truly devalues and disrespects artists who try to make a living this way. I understand that most people do not sell on Etsy/etc, and that they don’t even think about this sort of thing. After all, everyone wants to save money. But there’s so much more at stake here, and I hope I don’t come across as a jerk when share this.

    When you discover someone else’s idea and then spend your time figuring out how to copy it on the cheap and then show the whole internet, you are really belittling that person’s hard work. Especially when you tell everyone how easy it is, and that it only cost 4 dollars. This kind of declaration can make people feel like this handmade item *should* only cost $4, and why on earth is it so expensive?

    However, the person that you copied the idea from actually spent hours/days/weeks coming up with the design themselves, building prototypes to perfect that design, experimenting and determining the best quality supplies to use. Then they spent more time shopping around for, purchasing, and making room to store all of those supplies. Then they spent backbreaking hours at their studio/desk/dining room table, crippling their fingers and ruining their eyesight building those pieces so that people could actually purchase one of a kind handmade items instead of factory-made big box junk. Then, when the wreaths were finished, they had to spend countless more hours styling and photographing them, writing concise and clever descriptions for their Etsy shop, determining prices, weighing items to calculate shipping costs, and then using all manner of social media to try to get the word out about those wreaths, without coming across as pushy or annoying in their marketing. They spend even more time wrapping, packing, printing postage, and shipping each item with care before making sure it gets posted ASAP. They also have to deal personally with customer questions, comments, and any issues that arise before and after each purchase.

    To top it all off, they get to deal with overly complicated taxes, pay their own health insurance, and put up with people pinning photos of their pieces on Pinterest under categories like “Easy DIY” and “Make This!” And some days, they even wake up to posts like this– on a popular design blog that they might even read– that brag about “hacking” their hard work.

    Starting your own business and just having the confidence to charge a reasonable price for your work is so amazingly difficult. Couldn’t you simply list this wreath under one of your Favorite Things posts and use your abundant creativity to invent more of your own original pieces? You could easily “hack” last week’s Glossy Grams, but instead, you encouraged people to purchase from your friend’s small business. While this Etsy seller may not be a friend of yours, they also have a small business. It would have been nice if you had done the same thing in this case, instead of copying the idea and offering it to the internet for free.

    Again, Mandi, you seem like a truly sweet person. I’m sure you mean no harm, and you can certainly post anything you like on your own blog. My intention wasn’t to upset you or anyone else, just to offer a peek at just how difficult it is to be a tiny shop, and why those wreaths don’t cost $4.

  • Diane Streicher 03.12.2013 at 11:05

    your christmas design is insane. just let me eat it and i’ll be happy.

    as for the etsy commentary, art is largely a process of interpreting and reinterpreting a handful of basic themes. as you point out, himmeli is a traditional scandanavian design technique and any craftsmen who practice that art will be undoubtedly be influenced by one another’s work. it’s probably time for our amazing online community of artisans and visionary diy-ers need to get over the accusations about copying and embrace each others’ imagination and hard work.

  • ManonD 03.12.2013 at 14:06

    Oh! I wish I would have seen your post before I made my tree! I never thought about using 2 light sizes! I keep it in mind for next year! Your decor is beautiful! My favorite part is also the Ho Ho Ho Yo frames… Funny!!!

  • Lisa 03.12.2013 at 17:28

    I must say that I am in love with all the Christmas White I am seeing.

  • Sarah @ Bombshell Bling (formerly Craft Quickies) 03.12.2013 at 20:49

    ONLY you could dream this up and pull it off so amazingly!! LOVE!

  • Lo 03.12.2013 at 21:59

    LOVE IT ALL! Geez Mandy, once again you come through and knock the ball out of the park. Ho Ho Ho Yo?! Dying! Can’t wait for the tutorial on that one, I already made a banner that says. ” Happy Holla-Days” so I think your signs will fit right in with my ghetto Christmas theme. ; ) You kill it lady!

  • Holly Rice 04.12.2013 at 00:10

    You are frickin awesome! This is amazing. Gah! Can you come to my house and decorate? I did however DIY my 2 ft. Christmas Tree with Star Wars Darth Vader head lights and my husbands vintage star wars action figures. He is a little obsessed so he liked it.

  • Aki 04.12.2013 at 17:27

    I so love the himmeli wreaths! Like, so much in love with them. <3

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  • Pot-pourri da karen 04.12.2013 at 21:32

    So lovely, so cute, so creative.
    You made an amazing job here! It is the best project I’ve seen this year.
    Let me share this on my brazilian blog, please!

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    Just have to say– People that will buy from an Etsy store are not the people will go buy the supplies and DIY it. The old saying “Nothing new under the sun” really is true– and while I appreciate the skill, schooling and dedication an artisan must attain to gain even enough patience to open an Etsy store, let alone stock and remake items, there is nothing more revitalizing or vintage than making something on your own.

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    So how did you make those fun pom pom ornaments? They are so dang adorable and look just as fun to make as everything else. TIA!

  • Kaleigh 08.12.2013 at 02:20

    You are so freakin creative! Pipes as garland?? Are you kidding me? I love and am in awe of all your DIY ideas. How do you think of these things? So brilliant! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

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  • anne 15.12.2013 at 02:07

    Is there a template for the ho ho ho yo? I would not be able to work without a template! Didnt see it posted? Did i miss it? Love the ridiculous simpleness of it all!

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  • suzy 03.01.2014 at 17:56

    i love your walls so much that i copied them in my house. and i love them. i love them so much.

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