Candy-Filled Yarn Easter Eggs

Mrs. Fields Secrets Candy-Filled Yarn Eggs
Get ready for Easter with some arts and crafts time! These yarn-covered eggs are filled with your favorite wrapped candies and ready to display for springtime, but the real question is: leave the candy inside? Or, try to get it out? We won’t judge either way.

Candy-Filled Yarn Eggs

small balloons
yarn
white glue
water
candy
wax paper

Directions
Blow up balloons into egg shapes in desired sizes. Mix two parts glue to one part water and stir. For each balloon, measure 6-10 feet of yarn per balloon, depending on how dense you want the grid pattern. Soak the yarn in the glue mixture, then string the yarn around the balloon. Set on wax paper to dry 12-24 hours. When yarn is hard and dry, pop the balloon and remove it, then sneak some of the candy inside.

DIY Bleach Designs

Mrs. Fields Secrets DIY Bleach Designs
There’s a hot new trend out there on the clothing racks that you can do yourself in your very own home, with supplies you already have on hand. These DIY bleach designs are a fun way to personalize your new fall jeans (and save money while you’re at it). And don’t stop at jeans. You can add your own designs to t-shirts, tablecloths and napkins too! Follow these tips for best results:

  • Practice your method on an old rag or t-shirt and allow it to completely set.
  • Try different tools for different designs, like pencil erasers, toothpicks, Q-tips, sponges, brushes or rags.
  • For jeans, place cardboard in the legs to keep bleach from seeping through the other side.
  • Prepare the surface below your fabric. Cookie sheets, garbage sacks or bathtubs are safe surfaces.
  • Bleach pens are great for freestyle writing and designs.
  • Allow bleach to set for at least an hour before washing and drying to set the design.

Try out these fun ideas featured in the photo with full DIY instructions:

DIY Polka Dot Jeans
Bleached Linen Napkins
Bleached Jeans

Creative Outdoor Ideas with Glow in the Dark Paint

Mrs. Fields Secrets Glow in the Dark Paint
I love the idea of simple details like glow in the dark paint transforming outdoor spaces at night. Whether you’re planning a party or just giving your yard a special touch, let these ideas inspire you:

1. Small, stenciled images on a garden path will reveal themselves in the dark and also help light the path.
2. These flower pots glowing bright at dusk make quite a statement.
3. Spray paint stencils on the lawn in glow in the dark paint to add a festive (and temporary) touch.
4. I love the idea of an illuminated path like this, leading guests to a party.
5. Using a paper doily as a stencil, transform simple cement stepping stones into lacy, glowing art.
6. These tree stumps are colorful by day, and glowing bright at night—fun for seating or tabletop decor.

{Images via Pinterest. Sources unknown.}

Edible Flowers + Recipe Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Edible Flowers
Flowers dress up everything, so why not have them dress up your next dessert, salad, baked goods, ice cream, or punch? But wait, these edible flowers are not only beautiful as garnishes, they offer a unique flavors to enhance your food.

Need some inspiration? Here are some recipes to get you started:

Rose Petal Jam
Honey Lavender Ice Cream 
Bee Balm Syrup
Strawberries with Chamomile Cream
Chive Blossom Vinegar
Lilac Sorbet

HINT: Soak flowers in cool water to rinse them of any pesticides, then dry on paper towels before using.

Brilliant Uses for Water Balloons

The next time you see a package of water balloons, pick one up for the kids to play with and one for yourself to use in these genius ways:

1. Fill and freeze water balloons, then use them to cool drinks or food in a cooler without getting them wet. It makes a useful and festive display at a party. Bonus: When the balloons melt, you can have a water fight!

2. Make your own ice lanterns by filling and partially freezing water balloons. (This works especially well for fall and winter months.) Follow these great instructions.

3. For a large punch bowl, a few frozen water balloons (with the latex removed), create a prettier look than regular ice cubes. Plus, they also take longer to melt, which keeps your punch from getting watered down.

Have any other ideas for water balloons? Share them in the comments section!

Cookie Christmas Ornaments

MF Cookies as Ornaments
Do you ever make a batch of cookies so beautiful, it almost seems a shame to eat them? These holiday cookie ornaments are so pretty, they belong on your Christmas tree! Plus, they smell amazing. This is a fabulous holiday craft to do with the kids, and an extremely budget-friendly way to decorate the tree. (Yes, they look good enough to eat, but they’re actually non-edible. So keep the kids from snacking!)

Cinnamon Cookie Ornaments
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon
1/4 cup applesauce
8 oz. (one large bottle) white school glue
cookie cutters
drinking straw
glitter, confetti, or sprinkles for decoration

Directions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup cinnamon with the applesauce. Once you have a mealy texture, pour in 1/2 cup of white school glue and mix until well combined. Allow dough to sit 1 hour. Sprinkle a thin layer of cinnamon on a clean surface and roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. (If dough is sticky, add cinnamon. If dough is too dry, spritz with water.) Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters, then cut out a small hole for ribbon or wire with the drinking straw. Bake for 2 hours, turning cookies over halfway through.

Once cool and dry, use glue and glitter or sprinkles to decorate cookies. Allow to dry thoroughly before wiring. Cookies will last several years if stored in tissue and bubble wrap.

Creative Christmas Countdowns

MF Advent 1

MF Advent 2

MF Advent 3

One of my favorite holiday traditions is a Christmas countdown. I tell myself it’s for the kids, but the truth is that I get just as excited about  I gathered some of my favorite ideas for inspiration and wanted to share them with you.

1. A variety of holiday envelopes arranged into the shape of a tree is too cute for words.

2. Paper cones create a forest of Christmas trees. Tiny surprises can hide underneath.

3. Tiny buckets, twine, and twigs create this darling display.

4. Trim Santa’s beard day by day until Christmas Eve.

5. Decorated clothespins hold brown paper packages tied up with string.

6. A simple paper chain contains holiday activities to share together.

The problem now is deciding my favorite. What about you? Do you have a favorite Christmas countdown idea?

How To: Create a Thankful Tree

This idea is equal parts simple craft project, entertainment for kids, Thanksgiving centerpiece, and feel-good activity. With a few simple items, you can create this Thanksgiving Thankful Tree and fill it with all the things you and your guests are grateful for this year. It’s a perfect gathering activity as your guests arrive, and simple enough that you can put the kids in charge of putting it together while you’re taking care of last-minute details for dinner. You’ll need the following items:

  • One sturdy branch from outside, about 3 or 4 feet tall
  • One vase, preferably tall and narrow
  • Whole nuts or smooth pebbles to secure the branch
  • Leaves cut out from colored paper (find a free template here)
  • Twine to secure leaves to tree
  • Pens, pencils, markers, or crayons for guests to use to write

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can spray paint the tree branch in advance to create more of a contrast. Otherwise, hold the branch in the center of the vase and fill the sides in with nuts or pebbles to secure it and keep it straight. Cut strips of twine just long enough to tie leaves to branches. Cut out multiple leaves, at least one per guest. Each guest can write his or her name on a leaf, along with what they are thankful for this year, before securing it to the tree. Once complete, place the tree in the center of the table for everyone to enjoy.

My favorite part of the Thankful Tree? It can be used again and again each year, and the leaves become a sweet way to remember Thanksgivings past!

One more thing—don’t forget to enter our 3rd Annual “Give Thanks with the Gift of Cookies” Giveaway! Entries accepted until midnight Sunday!

(Image via BHG.)

5 Easy Ways to Haunt Your Porch

Looking for some last-minute ideas to dress up your porch tonight? These ideas are so simple, yet pull off a big wow-factor. You probably have many of the supplies around the house.

DIY Glow Jars

DIY Glow Jars

1. These Glow Jars are sensational and so easy to make with mason jars and glow sticks. Line your walkway with them for an eerie display that will lead trick-or-treaters to your door.

Hanging Bats

Hanging Bats

2. A pair of scissors, thick place paper, painters tape, and some fishing wire are all you need to create these fantastic hanging bats. Find the templates and tutorial here.

Dry Ice

Dry Ice

3. Fog machines are pricey, but you can bring spooky, fog to your porch with some simple dry ice and water in a cauldron (or even a bucket). Use this dry ice directory to find retailers near you who sell dry ice.

Spooky Silhouettes

Spooky Silhouettes

4. A roll of black craft paper can transform your windows with these Spooky Silhoueetes. Find a variety of creepy downloads here and light up the night.

Wheelbarrow of Bones

Wheelbarrow of Bones

5. A Wheelbarrow of Bones is an easy, creepy way to greet Halloween guests at your door. Answer the door with a shovel and a ghoulish grin for added effect.

Do you have any other simple decorating ideas for Halloween? Share them in the comments section!

Top 10 Holiday Decorating Tips & Tricks

If pulling out your holiday decorations usually results in pulling out all your hair, don’t despair. Whether you’re decorating your table for Thanksgiving or your house for Christmas, here are my top 10 tried-and-true tricks to getting it right.

1. Less is more. If you’ve been collecting holiday decorations for more than a decade, you’ve probably got a parade of 18-gallon plastic bins that come down from the attic. Don’t feel like you have to display every decoration every year. Choose and use your favorites and leave the rest in storage. Next year you’ll likely have different favorites. Chances are, you’ll feel like you have fresh decorations every year and the process won’t feel so overwhelming.

2. Replace the space. Holiday decorations can sometimes look cluttered. A great tip is to replace your regular decorations with your holiday pieces. Instead of placing the nutcracker next to the globe on the end table, put the globe away for the season. Use the space in your empty bins to store your regular decorations. You’ll be pulling the bins out again after the season anyway.

3. Groupings are great. If you’ve got a hodge podge of small trinkets, try displaying them as a group instead of placing them randomly around the house. Clear a space on a bookshelf or tray and place them in an interesting grouping. Look for similarities in color, size, or category and put them together for a bigger impact.  For example, pair snowmen with snowmen or wooden trees with wooden reindeer or red decorations with other red decorations. They will look more cohesive and can be appreciated as a collection.

4. Look in your own backyard. If you’re sparse on decorations, you don’t have to look much further than your own backyard for inspiration. Clip some branches from a low-hanging tree and arrange them in a tall vase for a centerpiece. (Spray paint them a festive color for added impact.) A shallow bowl or basket full of pine cones looks beautiful next to the fireplace. (Add some cinnamon sticks for a great aroma.) Build a garland from pine branches and floral wire.

5. Find new uses for old things. Raid your kitchen cupboards for interesting containers and textures of every shape and size. Fill a glass canister full of red and green candies for a simple, cheery decoration that also serves as an emergency snack. A beautiful salad bowl full of brightly colored ornaments looks great on a coffee table. Your crystal goblets make great vases or candle holders. The possibilities are endless if you simply look at your old stuff with new eyes.

6. Tea lights are tops. Everything looks more festive when you add candlelight. Simple tea lights are one of my favorite decorations and the easiest way to dress up any occasion. Arrange them in a set of glassware, a grouping of empty jars, in a line down a skinny tray, or in paper luminaries (glorified lunch bags). They give a warm glow to everything and are incredibly inexpensive to buy in bulk.

7. Food as decoration. Nothing is more beautiful than a bowl of bright green apples, zesty oranges, or interesting gourds. Plus, you can change it up all season long as you eat your way through each display. For a more lasting decoration, press whole cloves into the rind of oranges in interesting patterns. The smell is amazingly festive and the natural preservatives in the cloves will keep the oranges fresh for weeks.

8. Don’t forget the mistletoe. Fresh (or silk) mistletoe is easy to find this time of year and adds a fun spark to your doorway. It’s becoming an out-dated tradition that needs a revival! Don’t you agree?

9. Make room for the tree. If you display a Christmas tree, put it in a place where it can be the focal point with easy access, especially if it will need watering. Rearrange the furniture if needed. My favorite spot for a tree is near a window. You get the fun of appreciating it from inside and outside too. Plus, the lights look beautiful reflected on the glass.

10. Keep the music playing. Call me crazy, but I think of holiday music as part of the decoration. Put it on as you decorate and keep it on all season long. Music is shown to calm nerves and soothe the spirit. We all need that during the holidays, right? Plus, music is strongly associated with memories. It’s almost impossible to listen to holiday music without remembering special holidays of years gone by.

Those are my tricks, but what are yours? Share them in the comments section!

P.S. Be sure to check out MrsFields.com on Friday the 26th and Monday the 29th for spectacular holiday savings!

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