admin / November 27, 2018

Easy to Make, Budget Friendly, Candy Cane Wreath

I know some of you love to make crafts (especially during the holiday season), so I asked my friend Sue to share one of her easy to make and very budget friendly Christmas crafts with you. Sue has her own craft blog and this month’s theme is homemade cards so go check it out.



If you’re on a tight budget, yet love to decorate your house for the holidays, you don’t need to spend a fortune. In fact I have the perfect thing you can make and all the supplies are from the Dollar Store. Can’t get any cheaper than that, can you?

The Dollar Store has a wire frame shaped candy cane and ribbons to make a cute and easy decoration. If you’re worried that you don’t have the skill to create it, don’t fret. Not only is it a cheap but I promise you this creation is super easy.

The only tools you will need are a scissors, hot glue gun and your own two hands. If you don’t have a hot glue gun, you could use any form of super glue. However, a hot glue gun makes it easier.


The first step is to wrap the end of the candy cane wire with ribbon. I chose to use a red ribbon that is decorated with white snowflakes. The end is wrapped kind of like a Christmas present. Tuck the ends of the ribbon under at the bottom and glue it to the wire. Then take the ribbon and wrap it around the wire three times moving up the wire as you go. After the third wrap, give it a shot of glue to make it stay together. Continue to do this until you get to the top of the candy cane. Then again glue it to the wire.



The ribbon has probably bunched up a bit in a few spots so take the ribbon and push it up to stretch it. Be gentle so you don’t rip the ribbon apart where you have glued it. It doesn’t matter if you can see the wire in spots because you will be covering that up with the white ribbon.

Once you are satisfied you have the red ribbon placed where you want it, it is time to do the same with the white ribbon. I first glued the end of the white ribbon to the red ribbon on the back of the wired candy cane. This time as you are wrapping the ribbon around the wire, you will want to leave a space between the ribbons to give it the stripe candy cane effect. Again after the third wrap give it a shot of glue to keep it tightly together. Continue to wrap and glue the ribbon until you get to the top of the candy cane wire. Then take the end of the white ribbon and tuck the ends under and glue it to the wire and red ribbon.



It should resemble a candy cane now. All that is left is for you to decorate it to your liking. I used a solid red ribbon and made a bow. Then I glued a silver bell on to the ribbon and glued red mini ornaments down the bottom front.

This candy cane design can be used in color that you wish. And with the supplies this cheap, several can be made to decorate your home or make as last minute gifts.


Wire candy cane- $1.00

Red wired snowflake ribbon (9 feet long)-$1.00

White wired Merry Christmas ribbon (9 feet long)-$1.00

Solid red wired ribbon (9 feet long)-$1.00

Silver jingle bells (9 count)-$1.00

Mini red glittered ornaments (16 count)-$1.00

Total: $6.00

This can be made in an hour and for $6.00. For that price you can’t go wrong. Give it a try.

Be sure to visit my blog @ and find other easy crafts you can make that are affordable. This month it’s all about homemade Christmas cards.

I can also be found at my Facebook page:




admin / December 15, 2011

Easy Holiday Appetizers

WordPress whose site this blog appears on tells me this will be my 575th post! Thank you to everyone who’s been reading this since post number one. Here’s to the next 575.

Easy Appetizers

One thing I love about the holidays is the chance to make some appetizers or finger foods that can be made ahead of time and pulled out of the fridge or freezer when company stops by or you’re in need of a snack. Two things I always rely on are filo pastry and cream cheese.

First up is a cream cheese spread that I use on crackers or cucumber slices. Leftovers, if there are any, make the perfect spread for sandwiches…great with leftover turkey. I’ve even spread it on toast for breakfast.

Mediterranean Herbal Cream Cheese Spread

(Makes ½ cup)

 4 oz. cream cheese, regular or low-fat

2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil

1 tablespoon chopped oregano

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

 Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you plan to make this spread.

 Place the cream cheese in a bowl and stir in sun-dried tomatoes, then mix in the oregano and thyme. You can also add some of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes to thin it out and boost the flavor.

 Put the spread back into the refrigerator, but take it out again about 5-10 minutes before you eat it so it spreads more easily.

Filo Cups

One thing that goes on sale at this time of year are the packages of filo pastry shells. The box in the photo cost around $2.50 for 15 shells. Best thing is the neutral taste that can be combined with both sweet and savory fillings. If you can find them making your own is easy too-

4 sheets frozen filo dough, thawed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or low-fat spread, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one sheet of the filo dough on the countertop or cutting board and brush with some of the melted spread/butter. Top with another sheet, brush with spread/butter and continue with the other two sheets, making sure you brush the top sheet with the butter/spread.

Cut the sheets into 12 squares. Take a muffin pan and mold each stack into each of the cups…you’ll get some overlap at the top, but don’t worry because it makes them look more decorative. Bake for about five minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let them cool on a wire rack before you fill them.

They can be made a couple of days in advance too.

Filling suggestions

One of the fillings that always seem to get people coming back for more is curried chicken salad. (This is also a good filling for sandwiches and stuffed tomatoes too).

  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, your choice of mild or hot
  • ¼ cup chopped celery,
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted cashews
  • ½ cup chopped seedless red grapes.

Simply mix everything together and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour, more if you have time. The combination also works well with tuna too, just leave out the grapes.

I’ve also had success with using the filo cups for mini quiches. And another quick idea is to take a flavored cream cheese, like onion or salmon, whip it until it’s light and airy and put the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe the mixture into the cups. Maybe top with a pitted olive or a toasted nut like a pecan.

More Cream Cheese Combos

This year I thought I’d try to come up with some more good holiday combination using cream cheese which is on sale just about everywhere right now. One idea is to combine it with chopped dried cranberries and some candied orange peel. If you want it sweet, try adding honey or confectioner’s sugar. I thought these would be good rolled into balls and then rolled in chopped pecans and served on cocktail sticks.

One other sweet combination I’m going to try is adding honey or confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder (or even melted chocolate) and chopped crystalized ginger.

And a savory treat. Blue cheese always seems to add some pizzazz to just about everything so combining it with cream cheese sounds like a winner. I’m thinking this would even make a great topping for baked potatoes for a quick meal post holidays.

More Holiday Links to Check out 

People have been sending me all sorts of great holiday links to pass along to you so before I forget here they are-

More Gifts to Make

This one from Gourmet-

And check out If you’re a parent you’ll find a ton of good stuff not only for the holidays with things like crafts and printable cards, but a winter activities book you can download too.

Christmas Dinner

If you’re still not sure what to cook December 25th, All You has some suggestions

Wrap the Green Way

And if you’re still looking for ideas for gift wrapping this year, try this one-

admin / December 15, 2008

Last Minute Gifts

Just one week left until the big day. And if it’s not just time you’re running out of but money too, I’ve put together a list of last minute gifts under $30.

Send a Greeting
If you’ve really run out of time and cash…and not to mention forgot to mail those holiday cards, you might want to check out Here you can create your own holiday video to send anywhere for just $3.

I don’t own an iPod or a Blackberry, but if you know someone who does, check out for covers for just about any gadget and starting at $8.95.

Comfort and Joy
If I’m in a bind sometimes I’ll put together my own gift basket. Here’s an idea for filling a basket I call Comfort and Joy. You can find inexpensive gift baskets at the dollar store and you’ll need to line it with a blanket. I really like the Polarvide ones from IKEA, they’re low cost and cozy. Fill the basket with a container of gourmet dark hot chocolate mix, try the World Market brand. While you’re at the dollar store, you might even find a mug or two to put into the basket. And how about adding some reading material too…a paperback book, maybe a magazine or two, or even a book of crossword puzzles.

Just In Case
If you or someone you know is anything like me, you have flashlights sitting around the house and only realize they have dead batteries when the lights go out. Worry no more because is selling their wide up flashlight for $16 (3 for $36). And while you’re shopping there, check out their Faux- Sherling Ear Warmers for $9.95 MQ51664. And for the young ones, the Snow Tread Boots, MQ51508 for just $19.95.

Peanut Butter
Who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate? Check out and their Eat Your Heart Out Custom Gift Box containing 3 jars of pb of your choice, or the Eat Your Heart Out Chocolate Lovers Gift Box containing 3 jars of pb, both $24.95. And be sure to check out the ‘sign up for free stuff’ on the site.

A Flashlight and More
It’s $29.95 called the Flashlight-er, and it’s a less than 1” size rechargeable car flashlight that allows users to charge any electronic device that uses a USB port or standard 12 Volt Charger. Leave it in your car power port to charge your phone (from SmartPhones to iPhone), GPS Systems, other mobile devices, iPods and more…and when you need a flashlight, just remove it. The 3 LED lights automatically switch on to give you enough light, whether you are looking for change, or changing a tire.

A Little R and R
I don’t know about you but one of my favorite and inexpensive ways to get away from it all is to listen to some relaxing music. Check out for some relaxing sounds for $14.99 and also for $8.98. And why not slip on an eye mask while you’re relaxing. Visit where they have the solitude eye mask for $9.95.

Oh, Those Happy Toes
I’m guessing the recipient of this gift will love you forever, well, maybe not that long, but at least the winter months ahead. Slippers that you can heat in your microwave. Check out and their Happy Toes Slippers #66451 for $19.95.

No More Aching Feet
And while we’re on the subject of feet and relaxing, if you know someone who likes to be pampered with at home pedicures, check out the Just in Time Inflatable Foot Tub and towel, item #12007 from for just $9.99. At that price, you can inflate it and fill it with a bottle of bubble bath and/or body lotion and a pair of cozy socks.

Slippers and the holidays seem to go hand in hand and here’s a sweet deal from item #68522 $14.99 Ladies Memory Foam Slippers, buy one pair, get the second pair free.

Some Shameless Self Promotion
Okay, I know I shouldn’t, but as a former book publicist, I just can’t help myself. If you know someone who loves reading romances, check out A Sterling Affair written by…yes, me. Right now it’s available in e-book format for just $6.

Check out the new Budget Smart Girl Store Dismiss