Mid-Century Modern Ginger Bread House Cookies

This holiday season I have learned an important lesson. I have learned and accepted that I am not very good at decorating cookies. I’m swell at baking them and they taste amazing, but when it comes to the fancy piping and frosting I am challenged.

Growing up in older neighborhoods of Southern California, especially the time capsule known as Palm Springs, I didn’t really get to see any houses that looked like traditional homes depicted in wintery Christmas scenes. This Christmas I wanted to create something that felt a little more familiar and “me”. MidCentury House Gingerbread Cookie TemplateThis was originally a concept I had for a gingerbread house but I thought they made perfectly fine gingerbread cookies and gave up on the other four walls. Can you blame me based on my questionable cookie decorating skills?

I still think the idea is cute and I bet you guys can do a really great job so here’s the template I used to create the cookies! Just use your favorite gingerbread and frosting recipes. Use a small knife to cut out the shapes and score the markings for the details. Throw some candies and sprinkes on if you want to get really fancy. Anyway, download templates here! Have fun and be sure to tag me on Instagram (@melodramablog) to show me what a great job you did.

DIY Gold Accented Gift Boxes and Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Remember when getting clothes for Christmas was a big bummer when you were a kid? Nothing was worse than opening boxes filled with sweatshirts and socks. Isn’t it weird how much that changes as we get older? Now I love getting clothes for Christmas!

Something I like to do when giving apparel as gifts is to be as clever as possible with my gift wrapping. This year I teamed up with LOFT to bring you some easy and interesting ways to wrap your holiday presents.

Instead of wrapping your apparel boxes in the standard wrapping paper fare, try decorating them instead. There are a ton of ways to do this, and you probably have everything you need in your craft arsenal already. You can use markers, washi tape, stamps, stickers…just let your creativity flow.

DIY Gold Accented Gift BoxesI went with gold accented clothes boxes this year, so all I had to do was paint random brush strokes with gilding adhesive and then laid my gold leaf over it. I brushed the excess off and ended up with a really chic gold accented gift box.DIY Gold Accented Gift BoxesAnother thing I did was used metallic gold tape to create abstract line patterns.DIY Gold Accented Gift BoxesI’m telling you these are so easy and inexpensive but make a really beautiful presentation. Yay for DIY metallic gift boxes in any design you want!

Socks from LOFT used as stockings. Great gift!Another fun thing I like to do for stocking stuffers and little gifts is to use a cute pair of socks instead of standard Christmas stockings.Socks from LOFT used as stockings. Great gift idea!The socks act as an extra little gift that the recipient can actually wear and use.

Now go pick up a pack of cheap-o apparel boxes and decorate them to your hearts content!

 

This post was sponsored by LOFT through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about LOFT products, all opinions are my own. 

DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree Skirt

I’m totally and completely obsessed with my Christmas tree this year. We do natural trees around here and always spend way too long trying to pick the right one, but this year it took 5 minutes and it’s the best one we’ve had in years. It’s the perfect size and shape and flocked to perfection. It’s chockerbock full of my vintage ornament collection which really makes it feel and look like a throwback to a mid-century Christmas.

Flocked Christmas Tree with Vintage Ornaments via MelodramaThe only problem I had was finding the right tree skirt to cover up the wooden planks that is holding it up. I found a couple that I liked but they weren’t quite right so I  used them as inspiration and make my own using felt and pom-pom trim.

DIY Felt Christmas Tree Skirt 7

The first thing I did was cut my foundation felt into a circle. The easiest way to do this is to fold your felt into quarters (fold in half, and then fold in half again the other way). Starting at the folded corner, measure how big you want the skirt to be. I measured mine at 27 inches.

DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree SkirtKeep marking your measurement until you get to the other side. You should have something that looks like this. Mark the corner to make the hole for the middle, too.

DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree SkirtIf done properly you should have a circle tree skirt.

The next thing is to decorate it!

DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree SkirtYou can use cookie cutters, templates, or free hand any decorations of your choice and cut them out of felt. I went with the vintage ornament theme and free-handed different ornament shapes. I used fabric glue to glue them on.DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree SkirtI glued on silver baby rick-rack and thin ribbon as the strings for my ornaments. DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree SkirtThe last thing I did was glued on pom-pom trim. Seriously so easy and adorable.DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree Skirt

DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree Skirt

Now my tree feels complete!

DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree SkirtI’m so happy with the way this turned out and even happier that I didn’t have to lug out my sewing machine. The total project cost me around $25 so that’s also a bonus!DIY No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree Skirt

DIY Painted Wish Bone Thanksgiving Plates | 12 Months of Martha

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it’s time to get cracking on finalizing your table setting details. For me Thanksgiving is the one time, besides weddings I guess, where a proper table setting is an absolute must have. I mean think about it, the entire holiday basically revolves around food and gathering around a dinner table. Your dishes need to be on point.

DIY Wish Bone Painted Plates 6If you want to add some flair to your holiday table, but don’t want to go out and spend loads of cash on new plates, here’s a fun project for you.

DIY Thanksgiving Wish Bone Plates #12monthsofmarthaPainted wish bone plates!

You’ll need:
Printer and paper
Basic clear glass plates (I used 7 3/4 inch dessert plates)
Craft Paint (I like Martha Stewart Crafts, it’s oven curable)
Gloss Finish Decoupage Medium

Here’s what you do:

First you need your wish bone shape. You can print the ones I used here. This is scaled to fit 7 3/4 inch dessert plates, but if you want to do larger plates, just scale the image to your desired size. Print and cut out the wish bone shape and use decoupage medium to adhere it to the back of your plate. Cover with another thin layer of decoupage and let dry.

DIY Thanksgiving Wish Bone Plates #12monthsofmarthaDIY Thanksgiving Wish Bone Plates #12monthsofmarthaNext, paint over the wish bone and the entire back of the plate. Do a few layers, letting dry between coats. To cure the paint, bake plates at 350 degrees  fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Turn your oven off and let the plate cool inside of the oven before removing it.

DIY Wish Bone Painted Plates 3Lastly, to get everything really sealed in, cover the entire back of the plate with gloss decoupage medium and let dry for several hours.

DIY Thanksgiving Wish Bone Plates #12monthsofmarthaNow you have adorable, custom plates that are safe to eat on and totally washable!

Spiced Pumpkin Eggnog Cocktail Recipe

Do you love pumpkin pie? Do you love egg nog? Do you love alcohol and drinking your way through the holidays?

Well I’ve got a special treat for you! It has all the flavor of pumpkin pie and frothy eggnog with a nice spicy rum kick. You’ll love. Here’s how you make it.

Spiced Pumpkin Egg Nog Cocktail RecipeSpiced Pumpkin Eggnog Cocktail

Put the following into a cocktail shaker:
1 raw egg
3/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon pumpkin puree
1 Tablespoon simple syrup
2 oz spiced rum (black or dark is best)
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
Pinch of cloves

Shake VIGOROUSLY. Then add ice and shake vigorously again. Strain into a glass.

And might I suggest serving it with a DIY Pumpkin Pie Drink Stirrer?

Spiced Pumpkin Pie Eggnog Recipe with DIY Mini Pumpkin Pie Drink Stirrer

DIY Mini Pumpkin Pie Thanksgiving Drink Stirrers

There’s nothing I love more than kitschy holiday decorations and cocktail accessories are no exception. What do you think of when you think of Thanksgiving? Pumpkin pie, right? Me too. That’s why I made these adorable mini pumpkin pie drink stirrers for all of the autumnal cocktails I’ve been drinking (specifically this spiced pumpkin pie nog cocktail).

DIY Pumpkin Pie Drink StirrerI love making miniature things out of clay. It’s so…therapeutic. These mini pumpkin pies were particularly easy and fun. Here’s how I did it.

What You Need:
Oven-bake Clay (orange, brown or tan, and white)

Plain 6 inch Drink Stirrers

First I cut out triangles out of orange clay. The easiest way to do this was to use a small, sharp knife to cut a 7cm think piece of clay to a 25cm x 20cm rectangle. Then cut it into a triangle.
Mini Pumpkin Pie Drink Stirrer

Mix some brown clay with a little white to get your desired shade of brown for the pie crust. Roll it into a ball and press it out into a 3cm thick disc. Place the orange triangle onto the disc.

Mini Pumpkin Pie Drink Stirrer

Pull up and flute the clay to create the crust.

Mini Pumpkin Pie Drink Stirrer

Then cut the remaining clay off.

Mini Pumpkin Pie Drink Stirrer

Roll white clay into snake-like shapes and spiral it onto itself to make a dollop of whipped cream.

Mini Pumpkin Pie Drink Stirrer

Next, use a cocktail stir to make a hole on the bottom of the clay pie.

Mini Pumpkin Pie Drink StirrerRemove the stick and bake at 275 degrees fahrenheit. Mini Pumpkin Pie Drink StirrersUsing a little super glue, replace the cocktail stick into the pre-made hole.

And that’s it! Adorable, right? I got carried away and made a bunch of these as gifts. Happy drinking!

DIY Pumpkin Pie Drink Stirrer

Devil’s Booze Cake Recipe

If you’re in the mood for something super rich, chocolate-y, and boozy for your Halloween shindig, I’ve got the perfect cake for you. It’s a chocolate cake soaked in coffee flavored vodka, with gooey dulce de leche in between the layers and on top, and finished with black sea salt. It basically tastes like a boozy candy bar. In the words of Ina Garten, “How bad could that be?”. It’s perfect for Halloween! Or for when you’re generally feeling dark and want to eat your feelings, have PMS, etc. This cake has no limits, but it really is most perfect for Halloween.

Let’s bake.
Devil's Booze Cake Recipe via Melodrama
This recipe was adapted from Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coffee or espresso flavored vodka
Black Hawaiian Sea Salt for finishing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and dust the pans with cocoa powder. (I like to flour chocolate cake pans with cocoa powder. I think this gives it a nicer finish.)

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make your dulce de leche. Place two cans of sweetened condensed milk to a pot of simmering water. Make sure the cans are completely submerged in water or they will explode. Simmer for 3-4 hours. Remove from water and let cool to the touch. Be cautious of opening cans. If they are still too hot they may splatter.

Once cakes are cooled, use a tooth pick to poke small holes around the layer. Brush the coffee flavored vodka onto each layer (about 1/2 cup each layer). Let the cake soak up the vodka.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. Pour a good amount of dulce de leche on and spread around. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and pour remaining dulce de leche on top and let it run down the sides.

Devil's Booze Cake Recipe via Melodrama

Top with a sprinkle of black sea salt. SO. GOOD.

Devil's Booze Cake Recipe via Melodrama

DIY Decor: Simple Halloween Living Room Decorating Ideas

My husband and I are pretty big fans of all things creepy so it totally makes sense that Halloweentime tops our list as the best time of the year. I wish I had a house that I could deck out for trick or treaters, but I have to make do with decorating my apartment for my own personal enjoyment.

Here’s what I’ve got going on so far.

Halloween Gallery Wall via MelodramaI have a colorful gallery wall above my sofa that features vintage illustrations. In honor of Halloween I kept it colorful and replaced the pictures with vintage Halloween themed advertisements and magazine covers.

Vintage Halloween Adverts via Melodrama Halloween Gallery Wall via Melodrama

Over on the other side of the room I used my DIY Halloween candles and hand painted IKEA FADO Jack o’Lantern lamp. I like to cast photography and art on our TV when it’s not in use. It makes it feel less like a big, black, empty square on the wall. For this I’ve been casting creepy photos and vintage Halloween greeting cards. Cuuuute, right?

Halloween Decor via Melodrama

And then there’s the bar (AKA my favorite corner). I kept it simple with black decorations. Because the room is already so colorful I didn’t want anything to clash too much. Black decorations bring the creep vibe, but don’t take away from the existing decor. I made black pennant garlands with Martha Stewart Crafts Pennant Garland Punch and used “Poison” and “Potion” bottles to Halloweenify the shelves. Oh and my DIY Ouija board tray!


Halloween Bar Decor via MelodramaHalloween Bar Decor via Melodrama

I tried not to go overboard this year, but still have a lot of fun with it. What do you think?! For more decor ideas be sure to follow along with me on Instagram @melodramablog.

DIY: Día de los Muertos Sugar Skull Pumpkin Idea

Growing up Mexican-American I grew up celebrating Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I remember visiting my family in Mexico and going to the cemetery where families would bring gifts, food, and build colorful, elaborate altars (ofrendas) for their loved ones. People would stay all night, often dressing up and painting their faces like skulls.

This tradition is especially popular in LA. For the past 15 years the Hollywood Forever cemetery has been holding yearly Día de los Muertos events with food, contests, and live entertainment. It’s the perfect opportunity to join in and learn more about Mexican culture. 

I always try to bring elements of Dia de los Muertos into my October decorating, so for my first pumpkin of the season I decided on a Día de los Muertos theme.
Dia de los Muertos themed pumpkin #12monthsofmartha

If you celebrate Día de los Muertos and want to make this for your ofrenda, or maybe just want to show some love for Mexican culture at your home, here’s how to make your own skull pumpkin. You can use a real pumpkin or a faux pumpkin. I want to keep mine long term, so I chose faux.

I started by painting a calavera (skull) on to the pumpkin. If you’re bad at drawing, just search Google for “sugar skull templates” and use it to trace a skull on. Then paint it in with lots of color.

Finish your calaca (skeleton character) off by gluing a crown of flowers around the skull. Marigolds, roses, and other colorful flowers are most authentic. 

And that’s it!
Dia de los Muertos themed pumpkin #12monthsofmartha

Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Heart Shaped Pepperoni Pizzas

My ideal Valentine’s Day is spent at home with a nice meal, good drinks, lots of candy, and a movie. My husband and I aren’t really into going out to crowded restaurants or the usual date stuff, so we usually put on some good tunes and cook together at home. A really fun thing to make at home is pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza?

Pizza is good in any shape, but if you want to get really festive for V Day, you have to make everything heart shaped. It’s a rule or something. Like heart shaped personal pizzas with heart shaped pepperonis, obviously.

Behold the perfect Valentine.

Heart Shaped Pepperoni PizzaThese are pretty basic but fun to make. Just make or buy your favorite pizza dough, separate it into 4 equal parts, and shape it into hearts.

Heart Shaped Pepperoni PizzaTo make the hearts I used a fondant cutter. A mini cookie cutter would also work. You can even fold the pepperoni and cut a heart like you would with paper hearts. Since I made mini pizzas I made mini hearts.

Heart Shaped Pepperoni PizzaAdd your sauce and cheese, and then the pepperoni hearts. Tip: If you put some cornmeal on your baking sheet your pizza won’t stick.

Heart Shaped Pepperoni PizzaThat’s it. Pop them in the oven and then behold the cuteness. I never want to eat regular shaped pepperoni again! So dainty.

Heart Shaped Pepperoni Pizzas

These are also perfect to make for girls night or with the whole family, any time of the year, really.