Step-by-Step Instructions for Shaping Artificial Christmas Trees

Shaping an Artificial Tree

An artificial tree boasts a lot of convenience for your home. They last for about ten years, and require significantly less maintenance than a real tree. The only main task you need to master is shaping the year. After you do it a few times, shaping the tree will be a quick and easy Christmas task.

  • Install the bottom row of branches first. Shape one row, branch by branch. Shaping the tree one branch at time is more time consuming, but it ensures that you thoroughly shape the tree so it looks straight and bushy.
  • Pull each twig away from the branch, and keep the twig at a 45-degree angle from the branch. Do this with every twig in the first row.
  • Then, pull the first row of twigs, starting with the closest to the trunk. Pull each twig on the top up about two inches. For the twigs on the bottom, pull them down about two inches.
  • Move on to the next row until the bottom section is complete.
  • Repeat the same order for the middle and top sections.

We’ve also included a helpful video for your convenience.

Sherrie Carter

4 Common Thanksgiving Messes & How to Clean Them

Preparing for Thanksgiving is fun, but it’s also a little stressful. Even if you follow our stress-reducing Thanksgiving Prep Checklist, you may run into a few unexpected problems, specifically: spills! Today’s post will cover common Thanksgiving messes and how to recover from them. Hopefully, you don’t need this post, but we’re here if you need us!

Red Wine

Red wine sets quickly so you’ll want to act fast. Use club soda and vinegar to blot the juice out. If it’s on clothing or linens, you’ll want to wash with Oxy Clean or another enzyme laundry detergent. If it’s in the carpet, use caution when blotting. DO NOT RUB, as you could make the stain set deeper in the carpet. You may need a professional, but still attempt this on your own at first because the longer it’s on the rug, the harder it is to remove.

Cranberry Sauce

Personally, I’ve never had to remove cranberry sauce, so I turned to Martha Stewart. She has a lovely stain removal chart and a helpful video for removing cranberry sauce or juice out of linens.

Candle Wax

If someone knocks a candle over, it’s bad news. The wax will get on the surface, walls, and carpeting. For surfaces and walls, you can use a hair dryer to reheat the wax, making it easier to clean up. You can use hot water, but it will take longer. For the carpet, it’s a bit trickier. You’ll want to go the opposite direction. Place bagged ice over the stain. This will harden the wax. When it’s on the walls, you don’t want to pick at it. However, when it’s in the carpet you have no choice. Once the wax is frozen and hard, you can remove it by hand. It will take a while, but you can get most of it. Use a butter knife, it will be easier. Use carpet cleaner and vacuum the area. This should get it out. If it’s still giving you trouble you can iron it. This will return the was to the liquid state and you can blot the rest up with carpet cleaner and a towel. Vacuum again and your carpet should be good as new!

Drink Rings on Wood Furniture

I’ve tried this before without much success. It’s likely because I was using Pledge and stress to remove the water ring. The trick is to correct this as soon as possible. If you spot a guest not using a coaster, simply place their drink on a coaster and clean up the ring without saying anything. Most people won’t notice and it’s easier than feeling a little awkward while asking them to use the coasters that are exactly two inches in front of them. A great trick for getting people to use coasters is setting them out on the table. They’re more noticeable than when they’re stacked up, and that’s a universal sign for “please use a coaster in my house”. Here’s a video that can show you a better method than the one I used.

Sherrie Carter

LED VS Incandescent Christmas Lighting Options

LED and Incandescent lights are both wonderful options for Christmas lighting. LED lights are a newer, more durable option. However, incandescent lights offer many benefits that make them an ideal option for you as well. Read the paragraph below and compare the two styles to choose which is best for your needs.


LED lights for Sale

LED lights last for about ten years, so they make a great choice if you’re ready for new lights. Keep in mind, they are a bit more expensive than traditional incandescent lights initially. However, LED lights will save money in the long run, as they use about one-tenth of the electricity that incandescent lights use. Another great benefit is that you can string together 2-5 lights before blowing a fuse. These are a great option for rooms with limited outlets. Ultimately, LED lights are the way to go, as they’re more efficient, more modern, and brighter.


incandescent christmas lights for sale

Incandescent lights are popular lighting options in multi-color displays and novelty Christmas lights. They’re more affordable than LED lights, and they’ve been around for a long time. If you still have functioning incandescent lights, it’s a good idea to hang onto them. They work well and there’s no sense in wasting perfectly fine light bulbs just to switch over to LED. The better option is to use them until they’re expired. Once they’re dead, take them to a store that recycles LED lights. Some major stores will give a discount on LED lights if you turn in your old incandescent lights. LED lights last a long time, so if you’re not sure you’ll need the same color in the next year or two, get yourself a nice mix of multi-color incandescent lights.




Sherrie Carter

8 Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Some Thanksgiving side dishes are staples, like stuffing and cranberries, but feel free to get a little creative this year. The key to hosting a phenomenal Thanksgiving day party is decorations and unique, delicious food. Of course, you’ll want to stick to the basics, but you also want to wow your dinner guests with something exquisite and new. I’ve put together a list of recipes, some are traditional while others are a bit unconventional (at least in my Thanksgiving world). Try some of these and let us know how your guests liked them. If you’re new to cooking, I suggest practicing new recipes once or twice before serving them to other people. You want to give them your best, not your first attempt.

Traditional or Cornbread Stuffing

If you have a lot of guests, you may want to consider making both for a variety. For traditional stuffing, follow this recipe. Remember that for stuffing, a recipe is only a guideline. If it feels too dry or too soggy, you can adjust accordingly. For cornbread stuffing, watch the tutorial video below.

French Onion Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean is one of my favorite holiday dishes, and I’m sure I’m not alone. This recipe includes soft, caramelized onions. It takes a lot of effort, but it will be worth it. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean!

Apple Coleslaw

A unique take on the traditional coleslaw, this recipe is phenomenal. I mentioned it in a previous post… then I cooked it as a side dish that night. It was the best coleslaw I’ve ever had, not to toot my own horn or anything. I used this recipe from Pinterest if you’d like to follow suit.

Loaded Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a must-have at any Thanksgiving dinner. Loaded sweet mashed potatoes include cinnamon, marshmallows, and a caramel drizzle. Yumm! This recipe looks amazing and I think I’ll try it this year.

Oven Roasted Basalmic Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts took time to grow on me, but I love them now. Most people do once they try them. They’re especially delicious when you bake them in Basalmic vinaigrette. This recipe could change lives. I found a great tutorial, and this guy even includes BACON!

Roasted Red Potatoes

I love roasted red potatoes with any meal, but especially at Thanksgiving dinner. They complement the turkey and stuffing perfectly. I went with a Martha Stewart recipe because she’s never let me down before.

Traditional Cranberry Sauce

Everyone loves cranberry sauce. It only takes a few minutes to make and it’s always a holiday favorite. Check out this tutorial from The New York Times

Thanksgiving Asparagus Casserole

This is going to be a new venture for me this year, and I can’t wait. If you’re an asparagus fan, this recipe is definately for you. It includes asparagus, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, and the delicious French Fried Onions everyone loves on a casserole!

Sherrie Carter

Finding the Perfect Christmas Stocking

Christmas stockings are a wonderful tradition, each stocking should represent who it is for. Some families have matching stockings, which is utterly adorable. Others have themes. I always had my own unique stocking, but it always fit into a theme with my sisters. One year, we all had Trollz stockings and we LOVED them. Keep in mind, I grew up in the 90’s so Trollz were all the rage, okay?

Last year, my sister made personalized stockings for the entire family. Mine was a beautiful hand-stitched stocking with a gorgeous picture of the universe on it. My nephew had a broken bone at the time, so she made his in the shape of a cast and it was hilarious. The thought and effort that went into getting us stockings that matched our personality was amazing. We were all blown away.

You can have the same reaction this year! Consider some DIY options that represent the individual you’re making a stocking for. If you don’t have time for DIY stockings, browse through some of our themed stockings below! You’re sure to find something perfect! Click the photos to learn more or browse other stockings like these!

Casino Style

casino heart card christmas stocking red and black casino stocking for sale


camo stocking for sale US Army stocking for Sale


Western Cowboy Stocking cowboy christmas stocking


princess pink stocking princess crown stocking

TV & Movie Lovers

Game of Thrones!Game of Thrones HBO Stocking

Family Guy!
family guy christmas stocking

Rudolph!rudolph Christmas stocking
Christmas Vacation!
National Lampoon Christmas Vacation Stocking



pink metallic christmas stocking red metallic stocking blue metallic stocking

green metallic stocking royal blue metallic christmas stocking yellow metallic stocking
Sherrie Carter

40 Days Until Christmas – 40 Tasks [Part 2 of 2]

Earlier today, I mentioned there’s only 40 days left until Christmas. I also pointed out that if you haven’t started getting ready, you have a lot to do. I gave 20 tasks, and challenged you to make a daily chart for the next 20 days. Now, I’m bringing you tasks 21-40, so you can finish planning from now until Christmas Day.

  1. Try to wrap all gifts in one night. Get help from a friend if you need to.
  2. Decorate a Gingerbread House
  3. Plan a traditional Christmas Breakfast
  4. Plan Stocking Stuffers & Choose Stocking
  5. Buy Stocking Stuffers and Fill Stockings
  6. Hide all wrapped Gifts so there’s no peeking!
  7. Make DIY Christmas décor with the family for sentimental décor
  8. Schedule a Break! Drive around and look at Christmas Lights.
  9. Practice any new recipes and double check recipe & supply inventory
  10. Purchase any wine or spirits you’ll need. Liquor stores will be less busy in the week or two before Christmas Day.
  11. Clean all Walls and Baseboards again
  12. Clean All Windows & Wash All linens again
  13. Decorate Bathrooms with Christmas accents and linens
  14. Decorate the Kitchen with Christmas utensils, potholders, and tablecloths.
  15. If You Haven’t Decorated the Exterior by Now, get on that!
  16. Double Check Shopping List for any Last Minute Ideas
  17. Get Stockings & Stocking Stuffers Ready
  18. Plan Timeline for Christmas Day Cooking
  19. Prepare Christmas Eve & Christmas Morning Traditions

40 Days Until Christmas – 40 Tasks [Part 1 of 2]

Today is an important day, for most of us. It’s the day we need to light a fire under ourselves and get moving on the Christmas to-do list. We have 40 days left until Christmas Day. I’m big on staying ahead on tasks. If you have trouble organized, or if this is your first time planning Christmas in a new home, follow my guide. This fail-proof to-do list has helped me survive Christmas with little stress for the last decade. Choose one of the tasks below per day. The first post contains tasks 1-20. I put them in order according to which I’d do them. Later tonight, I’ll post 21-40. Create your first 20 days of to-do tasks while waiting for part two!


  1. Create a Pandora station or Spotify playlist with your favorite holiday music. You’ll use this for wrapping, decorating, cleaning, and any other holiday tasks. This will be your entertainment.
  2. Deep clean all walls, baseboards, and windows.
  3. Wash All Linens.
  4. Create a Christmas Countdown Calendar or Paper Chair.
  5. Plan Christmas Dinner Menu.
  6. Take an inventory or cooking ingredients and supplies you’ll need.
  7. Make your Christmas Shopping List (see blog about tips on making a shopping list).
  8. Shop for any ingredients and supplies you’ll need.
  9. Try to get store shopping done in one day.
  10. Finish shopping online.
  11. Choose Movies for Christmas Eve.
  12. Vacuum & Mop All Floors.
  13. Wash all China.
  14. Steam Carpets.
  15. Clean windows & baseboards again.
  16. Remove Christmas Decorations from Storage.
  17. Organize and clean ornaments in order of decorating (bottom to top).
  18. Decorate the Tree.
  19. Set up garland and other Christmas decorations.
  20. Make a decision on wrapping paper and organize wrapping supplies.

Sherrie Carter

Choosing PVC or PE Artificial Christmas Trees

Earlier today, I posted about the decisions you’ll need to make when purchasing an artificial tree. I’ve extended this post into a topic about choosing PVC and PE/PVC Blend. The more you learn about our selection of artificial trees, the better chance you’ll have at finding the perfect tree for your home.


The first trees were made with the traditional PVC branches. The branches consisted of thin strips of PVC (poly vinyl chloride), wrapped around the wire to reflect the look of real Christmas trees. These inexpensive options are still popular today, because they’re affordable, bushy, and classic. However, the branches are unfortunately not as realistic as a PE tipped tree. If you look at the branches in the photo below, you should recognize the branches from many artificial trees you’ve seen over the years.PVC Christmas Tree Styles

PE & PVC Blend

A great option for material is a PVC/PE blend, which we mentioned above. This type of tree consists of PVC branches in the center of the tree, to save on costs and add bushiness to the tree. The end branches and tips consist of PE (polyethylene) material. The PE branches come from the mold of a real pine tree. These trees cost a pit more than PVC trees, however they offer a more realistic look and require little shaping. Interior designers prefer to work with PE trees for these reasons. Check out the photo below to see the branch shaped used to mold branches for PE trees.

PE artificial trees for sale

Sherrie Carter

5 Easy & Tasty No-Bake Holiday Recipes!

Save yourself some time on Thanksgiving Day by prepping a few no-bake recipes. These are perfect if you want to make something while the turkey is cooking, or if your oven isn’t working and you need to take a dish to a party. Whatever your case is, these life saving recipes are not only delicious, they’re quick and convenient for the busy day!

No Bake Spinach Dip

No Bake Appetizers

No Bake Pumpkin Pie

Butterfinger Icebox Cake

No Bake Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Sherrie Carter

10 DIY Projects for a Cute Thanksgiving Kid’s Table


We have about 13 days left until Thanksgiving Day. If you haven’t come up with ideas for your kid’s table, check out some of the ones I posted earlier this month. I updated this topic with a few more ideas for a fun, festive kid’s table.


Originally Posted November 2, 2015

Thanksgiving Kids Table Do you remember sitting at the “kids table” for Thanksgiving? Were you excited about it or did you feel excluded from the adults? Kids often have mixed feelings on this setup depending on their age and the location of the table. You can work on this, however. Read our post and learn how you can keep the kids well-behaved AND entertained while you serve guests and enjoy a few moments of adult conversation with the family.

Keep the Kids Close

Setting the kids table in a separate room may cause them to feel excluded from the real party. If your dining room is large enough, set the kids table up a few feet behind the main table. If you have a smaller sized dining area, try setting the tables closer to the walls. Traditionally, most dining tables reside in the center of the room. While this is attractive, it takes up extra space.

Make DIY Headbands

Using construction paper and your creativity, create an even number of Native American headdresses and Pilgrim hats. Let the kids choose which they want to be. It’s not a bad idea to have a few extra on hand to avoid fighting over who gets which headband.

Offer an Edible Cornucopia

Fill a waffle cone with candy corn, Chex cereal, pecans, and white chocolate. Kids will love the permission to eat a little bit of candy before dinner and they’ll appreciate the centerpiece that looks just like the one at the adults table.

Use Decorative Placemats and Placeholders

Themed placemats are visually stimulating and will help prevent a mess. We have adorable pumpkin placemats on our main site you should check out after this post. Add a small name card to the placemat. This small, personalized accent will make the kids feel like special, important guests.

Create a Coloring Station on the Table

Create a tablecloth using recycled Kraft paper. Many restaurants do this as a way to entertain both children and adults before the meal. Not only is it a great time for the kids, but it also makes cleanup much easier.

Challenge their Thanksgiving Knowledge

We all know that sometimes Thanksgiving dinner can take longer than expected, and nobody is less forgiving than a hungry child. In addition to appetizers and snacks, make sure you have something for their entertainment appetite too. Thanksgiving trivia cards on the table will create a competitive, fun, and challenging game for the kids to pass time.

Thanksgiving Bingo

Kids typically have smaller portions and eat faster than adults, so you’ll want to keep them at the table while everyone finishes. Create Bingo Cards Online using the word “FEAST” and terms around the holiday. Have the kids mark off the words as they hear one of the adults say one of the words. You can’t have bingo without prizes, so be sure to have something small for the first two winners.

Place a Dinner Checklist Next to the Plates

Before kids have dessert, you want to ensure they’ve eaten at least something substantial so they don’t get sick. Create a list of foods you want them to finish before they’re allowed to have dessert. Having the kids table close by, they won’t be able to cheat and throw the food away.

Leave Supplies for a “Thankful” Chain

The kids will also want something to do while patiently anticipating the awesome desserts you made. Remember the paper chains we made in elementary school, counting down the days to a holiday? This is the same idea. Kids love paper chains. In fact, I’m almost 30 and I still make them. Paper chains are just fun. That being said… have each child make a “ring” for the chain. Have the kids write something they are thankful for on their individual rings. Hang it for the adults to view and enjoy what their children had to say.

End with Pumpkin Tic-Tac-Toe

Chances are, the adults may want to stay for coffee and conversation after dessert. Since the kids have been separated from adults most of the night, they may want to be included at the end. During this time, create tic-tac-toe boards and use small pumpkins for the pieces. Have a few boards available and deem the game kids vs. adults. The night will end with happy memories and fun for everyone!

These are just a few of many options for making the kids table a fun atmosphere this Thanksgiving. As always, share your opinions and ideas in our comments section.


Update: 11/13 – 4 new ideas!

Kids Table Crafts


Pilgrim Hat Crayon Cups


Waffle Cone Cornucopias


Brown Paper Tablecloth


Sherrie Carter