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Best Holiday Craft Ideas From A Pittsburgh Artist

Decorating for the holidays can get boring year after year, especially if you shop the same stores. With a little bit of inspiration from unexpected items — and crafters who could decorate you under the table — it's easy to spice up your holiday decorating routine. Get some great ideas from this brilliant antiques dealer and crafter.

Mimi's Memories
225 W. Main St.
Saxonburg, PA 16056
(724) 524-0565

Pam Bauman is the owner, inspiration, artist and muscle behind Mimi's Memories antiques store in Saxonburg, Pa. Located just 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, Mimi's Memories is a winter wonderland this time of year. Most of the regular antiques have been stored away and in their place are amazing hand-crafted holiday decorations and displays made by Bauman from re-purposed household items, unique antiques, inexpensive craft store supplies or items gathered from nature. All of Bauman's pieces are for sale, and she's always either in the store or available by appointment — she lives five doors down from her shop — for customers who need inspiration, home-styling advice or even to request that she look for specific items when she goes to antiques auctions. This beautiful little shop is a must visit if you are looking to add to your antiques or holiday decor collections.

Here are Bauman's top five ideas at Mimi's Memories for some fresh, inexpensive and crafty holiday decorations this year:


Re-purposed silver table decorations

If you have, or acquire, an old silver teapot that won't hold a polish or a tarnished silver candlestick or pedestal tray in your grandmother's attic, repurpose it. Bauman suggests using common and low-value items like this in a new way. Get some moss and other faux-greenery from a craft store, pick up a few lace doilies and spools of ribbon, and you've got everything you need to make a unique centerpiece for your table. Set the teapot on the pedestal at an angle and anchor it with craft glue. Next, add the lace, ribbon and greenery to your liking and your work is done.


Christmas ornaments for your wreaths and chandeliers

Ornaments aren't just for your tree anymore. Gather a few dozen ornaments from your own collection, or invest in all new ornaments for this project. With a hot glue gun, attach ornaments in a random pattern to a wire wreath you can pick up at any craft store. Bonus idea: Thread simple ribbon through the loop on the ornaments and tie in a bow at the ends. Hang these ornaments from the arms of a chandelier, fan or any overhead fixture to add vertical interest and height to any room.

Related: The 12 Days of Christmas Gifts


Play with unconventional colors

Reds, greens, whites and blues are all typical holiday colors that everyone has seen and decorated with before. This year, try pinks, purples and iridescent versions of blues and greens. Bauman finds inspiration everywhere, and her love of feathers and peacocks lead her to the inspiration for her favorite themed tree this Christmas. Full of white tinkle lights, Bauman's peacock tree is displayed prominently in her store and is a true showstopper. Take a break from regular ornaments and steal this idea. The large peacocks on the tree are gorgeous anchors for the rest of the feathers and smaller peacocks. Snag one of these peacocks soon before they're gone.


Play up your set of holiday dishes

The china closet or cupboard can be a pretty boring place, even when its full of lovely dishes. For a space as big as this, Bauman says it is just begging to be decorated. Keep things simple here by setting pine cones in cups, drape delicate lace over plates standing in the plate rail and attach bows to the shelves — all items you should be able to shop for at home.

Related: 2012 Pittsburgh Holiday Theater Preview


Use nature as your craft store

An idea that came to her on a walk in the woods with her dogs, Bauman picked up some small, interesting branches that had been downed by wind, spray painted them white, sprinkled them with glitter and added them to basic flower vases all around her shop. Add these free, re-purposed branches to you flower arrangements or even to your potted poinsettias to give a crafty makeover to something as mundane as flower accents.

Sally Turkovich Wright lives in her beloved city of Pittsburgh with her husband, Jason and German Shepherd, Zeus. She is a policy analyst by training, an eyewear stylist by trade and an amateur healthy-living advocate by choice. She also writes a column for Twoday Magazine. Catch up with her there at Her work can be found at


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