Season Of Light: A Bright & Welcoming Entryway

Candles, bulbs, and soft twinkling lights - these are how I am turning a dark entryway into a welcoming space full of warmth.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you may remember my conundrum over what to do with this built-in planter box. This entryway is in the north corner of my living room and does not receive enough light for plants, so I turned it into a lovely rock garden; however for the holidays, I wanted to add some light and greenery. This 9' long Classic Fraser Fir garland from Tree Classics includes pre-strung lights and made decorating the entryway so easy. I added my own pine cones to the garland - some are natural brown; others are spray painted gold, and one is lightly frosted with silver glitter. I love bringing the outdoors to the indoors!

Do you like this look? Checkout my last post: A Golden Cinnamon Stick Wreath Tutorial

*Side note: not only did Tree Classics gift me this pre-lit garland, but they also gave me a beautiful pre-light wreath to try as well. I was asked to give my honest review of these products, but I am not being compensated for this post. This is what I created, and what I really think!*

Classic Fraser Fir Lit 24" Wreath and 9' garland via Tree Classics
I was really excited to try this 24", battery-powered LED lit Fraser Fir wreath. The front of my house could really use some more lights, and as we have a simple strand of gold lights and a few faux candles in the windows, so this wreath matched perfectly. What I didn't realize was that the lights are on a timer, which is perfect because this wreath is on my front door and I would likely forget to turn it off each night.

Along with my pretty new lit greenery, I have added some candles and a lit ceramic tree for even more entryway warmth.

These three candles are actually tealights in handmade birch wood candle holders. I generally only light these when we are having company, or a little get together. I like to use vanilla scented candles to make the space even more inviting.

On this little entry table, I usually have a ceramic dish for keys or other odds and ends, as well as a little tranquil water fountain. For the holidays I replaced these with a tapered candle; a vanilla tealight in a silver holder; and a ceramic Christmas tree that doubles as a burner for my cinnamon soy melts. Combined with the vanilla, the entryway smells like heaven.

To finish this space, I put down a gray and silver-threaded woven door mat to cozy up the cold, mid-century slate in the entrance. This is also nice as we live in Michigan and most people have snowy boots when they enter.

I would have loved to use the lit wreath on the inside of the entryway, but our front porch really did need a little light, and this accomplished that perfectly.

After having this lovely wreath and garland duo up in the entryway for a couple of days now, here are my thoughts:

  • Both the wreath and garland are pre-light, so I didn't have to deal with figuring that out myself.
  • Both lit products come with a 2-year warranty, so that makes me feel more confident that I'll get a lot of good use out of them.
  • The garland is substantial and not at all thin
  • The garland is also easy to arrange and mold to the shape I need (such as along and down my planter box)
  • The garland is cord-powered, which is nice because I won't have to replace batteries.
  • The wreath is cordless and battery powered, which is perfect for placement on a front door or wall.
  • Because I choose classic and plain greenery, I can add decorations to match my own style at any time, such as bows, pine cones, ornaments, etc.
  • The wreath is thick and not at all cheap looking
  • The greenery is very real-looking, as Tree Classics uses "High quality Real-Feel™ PE needles"
  • The LED lightbulbs are energy efficient
  • Both the wreath and garland can be used indoors and outdoors
  • VERY fast delivery for both of my products
  • While I said it was a "pro" that the garland was cord-powered, it's also a bit of a con. If I ever wanted to put the garland around the outside of my front door, cords would need to be involved. This is also the case if I were to put it on my mantel. Extension cords would be necessary.
  • As another reviewer noted on the website, the battery pack is a bit tricky to get into on the wreath. Personally, I didn't have so much trouble with it that I would fault the wreath over it, but the screws are very tiny, and one screw did give me a bit of trouble. I also had one tiny nut fall off, but I was able to easily re-attach it. I am hoping batteries last long enough that I only have to open the battery pack once a year.
  • The cord for the garland could be a bit longer

Thanks for spending some time with me in my cozy new entryway, and thanks again to Tree Classics for making it all possible! I hope you and your family are having a warm and comfy holidays season.

A Golden Cinnamon Stick Wreath Tutorial

Have you decked your halls yet? A few of mine were still bare, so I livened up my dark December home with some bright and cheery greenery.

What started as a completely plain, faux evergreen wreath transformed into something warm and rustic-chic. This wreath was a gift from Tree Classics, and there were no limits to how I could decorate it. (Side note: I was not paid for this post, or for my thoughts on this wreath).

I immediately envisioned gilded fir needles, but there was still something missing. The wreath needed a bit of earthiness and holiday spirit, and cinnamon sticks were the perfect addition to my project. Not into cinnamon? Some lovely pine cones or delicate star anise would work well in its place.

  • Classic Fraser Fir wreath, or your undecorated wreath of choice - mine is 24" wide
  • cinnamon sticks (I used 6 large cinnamon sticks)
  • hot glue and glue gun
  • liquid gold leaf
  • paint brush
Start by adding a dab of hot glue on the end of a cinnamon stick, and place within the wreath. You'll want to bury the end of the cinnamon stick into the foliage so that no hot glue is visible. Repeat with the rest of the cinnamon sticks, placing them evenly around the wreath.

You may also want to arrange the cinnamon sticks to follow the direction of the foliage.

After the cinnamon sticks are securely placed, start by dipping your brush into the liquid gold leaf and gently painting the ends of the needles with gold.

How many branches you paint, and how much of each needle you paint depends on how metallic you would like your wreath to appear. I went for a "highlighted"/lightly frosted approach by only painting about 1/2- 2/3 of the branches with gold, and only the ends of each branch with gold paint.

I also lightly brushed the cinnamon sticks with a mostly-dry gold paint brush, as well as lightly spattering the cinnamon sticks with tiny drops of gold paint.

Overall, this was a very quick and easy home decor project, because both hot glue and liquid gold leaf dry very quickly. My wreath was ready for hanging in about an hour!

This wreath is hung on the plain white door that leads to the basement in my dining room - what a beautiful way to dress up that space! Where is your favorite place to hang a Christmas wreath?

Free Printable Evergreen Patterned Paper

Happy December!

If you follow me on Instagram or here on the blog, you know that I've been hard at work studying local plants; watercolor painting; and learning to digitize my work. Everything is coming together now, and I have many new printables on the way, most of which will be arriving in my Etsy shop soon (and some are already available!).

Today I am happy to share with you a sample from my collection of printable watercolor stationery and gift wrap. This is my "Evergreen Pattern in White". These printables will come in many different patterns and colors, all from my hand-painted watercolors.

This sample is one full page PDF, and I will show you how to create everything from note cards to gift tags, stickers, gift wrap and more below.

Click here to download and print your free watercolor evergreen paper sample!

To make a set of A2 size note cards, print the PDF at full-size, with borderless printing, on sturdy white card stock. Choose standard to high-quality print settings.

After printing, rotate the card stock to a landscape position. Cut all the way down the sheet, so you have two halves that are 5.5 inches wide. You can now fold the halves in half for a 5.5" x 4.25" note card, or trim 1/2" off the bottom of each half, then fold, for a 5.5" x 4" note card.

For envelope seals, print the pattern onto paper or white card stock. Use a 1 to 2 inch wide circle punch to cut as many circles as you would like. Run the circles through a Xylon sticker maker (usually $10 at craft stores).

Gift tags can be made with a gift tag punch, or by cutting the shape of your choices. Squares and rectangles work wonderfully for gift tags and don't require a shaped punch. For gift tags, the sturdier the card stock, the better. After cutting your gift tags, use a 1/8" hole punch at the top of the tag. A 1/4" punch will work as well, but don't go any bigger than that.

Use your favorite string to loop through the hole of each tag. My favorite is natural colored twine, although bakers twine, yarn, cotton string, etc. will work.

You can also make folding gift tags for gift tags by cutting rectangles, either 3" x 6" to fold in half for a 3" x 3" square note, or 2.5" x 5" for a 2.5" square note. These can also be hole-punched and threaded with string.

Finally, this paper makes great wrapping paper! Print on a thin, white printer paper. This is perfect for smaller gifts such as jewelry, stationery boxes, etc.

You can also use scraps of the paper to make bands of wrapping paper around things such as jewelry boxes, tied with natural twine.

This is just the beginning of the paper goods you could make with one printable! Please remember that this printable is for personal use only, and no for-sale products can be made with it. If you have an idea for a product you'd like to sell using this pattern, please get in touch with me and we can talk about the possibilities!

DIY Succulent Grapevine Wreath

I wanted to freshen up my front door for spring, but all of the wreaths I had my eye on were a little out of budget. I wanted something simple and organic in style. It was only on a whim while at a craft store that this grapevine wreath caught my eye. I quickly found a roll of faux moss and a few very realistic faux succulents, bringing the total of this project to less than $12!

Price breakdown:

  • Grapevine wreath: $4.99
  • Faux succulent stem: $3.99
  • Faux moss roll: $2.99
It helps that I already had some hot glue and wire cutters at home, but those weren't even really necessary for this project.


  • Grapevine wreath
  • faux moss roll
  • faux succulents with wire stems
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • wire cutters
The first step is to secure the faux moss to the back of the wreath. You can either tie it to a stem, or add a dot of hot glue and attach it.

The next step is to wrap the faux moss all the way around the width of the wreath until you have gone all the way around. Tie off again to attach end of moss roll to wreath, or hot glue the end to the back of the wreath.

This particular moss had thin tendrils hanging off it, which I wrapped around other twigs around the wreath and tied off:

Next, it's time to attach the succulents. 

There are two ways to do this:

1. Cut wire stems off the succulents and hot glue the succulents bases to the front of the wreath
2. Leave the stems on; stick the stems through the front of the wreath and bend them to hold their places. Hot glue the base of the succulent to secure if necessary.

You can add as many or as few succulents as you'd like! I didn't want my wreath to be overstated, so I stuck to just three succulents.  

After all glue is cooled, your wreath is ready for hanging!

Win a Copy of My New Book, Creative Cut Cards!

It's finally here! This was a big project of mine last summer, and it's a thrill to finally hold it in my hands. Creative Cut Cards from Lark Crafts features 35 paper cut greeting card tutorials, including 10 of my own designs! This book is such  rich resource for those who love making greeting cards. The beauty of these particular projects is that you don't have to buy expensive embellishments, stamps, stickers, etc.; most of these cards simply require card stock; paper; adhesive; and a craft knife.

Each of these projects includes full color photos; complete instructions; and real-size templates to help you get a perfect cut!

The best part? I'm giving away a free, signed copy to celebrate! It's really easy to enter:

The giveaway is on my Instagram account. You have two ways to enter, or you could do both to double your chances:

1. Follow me on Instagram and like this photo:
2. Tag a friend in the comments of this photo:

πŸŽ‰It's giveaway time!πŸŽ‰ You can win a signed copy of this book, Creative Cut Cards: 35 card-making tutorials with photos and templates! TO ENTER: choose one method, or both to double your chances: 1. Follow me @theashleypahl & like this photo; OR 2. Tag a friend in the comments below. To win, you must have a U.S. address and 18 or older. Giveaway ends at noon EST on April 5th 2016. Per Instagram rules, I must tell you that Instagram is in no way sponsoring, affiliated with, or administering this giveaway. . . #giveaway #instagramgiveaway #contest #instagramcontest #ashleypaper #CreativeCutCards #makersgonnamake #getcrafty #creativityfound #paperlove #papercutting #greetingcards #diy #win #instabook #creative #abmcrafty #lovetocreate #stationeryaddict #stationery #stationerylove #papercut #etsy
A photo posted by Handmade Paper Goods (@theashleypahl) on

The giveaway ends tomorrow, April 5th. Open only to U.S. residents age 18 and older.

If you don't win, check out Creative Cut Cards on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, now available!

Follow me on Instagram: @TheAshleyPahl
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