My Material Life

Nutcracker Place Card Holders


These are inexpensive nutcracker ornaments from Michaels that I turned into a set of place card holders with those miniature wooden clothespins that you can find at craft stores.  Such a snap to make; wouldn’t a set of these make a fun gift?  Crate & Barrel had some nutcrackers in white and silver and gold that were a little more expensive, but they’d make a beautiful set too.  I might see if they still have some of those at the after Christmas sales.  If you don’t have much need for place card holders you can put these guys to work holding signs for food at your buffet table.  That’s what I did yesterday.  I had a little coffee in the morning for some of my friends from Samantha’s school.  I’ll tell you how I made them, but first I want to show you some other new things I was excited to put to use yesterday.


I recently purchased 12 of these glass mugs from IKEA. They are made in France – a perfect balance of form and function.  I’ve written about them before, so I’m happy I finally had good reason to buy them.  They cost $1.50 each.  I picked up a plastic box while at IKEA for storage in the garage until I need them for another party.


Trader Joe’s sells these sugar swizzle sticks from Belgium in a nicely packaged box of 10.  Add a little whipped cream and turn an ordinary cup of coffee from plain to fancy and festive in an instant.  I plan to lay in an extra box of these for St. Patrick’s Day.  I’ll whip my own cream, add Irish whiskey, and call it good.  I love the wooden sticks too.  I’m going to have to save them because I think they might come in handy some day.  But don’t worry; I won’t try to serve you food on them!


Did you guess that the fabric was Marimekko?  I love it so much.  I found it at the new Marimekko shop at Stanford.  It’s called Raanu.  But back to the nutcrackers.


They came with a gold metallic cord loop that was glued inside a small round indentation in the top of the hat.  I was able to pull most of the cord loops completely out – that’s the ideal.  Now if you have a party and you want your guests to take their nutcracker as a party favor, you could simply attach their name on a piece of paper or stamped on fabric tape (you’ll see this in my next post) to the loop and call it a day.  Otherwise, try to yank that loop right on out.


Next, I painted my mini wooden clothespins with some iridescent gold Liquitex paint that I had on hand.  I used the edge of a paper plate to hold the pins for both painting and drying.

IMG_5300  IMG_5303

When my clothespins were dry I used some Fabri-Tac (wonderful stuff) to glue the pins to the back of the nutcrackers’ hats as shown above.  Some of my nutcrackers’ hats were slanted and so, the cards placed in those clips slant as well.  Mostly straight up and down hats work best.  Finally, I found some little gold jingle bells left over from a previous project that I used to cover that small hole in the top of the hats.  The bells just happened to have a protrusion for threading that fit perfectly in the hole.  I used a little more Fabri-Tac to glue them in place.

The Stanford Marimekko Shop

The Stanford Marimekko Shop

I almost forgot to show you these.  Aren’t they beautiful?  Almost too pretty to eat.  My friend Terry brought them as a gift.  She is an artist and designer with the skills of a professional baker.  They taste as good as they look.


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