Light, wide are trends in hardwood flooring

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Barn boards can be re-milled into flooring with a rustic look.

November 16, 2014 4:30 am  • 

Lighter tones and wider planks are two of the big trends in hardwood flooring, whether you’re considering real wood or an engineered product.

Here’s a closer look at current themes from industry experts Scott Humphrey, the chief executive of the World Floor Covering Association, and Michael Martin, the chief executive of the National Wood Flooring Association.

Lightening up

During the economic downturn, people gravitated toward the traditional dark colors. But with the economy improving, Humphrey said, he’s seeing a rise in demand for lighter tones.

Some of these are finished to look like driftwood or washed in white to make them look beachy. The look is popular on both coasts and growing elsewhere in the country.

“There is a growing popularity in what are referred to as ‘domestic exotics,’ like hickory and ash,” Martin said. “Walnut is growing in popularity, and if left natural, is much lighter than traditionally dark-stained walnut.

That said, red oak and white oaks continue to be widely used and are easily stained for any design trend.

“Many of us remember the pickled light woods of 25 years ago. The gray, white and lighter multiple stain color processes of today are this generation’s version of that trend.”

Supersizing

Traditional wood floors usually have 2½- to 3-inch-wide planks. But some homeowners are gravitating toward planks that are 6 inches wide or more and also longer, Humphrey said. These can make rooms appear bigger.

“Wide and long planks are very popular in high-end homes at the moment,” Martin said. “Many new engineered wood flooring products are emerging to match this trend.”

He added that as the wood gets wider and longer, engineered products tend to move less and are more stable, depending on the humidity levels of the home.

Repurposing

Wood that’s reclaimed from buildings, homes, barns and other structures is getting new life as flooring. It adds a rustic or aged touch and tends to be used in a wide range of homes, from those that have casual or contemporary interiors to homes that feature more traditional furnishings to homes with eclectic designs. The farmhouse look is big this year, and reclaimed and lighter-hued woods both fit that aesthetic.

Roughing it

It used to be that hardwood floors had to look smooth and pristine. Some homeowners prefer the opposite, seeking wood planks that have been distressed or wire-scraped. The biggest advantage of these roughed-up woods: They hide scratches and nicks much more than smooth and shiny floors do.

Looking natural

“Matte, penetrating oils and UV finishes are gaining in popularity,” Martin said. Some of these finishes allow the grain of the wood to be more visible, a plus for homeowners seeking a rustic or natural look. “From a care and maintenance perspective, it’s important for homeowners to understand what type of finish they’ve installed as there are different techniques for upkeep,” he said.

Going green for a good reason

Published: Monday, November 17, 2014 at 5:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 14, 2014 at 6:45 p.m.

Use this light bulb. You can’t build there. Start separating your trash. That useful chemical is now banned.

By now, companies are used to dicta from government regulators and eco-activists that restrict when, where and how they can operate their businesses. For some, the burden of complying with environmental rules becomes a burden that they can’t economically bear. Others have challenged regulations that they say are overcautious or based on bad science.

But many businesses in Volusia and Flagler counties are starting to see the other side of the equation — the benefits of going “green” of their own volition, adopting changes that aren’t required by law. And they often find that making changes to benefit Mother Earth has an equally salutary impact on their bottom line.

The movement is spreading across Volusia and Flagler counties. Edgewater residents can now get pastries with a side of environmental friendliness at the city’s new Dunkin’ Donuts franchise, one of only three Dunkins in the nation to carry certification from the U.S. Green Building Council as a “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” building. Most local LEED-certified buildings are owned by governments, but Kohl’s in Port Orange and Palm Coast are among local businesses with the certification. The Daytona Beach Kennel Club won gold LEED certification for, among other things, using low-emissions paint, adhesives and sealants and using water-efficient landscaping, according to the building council’s website. And even older buildings have been upgraded to meet LEED standards: Gibbs Plaza on Woodland Boulevard in DeLand got its LEED credential for improvements including increased energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy sources and retrofitted plumbing, the council says.

Other changes go to the heart of a business’s function. Hudson Technologies in Ormond Beach spent $2 million to upgrade its use of chemicals, eliminating solvents only recently proven to contaminate groundwater and threaten human health — well in advance of any regulation. NASCAR requires drivers to use fuel that is at least 15 percent ethanol. AVEO Engineering, a Czech company that contracted earlier this year to build a hangar and aircraft-lighting manufacturing facility at the Flagler County Airport, is going green from the ground up, including charging stations for electric vehicles, solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system.

Companies are investing in this technology as a point of pride. But in some cases, business owners say the more environmentally sensitive option also makes financial sense. Increased energy efficiency, for example, can lead to lower power bills. Reclaiming water can cut utility costs. Even a simple and seemingly small thing — like mandating that employees use both sides of paper when printing, or going paperless altogether by switching to tablets and other portable devices, can save significant cash.

Then there are the undefinable benefits — the increased loyalty employees feel when their bosses take eco-friendly measures, and the local goodwill created when a corporation takes steps, on its own, to improve the environment for its customers and itself.

That good karma — the simple recognition that businesses are essential members of their communities, and are taking responsibility for making that community a better place to live — may produce the kinds of results that heavy-handed regulation could never achieve.

Christmas Decorating Trends 2014

A Detail from one of Garden Supply Company's incredible Holiday Trees.

Cary, NC — Garden Supply Company on Old Apex Road in Cary is almost always one of the first retailers to get out their Christmas decor when they install their heavily decorated trees right after Labor Day.

Serious About the Holidays, So You Don’t Have to be

Each January, right after their holiday sales, the design team of the Garden Supply Company, Brittany Owens, Kitty Mazza and owner Deborah Ramsey, travel to New York to see what trends they can capitalize on for the following year. Making these predictions more than 9 months before they will sell the merchandise can be a little nerve-racking, but through the years they have come to trust what they feel their customers will respond to.

While at market, they create themes that will guide them when the merchandise arrives and they start to recreate the magic they saw at market with the Garden Supply twist that Cary-ites have come to expect.

As the decorations arrive in late August they hire designer Trevor Bay to install fully decorated trees in the store along with elaborate tablescapes and mantels. This year there are five themed trees including one that hangs upside down!

The Themes

Santa Takes Aspen

This is a twist on their woodlands theme that is always popular with their patrons. Installed beside a fireplace and stuffed deer head, there’s no mistaking this hunt and outdoorsy trend. Kitty Mazza said that last year’s version of this popular trend was the first area to get completely picked over.

The tree includes life-size sleds, elves, berries, deer and woodland creatures in traditional holiday colors of red and green. There are plaid accents here too.

Complete with life-size sleds the "Santa Takes Aspen" theme is all about the outdoors.

Burlap Goes Ballroom

This trend expands on the popular trend of burlap that is popping up everywhere, especially on Pinterest. Here the burlap is mixed with sparkle and the message is that it’s okay to mix different genres of material like glitter and glass with the burlap which makes it look new and fresh.

A mix of burlap and glitter sums up this trend.Its OK to mix it up.

Chalk It Up

This trend plays on the popularity of chalkboards in home decor, not just in their own store, but seen in home decorating magazines and on Pinterest. There are ornaments here that evoke the feeling of chalkboards with white writing on black backgrounds. The colors are black and white with pops of red and lime.

Kitty says “Lime is always amazing to me, you don’t think of it as a Christmas color, but it really pops against the green of the tree” Snowmen are seen in this trend too, along with black and white checks and red and white stripes.

Black& White with touches of red and lime, and accents that look like chalk board writing give a modern spin to the holidays

Pet Tree

People love their pets, and many like to purchase something either for their pet, in memory of a pet, or to celebrate their love of their current pet. The designers decided to include a tree and area themed with ornaments and decorations all about pets. Here you will find ornaments that are cats and dogs along with an area where you can purchase items for your pet. Look for slinky dogs, Santa hat-wearing cats and present-toting poodles.

Ornaments with a pet theme are all grouped together on one tree this year

The Faith Tree

Christmas does celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus after all, and Garden Supply honors that with a tree solely dedicated to creches, angels and other religious related iconography. This beautiful tree has elements that could be used on a mantle or tabletop or hung on the tree in a more traditional decor.

Images of madonna and the baby Jesus along with creches of all sizes can be found in the Faith Tree at Garden Supply

Winter Garden

Kitty mentioned that their suppliers hope for at least a two-year cycle with items they make. For instance, some of the items in this trend may look familiar, such as the stuffed owls that have been popular for a few seasons. There are elements of nature too, such as birds and nests, reindeer and snowflakes which have been popular for a few years, but updated with glitter snow and updated colors like teal.

Winter Garden brings the outdoors inside with a dusting of snow

Christmas Garden

This tree is hung upside down and uses traditional Christmas colors of red, lime green and gold. Its the garden, but with all Christmas colors. There are bird cages, mushrooms, snowmen mixed with traditional glass ornaments and beautiful holiday ribbons.

The Christmas garden Tree is hung upside down to give this more traditional trend a shot of wow!

Whatever your style, its always fun to pick up one or two new items to freshen up your holiday decor. A new bow on a front door wreath, a fun elf or sled on the table, or a new swag for the fireplace mantle can make your holiday season look ready for 2014.

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Story and photos by Lindsey Chester.

From vintage to city chic: holiday decor trends

  • In this photo provided by Pier 1 Imports, Jazz Age-style motifs are a strong trend this holiday, and this beaded tree swag ornament hits the trend head on. For those who love to decorate, there’s no time like the holidays for adding some fun, festive touches to our living spaces. Photo: Pier 1 Imports, AP / Pier 1 Imports

    Photo By Pier 1 Imports/AP  In this photo provided by Pier 1 Imports, Jazz Age-style motifs are a strong trend this holiday, and this beaded tree swag ornament hits the trend head on. For those who love to decorate, there’s no time like the holidays for adding some fun, festive touches to our living spaces.

For those who love to decorate, there’s no time like the holidays for adding fun, festive touches to our living spaces. This year, there’s something for many tastes and styles.

A look at the trends you’ll see at stores:

CHRISTMAS PAST

The 1920s inspire a lot of holiday décor, with West Elm offering glittery Art Deco letter ornaments and star garlands, as well as Deco-patterned, mercury-glass hurricanes in silver and midnight blue. Elegant, gold, blown-glass animals fit the vibe.

At Pier 1, you’ll find beaded tree swags, as well as ornaments encrusted with sequins or glass mosaics. Beaded metallic pillars, champagne glasses and bottles, and chevron-patterned pendants add Jazz Age style.

Throw pillows and signs printed with a vintage-style chalkboard Christmas greeting hold charm at Pottery Barn, where the design is also available in a door mat. Here too, a decorative collection of old-fashioned village homes, churches and schoolhouses evokes turn-of-the-century German ornaments similarly made of cardboard and silver glitter. Purchases from the collection support shelters nationwide through the Give aLittle Hope organization.

For a more midcentury look, consider Crate & Barrel’s teardrop ornaments in a sexy, red matte glass. If you’re into making some of your own midcentury modern Christmas decorations, check out the DIY Network‘s website for suggestions including stockings and ornaments.

SNOW GLOW

LED lighting is now in just about anything, including holiday décorations. Ikea’s Strala collection includes a garland of pierced gold balls fitted with LEDs, and a bright red tree mat has built-in LEDs.

Frontgate’s Meteor light set twinkles, showers, shimmers and glows at the touch of a button.

Clusters of string lights look gorgeous under glass cloches; Restoration Hardware offers both in various sizes. And snow globes that send up a flurry of up-lit flakes with the push of a button are a twist on the traditional.

Also at the retailer: spare, birch-wrapped branches wrapped in warm LEDs, in various sizes for tabletop or entryway floor.

CITY SPARKLE

“This year I’m seeing deep, rich hues,” says designer Taniya Nayak. “Think sapphire, deep emerald and sexy violet. The real wow factor rolls in with the metallic touches. There is a cool juxtaposition that happens when you mix the sophisticated richness of jewel tones and the medley of copper patina and copper shine.”

Pier 1’s peacock-inspired tree skirt anchors a collection of vibrant ornaments in faceted glass, sequins or feathers.

There are accent pillows on the market this year decorated with glitter, bugle beads, sequins or metallic embroidery thread. Look for snowflake or tree motifs, or seasonal words like “Noel” and “Joy.” One or two on an entryway bench greet guests with panache; Target and Homegoods have nicely priced options.

Z Gallerie has the glamorous Folly collection of white and gold pearl wreaths, table trees and garlands, as well as crystal flower spheres and ornaments in trendy turquoise.

Stylized foxes and owls in white or gold acrylic add a soft, metallic accent to the tree or tablescape, from Ikea.

Pottery Barn’s chinchilla, fox or bear faux-fur tree skirts add a touch of luxe. Dress the tree with midcentury-style copper and brass trims for a cool and current vibe.

CAMP CHRISTMAS

The rustic, cabin-y look that took off last year has held strong. Woodland creatures populate the ornament collections at Land of Nod, while, in a twist, hedgehogs and raccoons are photoprinted on little stuffed ornaments at Target.

At West Elm, Boston designer Mimi Kirchner‘s felt foxes, deer, raccoons and bears sport jaunty scarves and plaid coats.

Ikea’s Vinter collection features Swedish patterns on cushion covers and guest towels. At Pottery Barn, an advent calendar with farmhouse charm is created out of small, galvanized buckets mounted on a pine frame.

Artists Petra Borner and Fiona Howard have designed ornaments for Crate & Barrel evoking European folk art designs. Here too, clever tree collars made of glossy red or galvanized metal to resemble vintage tubs.

FOR ENTERTAINING

Nayak loves “any mixture of glam and rustic,” including “a winter-white backdrop with reclaimed wood and a bit of polished chrome.”

Crate & Barrel’s got a selection of laser-cut, crocheted and curled paper snowflakes in creamy hues of champagne, bronze and white; add a few glittery, beaded ornaments in silver and muted grays.

Sandy Chilewich has a new collection of mats and runners rendered in gold, silver, gunmetal and brass, in a chic geometric Pebble pattern.

At Target, Nate Berkus’ Ascot Star dessert plates and trays feature a classic foulard pattern in smart black and white that would work for get-togethers straight into New Year’s Eve.

For Hanukah, Jonathan Adler offers a blue, Lucite cube menorah, as well as an array of mod, ceramic-animal menorahs. At Williams-Sonoma, a collection of porcelain plates and serveware in cream with a graphic print of ancient temple menorahs would add style to a holiday buffet.

Sara Peterson, editor-in-chief of HGTV Magazine, likes colorful décor beyond the traditional red and green. “Felt pom-pom garlands are always a party hit, and not just for Christmas trees,” she says. “String them on stair railings and around mirrors, and drape them from your curtain rods.”

Think beyond the living room, Peterson says.

“Add a little decorating twist here and there throughout your house,” she says. “It’s fun to do something beyond just setting the table. In guest bathrooms, use a whiteboard marker to write a fun holiday message on the mirror, and put down a holiday-themed bath mat. In the kitchen, plant mini cypress trees in colorful glazed pots, and swap out regular dish towels for festive tea towels.”

Christmas Decorating: 3 trends to update your home decor

For the third straight year, burlap reigns over holiday decorating trends. But this season, the textile chills out with pairings of white ornaments, white mini lights, glass globes, white flowers and snowy birch twigs for wintry wonderlands.<br />
Source: Trees N Trends

For the third straight year, burlap reigns over holiday decorating trends. But this season, the textile chills out with pairings of white ornaments, white mini lights, glass globes, white flowers and snowy birch twigs for wintry wonderlands. Source: Trees N Trends

Photo by Tim Barber.

Homeowners traditionally haul out the holly the weekend following Thanksgiving to start trimming their trees. But with Thanksgiving falling so late in November — only four weeks to the day before Christmas — many folks are preparing to decorate their homes over the next two weeks, say local florists, hobby and design store retailers.

“I’ve got several customers who’ve come in that already have their houses decorated,” says Gil Cartwright, co-owner with Curt Hodge of Flowers by Gil and Curt. “We’re already booking parties; and usually people wait to book at the last minute.”

More than 300 women packed into Trees N Trends in Cleveland, Tenn., last weekend for its annual holiday decorating seminar led by Kevin Roberts and Michelle Sowder. Although there aren’t any new, unseen trends in holiday decorating this season — burlap and Deco Mesh still reign — Roberts did show accessory items for updating decorations that homeowners have collected over the years.

These updates can be categorized as: new in lighting, nontraditional trees and a sophisticated use of burlap.

1 Lighting: “Lighting brings the magic to your decorations,” says Roberts. “You can have the most beautiful pieces, but if they aren’t lit properly, they fall flat.”

Roberts and Sowder wowed visitors at the design seminar with ideas incorporating metal candle display holders ($19.99 for box of six). Designed like a small hanging basket, one end holds tea lights, LED votives or mini-pillar candles while the opposite end is shaped into a hook to suspend the basket.

The designers used them inside lanterns in place of candles, hanging from pedestal arrangements and dangling from Christmas tree branches. Roberts even created a chandelier from an inverted wreath then suspended candles at staggered heights below.photo

Miniature white lights have been popular for several years, but this year’s light strands are even smaller. Rice lights — so named because each light is the size of of a grain of rice — are strands of thin wire with tiny lights spaced along the length. They can be purchased in battery-operated or electric styles, and in lengths from 6 1/2 feet to 25 feet. Other trade names for these dainty strands are Starlights or fairy lights.

“Anywhere you can run a tiny wire, you can use LED lights,” advises Roberts.

Ginnia Staley, creative director for The Great Christmas Place at The Pool Place, says LED candles with timers on them are “another thing that is really taking off.”

“Once you turn them on, they will continue to come on at that time and then turn themselves off four or six hours later,” she says. “When used in arrangements, you have the look of a glowing candle, but you don’t have the mess that goes with it.”

Domed glass globes, used singly or in clusters of three, were a strong theme in holiday lighting. The globes are lit from within by rice lights; some use only lights, others mingle lights with a “filler” such as pine cones, metallic balls, Santa figurines or other collectibles.photo

Large block letters spelling out holiday welcomes have been popular mantel accents for several years, but this season’s versions are illuminated in white bulbs. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres recently pitched her own line of these lit letters on television retailer QVC.

“You buy them in sets, either in your monogram or spelling words such as ‘Joy.’ They are battery-operated so you can put them on the mantel or table or even in the tree,” says Roberts.

2 Nontraditional trees: Both permanent trees and their color schemes are veering from the traditional.

“Black and gold — we’re seeing a lot of that,” says Michael Greenwell, general manager of Hobby Lobby on Gunbarrel Road. “We sell a black Christmas tree that can be decorated in all-gold ornaments. The cool thing about a black Christmas tree is that you can use it for Halloween, then turn right around and decorate it for Christmas.”

Dreaming of a white Christmas? White or flocked trees will be trimmed in garland and ornaments of one nontraditional color. Most prominent: turquoise/teal. Think “Frozen” movie colors, which retailers say most likely inspired this look.

One retailer already expects this look to evolve into a major color trend for Christmas 2015.

photo

“There are a lot of ‘Frozen’ colors out now, but in the next year we’ll see a resurgence of a more elegant blue, like cobalt, and icy colors. I think we’ll see icy blue and purples on next year’s color palette,” Staley predicts.

3 Sophisticated burlap: Burlap … sophisticated? Sounds like an oxymoron, but that nubby textile so integral to the country/rustic look takes on chic style this Christmas when combined with white lights, metallic textures, glass globes, gold- and platinum-colored ornaments.

“We’re seeing burlap with sparkling accents, seeing it get more feminine with laces and glittered looks rather than just plain burlap,” says Staley. “We’re seeing a resurgence of more natural looks this season — using pine cones, birds and mixed greenery — and burlap goes with natural greens.”

Use Your Credit Wisely This Holiday Season

By Courtney Soinski

holiday-credit-hangover-image-blog

As you buy holiday presents for your friends and family this year, using your credit cards wisely may actually save you money.

Follow these tips this holiday shopping season to help you save money, stay on budget, and protect your credit in the future.

 

SET Your Limits (and stick to them)
  • Set a budget, spend what you can afford, and plan how you will pay it off.

Make a list of those for whom you’ll buy gifts and set a dollar amount for each. Total to determine your holiday budget – and then stick to it. Have a set number of how much you plan to spend this holiday season, and don’t spend more.   Plan out how you will be paying off your holiday purchases and set a deadline.

  • Leave your cards at home unless you plan to make a specific purchase.

Retailers are experts at temptation and it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit. Find something that is perfect, but outside your budget? Go home and re-evaluate your budget before splurging. If it’s still a good idea and you can fit it into your budget, you can go back to the item. It also gives you an opportunity to price compare online to make sure you are getting the best deal.

  • Know your interest rates.

It’s common for credit card to have a variable interest rate. If that’s the case, your interest rates could increase without you even realizing it. Know this information before you go shopping to avoid using a higher interest card versus a lower interest one.

 

PREPARE to shop
  • Look for credit card based discounts

More credit card companies are offering coupon codes or other ways to save money on things you might have purchased anyway. Most now have websites where you can sign up for special offers, like a $20 discount off a $100 purchase at a certain store. Review these offers and you may save big.

  • Use points and rewards.

This may be the best time to cash in on rewards or points on gift cards – to use as gifts, or to purchase gifts at the retailers from whom you’ve planned a purchase.

There are even free apps that can help you make the best purchase decision based on the rewards offered on each card.   For example, Wallaby keeps track of the rewards available for each card – even rotating offers with deadlines. Use the app while shopping to determine which card will give you the best rewards for each gift you buy.

 

WHILE You Shop:
  • Monitor your credit limits.

Know the credit limits on all your credit cards and the balances you are carrying. Getting too close to your limit can negatively impact your credit score.

  • Be wary of retail credit card offers at checkout.

When you check out, you may be asked if you want to save 10% on your purchase if you open a credit card. Many of these cards have high interest rates and low credit limits – using a large percentage of your credit can be bad for your score. Your credit score may also be negatively impacted by opening a new credit line.

  • Be wary about identity theft.

The holiday season is definitely prime time for identity theft. Get your credit card back after making a purchase and take the receipt. If you decide to shop online, make sure you look for security symbols like “VeriSign” or “TRUSTe” because those sites protect your personal financial information using encryption.

  • Remember to pay your bills on time.

Did you know that 35 percent of your credit score is determined by how reliable you are to pay your bills? It’s important to not miss even one payment. Life can definitely get hectic during the holidays, but don’t let parties, decorating, or shopping distract you from your financial responsibilities.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

22 DIY Holiday Gift Ideas

From jar recipes to winter survival kits, these homemade presents are cheap and easy to make.

Woman wrapping holiday gifts.

One rule of DIY gifting: Don’t wait until the last minute to get started.

By   Nov. 14, 2014 
The holidays are fast approaching. If you’re planning to make any do-it-yourself gifts for the people on your list, it’s time to start getting them together. Whether you’re an experienced crafter or last made papier-mâché sculptures in third grade, you can make great homemade gifts. Here’s how to get started.

The Principles of Homemade Gifting

Before we launch into a list of great gift ideas, let’s talk about some of the basics of making and giving homemade gifts. It’s a little different from just shopping off someone’s wish list or picking up a gift card.

Even the simplest homemade holiday gifts involve an investment of time and money on your part. So take this advice when choosing and creating homemade gifts for the people on your list:

  • Don’t try to learn a new skill now. Many of the gift ideas on this list take next-to-no skill. But if you’re not super crafty, now is not the time to try to learn a new skill to make holiday gifts – unless you have the help of someone who already knows what he or she is doing. Stick with gift ideas that are within your current skill set. Then, starting at the first of the year, you can learn to sew, knit or whatever to make other gifts.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. The bane of all crafters is the last-minute gift attempt. Sure, you can leave conventional shopping until the last minute and come out with basically the same results. Not so when it comes to holiday crafting! Whether you’re making one gift or 50, start crafting as soon as possible so you can take your time.
  • Think of the recipient. Of course, you always want to think of your recipient when choosing gifts. But if you’re buying something from a box store, friends or family can always take back something that doesn’t quite fit them or their tastes. When you’re making handmade gifts, this isn’t the case. So extra thought is definitely required.
  • Shop around for supplies. Most big craft stores – Michael’s, JoAnn Fabric and Hobby Lobby, especially – have great sales on craft supplies periodically. Sign up online to get notifications of what these stores have on sale each week. Most of them also send out great coupons on a regular basis, so you can save on your bigger-ticket supplies.

22 Gifts to Try

Now that we got that out of the way, here are some great homemade gift ideas to try. They range from small, inexpensive gifts for teachers and others in your life, to larger, more time-intensive ideas for close friends and family members.

Jar Gifts. Gifts in a jar have been around forever. But that doesn’t mean they’ve gone out of style. These pretty, simple gifts are great for teachers, neighbors, service workers and just about anyone else on your list. Try the classic cookies in a jar or this adorable reindeer-decorated hot chocolate in a jar. For a healthier option, try soup in a jar. Or give the gift of a spa night with these layered peppermint bath salts.

For a bit more money, you can also put together a creative gift inside a larger jar. Try this sewing kit, awinter survival kit or a spa in a jar.

Food Gifts. Of course, some of the jar gifts involve food. But here are some other great DIY food gifts – especially for the foodies in your life. Homemade cookies are always a great option for easy gifting. You could also try some DIY cooking ingredients, like homemade bacon salt, flavored oils or evenhomemade coffee syrups.

You could put together spice kits, or even make your own delicious Herbes de Provence. Got a movie lover in your life? Put together a package of DIY popcorn seasonings, popcorn and a movie. For the foodie who prefers fresh ingredients, try this herb terrarium centerpiece – it’s gorgeous and useful at the same time. Finally, please the wine lover in your life with this simple packet of mulled wine spices.

Sewing Gifts. If you’ve got access to a sewing machine and some basic sewing skills, these gifts might be for you. These adorable pajama eaters are a little complex, since they involve a zipper, but they’re a creative gift for kids (and moms who don’t want to wash a different pair of PJs for every day of the week!).

DIY microwaveable heating bags are a no-brainer of a project for teachers, mail delivery people and others for whom you just want a small, quick-to-make gift. Your kids could even help decorate them. (For a bigger gift, stick two of these in a large jar for a winter survival kit!).

Linen napkins are fairly simple, and they’re a perfect gift for people who love to host. Head wraps are another easy gift for the younger crowd.

Photo Gifts. For parents, grandparents and even kids, you can’t go wrong with photo gifts. Plenty of websites let you put together semi-DIY photo gifts that the company prints and then sends to you. These are really simple ways to make calendars, photo albums and more.

But you can turn your own photos into great gifts, too. This puzzle photo gift is great for little kids and adults alike. Or try these beautiful photo votives to light memories with a candle glow. This photo holderlets the recipient choose which pictures to display. And this photo jewelry would make a gorgeous gift for any mom or grandma.

But remember, regardless what’s under the wrapping paper, the people in your life will appreciate the time and effort you put into making them a personal gift. And during this season of giving, it’s the thought that matters.