In an earlier post, we announced our exciting collaboration with Cricut in a very special Christmas campaign. For this project, we invited designers and bloggers to embellish different Balsam Hill decorating themes with items made with Cricut machines. Along the way, we hope to show you how a little creativity can make your home even more beautiful for the holidays.

A Handmade Holiday with Cricut and Balsam Hill

Anna Rose, Desiree, and Shannon from the Cricut Design Team were kind enough to take some time to speak with us about what inspires their beautiful work. Get to know them a little better in this exclusive interview.

1. Could you tell us a bit about the Cricut Design Team’s decorating style in general? How did this translate to your approach for A Handmade Holiday?

Anna Rose: My personal Design Style is Vintage Eclectic. I love finding vintage items and mixing them with new items. I used this same idea to mix common Christmas colors with new ideas…like Christmas sweater art!

Desiree: The Cricut Design Team loves to create beautiful things. We love to make things that surprise our audience. We love the words, “You made that?” That was our goal when we partnered with Balsam. We wanted our projects to look as beautiful and elegant as Balsam Hill.

Shannon: As a design team, we try to incorporate a diverse style aesthetic so anyone and everyone can be inspired by our projects. I love classic, clean designs with an element of elegance or an element of fun. I love using color. For the Handmade Holiday projects, we brainstormed the ideas to be sure we had elegant, traditional, whimsical, and modern styles. Hopefully, there is something appealing for everyone!

2. Is there a basic process you follow before undertaking a design project? Did you take any new or special steps for this decorating project?

Anna Rose: I always start with an inspirational color palette. From there, I go shopping – online or in stores. I always find one item while shopping that springboards the rest of the design. This time, it was a roll of plaid ribbon that I fell in love with.

Desiree: The first step in my design process is looking for inspiration. That inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes it comes when I am surfing the web, sometimes it is triggered by a color scheme on fabric or something I see when I am driving home. For this project I happened to be traveling on the East Coast right before our team was about to start, I found a lot of inspiration in the places that I visited in Rhode Island. When I find inspiration that I am excited about, the design process comes really easy from there.

Shannon: I see inspiration in my life every day. I find myself taking mental notes of fabulous color schemes, design details, and unique ideas. Sometimes I snap a photo for reference later. I like to browse maker hashtags on Instagram for fun. Since I am actively seeking creative inspiration I notice it in my every day life. Then, when I sit down to design a project all of that inspiration filters down through my brain, melding and morphing into a new project idea. I love to brainstorm ideas with my team. Together we can build on an idea until it becomes something I never would have thought of on my own. For this project I did some research about the design aesthetic of Balsam Hill. I considered the color and style of the Balsam Hill products we were using in the scenes. I like to start with the elements I know I am using and then build the scene with other ideas from that starting point.

3. How long did it take the team to complete decorate the scene(s)?

Shannon: Three of us dedicated a week to creating the seven project scenes. Once we had the Cricut projects designed and created, the staging process came together very quickly.

An elegant mantel decked out in a refined color palette of blue, silver and gray
An elegant mantel decked out in a refined color palette of blue, silver and gray

4. Were there any challenges you encountered in incorporating your designs with the Crystal Palace theme? What did you do to overcome these?

Desiree: At first, we thought we could make a beach-themed Christmas work. The farther we got into it, the faster we realized that nobody on the team was in love with the Idea. Halfway through, we decided to scratch the idea and the concept. I am really glad we did that because I think we came up with something that was absolutely beautiful.

5. Do you have any tips on how to go about incorporating new colors into an existing holiday color scheme, or coming up with a new holiday color scheme?

Anna Rose: Find a point of inspiration, whether it’s a length of ribbon or piece of art, and springboard from there!

Desiree: If you add new colors, make sure it works with what you already have. Then you don’t have to waste items you have previously purchased.

Shannon: My favorite tip is to pay attention! Often we see color schemes we love in fashion or magazine ads or floral arrangements. We tend to think too linear. Try to train your brain to take in the color scheme and see it in a new way. Have a shirt you love? Why do you love it? How would the colors translate to home décor? Also, be aware of color balance. If you want to use a crazy bright color, go for it! Just be sure to balance it with a healthy dose of neutral. Be brave. Try new things!

6. What’s your favorite way to personalize your holiday décor?

Anna Rose: I love adding my family’s names to items – stockings, presents, etc.

Desiree: As a designer, I have my own personal style, so I love to buy things that I can embellish and make them 100% me.

Shannon: I like my décor to be one of a kind. Customizing with my family’s names is an easy way to make them feel special. I like to take an existing décor piece and add an extra little touch. I often like to involve my kids in the decorating process. The pinecones we made for the Crystal Palace scene are a great example of decorating and crafting as a family activity. My girls can help put the pinecones together and then go to town adding glitter!

7. What was it like decorating with Balsam Hill products? What did you like most about them?

Anna Rose: I love that Balsam Hill products have such a lux feel.

Desiree: I really love the general style and richness Balsam Hill products add. It was the touch that took my normal homemade tree to looking rich, warm, and elegant.

Shannon: The quality of the products is obvious when you handle them. The ornaments are unique and stunningly beautiful. I love the beautiful floral picks we were able to work with. They were moldable and lush. I loved adding them to the centerpiece garland and the trees. The Balsam Hill wreaths are large and full. They were a delight to work with. I dream of owning a Balsam Hill wreath.

8. Was there a Balsam Hill product by which you were particularly delighted? Why?

Anna Rose: The large pre-lit wreath was soooo gorgeous. I love it so much.

Desiree: I thought the ornaments were so cool! There are so many different shapes and sizes. They add so much dimension in decorating.

Shannon: The gray velvet ribbon is amazing! I loved that one side was velvet and the other a shimmery metallic. The texture variation is beautiful.

Beautiful and intricate, this leaf garland is a great decorative accent
Beautiful and intricate, this leaf garland is a great decorative accent

9. What’s your favorite part of the scene you created? Is there something different that you did this year that you particularly like?

Anna Rose: My favorite project is the tiny Christmas house wreath. It is the type of project that took a lot of time, but was worth the time spent ten-fold when I hung up the finished product.

Desiree: I fell in love with the huge leaf garland that we put across the mantle. It looks so awesome placed with the Balsam Hill garland and ornaments. Nobody would know that it is made of paper.

Shannon: My favorite project was the music themed wreath. I have never used purple in my holiday décor before and now, I am in love with it. The gold glitter music notes, sheet music rosettes, jingle bells, and purple ornaments look amazing with the greenery. I absolutely adore it.

10. What are some of things to keep in mind when using the Cricut machine? Any pro tips you would like to share with new Cricut users?

Anna Rose: The Cricut is the ultimate DIY tool to help decorate your home for any time of the year. If you can dream it, most likely the Cricut can help you make it.

Desiree: Just try it. Your mind will be blown with the amount of possibilities it brings.

Shannon: My tip is: if you have an idea…TRY it! Play! Have fun! Insert or import some images and start to design. Click on every feature and see what it does. If you have a specific question, look online for tutorials. If you have an idea, I promise that the Cricut Explore can help you make it a reality. I love my machine. I use it every day…both at work and at home.

11. How do you decorate your own home for Christmas?

Anna Rose: I’m going to copy exactly what I made for Balsam Hill this year!

Desiree: I keep things simple but bold.

Shannon: I like to use a lot of bright colors in my ornaments but white lights in my trees. I still have kids at home so I like to incorporate their artwork and projects as part of the décor. I love greenery and lights. My end goal is for my home to feel inviting, festive, and fun.

12. If there’s one piece of advice you can pass on from all your years of decorating, what would it be?

Anna Rose: Be confident in your personal style. It doesn’t matter what others think of your home, it matters what YOU think of it.

Desiree: The number one thing is to trust yourself. If you look at it and love it, it’s probably perfect. If you don’t, then there is probably work to be done.

Shannon: Be brave. Try your ideas. If you love it, great! If not, step back a little and see if you can tell what it needs. And if you still hate it? You can always make something else. Just go for it! There is joy in the creative journey.

Drop by again in the coming days for more updates, and watch out for weekly posts revealing the beautiful scenes created for this Christmas decorating collaboration. For more details about our holiday decorating themes, visit Balsam Hill today.

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