Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The stockings were hung.....

I don't know about you, but we are ready for Santa. We have our stockings hung on the mantle and are just waiting for the big man to make his arrival!

This was my first year to decorate a mantle, so I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted garland, but after I hung the stockings up, it just looked blah. I added pine cones in a tall vase that I already had on hand and then went to Target (the best store in the world) and picked up two small pre-lit trees. I was planning on doing bows or something to dress up the planter for the tree, but, as you can see in the picture, I just couldn't seem to get it right. Maybe next year.

How do you decorate your fireplace / mantle? Send me a picture, I would love to check it out and maybe borrow some ideas for next year. It's never too early to start thinking about it, especially with with all the great after Christmas sales coming up!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ornaments in a Jar

I love to find different ways to display some of the beautiful ornaments they have for sale these days. There are so many great color themes out there (red & silver, red & gold, bright colors, silver & gold, etc.), but you can't exactly do every theme on your tree at once. So, I try to do little mini displays using the themes around the house. I saw these ornaments at Home Depot last week and I knew I had to have them. I already had a large jar from the Pottery Barn Outlet and I knew they were look great in it. What do you think? How do you display ornaments at your house?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Apothecary Jars

NOTE: WE'VE MOVED! Visit: Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for lots of apothecary jar ideas! 

I am not sure if this is my final product, but I wanted to share my Christmas Apothecary Jars with you. Let me know what you think. I usually do garland in one of the jars, but I wanted to try something new this year, so I did the bows.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Outdoor Christmas Decorations

I know it's still a little early for outdoor Christmas displays (typically I stick to the after Thanksgiving rule), but I just couldn't wait this year. I showed you earlier this week how I made my wreath and garland and I used to pre-lit trees from Target to finish off the display. The trees came two in a package, so it worked out perfect. I added the bulbs to them so that they would match the other items. I would still like to somehow "dress up" the planters the trees are in, but I am not sure what I want to do yet. Maybe just add ribbons / bows to them? And the doormat is more functional than part of the display.

The garland was too heavy to hang using hooks with just stickies on the back, so my husband drilled holes and attached permanent hooks to the wood surrounding the door. I hate to have to do things like this, but it will make things a lot easier in the future and I will not have to deal with coming home to sections of the garland hanging down.

If you are going to make "ornament garland", like this, I would recommend that you hang the garland first and then attach the ornaments. I am not sure why I did it the other way around, but it resulted in many ornaments falling off when it was being hung and a few shattering on the porch. Don't learn this lesson the hard way like I did!

After I did my project, I was browsing on the Pottery Barn website and saw this! Without even knowing it, I pretty much replicated their design. And for a small fraction of their insane price!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas Garland

In addition to making the bulb ornament wreath, I also made a garland to hang around the doorway. The fall garland I used was pre-made and just needed to be attached. However, I was unable to find any Christmas garland that I liked, so I ended up making my own. I used the five 9ft. strands of pine (fake) garland from Michaels. The strands are very thin, so I elected to double them up. Just like with the leaf wreath, I just attached the bulbs using ornament hangers and made sure to secure them very tightly.

Price breakdown (all items purchased from Michaels):
-Garland: $2.99/strand
-Ornaments: $4.99/box (I used probably six boxes of different sizes ornaments - I am sure I could have found these cheaper somewhere).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Making a Bulb Ornament Wreath

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I was on vacation and not doing anything creative! But I am back and got started on some Christmas projects this weekend.

My first project was a Christmas wreath. I want to do a Christmas display in my entry way similar to what I did for the fall, so I figured a wreath would be the best way to get started.

I picked up a Christmas pine wreath from Michaels, some cheap bulb ornaments (two different sizes) and wire ornament hangers. I attached the bulbs using the ornament hangers and made sure to twist them very tightly so they would stay nicely. I attached most of the bulbs to the "base" of the wreath instead of to the actual branches to try and get them to attach more securely. This was a very easy project and took maybe 20-30 minutes. But I have to admit, it was a pain to secure the ornament hooks because they dig into your skin when you bend them.

Here is a price breakdown (everything was purchased at Michaels):
-Wreath: $4.99
-Ornaments: $10 (estimated - not exactly sure what they cost. I probably should have just used ones I had at home).
-Ornament Hangers: $2 (you will have a ton left over)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Carving - Stencil Style

When I was younger, we have to carve pumpkins using only our imaginations. If we were smart, we used a pencil to draw the face we wanted to carve on the pumpkin. Those days are over.

For less than $5 I picked up a Sesame Street carving kit at Target. I am sure you could find free stencils on the internet, but I like to have the special tools. Here are the steps we followed:
1) Pick your stencil and tape it to the pumpkin. I always cut the paper to help round it to the pumpkin.
2) Transfer the outline of the stencil onto the pumpkin. I like to use a "poker" tool to do this. I actually think this is the hardest part because it is so tedious.
3) Remove paper and start carving.
4) Touch up any areas you may have made errors.

I think each pumpkin took 45 minutes to an hour total. Not bad at all in my opinion. And I think these look so cool all lit up. I used two tea lights in each one. I used a different camera than before to take the last picture and I think it turned out great.

And you may wonder why my husband is in every picture and not me. Well, it is because he is a good sport and does not mind posing for my pictures at all. I actually think he likes it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

White Pumpkin Project #2

This was my first time ever carving a white pumpkin. I expected it to have an orange filling (like I had been told it would), but it actually had a yellowish center. And, oddly enough, it smelled like cucumbers. Very interesting. I gutted the pumpkin out and then turned the project over to my husband. I am not good with power tools and I had heard that it drilling holes in pumpkins wasn't the easiest thing to do. My husband did a great job and just drilled a bunch of holes free hand. I probably would have tried to make sure they were equal distance apart and measured everything, which would have taken hours. The pumpkin turned out very cool, although, I did a horrible job of capturing it with my camera. But trust me, it looked way cool. I will for sure be doing this again next year!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Refinishing a wood bed.

Instead of spending a ton of money on a new bed for our guest room, I am hoping to refinish a bed I already own. I have had this bed for awhile and have long outgrown the light wood shade of it it. After reading various blogs (mainly Holly's), I decided I should try to give it a whirl myself. The first picture is of the spare bedroom. As you can see, it's a little, well, plain. It's just an empty bedroom right now. The picture of the bed itself is very old and was taken ages ago. The bed is currently "in storage", so I don't have anything more recent. But it is in great shape and looks brand new. I am planning on sanding the wood, then painting it a nice cream color. If all goes well, I would like to have this done by Thanksgiving (I like to make realistic deadlines). I can't wait to see the finished product!

Tell me, what have you refinished? What do you want to refinish?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Photo Wall

I wanted to do a photo wall in my house and searched all over the internet for pictures of a style I liked. I didn't find anything that was totally what I wanted, so I adapted a few ideas and just went with it. I bought a monogram wall decal from Etsy (who doesn't love Etsy) and grabbed the pictures frames I had around the house and staggered them on the wall. I will add more picture frames eventually and I can always change out the pictures to get a new look.

As a side note, I hate when people say that they used only things they had laying around the house to design / create something. But in this case, I really did have all those frames. I had a mini photo wall in my old house and I am very matchy matchy, so I always bought the same type of frames whenever I needed a new one.

Overall, this cost me only the price of the decal ($24), but you could easily do something similar for under $100 total. IKEA has some great frames and if they don't have the color you are looking for, don't be afraid to spray paint them to get what you are looking for. It's cheap and super easy. To me, those are key. Do you have a photo wall? If so, I would love to see a picture.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lamps for Less

For years now, I have always loved stacked glass ball lamps (I am not sure how else to describe them). I never bought one and stuck with my (cheap) IKEA lamps instead. The ones I found were always so expensive and I just could not justify spending $200+ on a lamp. Plus, I needed two. While strolling through Target one day, I stumbled upon the exact same style lamp I have always loved, but it was made out of plastic instead of glass. Making the lamp way more budget friendly and toddler friendly as well! The Target version was around $29.99, plus the cost of the shade (like $15).

While the Target version is a bargin compared to most lamps of this style, it is an absolute steal when compared to the Ralph Lauren version, shown in the first picture below and available here. It's on "sale" for $1,360. Ouch. The second picture is my Target lamp. The only real difference I see if the shade, which is an easy fix if you must have the same look as the RL one.

And, if you like the look of designer clothes, but don't want to pay the designer price tags, check out J's blog. She is fabulous!!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Uppercase Living

When I first got invited to an Uppercase Living party, I'll admit, I wasn't very excited. I could not understand the concept of wall decals. After talking to a few friends, it finally clicked and I was intrigued. I ended up ordering two pieces. A custom one for above my bed which I was able to select the font, size, etc. I also ordered a stocked piece for my kitchen. The minute I got them up, I love them. My husband actually put them up for me (I tend to not do so well with that kind of stuff) and it took him maybe five minutes to get them applied on the wall. I will admit that I have not taken any off the wall yet, so I am not sure what will happen after I do. I imagine it's nothing a little paint can't fix.

Have you ever ordered from Uppercase Living or a similar site? What did you get? Or what do you want to get?

Monday, October 12, 2009

White Pumpkin Project #1

For my first white pumpkin project I decided to paint one of the pumpkins. This way, I can get two uses out of the pumpkin. I can paint it and display it for a bit and then wash it and the carve it. I think it's a pretty awesome way to get a little more bang for your buck.

Because I am not the worlds best artist, I picked an easy design (a bat) and drew the outline on the pumpkin with a pencil. If you look close, you can sort of see it in the picture. I outlined the design in black paint and then filled in the rest with a thin coat of paint. I wasn't too sure what to do next because my paint was super thin. I guess that is what you get for using washable children's finger paint? My husband, however, actually did have an idea and pretty much pushed me out of the way and took over. He put a ton of paint on the brush and sort of globbed it on, for the lack of a better term. It worked great and he totally saved the day! Does the bat look perfect? Nope, but I love it and it was a super easy project.

As always, I like to provide a cost breakdown:
Pumpkin: $6
Paint: $3 or so? I already had this, so it's hard to say. If I were to do this again though, I would get a different type of paint.
Brush: $1 or so? I already had this too.
Bat Stencil: Free from the internet.
Total Cost: $10 (at most)