For some reason it took me longer than usual to get my home decorated for the holidays this year. While I usually get it done over a weekend, this year it seemed to evolve over several weeks following Thanksgiving. I’ve shared my holiday toy truck, shirt pillow and snow globe projects with you in previous posts. In this post, I thought I’d show you a few other things I’ve done around the house to decorate for the holidays.
Rolled up red and white hand towels are displayed on the bamboo shelf. A cinnamon spiced candle surrounded by pine cones and cedar adds festive color and fragrance to the bathroom.
A red velour pillow, a scented candle and a faux fur throw cozy up the master bedroom.
I’d like to sincerely thank all my dear readers for your support and encouragment during my first year as a blogger. Every comment, like, share, pin, or repost means the world to me. I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. Merry Christmas!
Snow globes and terrariums have been around forever. These miniature worlds under glass have always seemed to capture the imagination. And why not? They have a magical quality that evokes childhood memories and wonder.
I recently purchased a glass cloche for the purpose of creating my own holiday-themed miniature world. Going through my collection of Christmas ornaments, I found a couple of ceramic figurines of ice skaters which were the perfect focal point for my scene. Using a vintage silver serving bowl as my base, I filled it with fluffy fake snow. A few bottle brush trees of varying sizes were nestled in around the figurines. A wooden sleigh ornament added another texture to the scene. This little world requires more than a glance to take in, and brings detail and whimsy to my holiday decor.
I enjoyed creating this little scene and once I got started, there was no stopping me! I realized that just about any clear glass container could be used for such a project and set about my home to find other vessels from which to make more snow globes.
I learned a few things the hard way while working on this project. I had to disassemble and re-do my globes several times, so I’m sharing my tips in hopes you won’t make the same mistakes.
Tips for Making Snow Globes
The wider the mouth of your jar, the more space you will have to create your scene, so look for jars with large lids.
A pretty ribbon around the jar lid edge covers any printing and adds a bit of elegance. Glue ribbon around the edge of the jar lid first.
Test your scene inside the jar (with the lid screwed on) to make sure everything fits before adding snow. I made the mistake of putting everything perfectly in place only to find my tree was too tall to fit inside the jar!
In order to lift the scene enough to be clearly visible above the snow, you will likely need to elevate your pieces. I used a wine cork sliced into rounds to raise my ornaments a bit. Adhere your ornaments to the cork with glue.
Once you are satisfied with the appearance and fit of your scene, secure the ornaments to the lid with glue.
Place the snow inside the jar.
With your figures upside down, place the lid onto the jar. Then turn it upright so that the snow falls onto your scene. You may need to shake it a bit in order to settle the snow evenly between your figurines.
This is a project that can probably be made with things you already have on hand. While Christmas ornaments make great focal points, don’t limit yourself to them. A bird’s nest, pine cones, or other natural elements also look lovely surrounded by snow and placed under glass.
So I urge you not to toss that pickle jar when the pickles run out! Use it to create your own snow globe for the holidays. I think you’ll find this project will spark your imagination and fill your home fill with a touch of magic.
For me, a big part of decorating for the holidays includes changing out pillows in nearly every room of my home. It’s an easy and inexpensive thing to do that infuses the house with the Christmas spirit. When the season is over, I simply remove the holiday pillow cover and put a different cover on the pillow form. Storing pillow covers takes up little space and allows me to continuously change up the look of my rooms.
Last year, I made holiday pillow covers from a place mat, sweaters, a skirt, a flannel nightgown, and even a velour bath robe. This year, I added to my collection with a pillow cover made from a flannel shirt.
I found this bold red and black buffalo check men’s flannel shirt at the thrift store and knew the print would be perfect for my holiday decor. Here’s how I transformed it into a pillow.
Measure first. This shirt was exactly 20″ across and my pillow form measured 20″ X 20″ so I was able to use the existing side seams without having to cut or sew them.
Button the shirt completely and spread it out on a table so that it lies flat, making sure there are no wrinkles on either side.
Cut straight across the top of the shirt just under the sleeves. Then, cut straight across the bottom so that the total length is approximately an inch larger than your pillow form. If your shirt is larger than your pillow form, cut 1/2″ larger than your pillow form on each side. This shirt’s checked pattern made cutting a straight line rather easy.
4. Now, turn it inside out so that the right sides of the fabric are together. Pin across the cut edges and then sew the edges together.
5. Unbutton the shirt and turn it right side out. Ironing the seams open before turning creates a more professional look, especially if your fabric is stiff. With the tip of your scissors, poke out the corners so that you get nice sharp points on all four corners.
6. Insert your pillow form, button it up, and ta-da–you’ve just made a pillow from a shirt!
Would you believe this pillow only took about 15 minutes to make? It’s a fun, easy way to recycle old shirts. When the season is over, I’ll remove this cover and put on a different one, but right now I’m enjoying the cozy look it brings to my living room.
Do you have any old shirts that would make great pillows? If so, I encourage you to give this project a try. It’s easier than you think.
Are you a Pinterest addict like me? I can spend hours drooling over beautiful photographs and gathering ideas. Last year around the holidays, I came across a decorating idea I loved and decided that I would start looking for a way to replicate it. It was an old toy truck that had been decorated for the holidays as a table centerpiece.
A few weeks ago I found my truck! I visited a new-to-me thrift store and sitting right at the front of the shop was my toy dump truck. Best yet, the price had been marked down from an outrageous $75 to only $6. I’m not sure why it had been marked down so drastically but I don’t ask questions when I see these kinds of deals–I just do my inner happy dance and snatch them up!
While I initially intended to use it only for Christmas decorating, I quickly realized that it could be outfitted for fall as well. I immediately filled the bed of the truck with fallen leaves, dried foliage, sprays of orange berries, an acorn squash, and white mini-pumpkins for a natural fall display. I even placed one mini-pumpkin at the rear of the truck to make it appear as though it had fallen off during transit.
After enjoying it decorated this way for a while, it was time to look forward to Christmas. The truck’s original bright yellow color had been painted over with black paint and while it wasn’t terrible, I knew I wanted the color to be a little more vibrant for the holiday season. I was leaning heavily towards red but ultimately decided that green would be more versatile.
Knowing that milk paint adheres well to metal and makes for a old fashioned matte finish, I decided that this was the type of paint I wanted to use. I like its chalky texture and knew from a previousproject that it was easy and forgiving to work with. I researched my options on line and purchased a fairly bright Tavern Green color.
After the first coat, I could tell the color was going to be a little brighter than I had hoped so I added a second coat and then brushed on a brown antiquing glaze to tone it down a bit. To add more detail to the truck, I added an accent of cream colored paint on the tires to create “white walls.”
I love how it turned out! I tucked in some evergreen cuttings and placed a small artificial Christmas tree in the bed of the truck. I added a string of fairy lights to the tree to enliven it and filled the bed with a load of tiny wrapped gifts. A couple of the packages were placed at the rear of the truck to create the impression that they had fallen off during transport. To decorate the front grill, I added a tiny spray crafted from a sprig of rosemary, a brass bell, and some faux berries.
The toy truck adds a spirit of fun and whimsy wherever it is placed and I just love how versatile the piece is. I can envision it filled with a pretty spring flower arrangement in the summer or pots of succulents in the summer. I may even use it as a serving platform for party favors, drinks or utensils at an outdoor party. Rest assured, you’ll likely see it again in a future post!
Perhaps you have an old toy truck that once belonged to your children–or maybe you saved one from your own childhood. If you’ve got one packed away somewhere, I urge you to bring it out and use it in your seasonal decor. It is likely to bring smiles to the faces of everyone who sees it.
For my end of summer dinner party a few weeks ago, I decided to go with a beach theme. I love the anticipation a menu provides and enjoy preparing menu cards for my guests. Because the beach theme lent itself to a watery, free-flowing design, I thought a little watercolor art would be well-suited. This project requires little to no artistic talent and it was fun to do. Here’s how.
I used 4″ X 6″ heavy card stock for my menus but you could also use watercolor paper which is more textural and durable. You want your paper thick enough to be absorbent and hold up to the water, but not so thick it won’t go through your printer.
I used an inexpensive palette of watercolor paints from the craft store and a paint brush I had in my art supplies. Fill a small container with water. Dip your brush into the water and then into the paint.
Experiment a bit on inexpensive paper before working on your card stock to get a feel for how the paint will look. I used mostly blue, light green, purple and tan colors for this project. If the color is too dark, just add more water to your brush and it will become more translucent. If you want more saturated color, use less water and load up more paint on the brush.
Once you are confident with your technique, start applying the paint to the cards.
Swirl, blend and mix the paint colors together until you are pleased with the results.
After I was finished with the background art, I loaded up my brush with paint and tapped it across my finger spraying each card with paint to mimic the look of splashes and bubbles.
The paper will likely be damp after you are finished. To keep it from curling, press it flat under a few books for a few hours or until dry. This will also help it to go through your printer. (Note: be sure to change your printer setting to thick or photo paper before printing.)
Design your menu layout. I used a sea shell motif from a free clip art website and the “Fortunates December” font which has a breezy casual feel. Click here for the free download.
Once your design is ready and your cards are dry, print out your menus.
This technique is really easy and the results are surprisingly professional. Plus, I like that each guest can take home an original piece of “art” as a memento of the evening.
The same watercolor art was used to make tags for the parting gift I gave my guests. I placed small containers of sea salt in cellophane bags and added nautical wooden medallions from the craft store. Blue and turquoise markers were used to paint the wood medallions. Tied up with a piece of raffia, these favors complimented the theme of the party and let our guests know we appreciated them coming.
This is a fun and easy project that can be used for many things, e.g., place cards, gift tags, craft projects. It can also be adapted to the seasons or holidays. Can you picture it in golds, oranges, greens and browns for fall? Or how about vibrant floral colors for spring? I can.
I began learning to sew when I was in the eighth grade. I begged my mother to teach me much earlier, but she believed I should wait and learn the “correct” way by taking a home economics class at school. I remember eagerly buying my first pattern, a smock top with a yoke, heart-shaped pockets, and butterfly sleeves. (Yes, I know I’m dating myself here!) I searched the fabric store for just the right fabric, thread and notions. I selected a white cotton background with little navy blue sailboats floating across it. The yoke and pockets were a coordinating navy blue and I trimmed it with oversized rick rack. As a first attempt, the end result was amateurish, but I wore it proudly and couldn’t wait to tackle my next sewing project.
In the years following, I made much of my own clothing, taking on increasingly more difficult projects. I must admit that I was not a perfectionist about my early stitching endeavors. Impatient to get the piece finished, I usually sped through the process, leaving puckers, crooked top stitching, uneven hemlines and other signs of a novice seamstress in my wake!
My sewing skills did improve over the years and my interests later shifted from clothing to home decor. Sewing for the home is relatively easy compared to making clothing, as it tends to be mostly straight line stitching. I’ve probably saved thousands of dollars by making my own curtains, duvets, pillows and slipcovers. One of my greatest pleasures is revamping a tired room with fresh pillows or new curtains and I love giving my home a custom look on a budget.
Given the influx of inexpensive textile imports over the past few decades, it is often no longer cost effective to make one’s own clothing or home furnishings. However I still enjoy the process of occasionally pulling out my sewing machine and creating something unique.
Did you ever sew a garment or something for your home? Do you remember your first sewing project? If so, I’d love to hear about your creations.
Do you have a hallway or stairwell wall that is currently empty because you can’t figure out what type of artwork would work there? Do you have family photos that you’d like to display but can’t figure out how to do it in a tasteful way? Or perhaps you have a mishmash of disparate pieces of art and photographs that don’t seem to go together and need a way to display them? A gallery wall just might be the solution!
We recently purchased two sofas for our family room which necessitated a room makeover. Suddenly the wall that formerly was taken up by our television was now blank. Because this wall faces the living room and is immediately visible upon entering the family room, I wanted the wall to make a statement.
I did a quick inventory of my home to see what artwork I had on hand that might be useful. I had a few larger pieces in neutral black, white and sepia tones, all framed in black I knew I had a few smaller black frames in storage and that I could easily put together a gallery wall which would make a statement in the space.
Here are the steps to creating a gallery wall.
Curate your art. While gallery walls can be a mixture of frame styles, colors, and different types of artwork, I decided to put together a mostly black, white and sepia toned color scheme to create a calm effect. Adding in dimensional pieces, such as the coral in the shadowbox and the square shelf box shown in the picture below, creates interest and adds texture.
Lay out the artwork on the floor. Play around with the layout until you find an arrangement that looks balanced. You don’t want things to line up too perfectly in this style arrangement so don’t worry about making the spaces between frames exactly the same. Mix up your frame orientation with some hanging horizontally and others vertically. You can also mix in different shapes, e.g., a round or oval frame. Adding in a mirror or small shelf can add interest.
Take a photograph. Once you are happy with your layout on the floor, take a picture as a reference to transfer the layout to the wall. While your original layout doesn’t have to be set in stone, you will refer to it often as a guide.
Make templates. It takes a little extra time to do this but it is well worth it. I cut out templates from newspaper for each frame and marked where the nails would go in red marker so that it would be easy for me to hang the artwork once in place.
Transfer the layout to your wall using painter’s tape. Attach the templates to the wall following the layout from your photograph. You will probably need to adjust the spacing a few times before you get it right, but the painter’s tape makes it easy to move the templates around. Better to play with the layout using tape than with nails in the wall!
Nail it down. Once you are pleased with the layout of your templates, go ahead and put nails in the spots you have marked in red.
Peel the templates off the wall and hang your pictures. Use a level to make sure each item hangs level as even one picture out of square can make the whole display look disheveled.
This is project that is especially effective in stairwells, hallways, or other areas that can be difficult for which to select artwork. Family photographs can look especially artistic on a gallery wall if they are printed in black and white (or sepia tones) and framed in a similar manner. A gallery wall provides limitless options for displaying your artwork in a unique and interesting manner.
Do you have a spot in your home that would look great with a gallery wall?
I am always looking for quick and easy ways to update my home. By keeping major pieces of upholstery neutral, pillows can be the catalyst for a whole new look. I have found that a simple change of pillow covers is an easy way to embrace trends, add color, and give rooms a fresh look.
I noticed some time ago that many placemats were roughly the same size as a lumbar style pillow. I realized that by opening up one seam on a lined placemat, a pillow form could be inserted and the seam re-stitched, resulting in a lovely custom-made pillow.
I found this placemat on clearance at Target for a mere $3.88. I loved the subtle herringbone pattern and the elaborate crewelwork embroidery. The colors just happened to fit perfectly with my current living room color scheme. Importantly, it was lined with a backing that separated from the front which made it possible to open up a seam and insert a pillow form. Naturally I snatched it up!
After considerable research, I’ve found that Crate and Barrel has the best variety of pillow forms at terrific prices. I got my 12″ X 18″ feather/down pillow insert for only $9.99. They have the same size down-alternative pillow for just $9.00.
Here’s what you’ll need for this project:
First measure your placemat. Mine measured 14″ X 20″ so I decided to find a form that was slightly smaller than those dimensions because I prefer a soft mold-able pillow. If you prefer a firmer pillow, just use a larger pillow insert. I ended up purchasing a 12″ X 18″ form which allows for easy sewing as well as possible shrinkage of fabric when the placemat is eventually washed.
In most cases, the placemat will have a row of top stitching around the entire edge of the pillow. You’ll first need to remove that in order to get to the seam inside. Once you have removed the top stitching, firmly pull the fabric apart at the seam and use your seam ripper to find a stitch that you can cut. Once you have the first stitch or two opened, it becomes easy to cut the other stitches and open up the seam.
After you have opened the seam enough to fit the pillow inside, insert your pillow. Line up the front and back sides of the placemat opening and secure the edges together with pins. Then use a blind stitch to hand sew the two sides back together. This will hold the opening together securely and the stitches will be “invisible” from the outside of the pillow. (If you’re not sure how to do a blind stitch, here is a great tutorial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbE5hXt27uU)
You can also sew the opening together by top stitching on a sewing machine, but if you do, you’ll need to be able to sew a straight line very close to the edge, which can be a little tricky. This is why I prefer hand stitching. If you do choose to top stitch on a sewing machine, I’d encourage you not to overstuff the placemat as it will be difficult to keep the edges together as you machine sew.
This is an extremely simple project that even novice sewers can do. Keep an eye out for inexpensive placemats that you can convert into pillows throughout the year. It is easy to undo the seam and pop the pillow form into another placemat, which allows you to change up your decor as the seasons change.
A good friend was recently cleaning out her closets and came across an old cheese box. She offered it to me and I of course I accepted! I used to have an end table that had been made out of an old cheese box so I knew these boxes could be turned into very interesting home decor items. Without any alterations, it could be used for a multitude of storage needs–hats, belts, gloves in a closet, to display oils and vinegars on the kitchen counter, or to hold sewing or knitting supplies. Just imagine it stocked with glasses of iced tea or lemonade served up at a summer garden party! But since the box was in excellent condition and had that rustic quality I love, I wanted to find a way to display it so that I could enjoy it on a daily basis.
For inspiration, I did a quick internet search for “cheese box DIY.” Lots of great ideas came up but the idea that appealed to me most (for now anyway) was to create a hanging shelf with it.
To make this hanging shelf you’ll need a cheese box, two leather belts roughly the same width so that they can be buckled together, and a piece of wood for the shelf. In addition you’ll need a saw and sandpaper. I have an electric mitre saw which made my job very easy, but you could use a hand saw and a mitre box if you don’t have an electric one.
I decided to place my shelf about 2/3 of the way down on the inside of the box. This would allow a bit more height in the space available for objects. I had saved some pieces of wood from a moving crate and found they were a fairly close match to the natural finish of the box. After measuring to get the right length, I cut the board at a slight diagonal in order for the shelf to better fit the curve of the box.
I sanded the edges of the cut until smooth and simply placed the shelf inside the box. I did not see the need for glue or nails to hold it in place as it fit snugly and I knew additional weight would be placed upon it to hold it down. I also like that the shelf is removable so that I can easily change up the use of the box in the future.
Next I took my two belts and buckled them together so that I had a continuous loop or circle. I used two brown leather belts that were roughly the same width and color but you could use any thickness, color or style. I think woven cloth belts would look fabulous as well. If you don’t have any good options in your closet (or your mate’s), you can always find lots of great options at thrift stores.
The next step is to take the belts, loop them around the box and loop one edge of the belt over a sturdy nail. I wanted my buckles to show so I positioned them prominently.
I decided to hang it in my kitchen and displayed some of my grandmother’s antique butter molds. I added some ivy in a jam jar to add color and life. I think a collection of old spice tins or antique bottles would also be lovely. Or imagine this piece hanging in the bathroom displaying rolled up towels or bath salts and soaps. What collections do you have that could be displayed to perfection in this box?
As soon as the Christmas decorations come down, I find my eye craves a fresher palette. It is such a treat to walk into the stores in January and see all the pretty spring pastel colors on display. My mind turns to spring and I can’t wait to begin planning my home decor for the upcoming season.
I was in a local craft store last week and spotted this stunning wreath for $60. I’ve seen similar wreaths for a whole lot more in high-end shops.
I checked out the construction and quickly realized that a knock-off version would be easy and could be accomplished for less–a whole lot less! In fact, I was able to recreate this wreath for less than $10.
Here’s how I did it. I was lucky to find a slightly smaller styrofoam wreath form at a thrift store for $1. The craft store sells the larger ones for around $6 so if you have to purchase one, your total cost will still be well below the cost of buying the wreath ready made.
I then headed to my favorite local 99¢ store. I purchased 8 bunches of silk flowers in spring colors. I was careful to look for an assortment of shapes and sizes and I steered clear of anything that looked overtly fake or colors that seemed unnatural. (In other words, the bright blue roses didn’t make the cut!)
You will need a wire cutter tool to make this job easy. Before you begin cutting, slide any leaves upward to the base of the flower. Start clipping the flower stems apart, leaving a stem of about 1½ inches on each flower for insertion into the styrofoam base. I wanted my wreath to look similar the one at the craft store where the flowers were bunched by variety and color, so I decided to follow the same approach.
Start pushing the stems into your form. They should stay in on their own, but if you find they do not, you can always put a dab of hot glue on the end before inserting and that should keep them in place.
Place the stems close enough to one another so as to avoid the form showing through. Some of my flowers were fairly large and I found they did not need to be very close to cover the form well. I added sprigs of yellow around the perimeter of my form to give it a feathery look.
I did have to do a little rearranging once the stems were in place to get the spacing even and to get the colors balanced, but still the entire project took only about 30 minutes. While it didn’t turn out exactly like the wreath in the craft store, I’m pleased with it and feel I got a similar look at a much lower cost.
I added a ribbon for hanging and experimented with different places inside and outside the house to hang it.
This is a quick, easy and inexpensive project that will provide seasonal beauty to your home. Keep in mind that you can customize the wreath by selecting colors and flowers that best fit your decor. I urge you to give it a try!