Nov 30, 2012

Deck the Halls, Y'all!

All our Christmas decorations are up, and yes, I's not even December.  The stockings are hung, the halls are decked, and the tree is trimmed, so we can enjoy it for a while before it all has to come down again.   

I'll share some of our Christmas decor pics with you next week...but until then, take a gander at some of the cool Christmas decorating ideas I came across this year.  Perhaps they will inspire some cool displays in your home this year! (sources for ideas can be found under each photo)

Old colored bulbs (or even clear bulbs) would look festive in any container or bowl...

Styrofoam wreath + balls of yarn = charming homemade wreath...

A large branch hung over a kitchen island or table will draw lots of attention to your pretty ornaments...

Pile plain glass ornaments on a mantel for a beautiful and glamorous layered look...
 via House&Home

Get rid of the "tree skirt", and set your tree stand in a galvanized bucket for some rustic country charm...
 via House&Home

Find an inexpensive slate tile at the hardware store and use chalk to draw a Christmas image/saying.  Or, put some chalkboard paint over a scrap piece of wood and chalk away...
 via House&Home

How adorable is this Snowman wreath?  It's just 3 wreaths and closet-found snowman trimmings...

Hope you have a very merry weekend full of Christmas decorating and cheer!

Nov 28, 2012

Metal Washer Christmas Ornaments

I came up with this idea when I was tasked to create 25 identical cross ornaments for my dear friend's Jesse Tree/Advent Tree ornament exchange.  (I'll be sure to give you more details about the ornament exchange and Jesse Tree/Advent Tree in a future post!)

The concept turned out to be a super quick and easy DIY ornament idea with all sorts of easy-to-make shapes.  You can see I made a cross and a wreath, but I was thinking you could easily make a snowflake, a Christmas tree, or even cute little stick figures.

Here is how I made the wreath ornament...

Metal Washers (whatever size you desire - I bought a couple packs of several sizes)
Super Glue

1. Grab a cutting board or some other surface that won't get messed up by Super Glue.  Lay washers out in your desired design.  I used a basic "one washer under, one washer over" pattern for all my shapes, so the ornament would lay flat.

 2. After washers are laid out, one by one, at each joint pick up the "top" washer and place small dots of Super Glue on the two surrounding "base" washers and then lay the "top" washer down over glue.  Press firmly for a second or two, then move on to the next joint.  Let dry a few hours.  (If you're making several, I'd lay them out and let them cure overnight.)

3. Thread a festive ribbon through the washers and tie off with a loop on top (for tree-hanging purposes).

4. Tie a small bow in a contrasting color and glue it to the wreath using Super Glue.

Voila!  That's go hang it on your Christmas tree.

These would make great gifts for neighbors, teachers, family, and friends.  It's totally unique, heart-felt, and won't break the bank.

What are some other good shape ideas for the metal washer ornament?  Do share with us!

Nov 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Week Recap

Hi Friends, I've been off the grid for a week and it felt great! But, I'm happy to be back and prepping for some Christmas posts. Before I start the seasonal crafts, recipes, decor, and gift idea posts, I wanted to share some photos of our trips this last week over the Thanksgiving holiday.

First, we took a short drive down to Plymouth, MA with my visiting sister and bro-in-law to see the original Thanksgiving celebration site (or at least close to it). We went to Plymouth Plantation where they have a quite accurate rendition of the first Pilgrim settlement and the neighboring Native American homesite. It's not in the exact location as the original, but it's close by.

They did a great job with constructing the houses just as they were in 1620. And, the actors did a wonderful job answering questions about how the Pilgrims and Natives really lived back then.

After Plymouth Plantation, we drove a few miles to see the Mayflower II - a reproduction of the original Mayflower - and the official "Plymouth Rock" in the picturesque little downtown section of Plymouth.

The ship was really cool, but the rock was anti-climatic at best (I mean, come see it in all its "glory" in the picture above).  While the rock itself was a dud, Plymouth is well-worth a visit if you're ever in Massachusetts!

Now on to our second trip - NYC for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!  We had been before for Thanksgiving - see the post on that {here} - but this was our first year with our little one, which made it extra you can see below.

We also visited the 9/11 Memorial - a beautiful tribute to all the people we lost on that tragic day.  This is a spot all Americans should visit at least once in a lifetime, lest we never forget the victims, the heroes, and the families that were impacted forever.

We finished up the NYC trip with a visit to the Museum of Natural History, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square.

Hope you all had a very blessed Thanksgiving holiday and I look forward to sharing lots of fun things with you over the next few weeks as we all prepare for one of the holidays nearest and dearest to my heart, Jesus' Birthday!

Nov 19, 2012

Veggie Stamp Print

It's not every day that I cut a vegetable and think "Hmmm, I could use this for an art project!", but it did happen the other day while I was chopping up a yellow pepper for dinner and realized the inside top of the pepper looked like an abstract flower stamp....a true revelation, I tell you!

It resulted in some fun pepper art that only took about 2 minutes to do.  I think this would be a great kid-safe craft project for a variety of ages, and the materials are easy to find and very likely have most of the items around the house.

1 Pepper (any color will do!) - or even try some other veggies for some different shapes
Craft paint or finger paint
Small brush (or a plate to dip your stamp into)

1. Slice the top off of the pepper - making as flat of a plain as possible - leaving the pepper stem to act as a handle.

2. Pour paint in a cup, dab paint on pepper with paint brush, and stamp away! (or pour paint on plate and dip stamp in paint)

3. Lay the stamped paper flat and let dry completely before hanging in a frame.

4. Finally, display for all to see!

I think smaller peppers could make some really cute note cards.  (For Christmas cards - some jalapenos could be used to make a snow man - just stamp three circles and draw in a hat, scarf, twig-arms, and a face.)

It's no Andy Warhol, but it's unique and everyone asks about it!  Soon I'll be selling signed prints on Etsy...ok, just kidding. :)  Have a great week!

Nov 15, 2012

Some Entry Way Love

Now that we're getting to experience a mere sampling of Boston's chilly winter weather and have a growing collection of cold weather essentials stowed in our entry and mudroom, I've been scouring the web for some entry way and mudroom inspiration.  

The entry way was first on our "to beautify" list primarily because our guests see it the instant they are welcomed into our home.  (The mudroom shall be dealt with...but later)  After a little research and Pinterest pinning, here are my most favorite entry way photos:

When looking at all these together, I made a list of what we would like in our entry way: 
1) A console to use as storage and to place small items on (i.e. keys, phones, etc.) 
2) A few (very pretty!) hooks for hanging visitors' coats on (as we have a coat closet to stash our wares)
3) An area for shoes to be stashed, or an area where people knew to line their shoes up when they came over
4) A spot to sit for snow boot removal purposes

As you can see in my budget entry design below, 3 of the 4 happened - the console, the hooks, and a boot tray.

The jury is still out on a spot to sit...perhaps in the future.  I think it looks pretty darn good and the only items we bought were my two coveted Anthropologie hooks ($18 each), above.  Love them!

How do you think it turned out?  Do tell!
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