Tag: holiday decor

Here Comes Cupid

I decorated the house for Valentine’s Day! What a cheery task. I had so much fun framing a few love-themed art prints, digging out my heart-shaped plates and gathering all the pink and red decor I could muster from around the house to create cute little nooks.

Here’s what I came up with for the kitchen. Notice the poinsettia leftover from Christmas? It matches my kitchen so well I figured I’d keep it for a while longer and I love how cute it looks in this Valentine’s Day vignette.

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Bee mine art print

And the dining room. Ready to serve a Valentine’s Day cocktail fit for Cupid himself at a moments notice.

Love, Love, Love art print

And finally the living room. Spotted: another squatting poinsettia. I had to let him stay, too.

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Happy Valentine's Day art print

I also love how a few pieces of existing decor ties so well into my Valentine’s Day pieces making the house feel festive and sweet without being overkill or corny.

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it. But first up, the Super Bowl! Are you excited? I can’t say that I am, but it’s usually a fun day nonetheless. Go team!

Trimming the Tree

The tree is trimmed! Here it is cheering up our living room in all its glow-y heart warming beauty!

Finished Tree

I mixed all of our old ornaments with a few boxes of new designs and I love the way it turned out. Here’s a closer look at the ornaments I used.

All Ornaments

Old Ornaments
Old Ornaments
New White Ornaments
New White Ornaments
New Bird Ornaments
New Bird Ornaments Leftover from Wreath Making
New Silver Ornaments
New Silver Ornaments

I started with the above silver ornaments that I picked up at Target this year to fill in such a big tree. This is the biggest Christmas tree we’ve ever had so I knew I needed some extra ornaments, but I didn’t want to break the bank. I got 12 large ornaments in this pack for $15 and they nicely filled in a few holes in the tree. I layered on the white ornaments next followed by the green and finally the red. Putting the entirety of each color on at time helps me evenly distribute them throughout the tree for a more balanced look. Last and most importantly I added our more ornate and meaningful ornaments like the angel that Mike’s grandmother gave him during their last Christmas together, and the lovey dovey snowman couple that we got for our first married Christmas – complete with our wedding date. Here’s the final product!

Tree Close Up

Red Reindeer

Bow Tree Topper

Christmas Tree

Tree & Stockings

Finished Tree

There it is! I love how it glows like this at night. I’ve become quite the Christmas sap since marrying Mike. He’s helped me see Christmas in a whole new way and appreciate little things like a cheerful tree much more than I used to. If you celebrate Christmas, do you have your tree up yet? What’s your favorite ornament?

 

 

Easy DIY Holiday Art

After crafting the outdoor Christmas wreaths to adorn the front and side windows of our home this season, I knew I wanted to add a personal touch to our indoor decorations with a fun Christmas craft as well. This is what I came up with.

Easy DIY Holiday Art

My inspiration came from this glitter reindeer art that I pinned a while ago. I liked the simply get sparkly look of the art and it looked like something simple enough to recreate. When Mike and I were in Michael’s a few weeks ago looking for Christmas decorations I picked up a pack two canvases on sale for $7 and two bottles of Martha Stewart’s craft paint for $2.99 each, so these two custom pieces of holiday art cost me just $11. I also used a foam brush, a small painting brush and some glue dots that I already had. If you had to buy these I think the total project would cost around $20. Still a great steal for some awesome art – especially because you can make the colors and style match your decor perfectly! Here’s a look at everything I used for this project.

Art Utensils

The stencils you see above were a great Pinterest find, too. Another blogger had them hosted on her site available for free download. Score! Free printables are one of my favorite things. You can access these files here.

Christmas Printables

As I mentioned above, I bought two new craft paints for this project. One is a silvery glitter called Antique Silver and one is a gorgeous red color called Habanero. I also had a pretty forest green and bright white left over from another project that I had on hand but didn’t end up using.

Craft Paint

Before I started painting, I took a second to look through the four pages of stencils I printed out to come up with a rough composition for my art. I decided that I liked the Christmas tree and reindeer shapes best. Initially I wanted to make a print with all three words, but I thought ‘love’ was a little more hippie than what I was going for, so I decided to split up ‘joy’ and ‘peace’ and pair each one with a shape.

Three Words

Peace Reindeer

Joy Christmas Tree

With the competition set it was time to affix the stencils to the back of the canvas so I could trace the design right onto the front. I used the easily removable glue dots to secure the stencils because they wouldn’t do any damage to the back of the canvas.

Glue Dots

I don’t have one of those handy dandy artist light boxes, so I used the next best thing. My iPhone! I clicked on the flashlight tool and held the light up to my canvas so I could see the lines clear enough to easily trace them. The light wasn’t bright enough to lay on the table, so I had to hold it right behind the canvas and move it along the lines as I traced to get a clear view. I was worried this may be a pain but this step when pretty quickly and wasn’t very difficult.

iPhone LightBack Lit StencilHere’s what the tracing looked like when it was finished. I used pencil so I could easily erase or paint over mistakes and readjust the design if necessary.

TracingWith the stencils traced it was finally time to break out the paint. I decided to use the light silvery glitter color first because the red would cover it later so I didn’t have to be careful painting outside the lines. I quickly applied the silver coat with a foam craft paint brush.

Silver Coat

With the silver glitter coat finished it was time to break out the small paint brush for the smaller sections that I was painting red. The brush has an angled tip which made it a little easier to stay within the lines, but my lines certainly are not perfect. Notice the uneven ‘Y’ in joy? My lines aren’t straight at all, but I think these small imperfections lend a hand crafted feel to the art – so I love it.

Red Paint

I reversed the colors for the second print and made the background red and the letters/shape glittery silver. Nothing says Christmas like a glittery reindeer. Holla! Note, you can’t pick up on the glitter in the below photo as well as the above, but it’s just as glittery in person as the background of the joy print.

Peace Print

With both of the prints painted I was done! The project took me about 2 hours in all between gathering all the materials, cutting the stencils, tracing, painting and putting everything away. It wasn’t bad at all, and I find painting to be very relaxing.

Final Prints

And here’s what they look like up on the wall. I think they make our photo collage look super fun and festive. They really add a Christmas-y feel to our living room and play well with the rest of our decorations.

Photo Collage

Prints From Right

Prints From Left

Notice the new living room furniture layout with the couch against the wall? We did some rearranging the same night we put the tree up. I’ll go over the new layout in more detail in my post outlining our indoor Christmas decorations. Stay tuned!

Are you guys planning to tackle any Christmas crafts in the next two weeks? What hand crafted decorations make your holiday extra special?

Brightest House on the Block

Remember when I told you to just call us the Griswolds? I said that for good reason. We may have gone a bit overboard with the Christmas lights this year, and we’re just a little scared to get our electric bill come January. But hey, we’re festive!

I love the way we were able to mix in Mike’s beloved colored lights in the red and green Edison bulbs that we ran across the front roof line and the strands of colored lights we used to outline the fence and bushes in our back yard with warm white lights, wreaths and garland for a really warm look. I wish we could have lined the peak of the second story roof in red and green lights too, but there’s no way either of us were climbing up there to make that happen.

Overall I think our decorations do our expansive corner lot justice and hopefully make our neighbors feel like we take pride in our neighborhood. We decorated over a few days and there was definitely some editing and tweaking involved to land on this final look. This is our first year decorating for Christmas and we knew we’d have some kinks to work out, but our thorough planning this year should make next year a breeze!

In my conversations with friends and family so far this season it seems like men have a fondness for colored lights while women like the simpler look of warm white lights. I’m a white light fan myself, but I’m a sucker for how excited my sappy hubby gets over festive colored lights, so I’m glad we were able to compromise and incorporate them both. Are you on team colored lights or team white lights? How are you decorating the outside of your home for the holidays?

Stuffed, and I’m Not Talkin’ Turkey

Thanksgiving was late this year so we decided we would dedicate a lot of time during the holiday weekend to decorate our house for Christmas both inside and out. After spending a few days focused on our outdoor decorations, Sunday was finally my day to go crazy shopping for indoor decor to round out what we already had. I’m a pretty lucky girl with a husband who actually enjoys shopping (for at least a little while) so after a leisurely morning and a light breakfast we ventured out hoping for great deals and not-too-crazy crowds.

Scion Stuffed with the Christmas Tree

After a few hours of shopping it was time to drop off our spoils at the house and head out to get the Christmas tree. Mike knew of a local fire company that was selling trees about five minutes away from our house, so we decided to head over there in the hopes of supporting a community organization. Five minutes after we stepped foot on the lot I set foot on the beauty pictured above, and I knew that lush Douglas Fir had to come home with me. I don’t even think Mike got a second to check it out before the firemen were wrapping it with netting and carrying it to our car. He just said, “happy wife, happy life,” and off we went.

Well, it wasn’t quite that easy. You see, Mike and I have gotten a real Christmas tree each year since we moved into our first apartment nearly four years ago – and each tree has perfectly fit into the back of his trusty Scion xD. My knees were jammed in the dash and his torso was twisted every time to accomodate the tree’s trunk in the tiny car, but it fit nonetheless. Maybe it was my romantic ideals of the perfect first Christmas in our new home, the poorly lit fire company lot where all the trees were leaning or the haphazardly way trees of all sizes were packed in together that distorted my ability to tell what size our chosen tree actually was – but it wasn’t fitting. The Scion was stuffed to the gills and there was absolutely no way the hatch in the back was closing.

With the tree packed in as tightly as it could be and our hazard lights on we gingerly pulled out of the parking lot to start the quick five minute drive home. I had one arm holding onto a sturdy branch at the tree’s base (as if I could hulk out and keep it from sliding out of the car – yeah right) and the other was wrangling our vlog camera trying to capture some of the craziness. Mike’s No. 1 goal for me?

Christmas Tree in Trunk

“Just keep your eye on the rear view mirror to see if anything flies out of the back,” he said as the hatch completely flung open. “Sure, no problem,” I thought, praying that we wouldn’t hit a red light or a strange patch of Sunday night traffic. I’m a wonder woman multitasker. No sweat.

Luckily we made it home with no problems and Mikey manhandled the tree into the house. We attached the tree stand, cut off the netting and BAM! There it was. The most beautiful and enormous tree I’ve ever owned. Right in our living room. More than 1,000 lights later and this gorgeous tree made our hectic day worth every minute. I spent the rest of the night decorating our downstairs (post to come) and I was bursting with Christmas spirit by the time we rolled into bed in the wee hours of Monday morning. I’m a night owl and nothing makes me feel more accomplished than a late night spent getting things done. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Christmas Tree with Lights

I can’t wait to decorate it! I’m just waiting for a not-so-busy night when I can get really creative and inspired. There’s nothing worse than rushing to get something done when you’re not feeling creative, but I hope to get the tree decorated one night this week. Stay tuned.

How are you guys celebrating the holidays? Did you spend the weekend after Thanksgiving on shopping, decorating, or both?

Last Minute Ways to Make Thanksgiving Special

Holy moley – can you believe it? Thanksgiving is TOMORROW! How did it creep up so quickly? If you’re like me, you thrive on pulling last minute details together to make a holiday celebration extra special. I’ve seen so many cute ideas drifting around the internet that I’ve been ohhh-ing and ahhh-ing over for the past few weeks. We’re traveling all day on Thanksgiving to my home town in Pennsylvania where my Mommom is hosting us for lunch and my Mom and Nana are pulling out all the stops for dinner, so I wasn’t able to put any of these cute ideas to use since we’re not hosting. But, I figured I’d round up my favorite easy-to-execute Thanksgiving ideas just in case they could be of use to you! Meanwhile, I’ll be baking my butt off since I’m in charge of bringing dessert this year. Pumpkin Dream Cake and French Silk Pie, anyone? Yum. But anyway, here are some of the last minute details that I think you could quickly pull together to give your dinner an extra special touch.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Heaping piles of leftovers are the best party of any great Thanksgiving dinner, and your guests will probably be clambering for every last slice of succulent turkey and whipped mashed potatoes to enjoy the next day. This suite of Thanksgiving leftover printables from Courtney over at Pizzazzerie is by far my favorite extra special touch for a memorable Thanksgiving feast. I mean how stinkin’ cute are these? You could easily print them out at home and slap them on plain paper lunchbags using a glue stick for a custom look and your guests will be toting home leftovers in style.

Thanksgiving leftover printables from Pizzazzerie
Thanksgiving leftover printables from Pizzazzerie

Gold-n-Pumpkin Place Cards 

If Laura’s birthday was any clue, you know I love dressing up a table to make an occasion feel extra special. I used a variety of small pumpkins and gourds to decorate our house for fall and they’ve been around for weeks now. When I came across this gilded pumpkin place card idea from The Nest I loved the way it dressed up a simple gourd to feel luxe and personalized. In my case, I’d take a few of the gourds that I already have laying around and  give them a quick coat of paint at some point today before tying a handwritten place card (possibly made from a gift tag?) on the stem. How easy is that? And it’d be super cute!

Gilded Place Cards from The Nest
Gilded Place Cards from The Nest

Notes of Thankfulness

Mike’s family has a tradition of going around the table to say what we’re each thankful as a way to show gratitude for our blessings and reflect on the past year before diving in for dinner. It’s really sweet to hear what each member of the family is thankful for – especially when his little cousins poignantly exclaim, “I’m thankful for Jesus!” or “I’m thankful for school!” When I came across this free Notes of Thankfulness printable from Hello Bee I thought they’d be a cute way to go a step further and write down your thoughts of gratitude. You could even save your family’s notes of thankfulness and revisit them when you’re having a rough day and need a heartfelt pick-me-up. With some printer paper or card stock and a pair of scissors you could quickly prep a note card for each person who will be joining you for dinner in no time. Note, click here for the printable file.

Notes of Thankfulness by Hello Bee
Notes of Thankfulness by Hello Bee

I certainly have so much to be thankful for this year, and I’ll be counting my many blessings when we sit down to dinner tomorrow. I’m wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours! Make it extra special and soak every moment in!

DIY Christmas Wreath

Sunday was another Christmas craft day for me as Mike and I were prepping for our upcoming Christmas decorating bonanza. Thanksgiving is a week later this year so we laid some groundwork for our outdoor decorating by laying out the grid of extension cords across the yard, wrapping the trees with lights (without turning them on) and hanging command strips that we’ll hang the garland from. I showed you the stuff I got to make my own wreaths in this post, and I finally had time last weekend to put the wreath decorations to good use.

DIY Christmas Wreath

I started with a blank slate – this $15 unadorned wreath. About an hour before I started decorating the wreath I took my decorations outside and sprayed them with a weather protectant spray so the wreaths would be weather resistent. I’m hoping to use these wreaths for years to come so I wanted to do all I can to protect them from the elements. Weather proofing the decorations added an extra step to this process, but I’m hoping it will do a lot to protect my investment in these wreaths.

Plain Wreath

 I laid out all of the decorations on the wreath until I came up with an arrangement I liked before attaching them. That way I could rearrange before my design was set in stone.

Test Wreath

When I had the design finalized, it was time to start attaching each decoration with hot glue. I set up my hot glue gun on a plate to protect my table/dining room from any dripping hot glue.

Hot Glue Gun

I started by attaching the bow at the top of the wreath so it’d be centered. Then I strung my letter “G” on some twine that I bought when we got the rest of the decorations and tied it right beneath the bow.

Bow

With those two key elements attached it was time to start placing the rest of the decorations. I started at the bottom and worked my way around the wreath hot gluing all the ornaments, pine cones and sprays until everything was securely in place.

Gluing

Here’s the final product!

Finished Wreath

Then it was time to put it up out front. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a few wreaths up before Thanksgiving, but we’re saving the rest of our decorating until later. Here’s what it looks like outside – keep in mind we’ll have more stuff out here in a few days.

Arbor Vitaes

Front Wreath

With the first wreath done, I had one more to decorate for the side of the house. Our house is a corner unit so we wanted to be sure we weren’t ignoring our side yard/window. I started with the same decorations that I used for the front wreath – minus the “G.” This is what I came up with for the second wreath.

Side Wreath

And this is what it looks like on the window outside!

Side Wreath Outside

Have you done any crafts to get ready for the holidays? Are there any holiday decorations you’re planning to DIY?

Just Call Us the Griswolds

Can you tell by the theme of my posts this week that I’m in full holiday prep mode? If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know we may have gone overboard in our recent shopping trips for outdoor Christmas decorations for the new house…

Christmas Haul

We have enough lights, garland, ornaments and bows to decorate the entire block. Okay, well, maybe not. But we did go a little crazy. Mike and I both love the holiday season and we’re having a blast buying decorations for the new house. It’s a thrill to finally have a home to decorate! Our motto is, “divide the cost by all the years we’ll be putting these to good use.” Yeah, we’ll go with that.

Let’s take a closer look at what we bought to (hopefully) achieve the look we have planned for the outside of our house. I did a ton of searching (both online and in stores) for the perfect wreath to adorn both the front and side of our house. Our home is on a corner lot and exposed on three sides, so we’re planning to decorate more than just the front view. None of the wreaths that fit my budget were quite right, so I decided to buy unadorned, non-lit wreaths and style them myself (hello, future blog post). I can’t wait to get these babies put together to share the final product with you! Here’s the base wreaths that I purchased for around $15 a piece.

Wreaths

And after some more search and planning, these are the decorations I went with to decorate them.

Wreath Decorations

Notice the ‘G’ from my post last week? I told you I wanted to sneak it into my holiday decor! I played around with these decorations after we got home from shopping last night to give you an idea of what I’m envisioning.

Test Wreath

Like I said, the wreath above is no where near final, I just wanted to lay everything out to see if I liked how the pieces were all coming together. I’m hoping to hang the wreaths in the window with a spotlight shining on each one. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

We also purchased a ton of lights and garland to adorn the outside of our home. One of my favorite things that Mike found were these red and green Edison bulb light strands. I’m obsessed with the festive, vintage feel these have and I can’t wait to see them go up. Mike really wanted some sort of colored bulbs out front and I was struggling to figure out a way to pull everything together – especially since traditional colored light strands include non-traditional colors like purple, yellow and orange. I think these lights will add color without looking too visually overwhelming. What a great find!

Edison Bulb Light Strand

Mike also wanted to wrap the three trees in our front/side yard with lights, so we picked up three 300-bulb packs of mini lights to wrap the trunks and we’ll hang these oversized red and green ornaments from the branches for an extra special touch.

Oversized Ornaments

Finally, we’ll give the look a finishing touch by putting these candles in the front and side windows of our home to give it a soft glow. We decided not to line the house in lights for safety reasons (neither of us are interested in climbing on a high ladder or a roof) so I think these candles will add some sparkle instead.

Window Candles

There you have it! A sneak peek of all the stuff we got in our two-night marathon of shopping trips in preparation for the big Christmas decoration bonanza that’ll be happening at our house during the weekend after Thanksgiving (if we can hold out that long). How are you guys planning for the upcoming holiday season? Any outdoor decorating tips to share before we get started?

DIY Christmas Tree Garland

Happy Monday! I had a pretty leisurely weekend catching up with friends and family, so I wanted to squeeze in some time to do a Christmas craft in preparation for our holiday decorating bonanza that will be happening over the next few weekends. I made a cute paper bunting as a decoration for our housewarming party, and I loved the look of it so much I left it up until a few weeks ago – well past the date of the party. I wanted to bring back the look of the bunting but give it a holiday flair, so I used the same technique to make this Christmas tree garland.

DIY Christmas Tree Garland

My first step was to search for a simple Christmas tree image to print out and use as a template. After a quick search I found this sweet, rounded Christmas tree that was meant to be a coloring page for kids. The simplicity was exactly what I was looking for, so I printed it and cut it out to get started. Though I loved the star on top, it just wasn’t practical for this craft so I had to cut it off.

Template

Next up was choosing the scrapbook paper to make the garland out of. I bought a book of Christmas-themed paper a few years ago so I just thumbed through it until I found the look I wanted. I chose four coordinating patterns to give the garland a little variety while keeping it easy on the eyes. It’s visually interesting without being too busy.

Scrapbook Paper With the paper chosen it was time to trace my template onto the back of each page. I traced three Christmas trees on each page for a total of twelve trees. The finished garland came out to be about two feet long, so keep this in mind when you’re choosing how many trees to cut out.

Tracing

When all your trees are cut out it’s time to punch a small hole in the top where you’ll thread the twine through. I recommend punching a few test holes into the template tree first so you don’t ruin one of your hard-earned trees with a poorly placed hole punch.

Hole Punch

One of the added benefits of a craft project like this is the confetti that results from punching holes into cute craft paper. Check it out! I’m saving this as I go because I can definitely see this looking adorable in a confetti balloon or strewn across a table at a party. This is about three projects worth of confetti so it will be a while before I have enough to use for a party – but you could always make your own by punching wholes throughout a few pieces of scrapbook paper. I don’t think it’d take you very long, either.

Confetti

Anyway, back to the garland. We’re almost done! Now it’s time to string the trees onto your twine. I recommend threading the twin trough the back of the whole twice so the twin wraps around each side of the hole giving it more stability. If you only thread it through once your tree will turn more to one side and your garland won’t look very good from straight on. This is a pretty tedious step too, but once you have your twine threading down pat it moves more quickly.

Twine

The beauty of this project is that the twine holds the Christmas trees in place so you don’t have to go through the extra step and added cost of adhering them (though you can if you want). To hang the garland, I simply wrap the ends of the twine around a thumb tack and push it into the wall. I’m eventually planning to hang this over my mirror in the dining room so you won’t be able to see the thumb tacks at all, but it doesn’t photograph well so I pinned it up on the half wall leading into my kitchen to give you an idea of what it looks like hanging.

There you have it! DIY Christmas tree garland that’s as easy to make as it is on your budget. I actually had all these materials on hand, so this custom garland project only cost me $0. I’m hoping to do some more Christmas crafts on the blog leading up to the holiday. What about you? Have you gotten crafty with your holiday preparations? Do you have a traditional holiday craft that you make every year?