DIY: Update Your Old Christmas Decor

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Happy December!  It’s that time of year again where the red Rubbermaid boxes with green lids come out of hiding and my house explodes in Christmas décor.  I love, LOVE, L*O*V*E this time of year!

Question: Do you have Christmas décor items that you put back in the box year after year without using them in your holiday decorating?  Stuff that you LOVED way back when, but now no longer fits with your Christmas design style or colors?  I decided to update a couple of items that I haven’t used in the past few years and I couldn’t be more pleased!

First, I have this wooden holly swag that my friend gave me many years ago (thanks, Renee!).  It’s super cute, right?

Green Red Wood Holly Swag

I have decorated with it and loved it for more than a decade, but my Christmas décor colors have changed over the years and it no longer matches my style,  plus the raffia was all snarled up.  For my DIY, I removed all of the raffia then painted all of the pieces with flat black spray paint,

Black painted wood holly cutouts

then painted the round “berries” white and the leaves a light greige color.   I did this to both sides to make the finished project look good from all angles.  After the paint dried I grabbed an old spoon and scraped the edges to reveal the black paint beneath for a distressed look.

distressing paint with a spoon handle

Using the spoon handle to distress the paint edges was way faster than sandpaper would have been.  If you notice how I was holding the spoon, it felt similar to peeling potatoes.  I just love the little center vein that was routered down the middle of each leaf.   That, coupled with the distressing, gives these holly leaves nice dimension.

Once all of the pieces were distressed, I grabbed some light blue ribbon and inserted it in the holes.  I added the 3 round “berries” to 3 of the leaves with the ribbon and laid it out on my counter in the approximate way that I wanted it to hang…

wood holly swag

…and then I tied a knot at the top.  So, here is the finished swag:

Just in case you are interested in making a set of your own, here is a pattern for the holly leaves and round berries.  This would make an awesome neighbor gift, right?

My other project was an item that I painted sometime in the 90’s which was in sore need of a makeover in order to come out of the Rubbermaid this year:

Green red wood JOY sign

Again, it wasn’t horrible, just didn’t fit my current décor.  This little “JOY” sign got the same treatment as my holly swag and I kind of love it now:

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I half thought that I would paint the stars with silver nail polish.  Who knows, maybe next year.  I am really liking the subdued whites this year, so for now, it’s just how I want it.

And, here is the final resting place of each for Christmas 2016:

green wreath holly swag

I’m liking the new looks…for now.  Who knows, I may change it back to bright colors in another decade.

So, do you like the before: colorful versions, or the after: distressed shades of white?  What Christmas color scheme are you liking right now?

 

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Snowman/Scarecrow Craft

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Scarecrow/Snowman Craft: My Version

Lookie, lookie!  I am finally posting my version of a craft that I’m sure most of you have seen out there in the crafting/Pinterest/blog world:  A dual purpose, two-side craft with a scarecrow face on one side and a snowman face on the other.  I designed this craft for our Super Saturday craft day event in 2015 and promised to included a tutorial way back then.  Yep…I forgot to do that, so now I’m keeping that promise.  All of the other versions of this craft that I have seen are done with pallet boards or bead board, but I wanted a simpler-to-make version.   If you go to Pinterest and search “Scarecrow Snowman Reversible”, you will see oodles of versions of this craft.  But, here is how I did mine:

Supplies:

Supplies for Scarecrow Snowman

2 x 8 Lumber-  13 1/2 inches

Wood trim- 13 1/2 inches (can be flat or decorative trim)

White, black, brown and orange craft paint

Textured paper for noses (mine is wallpaper)

Q-Tip (to add dimension to the carrot nose)

Two large flat marbles (Dollar Tree)

Two large buttons

Misc. embellishments for decorating

Black Sharpie

Noses Pattern

Powdered blush (raid your makeup drawer!)

Glue gun

Ready?  OK!

First, figure out where you want your wood trim hat brim angle to be.  I just placed it where I wanted it, traced down each side of the trim with a pencil, then roughly painted white on the bottom and black on the top.  Don’t worry about painting the sides of the wood…just the top only, since this craft is reversible.

Snowman Craft rough painting

The board is sturdy enough to stand, so you can paint the scarecrow side, as well.  Matching the angle from the snowman side, roughly paint the top only of the opposite side brown.

While you have black or brown paint on your brush, paint both sides of your trim pieces, one side black and one side brown.  To be clear, when you are looking at the snowman side, you will be able to slightly see the back of the rim from the scarecrow side so you want to see black paint, and vise versa, so each trim piece has one side painted black and one side painted brown.  A hair dryer comes in handy to help speed up drying time !

Painted wood trim hat brims

Next , create those snowman eyes.  I just dipped my finger tip in black paint and dabbed a fairly thick coat of paint on the back side of each flat marble.  I think these “eyes” look so reflective and dreamy!  Don’t you agree?

snowman-eyes-and-nose

While the paint is drying, cut out and paint (if not already orange) the textured paper noses.  Click on this blue Noses Pattern link to print out the pattern that I created, or make your own shapes.

Time to assemble:

Use hot glue to secure both hat brims.  I also added a small flat head screw to ensure that brim will never fall off.  You can hide that with embellishments.

The faces are where you can get creative.  Play around with the “eyes” and “noses” to see how you want to place them.  On my scarecrow, I placed one button eye slightly lower then the other for a playful look.  For my snowman, I place the eyes fairly close together.

I added “stitch marks” with a Sharpie for my scarecrow nose.  To add dimension to the snowman’s carrot nose, I grabbed a Q-Tip  and glued it right where I wanted the nose placed, then hot glued the carrot shape on top of it, securing all of the edges.

The scarecrow got a large Sharpie-drawn smile with “stitch marks”.  The snowman didn’t get a mouth, but I used my finger to rub a bit of blush on his cheeks.

Personalize:

Give these two some personality by adding silk or glittery flowers, patches of fabric, raffia, ribbon…whatever your heart desires.  To distress, or not to distress- that is the question.  You get to choose whether or not to take sandpaper to the edges.

Now, here is the best part…

You can pull this cute craft out for your holiday decorating in September as you decorate for fall, using the Scarecrow side.  After Thanksgiving, flip it around to display the Snowman side and let him stay there all through January.  I love that!

All in all, this is a super-simple, super-cute craft that gives double your pleasure.  They make super cute gifts!  I should know…I gave mine away last year.  I’m off to make another one, (well, two) right this very minute.  Why don’t you go do the same?

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Peacock Blue Furniture Re-Do

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If you are anything like me, you love a deal.  Am I right?  Of course I am!  Lowes recently had their paint samples on sale for $.99 so I snagged a few for a project that I have been itching to do for a long time.  Did you know that they can custom make any color in the 8 oz. sample size?  How amazingly cool is that?

Do you like the color Peacock Blue?  I do, I Do, I DO!  What exactly is peacock blue?  Well, it isn’t teal or navy…it is something in between.   Lately, I have been drooling over blue painted furniture.  Check out this beautiful leggy table from Create Inspire

createinspire-table

…and this awesome distressed peacock  blue cabinet (isn’t that stenciled wall amazing?!)

peacock blue cabinet

…what about this stunning and black dresser (swoon!)

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… and this glossy dresser

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They are all amazing, don’t you think?

I have been craving me some peacock blue and guess what?  I got some!   Here’s a peek:

Olympic Celestial Blue Paint

This is what I started with:

Before: Black stereo cabinet

It’s an old stereo cabinet that I painted black years ago, but it was pretty beat up looking.  Ugly!  Before painting the whole thing, I had to decide which of my paint samples I was going to use:

Blue paint sample colors

I chose Blue #3 which is Olympic One Celestial Blue.

Those of you who haven’t painted furniture before might think that it is a big undertaking to paint a piece furniture, but…it’s…not!  This project took me no more than 90 minutes start to finish, including drying time.  Less than two measly hours!  And, the coolest part was that I was able to get 2 coats of paint from one little $.99 paint sample with paint left over.   Even if you had to pay full price for the sample, $3.48, that is a killer deal for a “new” piece of furniture.  And, trust me, it does seem like we have a new piece of furniture.  Check it out:

Peacock Blue Cabinet Re-Do

Let me just say that it is really hard to photograph this color accurately in my dining room.  In real life, it is the perfect peacock blue.

You may recognize those door pulls from my haul that I got at the Roses and Rust Vintage Market in Redding, CA last year:

Various furniture hardware

They were 3 for $1!  What a deal!  What a steal!  I guess that if I were being realistic, I would tack that extra $.66 on my title, but I’m not going to.

Are you craving some peacock blue, too?  Grab a paint sample, pick a piece of furniture and do a re-do, too!

Peacock Blue painted cabinet

 

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Painted Furniture: Say “Yes” to Distress?

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Happy day friends!  In my last post about the free Craigslist nightstand that I painted, I told you that I wasn’t done with it yet.   This is how it looked when I finished painting it:

White chalk painted Craigslist nightstand

Not half bad, right?  Whenever I paint a piece of furniture, I always get to this point and wonder, “Should I distress it?”.  Do you do that?  It almost goes against the grain to make something look so nice and then take sandpaper to it, doesn’t it?

My experience with distressing painted pieces goes way back to the late 1980’s.  I had attended a church craft night with my sister and after we had painted the wooden craft, they passed out sandpaper to distress the edges.  I thought that they were crazy.  I had just painted the piece to perfection…why would I want to sand off a perfectly good painting job?  I refused and my craft project came home with me with pristine edges.

Let me just say that, in the decades since (holy cow, that makes me sound SO old!), I have come to embrace distressed painted furniture.  Embrace it with big open arms.  Want to see my distressed painted nightstand?  Why do I ask?  Of course you do!

Distressed Painted Nightstand

Yeah, I know the picture is kind of dark.  Sorry about that, but, can you see the difference?

How about some close ups?

Here are a few other painted items in my home that I have done this same subtle distressed finish on:

 

before-after-distress-collage
Unfortunately, the lighting in these Before and After pics is totally different, but you get the general idea, right?

Here’s the distressed nightstand in its final resting place, our guest room:

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So, what do YOU think?  Do YOU like the clean, pristine perfect paint look, or do you like the look of subtle distressing?  Personally, I like…both.  Wimpy answer, I know, but sometimes I prefer the subtle distressed look, sometimes I don’t.  I have found that, if I end up hating the distressing on a project, all it takes is a quick brush of paint on the sanded areas and “poof”, we have the pristine look all over again.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezie!

So, again I ask…what’s your take on the matter of painted furniture?  Do you say “Yes” to distress?

distressed-paint-collage

 

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My Price-less (seriously, it was FREE!) Nightstand

Cover Pic Free Nightstand

Do you want to know my favorite price?  Free, of course!  Same with you?  I like to peruse the Free section of Craigslist every once in a while.  Have you ever done that?  People give away all kinds of stuff:  pianos, boats, yard sale left overs, plaid couches, building supplies, pets, etc., etc., etc..  For the most part, I’m not the least bit interested in what I see, but a few months ago I saw this awesome nightstand posted:

Free Craigslist Nightstand Unpainted

School lesson:  The suffix “less” means “without”.  In other words, without a price.  Free.  Remember…that’s my favorite price.  Yep, this nightstand was price-less.  You can bet that I snapped it up!  Once I got it home, it went straight to the back of my garage, where all good projects go to wait their turn to become awesome.  Soon thereafter, HomeRight kindly sent me this awesome paint sprayer:

homeright-finish-max

The HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish HVLP Sprayer.  Imagine a choir of angels singing…I swear that’s what I heard when the package arrived.  Thank you HomeRight!

My free (I love saying that!) nightstand was the first project that I decided to tackle with my new sprayer.  Piece of advice…read the instructions + follow the instructions when you are tackling the unknown.  Smart people wrote those instructions, but, after reading them, I decided that I know what I’m doing.  I have painted a lot.  I mean, a lot, so I decided that there was no need to thin the paint.  Big mistake.  Once I humbled myself and thinned the paint like I should have in the first place, the thing worked like a dream.  I think it took about 3 minutes to paint the whole first coat.  Seriously, it took more time to open the paint, mix a batch of chalk paint (thinned a bit…the instructions show just how much), and walk out to the garage than it did to paint my nightstand.  I was insanely impressed!

Hold it!  I’m getting ahead of myself.  Before I started painting I had some prep, of course.  Worst part of painting furniture, wouldn’t you agree?   Actually, it was just a bit of hand sanding.  I lived through it, somehow.

Even though it is widely known that chalk paint can go on pretty much any surface, I decided to spray on some canned primer just because.  I remember watching a YouTube video years ago of Annie Sloan hand painting a dresser and she painted the handles at the same time with the same paint that she painted the dresser.  I really like the look of the handles being more of a texture, not a standout color, so I decided to also spray a coat of primer on those.

Spray Primed Decorative Nightstand

Ready for the after?  Want to see what 2 coats of paint and about 6 minutes of total spraying time with my new HomeRight sprayer can do?  Well, here you go!

White Painted Decorative Nightstand

Do. You. Love. It?  My price-less nightstand?  I totally do, but I’m not done yet.  Check back soon to see the finished product.  I also plan to share some things that I have learned by using my paint sprayer.  I’ll keep you posted.  Now, head right over to your local Craigslist and check out the Free section.  Hope you find something good!

 

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Concrete Look Dollar Store Pumpkins

If you have been in pretty much any dollar store in the last month or so you have likely seen lots of bright orange light-weight pumpkins.  El cheapo looking pumpkins.  But, for some reason, they inspired me in a big way.  I bought a couple of them and before I had even gotten out of the store, I knew what I wanted to do with them.  Happily enough, they turned out exactly how I envisioned them!

Concrete Pumpkin

I love them!  The process, once I figured it out was quite easy.  It took some trial and error, so to help you avoid all that, I will show you the easy way to make these concrete look pumpkins.  First, though, my base ingredients:

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I had noticed this half used bag of thin-set mortar in our garage recently and wondered what a person actually does with it once the tile job is done.  The trial and error portion of my project consisted of just mixing water with the thin-set mix and painting it on.   Not wanting to use a nice bowl to mix the stuff in, I cut down a gallon sized milk container.  The handle made it really easy to hold while I stirred.  I used the top part for my scoop.  See what it looked like after one coat:

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Too transparent for the look that I was going for so I made some changes to my thin-set mix.  First I added some white paint and then decided to add some Plaster of Paris powder, as well.  I didn’t have any specific recipe, just added until it was the consistency of pancake batter.  A couple more coats (let it dry completely first) and this is what they looked like:WP_20151106_008

As you can see, I added some short twigs to make stems for my pumpkins.  At first I added a silk leaf to the top, but removed it because I liked the starker look.  Can I just say that I’m loving the white pumpkin look this year?  Truth be told, however, these could be made in any color… of course your paint color will dictate that.  It would be fun to make gray or peacock blue or black concrete pumpkins, don’t you think?

White and chic pumpkin
White and chic pumpkin
White pumpkins!
White pumpkins!

Since these pumpkins are made of Styrofoam, they can be easily pierced on the bottom and place on a candlestick that has a “nail” for holding candles in place:

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Isn’t it amazing how just a few items found in most garages can make el cheapo look high end?  I’m loving my new pumpkins and plan to make several more in different sizes next year.

So, what do you think?  Are you still there, or are you grabbing the car keys and heading to your local dollar store to buy some pumpkins?

 

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Super Saturday Craft Day

SuperSaturday2015

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to help organize a “Super Saturday” at my church.  Super Saturday is a day where the women from church and their friends, family, neighbors…can come together and craft.  This event is always in November so we can make holiday decorations as well as inexpensive gifts for Christmas giving.  I just thought that I would share what we are doing this year:

This Snowman/Scarecrow craft was requested by someone who had seen a similar craft online using planks.   As you can see, this craft is reversible, making it possible to have it out from October through January.  Love that!  I will do a tutorial on this soon.  Promise!  ***UPDATE: Here is the tutorial***

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This 2 minute craft  is great for display as well as for holding a plate of holiday goodies.  It is as simple as removing the backing from the vinyl sticker that I cut with my Roland Dr. Stika machine, placing the sticker and rubbing it to smooth it out, then removing the masking layer.  Easy peasy!  I love how simplistic it looks.

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I found some little wood boxes that I thought would make perfect little chalkboards.  Before Super Saturday, I will paint the boxes white.  That day we will add a vinyl frame to use as a stencil.  After painting with chalkboard paint and letting it dry (we always use hair dryers at Super Saturday to speed up the drying process!), we will remove the frame vinyl to expose the white below.  I’m also going to do a quick demo about how to easily “write” on chalkboards.  I love that this little guy can stay up year round.  I love, love, love chalkboards and the fact that “art” can change in a matter of seconds.

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We are also going to do a demo of how to make a 5 minute pillow cover.  Soooo easy!  Here is a great video tutorial to show you how it’s done and here is one of the many pillows that I have made this way:

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Lastly, here is a craft that I patterned off of one that my friend found online and loved.  I made sure to use an image that is copyright free of the LDS Salt Lake Temple spires.  We will decoupage that as well as the saying, “Families are Forever”.  This idea can be used in a thousand different ways, using different pics (pics of children and grandchildren, family home…) and sayings.  I drilled tiny holes in each corner of the word wood so I could easily insert little brads for added detail.  I also drilled a couple of larger holes on the top for the ribbon to go in and, BAM! it’s a fabulous item to hang in your own home or to give as a gift.

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I’m so excited for this Super Saturday event…I can hardly wait!  It is so much fun to turn on the Christmas tunes and work and laugh and craft with friends.

Do you participate in a similar crafting event?   If you are not aware of a similar event around you, why don’t YOU get one started?  Grab your friends and family and get crafting!  You just might end up with some pretty cool stuff and warm memories as a result.

 

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