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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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

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

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…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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Spring Blossoms: Bring ’em Inside

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I know that it is only March, but we have been seeing signs of Spring for a couple of weeks now.  Crazy, isn’t it?

Spring blossoms are even gorgeous at night time:

Believe me, I’m not complaining about Spring coming early at all!  This year I decided to bring springtime to the inside of my house by bringing in blossom covered branches.  I am reveling in Spring inside and outside!

Pink blossoms arrangement

White blossoms arrangement

These have looked good for a solid week!  Not bad for something that cost me nothing more than 5 minutes work of cutting, gathering, and displaying.  I’ll admit that my white blossoms kind of stink a bit, but the pink ones smell divine.  Like Spring has sprung right there in my dining room.  The scents seemed to diminish after day 3, though.  For those of you who are allergic to spring blossoms, I am SO sorry!   Maybe you can have a loved one cut and display a bunch, leave them outside and enjoy them from indoors.

After day 7, my pink bouquet is looking a little sad.  No problem, I’ll venture outside and gather more.  I’ve got an extra couple of minutes!  The white bouquet, however, looks just as good as it did the day that I brought it inside.

So, what’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?  Has spring sprung yet?  If not, you have that to look forward to…don’t worry.  It WILL come.  And, when it does, make sure that you grab some blossom-filled branches and bring a bit of Spring inside.

Cover Pic Spring Blossoms Arrangement

 

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Organize Your Closet by Color: 10 Minute Tidy

Cover pic organize your closet by color

Ready for another 10 Minute Tidy Tuesday challenge?  How about getting your closet a bit more organized?  I prefer to hang items up rather than fold them and put them away in a drawer.  That said, I have lots of hangers and lots of clothes on hangers.  Years ago I started organizing my clothes according to color and, I must say, it is a HUGE timesaver.   I can easily put together outfits and I never have to look and look and look for a particular item of clothing.  If I know the color, I know how to find it.

I recently switched out my summer wardrobe for my winter wardrobe.  If you don’t do that, I would highly recommend it.  I gave several reasons for doing this seasonal switcheroo here.  I’m not going to lie…that wardrobe switch takes longer than 10 minutes.  BUT, organizing by color does not.  Seriously, go try it right now.  Set a timer first!

Of course you can arrange your colors however you want, but I will share how I do it:  From left to right I organize my clothes in Browns, Blacks, Greens, Aqua and Teals, Blues, Purples, Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Grays, and lastly Whites.  Patterned clothes just go in the color area of the most dominant color in the pattern.  You might notice that I have some short sleeve tops in my closet even though this is my winter wardrobe.  I like to keep a few around to layer under sweaters, ect.

Organize closet by color

Before I let you loose on color coding your closet, I’m assuming one thing…that you already have your closet organized with like items hanging together.  For example, blouses and tops in one area, skirts in another, dresses in another and jackets/sweatshirts in another.  I personally fold pants and sweaters and place them on shelves.  If you haven’t organized like items together yet, there is no time like the present.  Just turn that timer off until you are done.

I don’t recommend emptying everything out of your closet.  You will definitely spend more than 10 minutes if you do it that way.  I would suggest deciding your color organizing order and start on one side of the rod, pulling clothes out and placing them in the correct area until everything is in its proper place.  It’s actually fun.  If you have a huge closet (lucky you!) and lots of clothes, just focus on one area (tops, skirts, etc.) per 10 minute session.

Once your closet is done, go organize your husband’s closet, or your child’s or your coat closet.  You will love the rainbow you see each time you open a closet door. Color coding your closet…10 minutes well spent!

 

Easy DIY Gift: Corn Heating Pads

DIY Corn Heating Pads

It’s that time of year again!  Eeeek!  The Holidays!  Thanksgiving…Christmas…New Year’s…I love it all!  Right now I should be packing for our trip to Utah, but I just have to share what I have been working on (instead of packing!).  Making microwavable feed corn heating pads!

Last year I blogged about making rice heating pads using pillow cases.  They really are simple to make and we love using them.  After being over-heated too many times, however, the burned rice smell can get a bit nauseating,  so I decided to try something different: Feed corn.

Feed Corn

My friend Patrice told me about feed corn heating “bags” years ago and how they don’t smell like rice does and how they hold the heat longer than rice.  I decided to give corn a whirl.

Just so you know, feed corn is dirt cheap.  I paid $12 for a 50 lb. bag.  For the fabric, I found a really nice heavy full size flat sheet with a plaid pattern that is a dream to sew on.  I love plaid because the lines make it easier to cut and sew straight lines.  I like to start out with a piece of fabric that is about 25 inches by 14 inches, but really, you can make these any size and shape.

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With this size, I add 2 scant cups of corn to each of the outside edges and 2 1/2 cups to the larger center section.  Again you can go to my tutorial to see how to make these.  Once you get the hang of it, you could probably rival Santa’s elves in gift making!

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Oh, another fabric idea:  My son had outgrown his Grinch pajama bottoms, so I just cut off the legs, straightened out the seams to form rectangles and made microwavable heating pads out of them, as well.

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As a side note, these take a bit longer to heat up than the rice ones do.  I would start with 2 1/2 minutes, but I like how it feels after 3 minutes.  For heaven’s sakes, don’t overheat them and fry yourselves!  Or anyone else!

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 If you are stumped about what to get for anyone this Holiday season, I guarantee that these microwavable feed corn heating pads will be a hit.  Moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, siblings, friends, children of all ages will love them.   They are great for aches and pains, for warming cold tooties and pre-warming a bed on a cold winter night.  Trust me on this one…these heating pads are a popular commodity in our home.

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Super Saturday Craft Day

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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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Welcome to 31 Days

10 Minute Tidy Bathroom Drawer

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This is my first post of what I plan to make a regular feature at ARMCHAIRDECORATORBLOG:  10 Minute Tidy posts.  Before I get started with my Tidy project, let me explain where this phrase came from.  When my kids were younger, we had a couple of VCR cassettes of “The Big Comfy Couch”.  At the end of each episode, Loonette the clown looks around her messy living room and says, “Who made this big mess?” and then speed cleans it with a “10 second tidy”.  I incorporated this idea as a way of getting my 5 children to help tidy up the house quickly.  The time limit depended on how messy the house was, usually 2, 3, or 5 minutes.  A 2 minute tidy equated to 12 minutes of fast work if you added up all 6 of us busting a move to clean up.  My kids really didn’t complain very much about these “tidies” because they knew that there was a limit.

These days, I still challenge myself to do speed tidies, especially when there is a task that I would rather not do.  The chores seem so much easier, and I swear I work 5 times faster when I’m focusing on beating a clock.  Think how fast you accomplish tasks when you know company is almost due to arrive at your front porch.

So, 10 Minute Tidy project #1 is my bathroom junk drawer:

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Way to much stuff in this drawer.  I have been putting off cleaning it out for a long time.  Realistically, I knew that the job was really not a biggie…it was all mental.  With a 10 minute time frame in mind, I quickly emptied everything out and sorted like items together.

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Ridiculous!  Who needs this many contact lens cases!

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All of those little bar soaps that you get from hotels?  We don’t even use bar soap around here.  Note to self: from here on out… leave them at the hotel!  Time to donate to a good cause.

I started throwing all of the half used hotel lotions in the trash until I came up with a great plan:

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My body butter tub was nearly empty, but after squeezing the contents of all of our mini lotion containers, it was full.  Free lotion!  Those, I will keep bringing home from hotels.

Less than 10 minutes later…

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…my bathroom junk drawer is noticeably less cluttered.  I don’t hate opening it anymore!

What quickie project could you go do right now?  How about a bathroom drawer?  On your mark…get set…TIDY!

 

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