Category: DIY

Festive Holiday Wreath

It’s December! Which means it is time for peppermint hot chocolate, fuzzy slippers, twinkling lights, and cozifying! This is such a beautiful time of year with so much inspiration — I only wish we could capture that feeling of creativity throughout the rest of the year.

Our home is getting cozier and cozier. Last week we installed a heat pump to replace our 40+ year-old electric furnace, which means that now we have affordable heat for the winter! Chris has added rigid foam insulation to most of the exterior walls, which means that the heat stays inside MUCH more than before. We have our Christmas tree up and we’ve had a few wood-burning fires in the fireplace, and I’m starting to get serious with decorating and crafting! There’s less than a month till the big 24, so there’s lots to do!

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I made this simple wreath from a craft store grapevine wreath form, and some ribbon and shiny plastic balls from the dollar store. Anyone can make this wreath with some inexpensive materials, a glue gun, and an extra half-hour. I hung mine on top of a chalkboard that we have in our kitchen and wrote “Tis the Season” inside the wreath.

I love the earthy texture of the grapevine contrasting with the glamorous shiny ornaments. And I’m still in the midst of my love affair with navy =).

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Materials

Small grapevine wreath ($3)
Two colors ribbon, about 2 yrds each ($2)
Shiny plastic ornaments, mini and small sizes ($3)
Glue gun and glue

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1. Wrap the two ribbons around the wreath form, overlapping with each other. Secure ends on the back of the wreath where they won’t be seen, either by tying a knot or by gluing with the hot glue gun. Cut off excess ribbon.

2. Tie a bow with the two remaining pieces of overlapping ribbons (just a simple regular bow, nothing fancy). Hot glue it to the wreath form.

3. Snip off any hanging string from the ornaments and glue them on the wreath, arranging them as you see fit. It looks nice if you alternate using larger and smaller balls. You can remove any ornaments carefully by peeling off the glue after it has dried. When you’ve arranged the ornaments to your satisfaction, add extra glue to secure them.

4. Tie a loop of ribbon at the top of the wreath to hang it. Tadaa, you’re done!

You can use any extra ornaments on your tree and extra ribbon for tying up presents, so this project really comes in at less than the $8 upfront cost. Simple and easy, just the way I like it!

Check out these other holiday crafts!

Holiday Crafts

Peace and Joy Bunting

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

What holiday crafts are you working on this December?

Sharing at SavvvySouthernStyle and TheBlissfulBee!

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

DIY Xmas Tree Skirt

When I told a friend today that we had already put up our Christmas tree, she did a double-take. What, already? The truth is, I put up the tree so that I could take pictures of this holiday craft in action. But really, if you’re going to go to the trouble of putting up a Christmas tree, you might as well enjoy it, right?

I have never owned a Christmas tree skirt. Last year, I just draped a throw blanket around the base of my artificial tree, but this year I decided to plan ahead and make one.

diy tree skirt

I’ve never found a tree skirt that I like that is affordable — the ones at Walmart are too glitzy, and the ones I like at West Elm and C&B are upwards of $50 — so I decided to make my own. This was a surprisingly easy project, if you have a little experience with sewing. If you’re a beginner, you might want to leave off the pom pom trim, as that was the hardest thing to sew.

tree skirt pompoms

This tree skirt has ribbon ties that hold it together and pom pom trim. But you can of course customize it however you want. You might use a different kind of trim, or use Velcro instead of ribbon. I basically followed Design*Sponge’s excellent tutorial for making a basic tree skirt, but added the trim and the fleece backing.

Ok, let’s get started!

Materials:

Square of fabric (48″ to 60″ dia, depending on your tree)
Square of fleece fabric for backing
pom pom trim (enough for the circumference of the circle, pi x dia)
grosgrain ribbon in color of your choice (4 pieces of about 10″ each)
sewing machine & thread
pins
scissors
fabric marker or chalk (or just a pen)

First, I took a square of fabric big enough to cover my tree base, and folded it into quarters. I already had this plaid fabric, so it was free! I usually like more color but for Christmas I like traditional decorations, so this was perfect.

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Most tree skirts I saw in retail stores were between 46″ to 60″ wide. My tree is a 6.5′ artificial tree, which isn’t huge, so I made the diameter of my tree skirt about 48″. I made a makeshift compass using a thread, a pin, and a pen. I tied the thread to the pin and the other end to the pen. My thread was about a foot long. I stuck the pin into the folded corner like so:

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And traced a quarter circle on my fabric. See the faint green line?

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Then, I carefully cut through all 4 layers of fabric using sewing scissors. I unfolded the circle of fabric, and used the scissors to even out any jaggedy areas. Then, I used the circle to trace another circle onto my fleece backing (which was just an old blanket I had lying around) and cut it out.

Now we have to cut a hole in the middle of the circle for the tree trunk. I folded the circle into quarters again and used a bowl to trace a quarter circle on the fabric. Then I cut out the circle.

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I unfolded the circle half way (so it is folded in half), and cut along one of the straight folds.

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So now you have a two-sided circle of fabric with a hole in the middle and a straight cut from the center hole to the outside.

Make sure once again that the wrong sides of the fabric are together. If you’re using pom pom trim, fold back the top layer of fabric and pin the trim to the bottom layer, with the pom poms on the inside. Replace the top layer of fabric and pin it in place. So now, you have two layers of fabric with the pom pom trim sandwiched between.

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On the straight open edge, sandwich your ribbons with the long ends inside the fabric (I used 4 sections of approx 10″ long grosgrain ribbon). Pin them in place. When it is sewn it will look like this (short ends out, long ends in).

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Now, you just need to sew around the entire perimeter of the circle, as well as up and down the straight edges and the hole inside. Leave an approx 5″ hole through which you can turn the whole thing inside-out. Sorry, no pics of this step, I was concentrating on sewing. As you sew the edges, make sure you catch the edge of the trim which is sandwiched between the fabric layers. This is the most challenging part.

Then, turn the whole tree skirt inside out through the hole. You can sew the hole closed by hand, but I just folded the raw edges in and top-stitched it on my sewing machine (because I’m lazy like that).

Christmas Tree Skirt

 

If you were able to catch the edge of the trim as you sewed around the circle, the pom pom trim should now face out and be securely attached! It’s like magic.

I wish I had better progress pics, but it was hard enough just doing the sewing with a toddler constantly underfoot, much less take photos. If you’re having trouble understanding my instructions, the Design*Sponge tutorial is really helpful.

My tree isn’t decorated yet! That will be a fun family activity in the next few days. I’m excited to decorate for the holidays and to make a few more crafts for this season! As a young family we don’t have a lot of traditions yet, but I’m hoping to make holiday crafting one of them!

DIY Xmas Tree Skirt

Oh and my budget breakdown was this:

plaid fabric = already owned but it orig cost $1/yard at a discount fabric store, so about $1.50
fleece fabric = reused an old throw blanket I already owned, so $0
pom pom trim = used a coupon, about $6
ribbon = $1

So in all this tree skirt cost me about $8.50 to make! It would have cost almost nothing if I hadn’t bought the pom pom trim, but I like it! It looks like little snowballs!

Are you planning to DIY a tree skirt? How about any other decorations for the holidays? You might like these other holiday crafts!

Holiday Crafts

Festive Holiday Wreath

Simple Peace and Joy Banner

Happy Holidays everyone!

Sharing at TheBlissfulBee, TheIdeaRoom, TatertotsandJello and SavvySouthernStyle!

Spraypainted $1 Candleholders

gold owls

On Tuesday I went to Target…one of my favorite activities. Our local outdoor mall has a Target attached and I go there probably 2x a week with Baby Brownie because it’s a great place to walk with the stroller as well as get milk, cereal, necessities, etc… There’s a little outdoor playground right outside Target which makes for a nice break with the toddler.

Anyway, I ALWAYS look in the dollar bins at Target to see what goodies they have. This week I wasn’t disappointed as I found these cute little metal candleholders.

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I grabbed the owls but they also had turkeys and jack-0-lanterns. I thought the owls were the cutest though, and they’re more all-season. I don’t like buying a lot of seasonal decorations because our 1970s home just doesn’t have that much storage! And I feel like seasonal stuff can cross over the line into tackiness pretty easily. So I just try to get stuff that’s appropriate around the year.

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I just sprayed these $1 candle holders with Valspar gold spray paint. I still had most of a can left over from another project, so for 2 candle holders this little project just cost me $2!

They were all right before, but now they’re really cute!

gold owls

I actually kind of messed these up because it started raining while I was spraying them and a few raindrops got on the paint before I was able to bring them inside. It hasn’t rained in 9 months but of course, there’s a downpour on the day I’m spraypainting outside (Southern California, boo hoo, haha). But I was glad that the plants got some watering though, and with the brush fires recently we really need rain.

Anyway the raindrops weren’t really noticeable on the gold paint. I thought the owls were cute before but they look much more expensive now and the gold acts as a neutral, so they go with anything! I have them on my dining table along with my pumpkin centerpiece and my mercury glass candle holders. These would be super cute little gifts too.

WARNING: I was reading about the flammability of spray paint. The wet paint is VERY flammable but when it is dry, it is just like any other painted surface. So wait until the paint is dry and cured (48 hours) before using the candle holder, and as always, NEVER leave a candle burning unattended.

Linking up at Place of my Taste, Remodelaholic and Savvy Southern Style

Painted Bench Turned Kids’ Table

Over the weekend, while Chris was working like a busy bee on insulating our house, moving electrical, and figuring out how to put up new siding, I worked on a little pet project.

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I decided to take an old bench that had been sitting in the master bedroom, where it had been covered in a giant pile of clothes for the past 3 months, and turn it into a little activity table for Baby Brownie.

(The giant pile of clothes is now happily sitting on the floor.)

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We bought this bench for $10 at a thrift store and had sanded down the top in anticipation of refinishing it. It has been in the above state for over a year.

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I decided it would be easier to paint it than to refinish it, especially since the legs were all chipped, dented and dog-chewed. So I primed it with 2 coats of Zinsser Cover Stain, and then painted it with 2 coats of Martha Stewart’s Duck Egg (Glidden). Then, I painted on 3 coats of Polycrylic to seal and protect the top. Because I know this piece is going to get a lot of abuse use.

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It turned out really nice! And it’s just the perfect height for Baby Brownie to stand at and play with the new wooden tea set I got her.

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I kind of like how you can still see the metal bolts.

Baby Brownie noticed it right away and went over to it and stared at it for a long time. I asked her if she liked it and she nodded yes. That’s a big deal since she’s in her “no” phase right now!

I just ordered a couple of little chairs on Amazon and I’ll share with you when they arrive.

Another cool thing is that if we ever want to get all the kids’ stuff out of sight…

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The table/bench works really well as extra seating! The teal/aqua color isn’t so bright that it can’t be used as adult furniture.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is what the bench REALLY looks like after it has been played with:

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Just a note of warning for single/as-yet-childless folks out there…this is what you have to live with when you have a kid. Enjoy.

UPDATE: The chairs have arrived and they are adorable!

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Sharing at MissMustardSeed

Another Refinished Table (This one’s a Pedestal)

It’s so funny. A month ago, we were eating off the coffee table in front of the TV because the dining room table that Chris built was not quite done (the top needed to be bolted down and we were waiting for the polyurethane to finish curing). The kitchen table was also MIA. We had sanded down the top and it was sitting in the garage waiting for its new finish.

Now, we have not one, but TWO newly finished tables. I am kind of in heaven.

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This oak table was passed down to us from Chris’ parents. Honestly, I’ve always loved it, even in the original finish. But after having it for a while in the kitchen with the honey oak floors, it was just looking too oaky. I wanted to have an airier, lighter feel in the breakfast nook.

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It started out like this. Pretty typical oak furniture from the 70s. Solid oak top, solid oak pedestal. The only thing not solid wood was the apron around the tabletop, which was plywood with veneer.

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I held out for a long time because I felt it was a shame to paint solid wood, but I eventually decided to go for it. Life is too short to hold on to something that isn’t working. The color just wasn’t my favorite. I also knew it wasn’t worth much because I’ve seen almost identical dining sets on Craigslist for $100.

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I waffled back and forth on the finish I wanted. Originally I was thinking of doing the whole thing in white paint, but we were worried that a painted finish on the top wouldn’t hold up as well as a stained one, so we decided to sand down and refinish the top.

It was so awesome that the tabletop was solid wood because we were able to sand the heck out of that thing! We rounded the lip of the top and sanded the whole thing down to raw wood with the belt sander. A belt sander is a powerful tool. There was still a tiny bit of stain stuck down deep in the grain but it just turned out to add extra dimension to the finish.

I used one of Minwax’s new colors, Weathered Oak. It’s a slightly grayish oak stain, not as yellow as before. Finished it with 3 coats of Varathane oil-based polyurethane in satin for a strong finish.

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On the apron and pedestal I brushed on two coats of Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain Primer. I needed something really stain-blocking to keep the old finish from bleeding through. Then one coat of Behr’s Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel. I can’t remember the color but it is very close to white (Update: The color is Rushmore Stone). It probably could use another coat of the enamel but that’s a job for another day. The Behr Alkyd Enamel went on super smooth and is not tacky at all, which I love.

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As you can see this table is meant to be pulled apart and there are a couple extra leaves that can be inserted. However, we’re only really going to use it as a round table since it’s in the little breakfast nook. And now we have the new dining room table if we need more room.

I was thinking of painting the chairs too, but now that the table is painted, I kind of like the darker wood finish in contrast. What do you think? I’ll leave them as is for now until I decide what to do with them. I am not a huge fan of the shabby chic look and in every picture I’ve seen of those pressed-back spindle chairs painted, they are distressed and too shabby for me.

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Oh yes, the table is sitting on cut-up Trader Joe’s bags because I don’t want the paint to stick to the floor. It probably wouldn’t (the alkyd isn’t tacky) but just in case. I’m going to get felt feet for it one of these days.

This weekend I’m planning to tidy up around the house and decorate for fall. Then maybe I can show you some full room pics, haha.

Have a great weekend!

Camilla

 

Linking up at TatertotsandJello, MissMustardSeed, TheShabbyCreekCottage, DomesticallySpeaking, Remodelaholic

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