Simple Peace and Joy Banner

Are you in full-on Christmas mode yet? I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but well, as a Canadian my Thanksgiving came in October so I feel totally free to embrace Christmas in earnest.

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For some reason I haven’t been crafting much in the last couple of weeks. We’ve done a lot of other projects — painting the front door (pictures soon), installing a new furnace, insulating the house and sealing window frames, and spending time with family. Somehow crafting and decorating have gotten lost in the mix, which is why this project is awesome — it literally takes 15 minutes to do and is almost free.

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I just cut up a brown paper shopping bag (this one is from the GAP) into little two-tailed flags. I glued on some silver chipboard letters I got from the dollar bin at Target.

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Then I taped the flags to some red and white baker’s twine (also from the dollar bin at Target).

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And I used washi tape to hang up the banner in the foyer. (Boy I wish that thermostat wasn’t there.)

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Easy, peasy! Total budget: less than $2 (since I’ll be able to reuse the extra chipboard letters and baker’s twine).

Are you getting your holiday decorating on? What have you been crafting lately?

Sharing at 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!

Navy Entranceway

The foyer in our house hardly merits the name — it’s just a little box between the hallway and the living room, but I’m grateful to have it! It’s really handy to have a little landing pad area for shoes, keys, and mail before you enter the house proper.

We did this little update a few weeks ago:

navy blue foyer

We painted a navy blue accent wall that you see right as you come in.

The foyer area used to look like this:

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It was kind of a milky mocha color. The paint really wasn’t in the best shape (you can see the weird blotches) and just wasn’t really me. Also, I definitely prefer cooler blues, greens, and grays, rather than browns. Maybe it’s the Pisces in me, haha!

foyer console table

The paint color is Behr’s China Pattern, which isn’t strictly a navy, since it definitely reads blue ALWAYS, never black. But I tried a darker navy and it was too dark, so this one ended up winning out.

We’ve had the console table for a few months. It’s the Tao Foyer Table from World Market, which is unfortunately being discontinued. We snapped it up on clearance. It’s a very small and slim console table, so it is perfect for our tight foyer space.

The antique mirror is something we picked up over a year ago. I pumped up the gold finish with some gold leaf paint.

navy and gold foyer

I didn’t style the table to make it look perfect so you can see the tray that catches my mail, sunglasses, chapstick, and keys! Also, I guess I didn’t close the drawer all the way =p. Just keepin’ it real, peeps.

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We got this flush mount light from IKEA for the foyer. I removed the white plastic base and spray painted it gold. I think it gives the area a little more glamour.

navy blue foyer

I love dark blue and gold together, don’t you?

Sharing at SavvySouthernStyle, TheBlissfulBee, DomesticallySpeaking, StartatHome

Stuffed Delicata Squash with Apples and Sausage

title stuffed delicata squash

I really don’t post recipes that often here — not because I don’t love cooking and want to share, but mostly because of time constraints. 5:00-6:00 pm in our household is a busy time. The toddler is hungry and tired, I’m trying to get dinner on the table, and Chris is running around trying to do some maintenance on the house/yard before the sun goes down. By the time my simple meal is on the table, it’s dark out (it gets dark at 6:45 these days) and there’s just no light to photograph before we eat!

So you know when I put a recipe on there it’s good! It’s usually something new I’ve tried that I like so much it’s going into the regular rotation. Last time, that was delicious poke salad with raw salmon and avocado. This time, I’m getting into the harvest theme with delicata squash stuffed with sausage and apples. I kind of figured, pork+apples = good. Pork+apples+stuffed in something = even better!

Delicata squash is, as its name suggests, more delicate than other winter squashes, and because it’s a bit more perishable, it’s not in season that long. So snap it up when you see it! I find the flavor to be quite similar to acorn squash. The skin becomes soft when cooked so you can eat it if you like.

paleo stuffed delicata squash

This recipe is gluten-free and paleo-friendly. If you don’t mind grains, you can of course use panko instead of coconut for the topping.

Stuffed Delicata Squash with Apples and Sausage

2 delicata squash
1 package sweet Italian sausage (5 links)
1 medium gala apple
2 ribs celery
1 small-medium onion
3-4 tablespoons unsweetened dry coconut
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
olive oil

Prick the whole squash all over with a sharp knife. Put them, whole, into the microwave and nuke them on high for 6 minutes, or until they are tender enough to slice easily in half with a knife.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Meanwhile, dice the onion, celery, and apple. Remove the sausage from its casings.

Saute the onion and celery for 3-4 minutes in some olive oil until softened. Stir in the apple and saute for another 3 minutes. Add the sausage and saute until sausage is browned and cooked through. Add a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the microwaved squash in halves and scoop out the strings and seeds. Pack each half full of the sausage filling and sprinkle dried coconut over each squash half. Bake for 20 minutes until coconut is browned and filling is sizzling.

Serves 4.

 

Sharing at SavvySouthernStyle, TheBlissfulBee

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

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