My Christmas Wish List

Remember back when you were a kid and made your list for Santa?  It was so much fun to sit and dream up a list of all the things you’d like to get and wonder which might arrive on Christmas if you were good.

Now that I’m all grown up I tend to keep a running wish list all year, so that as budget allows I can get items from the list when I find a good deal.  Here’s a few that are still on my list, just in case anyone is wondering what to get me – complete with links where most can be ordered. 😉

At the top of my list right now is a letter board to go above the craft desk.  I’ve been eyeing them on other blogs and friend’s social media for months and love the idea of being able to change up the phrase to fit my mood, or leave little messages for the Hubs from time to time.  The size I need for that spot is a little pricey, so I’ve been watching for it to go on sale like it is now, but it’s not in the budget while I’m buying gifts for others.

 

I’ve been needing to replace the shams in the guest room for a while now, since the ones currently in there are from a bed in a bag set I bought several years before we were married.  The current ones are faded and missing ties, but I’ve made do with them because I wanted something different but wasn’t sure what, until I found these these shams.  They will coordinate with the existing bedspread and tie in the colors of the new throw pillow we got in Scotland on our trip!

Speaking of pillows, I’ve also been eyeing these check pattern throw pillows for the sofa.  I like their classic but neutral style that would work with my other seasonal pillows.  I drive the Hubs crazy with my pillow collection, which grows every year and is in constant rotation around our home, but he and the dogs always seem to enjoy them when they are snoozing on the couch!

 

There are also several small items on my list like these pot holders from the Hearth and Hand line at Target.  The pot holders we current have pre-date our marriage and are looking WELL USED.  In fact they are getting so worn I’m worried that soon they will no longer be functional.  These would be a pretty and safe upgrade!

Source: HGTV.com

Continuing in the kitchen, I’d like to update our soap dispensers.  While I still like the DIY ones I created back when we moved in several years ago, I’m ready for something different and love the look of the ones Joanna Gaines uses in her remodels on Fixer Upper like this one.  Although I’ve looked, I can’t seem to find her source and she doesn’t have any in any of her retail lines.  I found something similar, but the reviews are pretty bad so I’m still on the hunt for a set with metal heads that will be able to take the abuse of daily use at the kitchen sink.

Source: Pinterest

I’m also on the hunt for old rolling pins.  I recently changed up the decor on top of the kitchen cabinets and now have a crock I’d like to fill with a few vintage rolling pins like this.  I’m thinking I can fit 3-4 in the crock I have.  I’m sure I could find some on eBay or Etsy, but expect they’d be pricey for real vintage pieces.  I’d rather find bargains locally on ones that are just “old” since they will be displayed up high and don’t need to look good up-close.  I’ll keep an eye out at local thrift shops and on the buy/sell pages, but may also request help from my Mother-in-Law who helps run an amazing church rummage sale each year!

Another small item on my wish list is remote-or timer controlled, flameless votive candles.  I like using the small votive glass in my decor and it’s a pain to switch each candle on and off each time I want to use them.  If they were on a remote or timer like my Luminara candles it would be much easier to enjoy them.  Some I’ve seen online had horrible reviews but this set seems to hold up and work well.

I’ve also been wanting a vintage truck that I could use in my seasonal indoor decor.  I’d planned to get one for my Christmas decorating but my local Target doesn’t carry them and they are out of stock online.  I’ve heard there are similar options at Hobby Lobby and other similar retailers so maybe someone will spot a good deal on one and snag it for me. 🙂

Although we’re firmly in winter’s grasp, there are a few wishes for when the weather allows gardening again, like a new cement bird figurine to replace the one that froze before I could get everything in the yard pulled for winter.  It cracked and fell apart when I picked it up!  It was a random gift from my Mother-in-Law during one of our trips so I was pretty upset that it broke.  I’ve searched online for another just like it, but haven’t found just the right one.  During the search I did find this cute little hedgehog who might have to find a home in my garden next season!

And of course there’s a few photography items I’d love to get, including several I snagged on black Friday sales.  But one I haven’t gotten yet is a new camera strap for my backup camera.  The current one is a bit too bulky and I’d like to switch to a scarf style like I’ve been using on my primary camera for the past several months.  I’ve found several on Etsy that would be great options ranging from floral to modern and even classic.

I guess that is a pretty long list, but like I said mine runs year round – and I’d like to think I’ve been good this year, so a gal can hope right?!  I’d love to hear what’s on your list!

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Last Minute Finishing Touches

1It’s the week of Christmas and I’m still tweaking my holiday decorations.  I wanted something above the mantel in the family room and had been looking for a farmhouse style sign that said “There’s no place like home for the holidays” but hadn’t been able to find one locally.  I considered DIY’ing one, but knew that wouldn’t happen with my current to-do lists.  So I came up with a quick DIY alternative using items I already had and a free printable.

I dug out this large classic frame I’ve used on the mantel several times before including St. Patrick’s and Halloween.  I filled it with some light colored burlap material from my fabric stash and used the cardboard baffle inside to keep the fabric tight.

bcOnce it was closed up, I turned it over and added a free printable I found online thanks to  fellow blogger Lil Luna to the glass on the front using glue dots.  This made placement much easier than trying to attach the print directly to the fabric and center it in the frame under the glass.

dHere’s how it looked all put together.  Sorry for the late night photos, but daylight is a rare thing when I’m at home working on projects these days.  Unfortunately this frame has seen better days and no longer has good hanging options on the backside, so we had to get creative when we went to put it on the wall – especially one made of stone.

aThe Hubs and I came up with a solution using more items we had on hand and now it completes the fireplace wall – just in time for Christmas!

eAnd while we’re talking Christmas decor, I’ll give you a quick tour around the house of my other displays, since I’ve been meaning to do that with photos I was able to take during our minimal daylight hours.

Next to the fireplace I used my collection of bottle brushes along with another free printable I found on the Little Glass Jar blog.  I flanked everything with two of our favorite lanterns filled with pine cones and mini light strings.  Please overlook the dust I apparently didn’t notice when taking these photos – because it’s so common in our household, hence the name of this blog!

treestrees2In the entry way a lighted garland is the perfect base for several woodland style characters, including this super cute driftwood reindeer I just added to the herd this year!  I haven’t named him yet, so if you have suggestions I’d love to hear them.  I also picked up that cute little stuffed fox this year and think he makes a perfect buddy for Santa – plus he makes a great prop for winter time photos shoots with small children!  He’s in need of a name as well so share those ideas too.

entrydeerfoxOut front there’s a new wreath on the door as Rusty greets visitors.  I usually get a live wreath, but the fundraiser I used to buy from is no longer available through a friend, so decided to go faux and get something I can use for several years.  The classic combination of silver and gold should fit in with any holiday style I try over the coming years.

doorwreathI shared my decor on the dining room buffet on Facebook a while back, including the new wall decor I got this year so be sure to get a peek at that.  On an adjacent wall I placed another new piece, this barn wood angel.  I picked her up at the Colony High School Holiday Bazaar that I attend every year.  She was created by the same vendor who made the barn wood star that hung above our nativity set last year and then became part of the gallery wall.

angelThere are a few other decorations around the house, but they are minimal and most have been shared here on the blog before so I won’t rehash them.   I hope you enjoyed the project and quick holiday tour!

Our New Star Tree Topper

I’ve been on the hunt for the past several weeks to find a new star topper for our Christmas tree.  Although I’ve seen a variety of adorable alternate tree topper ideas, I like the tradition of a star atop the tree.  We used to have a large glittery copper paper star, that met an unfortunate demise when it fell off the tree and Bacardi ‘revamped’ it.  Last year we used an IKEA star, which is now on the nativity creche I shared last week.  It worked, but I didn’t love it and knew I wanted something new this year – besides, it looks a lot better with the nativity set than it did on the tree.

I was planning to DIY a star topper I saw on Pintrest but couldn’t find the right materials locally.  I also browsed Etsy for some ready to buy options, yet couldn’t find anything I loved.  So the top of our tree sat naked for the first few weeks it was up while I continued the hunt.  Luckily, during a recent stop at Walmart I spotted a gold colored faux mercury glass star that was ready to plug in and light up.

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The box it came in was fairly beat up, so I looked for another one that hadn’t been abused, but after searching through all of the tree topper shelves I confirmed this was the last one in that style.  While it would still be pretty even if it didn’t light up, I didn’t want to pay full-price if I wasn’t going to get the glow atop my tree like I was envisioning.  Since it was quite early in the morning, the store wasn’t busy and a very nice sales associate helped me find an outlet make sure it still worked.  It lit right up as soon as he plugged it in, so I said I’d take it.

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That night it went on top of our tree.  Since the plugs for the tree lights are in the middle of the tree and the star’s cord didn’t reach that far, I had to run an extension cord through the tree to plug it in.

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It’s the perfect finishing touch to our tree and well worth the little extra effort and hunting.  It’s got a rustic and vintage vibe with the mercury glass look, yet is classic and modern too.  If only I’d known to search for mercury gold star to begin with!

I’m pretty sure we will be replacing the tree for next year – I’ll be on the hunt for a bargain during the after Christmas sales – but the size and style of the new star should work well with any tree we get, so I’m planning to enjoy it for many more years. 🙂

Updating a Tired Creche

z2Hello lovelies!  Did anyone else blink and last week fly right by?  It sure did for me!  Although it went by fast I was able to enjoy some downtime with the hubs and our fur babies while catching up on editing client photos and several holiday projects I’ve been wanting to do.  The first was creating a creche for my Willow Tree nativity set.

I wanted something rustic to compliment the rest of our decor so the creche that Willow Tree sells wasn’t going to fit the bill.  I’d pinned several DIY ideas on Pinterest but none had tutorials so I was planning to wing it and see what I came up with.  Luckily before I dove in and attempted anything I spotted this creche on one of the local buy/sell pages for just $7!  I quickly messaged the seller and arranged to pick it up that evening before someone else could swoop in on my bargain find.

crecheI knew I was going to revamp it a bit so when I got it home I gave it a thorough once over and came up with a game plan.  The first thing I did was remove the battered pine cone on the corner.  Then I removed the extra pieces of bark on the beam at the top and loft area to simplify the overall look.  I set it up on the curio cabinet and filled it with the nativity set to see how everything fit and decide my next step.  It sat like this for a few days while life rolled on but this past weekend I enlisted the Hubs help to make the final few changes.

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I wanted a star above the roof of the stable because it’s such a huge part of the story.  I had an IKEA tree star we used last year that I was replacing and on a whim tested it with the creche.  It was the perfect proportion!  I had planned to have the Hubs clamp a dowel to the back of the stable but we didn’t have a dowel or clamps that were the right size.  The Hubs suggested we use a piece of pipe left over from the foster room bed and gave it a test fit to make sure it would fit in the base of the star and inside the clamp.  He had to grind the end of the pipe down a bit but it fit like a glove.  When we were test fitting the whole assembly on the back of the creche we discovered that the base of the star itself fit in the clamp and decided to forego the pipe and just use the clamp.

2Unfortunately, the back of the creche was very thin and didn’t provide enough grip to hold the screw and soon the weight of the star had spun the clamp out of position.

3My crafty Hubby came up with a solution quickly, recommending I hot glue the bracket in place and we put a brace below the bottom of the star to hold it in place.    It was such a simple idea and it worked like a charm.

4With the star secured, I filled in the open areas of the back wall with the pieces of bark I’d removed from the other areas along with moss from my crafting stash.  I attached it all with my new glue gun, which replaced it’s aging predecessor after it started splitting along the seem and oozing glue everywhere.

The screws for the star bracket and brace were visible inside of the creche, but I was able to hide them with strategically placed pieces of bark on the back wall and the cross beam at the top of the roof so they aren’t even noticeable.  I also had the Hubs trim the two front corners of the base at an angle to better fit the top of the curio cabinet.  (Sorry for the late night photos, but daylight hours are extremely limited around here this time of year so I tend to just let the Christmas tree be our light source, hence the glow to the right.)

0I re-positioned my nativity set inside and covered the bottom board with paper shavings from one of the holiday sausage gift sets we’d bought to enjoy together.  The brown coloring camouflaged the bottom board and coordinated with the bark perfectly.

zNotice that open spot in the shavings on the left?  It’s where I plan to place one of the three wise men from the set I just won on eBay!  I also scored the ox and goat set for a super deal so now I have a whole set minus the camel, which I’ll look for next year.  Until then I’m absolutely giddy with how the whole project turned out and am looking forward to using it for many years to come. 🙂

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Making a Little Faux Tree New Again

Happy Christmas Eve! I have one last Christmas project to share and it’s the revamp of this sad little faux tree.  It used to be my holiday tree in the entry way, but I decided to give up that tradition this year in favor of spending time on more important things like spending time with my hubby and kiddos.

This little skinny tree had definitely seen better days.  It had moved from Virginia to Alaska and then from Kodiak to Anchorage and finally Wasilla, so it was looking pretty tired.  Since it came apart in two pieces I decided to make each portion a smaller mini tree for use around the holidays.

TreeOriginal

The bottom section was glued very securely in the base – trust me I tried to remove it and I’m pretty sure it would survive an explosion intact.  So rather than fight it I just wrapped the container in burlap, tucked the ends over the top of the urn and tied it with some pretty twine from the boots I’d bought at a consignment sale.  One down, one to go.

BurlapFinished

Now I needed a base for the top portion of the tree, which had a metal stump that had once attached into the base of the tree.  I remembered I had this wooden box in my stash and thought it would work perfectly.  This had been the container for a gift basket my office had received last year and originally came as unfinished wood with the sender’s logo carved on one side and this pretty snowflake on the other.

BoxStained

Although the snowflake was cute I didn’t want to see the company’s logo so I needed a way to cover it up.  I considered adding metal pieces with decorative tacks, paint stick shiplap and other methods, but then had a light bulb moment when I realized that the burlap webbing I had a small section of was just tall enough to cover both the logo and snowflake!

BoxWrapped

I filled the box with some Styrofoam from some packaging I was about to discard, shoved the metal stump into that and wrapped the webbing around the box, securing it with a bit of hot glue where the two ends met.  It was looking pretty good, but I wanted to cover up the white sytrofoam so I pulled some crinkle paper stuffing out of my filler stash and tucked it around the base.  I literally had just enough!

BoxWrapped&Filled

And here it is all done!  I think they turned out pretty darn cute for being a totally $0 project!  I paired each with a reindeer and placed them in the guest room and foster room for the season.  I didn’t even decorate them so they can stay put through the winter. 🙂

BoxFinished

And because I just can’t not share one more, here’s a cute little lamp post I revamped.  I bought it at a thrift store for $4 back in the summer and set it aside to redo for my holiday bazaar booth.  I forgot to take before pictures, but envision it as unfinished wood, with some 1980’s Christmas appliques at the top and a beat up garland around the post.  I removed the garland, sanded down the appliques and painted the whole thing in ORB.  Then I distressed the edges of the lantern and added a simple bow with greenery to the lantern base with a screw.  And here’s the finished result.

Post

Although it didn’t sell at this year’s bazaar I’ll store it away as inventory for next year since it never hurts to get a head start and I plan to market pieces earlier next year on my Etsy shop and crafting Facebook page.

I’ll be taking it easy tomorrow, Skyping with family back home while enjoying the day with my fur babies and the hubs, so I wish you a very Merry Christmas and will share more projects next week!

Christmas Decor Tour

With everything going on this year I didn’t get to decorate for Christmas until last week, so I kept things simple and classic with items that can transition into January without feeling too Christmasy. If you’ve been around the blog for a while you know I decorate with reindeer and name my favorites.  Max and Milo ended up in the same spots they had last year while big man Woody is still out in the yard guarding the rain garden. Holly and Rudy travel with me in my truck and little Fink is on my desk at work again this year.  Here’s where the others are hanging out this season.

In the entryway I used a new lighted garland with Red & Flint.  Woodland Santa watches over them as they play in the lights and Rusty my metal reindeer welcomes from the corner.

Entry

I’m loving the new garland, especially at night when it looks lovely.

EntryNight

Across from the entry dresser is Moe, one of my favorite reindeers with his knotted needs and big ‘ol feet.

EntryMoe

Around the corner Gus holds down the bench with a noel pillow and fur throw.  He has a great vantage point of the tree from this spot.

EntryBench

In the family room little Noel met her twin (thanks to a thrift store find back in the fall at just $4) and they teamed up to build a little snowman between the new pretty sparkly trees I bought at a favorite local boutique shop called Vintage Joy during their 40% off holiday sale.  They look great next to our new rustic mantel with birch candles.

Family

Handsome Sebastian stays warm next to the candle on the side table with a little frosty garnish to munch on.

SideTable

Between the family and dining room our Willow Tree Nativity set is displayed atop the curio cabinet with this amazing barnwood star I picked up at a local craft bazaar for just $28 and two little simple trees that were at the same bazaar for just $3 each.  I realized after I edited the photo that the star was a little crooked and fixed it but didn’t want to retake the photo so just ignore that ok?  Next year I’d like to add to the wise men and angel to the set and may finally get around to making a creche like this one for it, but for now I like how the simple piece of wood elevates Mary & Joseph and ties in with the star.

Nativity

I struggled with the dining room buffet for a few days but finally settled on this lantern and rustic box filled with greenery and twinkling lights.  Simple yet festive and a perfect compliment to the centerpiece on the table, which I already shared.

Dining

I had planned to clip Christmas cards on the windmill, but we haven’t gotten it installed yet, so I used the same concept on my metal wall art next to the back door.  I think it worked pretty well.

CardDisplay

So that’s my decorating for this year.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Our Newly Rustic Mantel

Today I’m sharing the revamp we gave our plain white mantel.  Although we wanted a rustic timber mantel when we were building the contractor wanted an absurd amount of money to install one and we weren’t certain what it would look like so we opted to take his basic style and DIY a work around later.  Two years later it’s finally happened.  I considered several methods including faux painting a wood grain and building a wood sleeve box, but I’m not great at painting and it would be nearly impossible to get a wood box to sit flush with the stone we have on the surround.  I also considered doing a wood veneer but had a hard time finding pieces large enough and worried that it wouldn’t fit together right.

While hunting Amazon for wood veneers I found a rustic wood print self-adhesive vinyl for around $10 a roll and figured at that price it was worth giving it a shot.  When it arrived I was worried that the colors were too similar to the rock, but eventually I felt that even if it was it would still be better than the big white block we currently had.  Here’s how the mantel looked until yesterday.

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And here’s how it looks now!

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The material was fairly easy to work with, you just use the grid pattern on the back to cut it to size, then peel and stick it down to the surface you’re covering.  Because we wanted the pattern to go up under the rock and wrap around for a continuous pattern it was more difficult than other applications.

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We had a neighbor visit while we were measuring, who helped herself to the remains of my hanging baskets.  I don’t mind too much since they’re already goners but hopefully she forgets where she found them come spring.

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I think she eventually realized that I was watching and attempted to hide behind the post while continuing to munch…

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But back to the project at hand.  Several hours and a few choice words muttered under my breath later the mantel looked like this.  Definitely an improvement from the big white blob!

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It’s definitely not perfect.  There are a couple of bubbles here and there, and a few cut marks where I had to work out wrinkles when things didn’t line up just right, but you really only see them close up when the light hits them just right, so I’m ok with that – especially for just $20!

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9The birch candles the hubs made and frosted garland compliment the new look perfectly, so it’s a DIY win-win!

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