A DIY Lighted Holiday Sphere

If you’ve been with me for a while, you might remember the DIY hanging garden sphere that I shared this past spring.  I made it by clipping together two wire hanging basket cages.

Little did I know that the sphere would become a nursery for eight adorable baby juncos – two nests with four chicks each!

The baby juncos are long gone and, now that the holidays are upon us, these two hanging basket cages have a new job – this time as a lighted sphere for my front porch.

DIY lighted holiday sphere

You can pretty much see how I made it just by looking at the photo – except for that spiky white thing inside.

So what is that thing?

The Secret Ingredient

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used in this post.

It’s a huge allium seed head!  It bloomed purple over the summer and then dried to a soft straw color.

I photographed it in a child’s car seat to give you an idea of just how huge it is.

There are so many varieties of larger alliums, and I don’t remember exactly which one I planted.  But my educated guess is that it’s an Allium schubertii.

In early fall, when the blossom had gone to seed, I cut it and let it dry in my greenhouse.

Dressing Up The Allium Seed Head

I sprayed painted it with Rust-Oleum Specialty Metallic in silver.  It looked okay, but it didn’t really pop.  So I sprayed over that with a light coat of Krylon Glitter Shimmer in opulent opal.  That gave it a little more of the holiday glam I was looking for.

Then I put the painted seed head inside the two hanging baskets and clipped the baskets together using the fastening clips from one of the hanging basket chains.

The allium seed head is now captive inside these two hanging basket cages, one of which is turned upside-down and set on top of the other. Then they are clipped together with, and suspended by, the hanging chain from one of the hanging baskets.

Getting the allium inside the sphere without damaging it was a bit of a challenge, but I just did my best.

 

Lighting the Sphere

I used a 20-foot length of indoor-outdoor, green-wired clear incandescent mini lights, but a safer option would probably have been LED mini lights since they don’t burn as hot.

I just secured the strand of lights with as many twist ties as was necessary, wrapping the strand around the outer circumference of the sphere several times and spacing the lights as evenly as I could.

I hung the sphere from a hook on the porch and voila – we now have a fun and budget-friendly addition to our outdoor Christmas lights.

DIY lighted holiday sphere

And it’s large enough to lend a chandelier-like elegance to the front porch.

DIY lighted holiday sphere

 

Of course, this sphere would look good even without the allium in the middle.  But since I had it, I thought it was a fun addition.

This isn’t the first time I’ve used allium seed heads in holiday decor.  A couple of years ago, I made a frozen allium forest for our vintage putz church.

Happy Holidays!

Except for possibly publishing a guest post or two, I’m putting this blog down for its annual “long winter’s nap.”

So I’m wishing you and your loved ones the very best of the holiday season, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the New Year!

 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

 

 

Browse my shop to find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

Linking up with:

 

A Fifteen-Minute Garland

Last December, I was on a walk and came across a beautiful branch of hemlock that had been brought down in a windstorm.

Hemlock branch

So I brought it home.  Although hemlock does tend to dry quickly and become brittle indoors, I love it because of its small and adorable pine cones.  They can add so much natural charm to holiday decor.

The twigs and pine cones on this branch draped so gracefully that I decided to make a simple garland for the archway between our living room and dining room.

Preparing the Greens

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used in this post.

I shook the branch off really well and sprayed it with a little peppermint oil, which is a natural insect repellent, before bringing it in.  I left it outside for little while to give any insects that might have been on the branch ample time to escape.

Creating the Garland

Creating the garland took, at most, 15 minutes.

I cut the twigs off of the branch and laid them out (on the laundry room floor) to form the length of the garland.

Hemlock garland in the making

I used 22-gauge florist wire to securely connect the twigs to one another.  Then I just wound a narrow (3/4 inch) holiday ribbon through the garland.  I concealed the florist wire with the ribbon where I could.

That was it:  The hemlock, the florist wire, and the holiday ribbon.

 

Hanging the Garland

Even with help from my husband, this part of the project took a while.  We didn’t want to damage the wall by using nails, so we (and by “we” I mean Chris) hammered little nails to the top of the picture rail.  Then “we” used clear fishing line to suspend the garland from the nails

Hemlock garland
You can see the nail in the picture rail here, but the fishing line is almost invisible.

 

DIY Hemlock garland

The nails would be easy to remove, but we left them so they can be used for other garlands and bunting.

 

The Result

The garland was very simple, but that was exactly what I was in the mood for last year:  The beauty of nature without any glitz or gaudiness.  

The draping greenery and tiny pine cones created a fun little “enchanted forest” feel.

Hemlock garland

 

Hemlock garland

 

Hemlock garland

With the remaining hemlock twigs, I made a small wreath to hang in the window.

DIy wreath

 

Hemlock Doesn’t Last Long

The garland was fine for a couple of weeks but, when I took it down, I was reminded of why, despite its charm, hemlock isn’t used much in holiday decor:  When I moved it, needles fell everywhere.

It had become very dry and brittle indeed.

So, if you do use hemlock in holiday decor, just make sure to keep it away from anything that might cause it to catch fire.

Hemlock is fun to use in fuller wreaths too, such as this foraged wreath that I made back in 2014.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

 

 

Browse my shop to find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

Linking up with:

 

 

 

 

A Gold and Glass Thanksgiving Table

After being immersed in my dressing room remodel for the past six weeks, it’s nice to finally write about something different – especially something as fun as Thanksgiving table decor.

Last year, I’d seen a photo in a home decor magazine that became my inspiration for our Thanksgiving table:  Oil lamp chimneys with candles burning inside were grouped loosely together with a few scattered fall leaves on an off-white tablecloth.  So simple and elegant.

So I found a muslin curtain that I wasn’t using anymore, and it became that simple off-white tablecloth.

Now that I had my “blank canvas,” the fun could begin.  And to me, fun is always more fun when I’m saving money.  Since I had most of what I needed already on hand, this was a very budget-friendly look to pull together.

 

Gold Leaves

Of course I immediately strayed from the magazine photo that had inspired me.  I couldn’t resist taking home some huge maples leaves I found on a walk in the park.  Maple leaves don’t stay beautiful for very long, so I spray painted mine with Rust-Oleum “Pure Gold” Metallic spray paint.

After they dried, I pressed them, and some other leaves that I’d painted, under glass for a few days.

This was easy since we have a glass piece that covers our dining room table when it’s not extended.  But pressing the leaves into a large book or under a heavy board may have worked too.

 

The Oil Lamp Chimneys

I took a few of the glass chimneys from vintage oil lamps that we’ve collected over the years and put candles inside.

A small glass ramekin served as the base for each one.

In the magazine photo, the chimneys were of varying heights, which is why they looked so beautiful grouped together.  But, since my chimneys were more or less the same height, I would be scattering them across the table instead of grouping them.

 

The Result

The reason I loved that magazine photo so much was because, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I’m usually already wanting to move on from a fall decor look.  But it’s too early to set the table for Christmas.  This look was such an elegant compromise.

My table ended up looking very different from the photo, but I was still happy with it.

The largest maple leaves became place mats.

Since Thanksgiving comes only once a year, I like to use the good stuff:  Real silverware, vintage china, and vintage crystal wine glasses.

 

 

 

A Word Of Caution

At the end of the evening, I discovered that the candles were a little hard to blow out unless I took the chimneys off first, but the chimneys had become very HOT.  I had to use a pot holder to take them off and sometimes, because of the melted candle wax, they were stuck to the ramekin base.

So, just a little warning that, if you try this, be very careful when you handle the hot chimneys, and also keep kids, pets, and flammable items away from them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

 

 

Browse my shop to find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

Linking up with:

 

 

 

 

My Budget Halloween Decor

Last year at this time, Chris and I were on our European adventure.  It was well into October by the time we returned, and we were both playing catch-up after being gone for so long.

So I didn’t have a lot of time to focus on fall decor for my front porch, but I did pull together a quick and very inexpensive look for Halloween.  

I thought it would be fun to share it with you today.

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used in this post.

Dollar Store Skull Vignette

Over the years I’ve become very selective about how much decor I buy (and then have to store) for any given holiday. That’s one reason I like working with natural elements in fall decor:  When the season is over I just compost them. 

But I found a small Edwardian-looking skull at a dollar store that I could not resist.  It inspired my little front porch vignette.

I cut some florist foam to size and placed it into a little clay pedestal (it’s on the left in the photo).  Then I concealed the foam with sheet moss and pushed a small wooden stake through.  I placed the skull over the stake.  The stake would hold the skull in place.

Then I covered a large clay saucer with sheet moss.  This would serve as  the base for the vignette I was creating.

The vignette consisted of the skull on a fancy pedestal, a small white pumpkin, and my favorite creepy plant, a cushion bush (Calocephalus ‘Silver Stone’).

Then it was just a matter of shopping my own garden for twigs, mosses and lichens to add.

Looking at it now, I wish I would have put a bow tie on the “neck” of the skeleton.  Maybe this year.

 

A Viking Pumpkin

Last year I chose pumpkins with interesting stems.  I thought this one was fun.

 

And this one, with its crazy stem, would make a fierce viking.

By the time I was finished with him, he looked more punk rock than viking.  

I added some twine to his stem and put him on the same black-painted grape wreath that I used as a nest for my haunted hatchlings a few years back.

 

Masks

My summer plants were still going strong last October, so I dressed up a potted fuchsia with a mask that I had on hand.

Another mask that I found at the dollar store glammed up my lion statue.  

They greeted trick-or-treaters as they walked up the stairs.

I added a few creepy lights to the mix and I was done.  

I’d spent two dollars at the dollar store, and a bit more for some pumpkins.  The rest I had on hand.  

 

 

Fall decor might go by the wayside this year too because, in early October, I will be kicking off a (hopefully) fun special project – something that I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time.  So stay tuned!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

 


Linking up with:

 

 

 

 

 

The Rebel Tree

Most years, I thoroughly embrace the holiday season.  But, every now and then, I hit a wall.  Last year, it happened around mid-December.  The holiday decor that I’d been so excited to bring out after Thanksgiving suddenly seemed like just more clutter.  And it all needed dusting.  

This season, I hit the wall even earlier.  Before Thanksgiving, thanks to social media, I’d already seen too much too soon: Too many heavily flocked trees groaning under the weight of too many glitzy baubels. 

And all I could think was “This again already?”

So this year, I decided to rebel against holiday glitz – not the holidays, just the glitz. 

My husband, Chris, always looks forward to having a tree, so I knew we had to have one.  But it would be scaled back, simplified, and, well, un-glitzy. 

And it would be given room to breathe.

 

Finding The Right Tree

I wanted a pre-lit artificial tree, but with a specific look:  It had to be very narrow – with lots of space between the branches, and a thick wooden trunk.

I’d seen that kind of tree around.  They are sometimes called alpine trees, and they look similar to these trees. 

I found a very inexpensive five-foot alpine tree at a local craft store.  The tree was not great quality, but I was not deterred.

I brought it home, assembled it in minutes, and fluffed the branches. 

Chris looked a little disappointed. But I had a plan.

Making an Artificial Tree Look Natural

The tree was already mounted on a metal base, and there were 18 inches between the base and the first branch.  So I simply plopped it into a 10-inch tall (and 15-inch wide) peck basket. 

Artificial tree base in a peck basket.

I had some plastic bags on hand that I’d been collecting to send out with our recycling. So I tucked them around the tree trunk and filled the basket with them.  This plastic bag “stuffing” would support the sheet moss that I would be placing on top.

I cut the sheet moss to size and placed it on top of the plastic bags, tucking it into the basket around the edges.  (Sheet moss has really been my friend lately.  I also used it for this fall vignette and in a setting I created for this holiday house.)

How to make an artificial tree look natural
Sheet moss placed at the base of the tree.

I used Buffalo Snow to conceal the cut edges of the sheet moss and give the tree base a wintry look.

How to make an artificial tree look natural.

Now it looked more like a live tree planted in a basket.  Chris was starting to feel better about this whole thing.

Except for the lights, there could be nothing sparkly or shiny on this tree.  So I added just a few frosted pinecones and small white bells that I already had on hand. 

And I used these cute pinecone sprigs from last year’s holiday chandelier decor.

holiday pinecones on a 1920s era chandelier.

 

I tried adding some of my Christmas ornaments – the ones that were made of natural materials or were otherwise non-glitzy.  But even that was going too far.

I also thought about adding berries, but in the end I decided to ban red from the tree altogether.  The tree is a quiet, soothing combination of green, white, and brown.

How to make an artificial tree look natural.

And I chose the peck basket because it also looks natural and has no sheen.

How to make an artificial tree look natural.

 

If I use this tree again next year, I might go with red – maybe plaid garlands or bows.   But who knows, by then I might be in the mood for glitz again – or ready to go back to our old, nicer-quality tree.

I think the mistake I’ve been making all along is that I tend to get sentimental about the ornaments that I’ve collected, and I feel obligated to use all of them every year.   

It was just another case of my stuff controlling me instead of the other way around.  

But this year is different.  I am getting more enjoyment from the few things that I have chosen to display. 

Sometimes less is more.

Vintage putz church

Happy Holidays!

This is my last post before I tuck this blog in, once again, for its long winter’s nap.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and for your input and encouraging words. 

I’ll be back in January.  Until then, may all of your holiday dreams come true! 

Happy holidays

 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Holiday Reading

The novel Year of the Angels begins and ends with an Old-World Christmas.  But it’s what happens between those two Christmases that makes this book so fascinating.

Year of the Angels

 

Lillipost

Lillypost is the #1 way for parents to discover new books that their little ones will love every month, for up to 50% off of regular retail prices.

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel
Exploring

 


Linking up with:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature-Inspired Gift Wrap – And Nature-Inspired Gifts

The short days and weak light of winter always have me feeling like I’m missing out on the beauty of nature.  So I look for small ways to bring nature indoors. 

Last year, I frosted alliums for holiday decor. 

Frosted alliums

And every year, I start paperwhite bulbs indoors for the holidays. 

Starting paperwhites indoors

For my annual DIY holiday wreath, I usually forage my neighborhood for the materials.

A wreath made of found materials.

When it comes to holiday decor, give me nature over man-made glitz.

Shopping My Own Garden

So last year, I shopped my own garden for natural materials to make “bows” and decorations to use with my holiday gift wrap.  These little package adornments were fun to make, unique, and nature friendly.  And they cost me almost nothing. 

And today, I’m sharing my two favorites.

A Boxwood Mini-Wreath

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

I cut short twigs from our boxwood hedge for this buttoned-up little wreath that measured just 5 1/2 inches in diameter.

 

A boxwood mini-wreath

To make it, I bent 19-gauge steel wire into a 3 1/2-inch diameter circle.  Then I used brass-colored beading wire to wrap two-inch lengths of boxwood to the wire circle.  Of course, since I was working with wire, I wore gloves.

I had to work with it for a while to get it right.  I tucked in additional boxwood sprigs where it still looked thin.

Then I tied it up with a bow made of narrow cloth ribbon.

Simple, and it looked so nice on the package.  But it could also be used as an ornament.

A holiday package with a boxwood mini wreath

Fragrance “Bow”

For a bow that smelled fresh and wonderful, I used rosemary sprigs and  bay leaves from the garden and then added a couple of sticks of cinnamon.  

I tied them into an attractive bundle and simply taped the bundle to the package.

A natural fragrance "box" for a holiday package.

 

Since the the fragrance bow consisted of herbs and cinnamon, it was a nice garnish for a kitchen-themed gift.

Holiday packages

These gift wrap decorations were eco-friendly because, once the ribbons and wires were removed, they could be composted.  Or, in the case of the bay leaves, they could be used to lend flavor to a roast or a stew.  

Nature-Inspired Gifts

So if I can make nature-inspired bows, why not wrap up a few nature-inspired gifts?

And especially since, often times, natural or eco-friendly gifts are made by small companies of artisans.  I’d be helping to support the “little guy,” and I always love that.

Here are just a few of the gift ideas that have me dreaming today.

Gifts for Warmth and Comfort

These comfy-looking Merino sheep woolen natural slippers by MerinosShop are treated with Lanolin.  I can’t vouch for the science, but Lanolin, a natural wax, is said to help relieve inflammation.

Merino Wool Slippers; photo courtesy of MerinosShop

 

I’m guessing even the woman who has everything might not have these natural yak woolen gloves by Handcombed.

Eco gloves; photo courtesy of Handcombed.

 

An Oatmeal and Honey Deluxe Bath Bomb by CopperCatApothecary would make a fun stocking stuffer for someone who needs a little pampering.

Oatmeal and honey bath bombs; photo courtesy of CopperCatApothecary.

Gifts for the Cook/Baker

It seems embossed rolling pins are everywhere this year.  This “Herbs” rolling pin by MoodForWood is designed and made in Poland using wood from environmentally responsible sources.  

“Herbs” embossed rolling pin; photo courtesy of MoodForWood.

 

These spools of biodegradable, eco-friendly cotton baker’s twine by DoltYarns would make wonderful – and affordable – hostess gifts or stocking stuffers for the cooks or crafters on my list.

Eco-friendly baker’s twine; photo courtesy of DoltYarns.

 

I love the look of BackBayPottery’s four-cup batter bowl, which is handmade in California.

Batter bowl; photo courtesy of BackBayPottery.

 

Gifts for the Bird Watcher

I’d never heard of bird nesters before, but they seem like a great way to attract birds to the garden by providing them with fibers to build their nests.  And some bird nesters are also very decorative – like this llama fiber bird nester by FoxHillLlamas.

Llama fiber bird nester; photo courtesy of FoxHillLamas.

 

This spiral birdseed wreath by PartyInTheBarn would make a cute stocking stuffer for the bird watcher on my list.

Spiral birdseed wreath; photo courtesy of PartyInTheBarn.

 

And in case you’re looking for a little more holiday gift wrap inspiration, check out these easy holiday gift wrap ideas.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials or endorsements.

Holiday Reading

The novel Year of the Angels begins and ends with an Old-World Christmas.  But it’s what happens between those two Christmases that makes this book so fascinating.

Year of the Angels

 

 

Lillipost

Lillypost is the #1 way for parents to discover new books that their little ones will love every month, for up to 50% off of regular retail prices.

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel
Exploring

 


Linking up with:

 

 

 

The Storybook House

Once Upon a Time, in a quiet seaside neighborhood, there was a little shop with the most charming window display in all the land:  Old, forgotten books had been magically transformed into a village of holiday houses.  The covers of the books were the roofs, and the pages were the exterior walls.  The theme was black and white  – printed words on white paper. 

I was enchanted with these holiday houses, and I vowed that one day I would try this project myself.

Fast forward three years.  And my little niece is shaping up to be a bit of a book worm.  So I used her as my excuse – I mean my reason – for making a colorful version of the holiday houses by using a children’s book.  

But, unlike the holiday houses, my “Storybook House” would have a door and a window to view interior scenes.

The Materials

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

I headed to the thrift store to find a children’s book with charming illustrations of both indoor and outdoor scenes.

Now, this book was going to be cut up, pages torn out, completely reconfigured.  So I would not be looking for a rare classic.  I found this adorable Little Golden Book, which is still in print.  

The  book measured 6.5″ X 8″.  I would be using the book cover as the roof of the house.   I found a box that measured 7″ X 9″ X 5″.  It would work for the body of the house.

DIY Craft Project Using Books - materials
The book and the box.

Cutting and More Cutting

It was time to turn the box into a house.  For this, I mostly used a straight edge, scissors, and a utility knife.

The House Frame

I cut away at the top of the box until I had a “roofline” to support the book cover.  I folded the two bottom side flaps of the box outward to make the house more stable, and I securely taped the remaining two flaps to form the house’s subfloor.

DIY Craft Project Using Books - frame

Then, I used Mod Podge to adhere Kraft Paper to the box.  This was just to smooth out the surface. 

The Floor

I also cut an extra piece of cardboard to use as the “floor” of the house.  There was an inside lining page in the book which consisted of a charming white-on-pink pattern.  I cut that page out and used the Mod Podge to adhere it to the cardboard piece.  Now I had a floor with a cute “linoleum” pattern.  

DIY Craft Project Using Books - frame
The house frame and the “linoleum” floor.

Then I measured, drew out, and then cut out a rounded doorway and a split window.  After all, there would be a lot going on inside this house, and I wanted it to be visible.

Decorating the House

Finally, it was time for the fun part:  Deciding which scenes from the book I would use for my house.  

Of course, I looked for indoor scenes to paste inside, and outdoor scenes for the exterior.  Then it was just a matter of cutting them to the size I needed and pasting them to the house using the Mod Podge

It was a very forgiving project – if I messed something up, I just pasted something else over it.  After I had everything pasted on, I painted a layer of Mod Podge over the whole house to protect it and give it a satiny sheen.

A Pre-Roof Tour

Here is a little tour of the house before the roof was attached.  

We’ll start with the front entrance.  Here we can see through to the back wall, where a Dad mouse is reading to his children.

DIY Craft Project Using Books - house before roof

 

This is inside the front door.

DIY Craft Project Using Books - house before roof

 

Here we see a bit of the kitchen and, to the right, a chipmunk is peeking in a high window.

DIY Craft Project Using Books - house before roof

 

Back outside, we can see through a window that a tired Dad bear is giving his cub a piggyback ride, while a chipmunk looks out the window of an apple tree.

DIY Craft Project Using Books - house before roof

 

And here you can see the little split window that I cut out.

DIY Craft Project Using Books - house before roof

My work is far from perfect, but the roof pulled it all together.

The Roof

I cut the remaining pages out of the book with my utility knife.  I was careful not to cut into the spine of the book.  I wanted an intact book cover.

And yes, I did feel a little bad about cutting up this cute book.  I’m saving the remaining pages and scraps for possible future projects.

After I had the book cover separated from the pages, it was no longer a book cover.  It was a roof.  And I carefully glued it to the house using plain old Elmer’s Glue-All and making sure there were no runs.

All Done!

The house doesn’t really look Christmassy.  It could be used any time of the year.   But an early winter storm just blew in, and snow is creeping up on the Storybook House.

 

 

DIY Craft Project Using Books - The Storybook House

The interior needed a little light.  I would never use a real wax candle in this little house, for obvious reasons.  So, I added a battery-operated candle sitting on a thread-spool “table.”

DIY Craft Project Using Books - The Storybook House

 

DIY Craft Project Using Books - The Storybook House

Nervous Aunt Heidi’s Child Safety Warning: 

I’m sure you already know that the Storybook House is not a toy.  It’s a decoration.  But it never hurts to share one of the formulas that I live by: 

Babies/Small kids + just about anything = disaster.

And we can’t have that because the kids, the rabbits, the chipmunks, and the bears, well, 

They all lived happily ever after.

 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Holiday Reading

The novel Year of the Angels begins and ends with an Old-World Christmas.  But it’s what happens between those two Christmases that makes this book so fascinating.

Year of the Angels

 

 

Lillipost

Lillypost is the #1 way for parents to discover new books that their little ones will love every month, for up to 50% off of regular retail prices.

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel
Exploring

 


Linking up with:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Decor Inspiration

If you’re one of my regular readers, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything lately.  That is because Chris and I have been in Europe for the past three weeks!  For someone as fascinated with history, old-world charm, and architecture as I am, it was a dream trip.  Of course I took a million photos, so I will be sharing some of them with you soon.

We just returned, and I am way behind on my fall decor.  So in this edition, as I sit here wide awake at 4:30 a.m., I would like to share some fall decor ideas from seasons past.

Bulbs are Beautiful

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

Last fall, my Mom removed some of her crocosmia plants.  She offered me a handful of the dried plant stalks that she’d pulled out of the ground, bulb and all, so that I could use the seed heads in floral arrangements.

But the bulbs and roots looked so interesting that I decided to use the whole plant as decor.

Fall decor inspiration: Crocosmia

It was simple:  I filled a shallow clay pot with floral foam and then covered the foam with forest moss.  I inserted a small bamboo garden stake in the middle and then secured the crocosmia stalks to it with garden twine.

I loved the look of the bulbs and winding roots.

Fall decor inspiration: Crocosmia

A Creepy Planter

A couple of years ago, I discovered a very interesting plant called a cushion bush (Calocephalus ‘Silver Stone’).  It became the centerpiece for my creepy little black-and-white Halloween planter.

For more on this planter, check out this post.

Gleaming Pumpkins

For a look that goes past Halloween and into Thanksgiving, I gave some mini pumpkins a gold leaf finish.

 

And I touched up a few birch leaves with the same treatment.  For more on how I did it, check out this post.

 

I found that gold-painted leaves are an elegant addition to Thanksgiving tables.

A Festive Fall Dinner Party

While we’re on the subject of festive tables, one of my first posts shared a lovely fall dinner table that my Mom had created.

But let’s go outside now.

A Hoppy Harvest Wreath

When making a wreath, I like to shop my own yard for material. A few years ago, I made a silly wreath using only hops.

Haunted Hatchlings

I’ll never forget the time that a nest of goofy, terrifying haunted hatchlings landed on our front porch.

 

This look was fun to create, and it’s explained in this post.

A Lazy Woman’s Fall Front Porch

Last year, feeling lazy and thrifty, I shopped my house and garden for fall decor.

Fall decor inspiration: Front Porch

I used what I already had on hand:  Pots, urns, dried flower heads, berries, and fall leaves.

Fall decor inspiration: Front Porch

 

 

Fall decor inspiration: Front Porch

To my surprise, a strawberry plant I was keeping behind the garage was popping with fall color, so I moved it to the front door.

Fall decor inspiration: Front Porch

On the other side of the door, a begonia plant was starting to wind down after blooming all summer.  But its show wasn’t over yet.

Fall decor inspiration: Front Porch

As we got closer to Halloween, I changed the look just a bit.

Fall decor inspiration: Front Porch

Okay, I splurged a little with this fun new pillow cover that I’d found on sale at World Market.

Fall decor inspiration: Halloween pillow

Skeletons and pumpkins worked together to ward off the uninvited.  This is about as scary as we get around here.

Fall decor inspiration: Halloween lights

As you can see, I was too lazy to even remove the tag from the skeleton lights.

But now I need to get cracking on my fall decor for this year.  See you again soon, and I will share photos of some of the cool things we saw in Europe!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Sources:

  • Floral foam and forest moss were used in the crocosmia arrangement.
  • The premium leafing finishes that I used on the gleaming pumpkins are made by Precious Metals.  There are 8 colors available.
  • For the black eggs that the haunted hatchlings emerged from, I just painted clean cracked egg shells with a roughly 50/50 mix of Mod Podge and folkArt acrylic craft paint in Wrought Iron.  The Mod Podge helped strengthen the egg shells a bit and also added a nice sheen.
  • I love the Victorian skull pillow cover that I found at World Market.  I don’t know if they will be carrying it this year, but I do know that changing out pillow covers is one of the easiest ways to decorate for Halloween.  Etsy has a ton of fun Halloween pillow covers that go from farmhouse to freightening, and everything in between.

I think this one by PamperedHomeDecor is especially fun.

 

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel
Exploring

 


Linking up with:

 

Second Tuesday Art Walk #5

Sweet and Simple Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas

Welcome to the December edition of Second Tuesday Art Walk.  I hope you’re enjoying this holiday season.

About a week ago, I had my first gift exchange with a small group of friends.  I’d shopped early for their gifts, knowing that I would have tons of time to wrap them.  Unlike previous years, this time I would make sure that each friend received an amazing, festively wrapped package – a package so stunning that she would not even want to unwrap it.

At least that was the plan.

Of course that didn’t happen because I waited until about 20 minutes before I had to leave the house to start wrapping.  Having tons of time just meant I could procrastinate longer.

So for me, simple gift wrap ideas are always the best.  But simple can be beautiful.  Today I’m sharing a few fun and surprisingly easy gift wrap ideas.

Car and Tree Cuteness

Heather at Growing Spaces  shows us how to make a car and tree package sure to bring out the kid in all of us.

Photo courtesy of Growing Spaces

Ruffle Yarn Ribbon

A few years ago, I used ruffle yarn as ribbon – with fun results.

Easy holiday gift wrap using ruffle yarn

Easy to find at craft stores, ruffle yarn is nice to work with because it can be pulled apart for a lace-like look, and it usually contains tiny sequins for a subtle holiday glimmer.

DIY Scandinavian-Inspired Gift Wrap

White wrapping paper and a sharpie – what could be easier?  Andrea at the.beauty.dojo shows us how easy it is to get that clean, minimalist Scandinavian look.  And she also offers us free printable gift tags to complete the look.

Photo courtesy of the.beauty.dojo

Paper Doilies

Last year I became obsessed with old-fashioned paper doilies.

Easy holiday gift wrap using doilies

I mostly used them with plain craft paper, but sometimes with fancier paper.  They were easy to attach using a glue stick.

Holiday wrap using paper doilies

 

And I found they were more interesting offset on the package rather than centered.

DIY Gift Bag From Wrapping Paper

Some gifts just don’t fit in a box.  And I don’t usually realize that until the last minute.  Luckily Tasha at Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body has a simple tutorial for creating a gift bag from wrapping paper.

Photo courtesy of Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body

DIY Paper Tassels

Tassels are hot this year.  And Debra at Vintage Paper Parade shares an easy way to make them.

Photo courtesy of Vintage Paper Parade

Fabric Strips

One year I used torn strips of muslin fabric, left over from a sewing project, instead of ribbons and bows.  The result was a soft, old-world look.

Easy holiday gift wrap using torn fabric

 

Happy Holidays Dear Friends!

I’m putting this blog down for her long winter’s nap, but we will pick things up again in January.  Until then, I wish you and yours every happiness that the holidays bring.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only.

 

Holiday Reading


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

Linking up with:

Frosted Alliums for Holiday Decor

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that in September I urged you to save any allium seed heads that might be growing in your garden.  And now I’m going to show you why.

The Inspiration

Last holiday season, my talented friend Loralee gave me this adorable gift, which she made herself using an allium seed head.

It got me thinking about all the ways we can use allium seed heads in holiday decor.  So I’ve been doing a little experimenting.

Finding Seed Heads

Allium plants are grown from bulbs.  In my area, they bloom spring to summer, and then the flowers turn into seed heads that are highly ornamental.  They come in many sizes, heights, and shapes.  Some are huge, some are tiny.

I found only one seed head in my own garden, but it was pretty spectacular.

And in early fall, a neighbor offered me all of her allium seed heads.  She had a nice variety.

Some still had seeds so I left those outside for the birds until the weather turned.

And I let them all dry indoors completely before I began using them.

The Experiment

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

 

I used matte white spray paint that I had on hand.  I wanted the seed heads to look frosted, not flocked, so I used the paint sparingly.

While the paint was still wet, I dusted each seed head with Buffalo Snow Flakes iridescent sprinkles (which I also had on hand) for a subtle sparkle.  Then I carefully shook off the excess.

Even though I shook off the excess, little bits of the Buffalo Snow Flakes continued to shed.  So in this case I probably would have been better off with a spray-on sparkle.

Working with the alliums took a little patience because some of them were still shedding seeds.

And the seed heads got tangled together very easily.  They were brittle and fragile, and I had to be careful not to damage them.

Still I am happy with the results.  Here is what I’ve done with them so far.

Frozen Forest

I like to keep things simple.  By securing allium stems of varying heights to spike frogs,

I made a frozen forest to go behind the vintage putz church that once belonged to my husband’s parents.

 

Nutcracker’s Adventure

The smallest allium seed head is secured to a tiny spike frog.  It towers over a three-inch German nutcracker as he wanders through a miniature forest.

Holiday Drama

The seed heads were on long stems.  Some of them were almost as tall as me.  I had fantasies of making a full-sized allium forest with them.  But getting them to stand securely on such tall stems would have taken some doing.

Still I had one dramatically curving stem that was almost three feet tall, and I wanted to do something special with it.  I was able to secure it, and a few other stems of varying heights, by inserting stem wire into the bottom of the stems and leaving a couple of inches of floral wire out of the stem.   I used wire cutters to cut the stem wire to size where needed.

Then I secured them to a piece of styrofoam set in a shallow clay bowl.