Friday, November 23, 2012

GIT-R-DONE: The Fast, Easy & Cost-Effective Approach to Holiday Decor


That really shouldn't make a difference to anyone who knows me because, to be honest, I decorate starting November 1st.  However, for the rest of the holiday-sane community, most people try to decorate the day after Thanksgiving.  This is something I never quite understood coming from Wisconsin, because as I sit in the balmy weather of Central California, my Midwestern kinfolk are huddled inside as Wisconsin is a whopping 23 degrees outside.
 Can anyone say,  
Baby it's cold outside?

I know you've already heard me complain about how un-Christmasey it feels here in Central Cali due to the lack of snow and the irony of having snowflake/snowmen decor, but I have made a few adjustments to my decor and thought I would share them with my bliggety blog community.
I've combed the pages on Pinterest for inspiration and came up with a few concepts that may help you out this holiday season and go a little easy on a college graduate budget.
The children hung their stockings by the fire with care

I love the little details when it comes to designing.  Attention to detail can turn any space into something fabulous.  After seeing advent calendars of mini-stockings, I went on Etsy to see if I could find something similar and only found expensive options.  Target came to the rescue with $3 mitten ornaments that came in a pair.  I took red ribbon with a stream of white dots and hung that along the fireplace.  I then separated each mitten and hung them up with mini clothespins.  It turned out really cute and is one of my favorite decor pieces in the house.  The mini clothespins also came in handy for another idea that's farther along the page.

I ended up buying 5 pairs, so this cost me a little over $15, which definitely  beat the $100+ cost of similar items that I found on Etsy.


Mini-Ornament Christmas Tree
Shadow box, scrapbook papers and ornaments cost under $20
I had a few ideas in my head for this concept before creating it and I kind of just went with what I found at our local Michael's.  Instead of purchasing a frame or shadow box like many Pinterest instructions say, I found a wooden shadow box in the unfinished wood items aisle at Michael's for around/under $7.  I then bought blue metallic scrapbook paper as well as a specialty snowflake paper and all of this was for the background.  To actually create the tree, I bought a package of mini ball ornaments that come with about 27 ornaments.  I hot glued the mini ornaments, while layering them on top of each other and it created this beautiful stacking effect.  That was basically it.  A really easy craft piece that is perfect as display piece. 

Shades of Gold
Cost under $10 to recreate these deer
Normally you find decorative deer pieces ranging from $30-$50.  I spotted a few paper-mache deer at a local craft store called Beverly's and here's the kicker...the only cost me $2 each!  I picked three different shades of metallic golds and one is more like a copper but all I needed to do was paint them.  They look incredibly sharp in front of any mantle, coffee table or just an entrance-way piece.  Right now they've made their home on the mantle as I figure out how I want our decor to go.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

I'm sure you've seen these tutorials all over Pinterest, but these trees are so easy to make!  The trees themselves can range from $2-$6, depending on the size.  The best part is wandering the aisles of your local craft store or that craft tub at home and figuring out how you want to decorate them.  The imagination can run wild with these.  I used textured yarns, glitter, feathers, etc. on the ones that I created.  I plan on making more and turning my mantle into a forest that any winter wonderland would be proud of.

An Alternative to Christmas Canvases

Cost me under $10 for this lovely canvas-want-to-be
I have been swooning over the adorable prints featured on Pinterest and Etsy.  As a person who has done quite a bit of graphic design, I've been itching to make some prints.  However, frames can get expensive.  You can, of course, make prints to fit your already existing frames and then swap out those family portraits for some holiday cheer or you can try out this tip.

I wanted to have Christmas canvases but paying for large canvases is not for the faint of heart.  Well I'm always determined to have my cake and eat it too, so I went to home depot and bought pieces of wood planking.  Essentially they're really thin shelves.  They're a little long, but that's easily fixed at home if you have a saw/those kind of materials and I also think that Home Depot (and similar stores) can adjust them for you as well.  It cost me under $7 and looks amazing on my mantle. I painted it with black acrylic paint and let it dry, then free-handed the lyrics, "O Holy Night, the Stars are Brightly Shining" in white acrylic paint.  It brings the entire room together and I love it!

Oh There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Does anyone love getting mail as much as I do?  Christmas amps up that excitement as I receive cards from friends and loved ones who are now all over the world!  I wanted to decorate our kitchen a little more but wasn't entirely sure how, apart from adding kitchen towels embroidered with holiday cheer.  This is so easy to do, you'll just love it.  I bought wide ribbon from Michael's, around $3 and cut appropriate lengths out to match the length of the cabinets and 
secured them to the back of the doors.  The mini clothespins I used from a previous project, mentioned above, were perfect for attaching Christmas cards and photos.  It definitely adds a little extra warmth to the kitchen.

Schooled by a Chalkboard

If you don't have a chalkboard and have your own living space, you really need one.  Why has this turned into a need, instead of simply a want?  Well it's because a chalkboard is so versatile.  From daily reminders to becoming a decor piece, it has a ton of uses that expand from just being a old school staple.  Chalkboard font has become an art and it's also just a lot of fun.
You can check out my experience making a chalkboard here.

That basically wraps up what I've done so far in terms of decorating.  We have our tree up and my husband has put on our new tree topper, a star!  It's our first Christmas tree together and we're so excited.  It's decorated with both our ornaments and my roommate's, so it's filled with a lot of memories for being a new tree.

Today in the mail, I received this from one of best-friend's, Courtney:

You all knew that I was going to try it. I know a good present when I see one ;)


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