Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DIY Christmas

Everything is expensive these days.  Not to age myself, but I remember well when I could get 5 pounds of hamburger meat for $1.00 (on sale)....yeah....I've aged myself.  At any rate, with prices grossly out running wages, it's a great idea to skimp where you can.

Skimping doesn't have to mean sacrificing style or beauty.  It just means rather than paying some faceless company to make  your decorations....why not make your own....or at least some of them?

A beautifully decorated home is simply a home that feels comfortable as soon as you walk in the door.  In my book, there is no right or wrong to it.  If you smile when you walk in, it's a winner.

Tree skirts really make or break a Christmas tree.  The last one that I bought cost $40.  It lasted a couple of years before the colors faded and I tired of the look.

Below are a couple of cheap ideas that look amazing.  The first one is just cheap felt that has been cut into strips and sewn together.  If, like me, you don't want to sew....staple them together.  Nothing easier than that.  The second one is an old quilt that was cut to size and a couple of strips attached to act as a tie fastener.  If you don't have an old quilt laying around, head for the thrift stores.

Every year I head to the nearest pharmacy a day or so after Christmas and snap up all the cheap decorations.  I say pharmacy because I don't have the nerve or patience to head to a larger store.  The pharmacy's generally don't have the parking issues, long lines and crowded stores like the larger stores do.  It doesn't really matter if the ornaments are glass or plastic or even if they are pretty.  A can of spray paint and a bottle of glitter later, they will be gorgeous!  Ornaments aren't just for the tree you know.

Nature's bounty!  I love walking in the woods or the park in the fall/winter.  I always carry a bag with me and pick up all the pine cones, nuts and interesting foliage that I find.  Then when I get home, I use them for decorations.  Pine cones are so great!  You can glue them together (regular old Elmer's glue will work just fine), you can sprinkle glitter on them or you can just leave them natural.  They add to any Holiday decorating.

Faux presents are another way to bring Christmas cheer to any room.  All it takes are empty boxes and either paper or even fabric.  Wrap it up and show it off!

I love stockings hung by the fireplace!  I do get tired of the same ones year after year though.  My solution?  I go to the thrift stores and find sweaters that have an interesting color or pattern.  I then cut off the arms and make my own stockings!  I use the body of the sweater to wrap some of my faux presents.  This can cost as little as $1.00 per sweater.

Don't forget outside!  My front door has a full glass storm door and the space between the wooden door and the glass door is very very small.  I can't really have a full thick wreath because of the space issue.  I don't want to put the wreath on the outside of the glass door.  I want it protected from the elements...and any thieves.  Wreaths are expensive.  So I say, make your own!  The picture below is nothing more than a very decorative hard plastic plate that was spray painted, a hole cut out and hung.  Whole thing might have cost $1.00....Christmas over?...toss it in the trash.
Catch some great deals on plain wreaths last year after Christmas?  Using twisty ties, affix them together and create a snowman for your lawn!  Super cute!

Jars...I love jars.  Pour an inch of so of salt in the jar then sit a votive candle in there.  Instant walkway lighting.

So now you have a few very inexpensive and super cute ideas for your Holiday decorating!  Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Time to change your interior landscape

Sweater weather has arrived!  One step outside your door and you will notice cooler weather and fallen leaves.  The exterior landscape is changing....so should your interior landscape.

If you live in an apartment or a small house with little storage, not to worry.  Changing out your interior design from warm weather to cold weather doesn't mean you have to store furniture or tons of accessories. All it requires is a plastic bin or the plastic bins that slide under your bed large enough to hold a few curtains, throws, comforter set and maybe some accent pillows.

Let's go over the bare necessities of changing over your design!

First let's look at the color scheme and fabrics.

Spring and summer months cry out for light, bright colors like seafoam, yellow and vivid greens.  They are cool colors that trick the mind into thinking the area is brighter and cooler than it actually is.  But these colors won't work when the days get shorter, darker and cooler.

Always paint your walls a neutral color if you don't want to repaint them twice a year.  A nice neutral shade of gray with a little hint of blue or green works well for both seasons.  Behr has a great website that allows you to try the colors out on 3D walls in various room settings to get a feeling for them.

In the spring and summer months we tend to use linen and cotton for our window treatments, throws and slipcovers.  While those fabrics work great for warmer months, they can literally leave you cold in the cooler months.

Hence the plastic bins.  I change out my window coverings, slipcovers, throws, accent pillows and comforter sets twice a year.  Tip:  I love duvet covers!  They take up very little space and all I have to do is slip it over my existing comforter to get an entirely new look.

I keep several low plastic containers under my bed.  When the season changes from one to the other, I simply pull out the tubs, replace the items and (after laundering everything) put the "old" season items in the tub which gets shoved under my bed for another 6 months.  Really simple and the impact is incredible.


Even a small apartment or house can appear light and bright in the summer.  However, once the days grow shorter and the light gets dimmer, it may (and often can) appear dingy, dark and depressing.  Mood lighting is an absolute must.

I have 5 lamps in my living room.  During the brighter months, I never turn them on during the day and only use 1 or 2 of them at night.  But during the winter months, they are all on - all the time.    The difference it makes to the appearance of my room as well as my mood, is incredible.

Accent Pieces

Swapping out a Turquoise accent pillow for a burnt orange or maybe a brown corduroy accent pillow can make a ton of difference in a room.  I have a tall glass cylinder vase that I keep filled with shiny marbles and glass chips.  In the warm months, those marbles are clear, turquoise, seafoam and lime green colored but in the fall, those marbles get swapped out for a bag of marbles in brown, amber and cobalt colors.  Dried leaves with vibrant fall colors from your yard could also work.

There's no need to buy a new sofa or easy chair to change the seasons in your room.  Just swap out the lightweight throw for a plush one in a wintery color...and of course...swap out the accent pillows.

Candles are both the cheapest and easiest thing to swap out when the seasons change.  Take the white or light colored candles and swap them out for some darker warmer colored candles. Add some leaves, acorns, popcorn, dried peas or dried beans around the candle for that extra touch.  Adding spices such as cloves, cinnamon, coffee beans or other fragrant material will not only look appealing but smell great too. For a red punch of color, try buying some plastic cranberries to throw in there.  I don't recommend real ones for two reasons, out of season they are pricey and also because they will rot before long.  Remember, all these items can easily be swapped out for spring/summer items once winter is done.  Below are some great ideas.


Let's not forget these two rooms when we're transitioning our space from summer to fall!  Something as cheap and quick as swapping out the towels can make a huge difference. Since most apartments and small houses have very limited counter space for decoration, less is definitely more.  Unless you're very crafty and like the "over the top" experience, I'd recommend just a couple of changes in these rooms or you could be left feeling crowded.

In the kitchen, I'd recommend a decorative bowl filled with pine cones or a small arrangement of candles or a shelf filled with harvest items such as Mason jars, wooden utensils and placing a small collection of mums in vibrant colors on the window sill can immediately transform a room.  Burlap is a very inexpensive material.  Use it to wrap your spring/summer flower pots or to create a table runner to give them an instant fall appeal.

No apartment makeover would be complete without addressing the bedroom!  Everything shown above can be easily transitioned into a bedroom decoration.  Usually all that's needed to transform a bedroom from summer to fall is a thick throw at the foot of the bed, accent pillows, some of the candle ideas above and if inclined, a new rug in a fall color and/or new curtains.  The rooms below have not been painted or their contents edited. Only simple changes have been made.

So spend a Saturday transforming your spaces into a winter wonderland.....on a budget!
As always, enjoy your space!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's time for some Fall and Halloween Decorating!

I love the fall and I love Halloween.  The crisp and beautifully colored leaves that cover my lawn, the cooler temperatures, the warm soups, the scary movies...and mostly...the flannel jammies that you get to drag out.  I mean is there anything more comfy than wearing flannel?

While browsing the web, I ran across a site (http://www.iheartnaptime.net/best-halloween-crafts/) that had some great and easy ideas for fall and Halloween decorating.  I thought I share some of them with you.

Hate to dig the innards out of pumpkins but love using them for decorating?  This might be perfect for you!

What about personalizing the candy bars that you give out to the kiddies?

Party favors?

Spooky candles anyone?
I love the idea of turning suckers into spiders!  How awesome!

If you're even a little bit good at decorating cookies....this idea is super cute!
You can buy these plastic tubes at any craft supply store.  Fill them with a variety of candy and then label accordingly.  Great idea to give out as treats or party favors.

How about turning old milk jugs into lighting for your walkway, porch or patio?  Fill the jugs with assorted lights, paint the face on the outside and you're all done!  Too cute!

These are just a few of the great ideas on this site.  If you want more detailed instructions or more ideas, go to her site and check it out!

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

New Life or New Home?

New Life or New Home?

Sometimes I look around my house and think "I need new furniture".  But do I really?  My furniture isn't in bad shape - not in perfect shape - but not in "needs to go to the curb" shape.  But it is old and I am tired of it.  What to do?  Should I take out a second mortgage to buy new furniture or redo what I have?  

Let's see what I can do with what is already in my house.

The quickest, cheapest and easiest thing to do is paint.  The greatest thing about paint is the fact that if you finish and you don't like it......paint it again.  It's unbelievable how a quart of paint can completely transform a "take to the curb" table, chest of drawers, headboard into a loved keepsake!  There are 4 steps to painting a piece of furniture.....4....that's it.  Clean, sand, wipe and paint.  That's all there is to it.

Three things to remember:  

(1) When painting over something that has been varnished or stained, you have to give it a good sanding first or your paint will simply fall off.  Also, it's a good idea to lightly sand anything that has been painted before as well.  Just to make sure the new paint sticks to the old paint. You don't have to sand it down to the original wood.  Just rough it up enough for the new paint to stick well. 

(2) Always clean it well before you sand to remove any oils, grease or other material that will interfere with your paint adherence and always - always -  wipe the piece off after you've sanded it or all that mess will cause your finished product to be gritty and dull.....and 

(3) don't let all these online tutorials and DIY TV shows discourage you.  It's not necessary to do a lot of steps when painting furniture.....just clean, sand, wipe and paint.  

Below are some examples of "take to the curb" furniture that was revived and renewed simply by a coat of paint.

Two of the above pictures are dining room chairs.  These are about the easiest things in the world to totally transform.  You have to clean, sand, wipe and paint but you will also need to reupholster the seats.  

To do that, you will need some fabric that you think is pretty and a stapler.  You don't have to use a staple gun - I use my old metal office stapler most of the time because it's more lightweight and the end results are just as good.  The staples don't have to go deeply into the seat.  Just enough to keep it on there.  Don't have any fabric?  I'm sure you have some either hanging in your closet or in your linen closet....think outside the box.  Maybe you have a pair of draperies that you were thinking about replacing anyway?  Use them.  A sheet, pillow cases, even old sweaters.  The seats don't all have to match.  Actually I think it would be fun to have the chairs all painted the same color but with different fabrics on the cushions.

All you have to do is remove the cushion, fold your fabric around it making sure to keep it tight and then staple it to the underside.  Trim off any excess and then put it back on the chair.  Done.

I love the transformation of the chest.  Simply by painting, replacing the hardware and removing the drawers (and replacing them with baskets) this chest is ready for another 20 years!

Sofa's and upholstered chairs are the hardest to recover for me.  I'm not a seamstress so I opt for the simple treatments.  That involves ties and staples.  Anything beyond that is out of my skill set.

These pictures below show simple redo's.  With the sofa, I like to buy painter's cloth drop cloths.  They wash well, wear well and are a neutral color that you can dye to suit your moods.  I simply lay them over the sofa and tuck them into the crevices of the sofa as tightly as possible.  A helpful hint is to use a broomstick or a wooden (or metal) curtain rod to hold them into the crevices of your sofa.  To do that you just push your fabric into the crevices and then push the broomstick on top of that.  It will help tremendously.

The chair was a bit more challenging only because it required me to make a few cuts and do a lot of stapling.  Make sure to staple onto the frame of the chair.  If you miss the wood, it won't stay put.

Now you can get an entire house full of "new" furniture without having to break the bank!!  

As always, enjoy your space!

Monday, August 3, 2015


When I was growing up, both of my grandmother's had multiple tires sprinkled about their yards.  Each was painted with colorful displays of perennials.  I thought they were tacky and countrified. However, as I've aged......I'm kinda liking them.....here are a few things you can do with discarded tires that don't involve a landfill or ditch....these projects sure don't look like my granny's tires!