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Style Files: A ‘Love’ For Decorating

9 Jan

You know that empty feeling you get once all the Christmas decorations are put away? Your house still looks the same as it does 11 months out of the year, but it feels like everything is so sparse. Well, I hate that feeling.

So, I decided to cheer up the entryway by getting a jump start on my Valentine’s decorating. Now, Husband and I don’t make that big a fuss about Valentine’s Day, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to decorate with my favorite color – pink. Or, as a true steel magnolia would put it – blush and bashful. So I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and there was no shortage of supplies in my hallowed hue.

I decided to make a Valentine’s swag to replace the Christmas and fall wreaths that I’ve hung over the entryway mirror for the past few months. It took me all of 20 minutes to make, and I’ve completely fallen in love with the result.

How to Make a Valentine’s Swag

Step 1: You’ll need a dried grapevine swag (or wreath).

Step 2: Purchase one large center flower, two smaller flowers for the sides, and some tiny floral sprays for accents. I chose a large hydrangea for the center and 2 ranunculus for the side flowers. Ranunculus are some of my favorite flowers – they were in all the bouquets at our wedding.

Step 3: Begin by hot gluing the tiny sprays at the center of the swag. Then, add the large center flower followed by the two side flowers.

Step 4:Finally, add a few leaves in there to provide some contrast and make the swag look more natural.

Step 5 (optional): I chose to hang a small silver pendant with an inscription about love on it. I used some 3/4 inch wire-edged ribbon and tied it to the bottom of the circle in the center of the swag.

Finally, I took a few vases I’d saved from past Valentine’s when Husband sent flowers and filled them with some fragrant roses. They are a cheerful greeting each time we enter the house!

The Hearth of the Home

29 Dec

I have not been shy about sharing my affinity for flames – in the fireplace, that is. Ever since I first laid eyes on our fireplace, I’ve had a vision of what it would look like at Christmas. Well, my vision finally materialized this month, and it would be a shame not to share before I take down the decorations.

Because we had the family come to our house for the Christmas celebration, we decided to splurge and get gas logs. We have enjoyed every minute of being curled up in front of the flames, sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas carols on the radio. I’ll really hate to see the cold weather go this year! On the left side of the fireplace are three dried grapevine trees with holly berries and glitter accents, and on the right are the two beautiful reindeer my mom purchased for me from Grandin Road. I spray-glittered small wreaths and placed them in their antlers to match the trees.


Top 10 Blessings of 2011

29 Dec

As my great-grandfather used to say, “Christmas is over and I’m so sad, sody-pop sody-pop’s all I had.” Well, our stockings were stuffed with more than soda pop this year, but we’re certainly sad to see the most joyous time of the year come and go so quickly. In fact, I’m squeezing every last drop of Christmas cheer out of 2011 by leaving my decorations up until New Year’s Day.

And as the first day of the new year approaches, I find myself reminiscing on the past 365 days. Husband and I have had many special moments this year, but to be perfectly honest, this hasn’t been the easiest year. It’s been one where I’ve been challenged to grow in my faith more than ever, and God has shown me that He’s sovereign no matter the circumstances. So, here’s my top 10 blessings list for 2011:

10. Buying our first home.
9. Safety as we conducted all our home improvement projects – and there were plenty of opportunities for a ladder to tip, blade to slip, and glass to chip.
8. Having some of our dearest friends move right around the corner.
7. Reconnecting with old friends. I had the unique opportunity to attend (and host) several parties this year where I was able to spend time with the girls (now women) I grew up with. It felt like coming home. 🙂
6. Safe travel. Husband and I each did more business travel this year than usual, and we each made it home in one piece.
5. Food on the table. This one may seem silly to some, but Husband and I never take for granted how lucky we are to both have work in a time when so many corporate cutbacks are being made. Also, I took a position with a new company this year, and we both absolutely love it!
4. A special wedding. My mother-in-law married a wonderful man this year, and we couldn’t be more excited to see them so happy.
3. Spending the holidays with all of our family. The older I get, the more I treasure family memories!
2. Finding a church home we love.
1. Finding out we’re going to become an aunt and uncle to a precious baby boy next year!

We can’t wait to see what 2012 will bring! How had God blessed your life this year?

Great Gift Idea: Personalized Clipboard

22 Dec

Christmas is right around the corner, so I thought I’d give all of you an early Christmas present. My lovely sister-in-law is a crafting queen, so I asked her to share some of her most recent projects with us. She has created four festive items for this time of year, and I’ll share one each day (in her own words) from now until Christmas!

Project 2: Personalized Clipboard

As a first grade teacher I am always looking for personalized items for my classroom! When looking around online they are always so pricey! So, I decided to start making my own and you can too! I made this clipboard for less than 10.00!

To make this clip board you will need the following materials:

  1. Black and white paint pens
  2. Acrylic paint in whatever colors you like
  3. Ribbon of your choice
  4. Sharpie marker
  5. Unpainted clipboard ( you can find these at Wal-Mart for cheap!)
  6. Acrylic Sealer

Step 1: Paint the clipboard front and back in which ever background color you like. You will probably have to paint several coats to get the desired look.

Step 2: Create a circle template out of paper or any item around the house that makes a perfect circle. Trace with a pencil your circles on the board. When finished, paint the circles your random colors of choice.

Step 3: Once dry, take your white paint pen and accent your polka dots as you see done in the picture. You can also take the black paint pen and create the swirls randomly.

Step 4: To create your personalized name on the back simply print off your name off of a word document and cut it out. Lay it down on your clipboard and trace it with a sharpie marker. When you lift up the paper you will see some came through. Then you will take your black paint pen to complete the name.

Step 5:  Spray your clipboard back and front with acrylic sealer and let dry!

Step 6: Tie your ribbon in a knot through the silver hole used to hang the clipboard!

How to Make a Christmas Countdown Sign

21 Dec

Christmas is right around the corner, so I thought I’d give all of you an early Christmas present. My lovely sister-in-law is a crafting queen, so I asked her to share some of her most recent projects with us. She has created four festive items for this time of year, and I’ll share one each day (in her own words) from now until Christmas!

Project 1: Christmas Countdown Sign

I found this idea on Pintrest (which is my favorite website) and I made my own version. To make this Christmas Countdown you will need the following materials:

  1. Wood plaque ( I got mine at Michaels’) * you can also use a charger, plate, or picture frame
  2.  4 Pieces of Christmas scrap book paper
  3. Scrapbooking stickers
  4. Chalkboard paint ( I found it at Home Depot)
  5. Scrapbook photo frame ( I used a Martha Stewart Design)
  6. Chalk
  7. Modge Podge
  8. Frame Stand
  9. Foam Paintbrush (to spread modge podge)

Step 1: I painted a circle in the middle of the board directly on the wood. I then painted the edges of the board red to create a clean border. Let dry. * I used several coats of the chalkboard paint.

Step 2: I cut four sections of the scrapbook paper out. One at a time I put modge podge on the board where I wanted them and then laid them down. I then modge podged over the top of the paper using my brush.

Step 3: Once this is all dry, spread modge podge over the back of the scrapbook frame. ( you might have to peel the clear plastic part off where you would insert the photo at! Lay your scrapbook frame over the circle area. Then seal it with more modge podge over the top. * Be careful not to get any modge podge on the chalkboard paint.

Step 4: apply your stickers where you want them. Then spread modge podge over the top of them to seal them. Let dry.

Step 5: Set your board on the stand and begin the countdown! Have Fun!

O Christmas Tree

14 Dec

We were so excited to put the Christmas tree up in our living room to officially mark our first Christmas in our new home. In our apartment, I had a blue-white-silver snowman theme that just did not work in our new house. So, we kept the white and silver and exchanged the blue and snowmen for cranberries and pine cones. We were really pleased, so I thought I’d share!

One special part I can’t forget to point out is the spotlight Husband placed in the tree to light up the star at the top. I was so impressed! Also, if you’re anything like me, you have favorite ornaments on the tree that get special placement. Besides the ones that I made earlier this week, here are a few of mine. What are your favorite ornaments?

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Style Files: DIY Christmas Ornament

12 Dec

I’m so excited to share my latest project. A friend and I had a Pinterest night last night, where we each brought a project we’ve been wanting to complete and drank hot chocolate as we crafted. It was such a fun idea for a girls’ night, and I plan on having another one soon. Now, for my project.

I had previously seen this cute little idea on Pinterest, and I’ve been waiting to give it a try. The only supplies you need are:

  • Clear glass ornaments
  • Print out of wedding invitation and/or what ever it is you want to put inside the ornament ( I also used the sheet music for Jingle Bells)
  • Pencil
Step 1: Begin by slicing the invitation line by line into thing strips.
Step 2: Then, carefully remove the top of the glass ornament.
Step 3: Curl each strip carefully around the pencil, and slide the paper off the end of the pencil without letting it uncoil (see video below).
Step 4: Repeat step 3 until all the strips have been added. You might also use the tip of the pencil to adjust the strips inside the ornament if there are certain words you want showing.
Step 5: Replace the top and find the perfect spot on your tree! See more pictures below the video.

Style Files: Create Your Own Christmas Card Holder

7 Dec

I love running to the mailbox this time of year and eagerly sifting through the catalogs, coupons, and junk mail for the thick envelopes with festive stamps that cannot be mistaken – Christmas cards! I shred through the envelopes and indulge in reading season’s greetings from friends and family while snuggled under a blanket. I can’t tell you why I love them so much, but I do.

Once I’ve read them, and oohed and aahed over the pictures of children that have somehow grown another year older in what seems like the blink of an eye, I always struggle with where to put them. I purchased one of those little trees that is meant to display them a few years ago, but I’ve been disappointed in its ability to hold the cards and it is difficult to see them all at once.

I decided I was going to fix that this year with an inspired idea that came to me while standing in the middle of a Hobby Lobby, and I was pretty pleased with the results! Now it’s time to wait by the mailbox…

I took one long piece of thick, wire-edged Christmas ribbon and duct-taped it to the back of our coat closet door.

Then, I sewed jingle bells on the bottom of the ribbon to add weight and keep the ribbon from swaying.

Finally, I took miniature pine cones and hot glued them onto small clothes pins. Just add cards, and voila!

Style Files: An Easy DIY Christmas Wreath

5 Dec

It’s that time of year when a decorating addict like me can really let her hair down. Chestnuts are roasting, silver bells are ringing, and it’s time to deck the halls! While I promised not to go overboard with decorations this year since we’ve spent enough fixing this place up, I’m lucky that Husband loves Christmas as much as I do. So, I have done a few things for the house like this simple wreath. And you know me, I found a way to do it for just a few bucks.

I saw this wreath at Hobby Lobby for $50. It was the look I wanted to recreate, but not the price I wanted to pay for it. I just love how festive cranberries are!

Hanging just below the wreath was this garland of cranberries for $15. I purchased it along with a dried grapevine wreath for $4.99.

With a little hot glue and some elbow grease, I was able to recreate the wreath for less than half the price! Simply cut groupings of cranberries from the garland using wire cutters. Then, bend them to curve along with the wreath. Hot glue, and you're done.

Read more about a simple fall wreath I made just a few weeks ago!

Thankful for God’s Blessings

24 Nov

One day out of the year is not enough to show our appreciation for God’s blessings, but I am thankful that I am part of a family that takes the time to reflect on how the Lord has provided for us and give thanks with a cheerful heart. While I do not usually find myself short on words, I feel words are insufficient for expressing how overwhelmed I am by God’s abiding love this year. This song, however, says it all. Happy Thanksgiving!