Leaf it Alone

Sometimes I wish I planned ahead more and decorated for various holiday and seasons.  Nothing that would look like I bought an entire aisle at Hobby Lobby, but more than the few areas I do decorate.  Because so much is unfinished (or even started) in this house, my focus has been more on necessary projects, not decorating.  And we’ve only got a few logical places for decor at the moment.  I’ve already fall-ified the couch.  Without a mantle, I use our entertainment center as a substitute.  So, here’s our little dose of fall decor.

Well, that was round one.  Touches of yellow, white, gold, and copper.  I swapped a blue vase for the gold one on the left and replaced the paper behind our Whole Family Tree cut out.  Previously, it had a teal backing, which you can see on the top right shelf at our first house.  

While I liked the general selection, I wanted a little more.  I found pressed leaves in my craft stash so I used light fishing line to make a simple garland.

Simple.  I taped a few more leaves on fishing line then hung them from the ceiling to get the effect of falling leaves.

Other than the leaves, the left side stayed the same.

To add more metallic goodness, I spray painted the little bird to match the vase.  And a pine cone.  Because one can never have too much bling.

Other than the pillows and faux billy buttons, I think I’m done for the season.  I’ve done a little Halloween decorating that I’ll share soon.

What are your favorite ways to spruce your home for the changing seasons?  Do you go all out on decorating?  Or just a few touches here and there?  Got a favorite project?  Share it with us!

Fantastic Fall

So far this fall, we’ve had my family in town visiting, Vincent’s fourth birthday party, we’ve started our kitchen remodel, and our sister-in-law and niece just left yesterday to move to Alaska.  We’ve been busy.  Too busy to think about fall decorations, I’m afraid.  Recently though, I did sew a few fall pillow covers and rearranged the entertainment center for a different look.  When fall rolls around, I love to look at the pretty red, orange, and yellow leaves.  But, I’m not a huge fan of red in our home.  I can tolerate orange in the right application, but I love yellow lately.  Knowing that, I decided to use splashes of orange and yellow mixed with jewel tones and dashes of metallic gold.  Wanna see?

First, I sewed new pillow covers from Pier 1 place mats I already owned.  I dug around in my button stash to find gold buttons.  Sewing the pillow is very similar to a normal envelope closure pillow.  Just add buttons.  The teal pillow behind I made using left over fabric and covered the old inserts.

Total cost so far?  Zero dollars.  I still have to dig out my pine cone wreath.  And probably my Halloween decorations while I’m in there.

I used more left over fabric to make pillows for the living room.  The teal velvet fabric I bought last fall at Hobby Lobby.  The color pops against an orange pillow I stole from my office.  A mix of patterns, textures and colors tickles my pickle.  (That’s what Vincent says).

Color blocking is a hot trend, and it’s easy to do.  I rummaged through my fabric stash and found eggplant and yellow scraps, so I pieced them together and sewed an envelope closure back.  Insert pillow form and done.  Still at zero dollars.

Our entertainment center has rocked the same green and blue theme since spring, and things needed to change.  Not wanting to spend any money, I scoured the house for fall-ish elements.

Here’s a breakdown of new items:

1.  Natural wood tones.  A wooden sculpture from Target several years ago, a wood vase, and a carved stump add warmth.

2.  Metallic gold and brass accents.  Nothing says fall like gold if you ask me.

3.  Pressed leaves taped to a piece of white card stock is quick, painless and free art.  I had some leaves pressed in a book from last fall that Ben’s cousin, Handy Sammy discovered.  I completely forgot until that moment and decided to put them to good use.

4.  Tweed and felt leaf bowls from last year.  Just for texture and color.

5.  I pulled yellow books off the shelves to group together for more color.

It’s not perfect, but it was free.  And it changed the view.

What have you done to decorate for fall?  Are you a fan of red?  What do you think of the jewel tone twist for fall?

P.S.  We’ll be back this afternoon, so come again.

How To: Pinecone Wreath

By now, I bet you’ve learned two things about me.  Number 1: I like to make a lot of things myself.  Number 2:  I’m cheap.  I like to make things because I’m cheap.  One item I’ve been working on is a pine cone wreath. 

What I love about this wreath is that it can easily transition from autumn, to Thanksgiving, to Christmas, to winter, just by adding a few accessories.  That means, one wreath to store, but two seasons and two holidays of decoration.  Sweet, huh?  Yeah, I think so.  What’s even better?  It’s practically free!

To make a pine cone wreath, start with a wire wreath form, available at craft stores, pinecones, wire, and wire cutters or scissors if your wire is thin enough. 

Cut a length of wire between 9 and 12 inches long.  Wrap the wire around the base of the pine cone, tucking under the petals. 

After wiring a few to the form, I learned that the cones flop around less if you keep part of the wire on each side, rather than twisting like the picture above.

Once your cone is wired, wrap around the wreath form, pulling tightly to keep it firmly in place.  Wrap the wires of the next cone to the previous wiring.  Again, this will keep the pinecones in a tight formation and prevent flopping. 

Group the pinecones as closely together as possible.  The back will look something like this. 

Twist the wires together and cut the ends off.  Continue this process until you re covered the entire wreath form.

If you used large pinecones like I did, you’ll have to find smaller ones to fill in the gaps where the wreath form is visible. 

I bought some golden pine cone picks from Hobby Lobby for $.50 each, after a 50% discount. 

I cut the pinecones off the pick and followed the same wiring process to fill in the gaps.  Add the small filler pinecones and the wreath is finished. 

The way you choose to hang the wreath will depend on your situation.  You can add a few lengths of fishing line or hang from a hook.  You might be wondering why my wreath is on m dining room window.  Well, friends, that’s because it’s friggin’ freezing in Montana.  I literally have not left our house in days due to the cold.  Cold like a high of 5°.  Which means, the suction cup hook I bought won’t work on the outside of our front door.  It requires a minimum of 40° to stick.  So, it’s hanging in our dining room. 

I will share details on how to add decorative items to add some seasonal pizzaz.  What are you doing to spruce up your home for Thanksgiving?

We’re Stumped!

We’re back with yet another Halloween decorating idea.  We’ve already shared a DIY feather wreath and a spooky tree, but why not add a stump side table to an outdoor setting?  We did.  We have a huge woodpile in our backyard.  Usually it helps keep us warm throughout the winter months, but I decided to make it work a little harder.  I picked out a relatively level stump and rolled it to our front walkway and parked it next to our chairs.  I didn’t do anything else to it. 

Then, to Halloween it up a little, I topped it with a vase of pretty flowers, a paper mache skull from Michael’s that I spray painted white, a faux pumpkin from Hobby Lobby (also painted white) and a real baby pumpkin.

 Stump decoration breakdown:

Stump:  FREE

Paper mache skull:  $1.49

Faux pumpkin:  $1.49

White spray paint:  Left over from our DIY dining table

Baby Pumpkin: FREE from a friend

Total for stump and decorations:  $2.98

See the striped pillow?  I made that.  I had a few yards of white corduroy fabric left over from an earlier project, so I decided to use that rather than buy more fabric.  First, I sewed the cover, (here’s a tutorial) turning the fabric inside out.  I wanted the smooth part facing out so it would be easier to paint.  Once I had my cover, I taped off 2 1/2 inch wide stripes.

After that, it was easy.  Use black fabric paint and fill in between the lines.  Remove the tape soon after and stuff with a pillow form when completely dry. 

Pillow budget breakdown:

Fabric:  Left over from another project

Fabric paint:  Also left over from a previous project

Two pillow forms: $8.99 at JoAnn Fabric

Total cost for Halloween Pillows:  $8.99

To add more spookyness on the cheap, I picked up a plastic skeleton from Dollar Tree.

 I didn’t like the color, so covered that baby in white spray paint, too. 

Then, my skeleton fell into the freshly cut grass.  I let him dry and pulled off as much as I could and hit him with another coat of white.  He survived – he’s already dead.  Hang with fishing line and you’re done. 

One thing I loved about the Pottery Barn inspiration image were the candles.  Well, I wasn’t about to spend $30.00 or more on candles, so I looked around the house for suitable substitutes.  I had a few vintage oil lamps, so I added those to the mix.  Toss in a grapevine pumpkin and we’re done!

Miscellaneous decoration cost:

Skeleton: $1.00

White spray paint:  Left over

Oil lamps:  FREE (The black one was hanging on our fence when we bought the house and the red was a thrift store find a few years ago.  I think it was $1.50 or so.)

Grapevine pumpkin:  $2.50 at Target (but can multi-purpose for Thanksgiving, too!)

Miscellaneous Total:  $3.50

Which brings our Halloween decoration grand total to…$20.45!  And here’s how it all looks together.

Of course, we still need real pumpkins, but we’re not quite ready yet.

We’re Nutty for Fall

A few days ago, the weather in Montana changed and we finally got a touch of fall.  So I sprang (get it, spring is the opposite of fall, yes, I’m that lame) into action and whipped up three fall inspired table scapes. 

Cocktail Hour Centerpiece:  This table setting, complete with snacks, is geared toward a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, rather than a sit down meal.  

Here we have a few thrift store flower bowls, both white porcelain and patina brass, holding almonds, peanuts and shells.  I happened to have almonds and in shell peanuts, but any nuts would work great, or candy, too!  See that set of pillar candle holders?  Those came from Goodwill for only $0.49 each!  The wooden wine holder was a gift that a relative made(!) and it holds a bottle of sparkling apple cider, my fav.  I scored the large vase from TJ Maxx for $5.99 and filled it with a pillar candle and free nuts I gathered from my parent’s yard while in Minnesota. 

Here’s a tip:  If you don’t have a tall pillar candle, give it a boost with an upside down glass. 

The wood slice was something I’ve had lying around for a long time, but you can pick up something similar at a craft store or make one for yourself. 

Brighter Cocktail Hour:  Here we have another cocktail hour table scape, but with a little twist. 

We’ve kept the wooden wine holder around, but we’ve added fall flowers for a nice pop of color.  A wooden clearance tissue cover is turned upside down to disguise the clear glass vase, adding another natural element.  Nuts fill hand stitched felt and tweed leaf bowls (more on those next week).  Mustard yellow napkins round out the centerpiece.

Dinner Party:  We’ve finally gotten around to dinner and incorporated a bird theme.

This is a simple setting using basic white dinner plates and everyday silverware, so we’ve added a pop of yellow with the napkins.  Fancier glasses dress things up a bit.  A TJ Maxx bird and nest candle holder serves as a simple, low profile centerpiece filled in with white ceramic bird salt and pepper shakers and a few bowls of nuts. 

Here’s a tip:  If you have small, rambunctious children (like we do), forgo a tablecloth or runner to prevent a catastrophe.   Instead, add color and texture through cloth napkins.

Most items used were already on hand, but the great outdoors are wonderful ways to add natural elements, without costing you a penny!  Do you have any tried and true thrifty ways to decorate for fall?  Please do share.