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.

Thanksgiving Table Settings

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I decided today would be the perfect day to show you fine folks a few table settings I whipped up.  Most of the items used I had lying around the house. 

First up, we have a turkey day snack setting featuring an abundance of leaf bowls.  I like to call this one “Just Leaf It.”

This is a really simple setting complete with all sorts of snacks, napkins and a sparkling drink.  Of course the main part to this setting are assorted leaf bowls.  To duplicate this look, you can buy various leaf bowls to fill with snacky goodness.  I have two sets in my Etsy shop and saw ceramic versions recently at Pier 1 and TJ Maxx.

For the main show, I kept everything simple.  I used our everyday plain white dishes and splashed Thanksgiving color in the form of place mats, napkins, place cards, nuts and a pine cone wreath.

Here’s a closer look:

I scored the metallic gold place mats for $.98 each on a recent Pier 1 trip.  I love the bit of sparkle they add to the setting.  Brown floral napkins that I sewed rest on each plate while a walnut turkey place card watches nearby.  A few leaf-shaped bowls are also nearby for any individual portions.  I think it would be cute to have salt and pepper in the small leaf bowl, also from Pier 1 clearance.

The centerpiece is super simple, consisting of a silver Pier 1 charger, though I should have gotten a gold one, too.  On top of the charger, a bird and branch candle holder rests, surrounded by nuts. 

What are your plans for the big day?  Hosting Thanksgiving or traveling?  We’re feasting on Sunday, not Thursday because my sister will be here.  Any favorite Thanksgiving traditions?  Funny thoughts about turkey day?  My favorite comes from a Friends episode where Joey wears Phoebe’s maternity pants to accommodate his huge stomach because he eats so much.

Post Halloween Fun

Usually, I don’t get very into Halloween, but this year, Vincent really did.  You’ve seen the decorating we’ve done, including a feather wreath, spooky tree, a stump side table, and carved pumpkins.  Although this isn’t home related, I just had to share our boys’ costumes.  Vincent requested to be a credit card.  Seriously, I did not suggest it.  What three-year-old wants to be a credit card?  Mine, I guess, so I went with it. 

I bought one piece of foam core from Hobby Lobby for $1.99 and cut it in half.  Then I measured and taped off lines to mimic a VISA card logo.  I mixed up my paint and filled in the areas and letters.  To create the letters, I printed off a set of 16 numbers, cut them out, painted and glued each number on the card.  To create the back, I simply measured and taped off a magnetic strip area on the back, painted it black, made a border for the signature and filled it in with a Sharpie.  To make this wearable, I hot glued two strips of ribbon over the shoulders. 

Total cost for a credit card costume: $1.99.  The look on Vincent’s face: Priceless.

I decided that Everett would make the perfect baby Hulk Hogan, so we used a pair of red sweatpants, red socks, and a plain white, long sleeve shirt from his wardrobe. 

I sewed a ‘tank top’ out of yellow felt, left over from this pillow, using a shirt of his as my size guide.  Gaudy gold fabric for $2.00 made the perfect wrestling belt, which I sewed to the yellow felt.  I bought a small piece of red cotton for $1.99 to make the ‘Hulkamamia’ logo.  To create the logo, I used left over fusible webbing from my tweed leaf bowl project and followed the same directions, only drawing the logo backward on the paper.  I ironed the logo to the front of the shirt, added three buttons to the back and we had a Hulk shirt.  A $.99 red bandana completed the look.

Total cost for Hulk Hogan:  $4.98

Grand total for Halloween costumes:  $6.97

Vincent’s costume was a big hit.  Everett’s didn’t get as much attention, but he wasn’t standing at the door asking for candy, either.  What are your favorite costumes?

Eerie Tree

Last week, I shared a simple DIY Halloween wreath tutorial and now I’m back with another cheap spooky Halloween project, again, inspired by this Pottery Barn image.

I  love the look of the glitter potted trees.  I am aware that this version is some sort of foam, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money for something like this.  Instead, I used a dead branch from our birch tree. 

Using a can of black gloss spray paint, I covered all areas of the branch and let everything dry.  Then, I applied a second coat to make sure the color was truly black.  Super simple. 

After the second coat dried, I placed my eerie tree in a planter I had left over. 

To cover the dirt, I spread the remaining nuts from our fall decoration around the base of the tree and threw in a few pine cones.  A little crow from Dollar Tree adds another touch of spook. 

Eerie tree budget breakdown:

Branch: FREE

Black spray paint: $1.00 at Wal-Mart

Planter: Already owned

Nuts and pinecones: FREE from mother nature

Crow: $1.00

Total Cost:  $2.00

So far, our Halloween decorations have cost $4.98, wa hoo!  We’ll cover a few more frugal decorating ideas tomorrow, so come back for more.

Here’s a tip:  If you plan to use real nuts, plan for the squirrels to eat them.  We went out-of-town for the weekend and returned to find all the nuts missing.  I’m sure the squirrels loved it. I pictured a little assembly line of squirrels passing nuts down the line until they were gone and now they’re having a feast.  Yeah, you may want to use bark, mulch or fake Spanish moss.

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.