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.

Silhouette Ornaments

For me, how I decorate for Christmas isn’t especially different from how I decorate the rest of the year.  I still look for bargains, multi purpose items, and ways to add personal touches, usually involving more glitter than usual.  So, when I decided to decorate our entertainment center, I knew I wanted to make some special ornaments as placeholders for our silhouette art.

So, I took a trip to Hobby Lobby where I found white ceramic ornaments.  They were originally $1.00 each but 50% off.  Following these same instructions to create the silhouettes, I sized our profiles to 2 inches. 

Then, I centered the silhouettes on the ornaments.

 Using a pencil, I lightly traced the silhouette. 

To fill in the silhouettes, I used normal acrylic paints and a small paint brush to get the detail. 

Ideally, I would have used a ceramic specific, heat set paint, but I couldn’t find any at Hobby Lobby.  I did, however, find four cute ornament hooks ay Hobby Lobby for $4.00 each. 

I had to alter how the ornaments hung, because the ribbon was threaded through the hole, making them hang sideways.  To fix that, I added a small loop of wire, then a ribbon for hanging.

Fortunately, that solved the problem and they now hang beautifully on our entertainment center.

How many handmade ornaments do you have?  If you’re like my mom, most are ones your kids have made in school.  What is your favorite ornament and why?  Did someone special give it to you?  What meaning or significance does it have?

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

That’s right, folks.  I know it’s not December yet, but Christmas is right around the corner.  Have you started decorating?  I think most people decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving, and usually I do, too.  But, this year, we’re running around like crazy people the week before, so I decided to decorate a few weeks ago.  Yep, you read that right, weeks.  What was the first Christmas thing to go up?  The tree, of course! 

This year’s color palette is silver, white, blue and green.  Not very original, I know, but I bought ornaments at Target (love Target!) the day after Christmas last year.  So, I’m working with what I’ve got.  Every year, it’s Ben’s task to add the lights to the tree.  We both prefer the plain white strands for a classic look.  So, he lights the tree and I add the ornaments.  This year, I had a little help from Vincent.  Of course, most decorations are at the bottom two feet, but hey, it’s free help. 

A white dove is perched atop our tree this year.

I have my eye on a beautiful Capiz star topper from, where else, Target.  It’s currently priced at $20.  Not bad, but it will be much better when it’s 50% off, dontcha think?  Yeah, me too.  What else is on my Christmas tree wish list?  A cute tree skirt of some sort. 

You see, we don’t have anything covering that ugly tree stand right now.  I want something white or silver, but I haven’t seen anything I really like yet.  I think I’ll buy some fabric and make a tree skirt at some point. 

So, that’s what our Christmas tree looks like this year.  What about your tree?  Have you set it up yet?  Do you have a color scheme or theme you’re sticking to or do you prefer to decorate with all of those mismatched, collected-over-time ornaments?

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.

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?