Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas chalkboard

Good-bye November you have been a good friend... HELLOOO December! 

The holiday season is upon us whether we are ready for it or not.  It just doesn't feel like that 'time of the year' yet for me I've been so busy crafting. 
This week I'd like to share a chalkboard. 

So what's there to do on a snowy day when your husband can't get away?  Create a project for the two of you to do together!  Actually I'm just not allowed to use the power tools after the cutting incident of 2012.  Six stitches and 3 years later but I'm still not allowed to use power tools.  But that is another tale! 

I have this cool thing I bought at Sam's Club a few years back on sale for like $10.00... it reads Welcome on one side and Give Thanks on the other.  You can hang it vertically or horizontally and I use it almost all year round.  So I thought... what if I made one!  you know for those times when I need something to be more versatile and what if I made it and painted it with blackboard paint!  I think I thought of this like 2am one night in October when I was endlessly searching for something for my fireplace that was big and read 'Happy Halloween'; I just couldn't find anything anywhere... so when in doubt make it!

So here we are last Saturday and let me set the scene.  It was a cold and snowing day, the wind howling outside but inside with the fire raging against the cold.  It was one of those times I realized why people tied ropes to outbuildings back in the day with the wind blowing you could easily lose your way but I was all snuggly and warm reading a book when suddenly....

Okay, well it WAS snowing and only 12 degrees here in Colorado and I regret to say that I used my husbands boredom against him but I got him to go out with me and get supplies on the premise of this craft building project could be cause for a new tool... and I got him to help me make it!   

Here is my inspiration from November hanging on my mantle.

Now you can do this craft as well you just need some power tools and not to cut yourself!

You'll need:
1.   MDF board.  I got a pretty big piece 2x4 
2.   Boarder - I got a 12 foot long piece of small picture frame boarder
3.   Glue or brad nails.  I used glue - Liquid nails - to secure the boarder to the frame.
4.   Power tools - a miter box and hand saw or a miter saw to cut the correct edges for the frame
5.   Power tools - a Jig Saw or a hand band saw to cut the MDF
6.   Chalkboard paint - I chose black but you can get it in many colors
7.   Paint or stain for the boarder - I chose paint
8.   Paint brushes (1 for the boarder and 1 for the board itself) or paint sponges whichever you prefer
9.   Hooks to hang the finished piece.  I got a picture frame hook kit
10. Drop cloth for your work area
11. Yardstick
12. Level or T square
13. Pencil

Let's begin!

Step 1 - Decide how big you'd like your finished board to be.  I wanted mine to be about the same size as the inspiration piece so I chose about 19 inches by 36 inches.
I used my current piece as a reference. 

Step 2 - lay-out your design.  Using a ruler and T-Square or level you want to mark out your piece for cutting with your pencil

Step 3 - Using your jig saw, hand saw or band saw cut your piece out. (Sorry I didn't capture this step in detail, again, not allowed to use the power tools).

Step 4 - Cut out your frame.  Using your miter box and hand saw or your miter saw you want to measure the piece then cut the frame pieces out (sorry power tool step AND he did this outside in 12 degrees, wind and snow.. sorry I wasn't going out there again). 

Here is the piece in 'dry-fit'

Step 5 - Paint.  Now you can paint your boarder before you cut or after you cut.  I chose after. 
Paint your boarder and your main board.  I chose a contrasting color, you could paint it all one color of chalkboard paint. 

I gave everything 2 coats. 
Now let everything dry really well.

Step 6 - I would dry-fit the boarder one more time and maybe even mark it on the back where each piece goes on the board first.. just to make sure as cuts aren't always perfect. 
Now we are gluing the boarder to the main board.  If you decide to use small brad or finishing nails you'll nail where I say glue!
Put a bead of glue on the backside of your boarder and place it on the main board.  Continue until you have the entire piece completed.

Step 7 - Hanging.  I bought a picture hanging kit for a large heavy picture.  I put the kit on per the instructions.  I put one on to hang the piece horizontally and one so I could hang it vertically. 
The piece is a bit heavy so I would not skimp on this step.  I got my kit at Lowes for a piece that is 25 pounds.  Now it doesn't weigh that much, but you don't want it crashing down in the middle of the night because that is when things always fall and break. 

I've had fun writing and drawing different things on it already!
Here's a tip - if you don't want the old background showing through just wash it with a damp paper towel. 

I am going to put mine outside my front door on my porch for the holidays. 

The options for this are endless - you could even put it on an art easel and display it.  I am probably going to put some small finishing nails in the front of mine on the boarder so I can hang different banners off it throughout the year. 
I thought of making this with 2x2's and gluing them together then putting them in a frame - this would make the finished piece look more like the original and a bit more rustic but my budget was $30.00 and 2x2s were more expensive than MDF. 

All in all the project cost was $22.89.  I had all the supplies on hand, the only cost was the MDF, trim and liquid nails. And yes my husband got a new tool!!!  Now he didn't use the drill with the fancy Lithium battery on this project but he tried. 

Remember with a little ingenuity you can make anything and everything.  This was one of my first building projects and I think it came out GREAT!  I'll be using it in my décor all year round. 

Please come back next week when I'll be sharing my front door wreath made out of a picture frame! 


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Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas Banner

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States! 

I read this interesting article/blog on either Facebook or via Pintrest and I thought it was a wonderful idea and it got me thinking...
The article or blog post was about creating an accomplishment jar and writing down your accomplishments on a piece of paper and placing them in the jar.  You start on January 1 and on New Years Eve you read them all back and reflect on your year.  What a great idea as we all get so busy we often forget what we've done and how far we've come.  My twist on this would be to start at Thanksgiving.  Each family would go home with their jar to write down things that they are thankful for or accomplishments like my niece just started Kindergarten and she's learning to read already - what a great accomplishment!  Or the fact that my husbands GRANDPARENTS are still alive and have moved to be near us, what a great thing to be thankful for.  So each family would collect their items in their jars all year long and the next Thanksgiving we'd read them all out loud at the table and have the opportunity to relish each others accomplishments and to be grateful for another year together.  What a great tradition to start. 

Thanksgiving really starts the Christmas push in retail stores and for us bloggers.  However, I blog in real time.  Nope I don't have my tree up yet but I have purchased things for making crafts and some decorations for the holiday like a new tree for our basement family room.  I got a flocked tree this year and I've decided to decorate it in black, red and white and use burlap for a more rustic lodge feel.  I am looking forward to the challenge of a more traditional color for a tree.  Our big upstairs tree is done in all blues, white and silver as is the entire house so this will be a big departure for me and I'm really excited about it.  I bought some dollar store ornaments that I am going to paint with black chalkboard paint and write on them.  I think they'll look great on the tree. 

In thinking about decorating this tree I wanted it to look more handmade and be unique as well as inexpensive.  I mean ornaments can get pricey and when you think about what they really are the cost doesn't always seem justified. I am a BIG believer is shopping off season to save money but sometimes you just can't.  I was at Hobby Lobby the other day and found a really cute ornament; it was a set of wooden ski's that were about 6 inches long.  They were $12.99!  YIKES!  I mean I could make them out of leftover pieces of wood cheaper than that!  So this got me to thinking about how I could decorate this little downstairs tree cheaply.  Like I said I got the dollar store ornaments and I'm going to paint them with blackboard paint.  I may take some and wrap them in a buffalo check material if I can find some really cheap.  I was in Michael's looking around and found some cards in the dollar spot and got really inspired.  Look what I made!

I made a banner out of dollar cards!

You could do this with any card but I chose these as they fit my theme exactly - heck they were the inspiration for it! 

You can do this easy craft. 
You will need:
1.  Cards - I got mine from the dollar spot at Michael's but you could use any kind of card you want.
2.  Craft glue
3.  Cardstock paper - I chose red.  Now you could use the envelopes that come with the cards but I felt they were a bit flimsy. 
4.  Scissors or a paper cutter
5.  Ribbon or twine or something to hook the cards together. 
6.  Hole punch

Let's begin.
Step 1 - cut your cardstock to the appropriate size you want using the paper cutter or your scissors. 

Step 2 - Cut the card - I cut the back off my cards.

I've got another idea for the backs of the cards so I saved mine. 

Step 3 - Glue - using your craft glue, glue the card to the backing.

Step 4 - Using your hole punch - punch a hole in each side of the card.  Now if you want to use these as ornaments punch your holes in the top.  I am making a banner as I think the cards are a bit big for my tree as an ornament so I punched in the sides. 
Step 5 - Slide your ribbon or twine through each hole to connect your banner together.  You can do this two ways.  Cut a long length of ribbon or twine longer than the cards laid out and starting at one end wind your way through so all the cards are connected. 
If you are making ornaments you would cut a length or twine or ribbon and slip it through one hole then knot it.  Decide how long you want your loop for hanging and cut the ribbon/twine and slip it through the other hole and knot it to make a loop.
I cut a longer length of ribbon for each end and shorter ones for each center and tied a simple knot to hook the cards together because I liked the look. 

That is it!  Now you can display your banner or ornaments on your tree! 
I promise to show you mine on the tree once I get it up.  I had 2 packs of 6 cards each.  I made a smaller banner with 5 of the cards and a longer one with the rest of the cards.  For the size of my cards I got 4 on one sheet of cardstock. 
You could do this with any kind of card - I'm on the lookout for black and white cards of snow, mountains and or trees to make ornaments.  If I find some of trees I can cut them out and using the backs of these cards as a background make either ornaments or another banner. 
You can also use pictures off the internet that aren't under  copy write or don't have a restriction attached to them. 
This would also look great with family pictures.  I would make copies of the family pictures first but imagine an entire tree decorated with pictures of the family!  How cute. 
Heck these turned out so good you could hang them off your mantle or buffet or china cabinet!  The possibilities are endless. 
Well that is it for today.  I hope I've inspired you and got you thinking about decorating with things other than the traditional ornaments. 
I'll be back next week with another Christmas craft and ideas galore!  Until then, Stay Safe!


Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate you stopping by and your support.  If you like what you've read please let me know.  I'd love to see how you are all decorating and what you are crafting for Christmas! 
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Monday, November 16, 2015

Thanksgiving home tour

Thanksgiving.... a time to be with family and friends and reflect on the year and look back at how far you've come and what you've accomplished.  At least this is how Thanksgiving is at my house. 

I DO NOT shop on Thanksgiving, nope never will, heck I don't even go out on 'black Friday'.  I take the time to hug my kiddo's and family that may have come from far away to be with us.  I love on my nieces and thank God we are all happy and healthy. 

My husbands family also reflects on their heritage.  His family practically came over on the Mayflower they can trace their roots right back to a Captain serving under General George Washington.  They even have a homestead still working today in Connecticut.  My family is English, Scottish, Irish and German.  We didn't come to America until the late 1800's and early 1900's but I still take time to honor them at Thanksgiving because were it not for their tenacity and bravery I wouldn't be who I am today or where I am today. 

So take the time next week to be Thankful for those who came before you, those who serve to protect us and our way of life and those around you. 

Today I'm sharing my home decorated for this time of the year.  NO I don't decorate for Christmas until AFTER Thanksgiving.  I do things in real-time here.  Not a Christmas tree up yet at my house... though I do admit to playing Christmas music on the radio this week and I have done a Christmas craft. 

So I've taken down ALL of Halloween and put up different things for Thanksgiving inside and out.  There are a lot of pictures so grab a cup of tea or whatever your beverage preference is and lets get started! 

Lets start outside.
 I hung a large basket on the door and filled it with faux flowers. 

 I also added a couple of wreathes to the house.  I use these in September as well, I just hang them in different places in November. 
 I shopped my back porch and took this blue stand and brought it around the front.  It is just about the same color as the shutters and give the house a pop.  I put a metal box with flowers on it and wrapped a faux garland around it. Then I placed a real pumpkin in front.  I just wrapped the pumpkin in a ribbon and draped it with another ribbon. 
 Still shopping my back porch, I brought out my garden finial (though I've NEVER put it in my garden) and wrapped it with another faux garland.  I love the look of this. 
 Up on my front porch I gathered a couple of faux pumpkins a cornucopia filled with flowers and a large blue vase and filled that with flowers and a couple of twigs that light up at night. 
 I added another wreath from September but this time I put it on the side of the entryway. 
 Here is a close up of the basket hanging on my front door stuffed with faux stems.

Once you come inside I even decorate the back of my front door.  My Mom sent me this a few years back along with all the Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentines and even St. Patrick's Day ones she had.  This is one of those melted plastic things from the 70's.  LOVE!

Once inside you can see my fireplace and mantle.  

Let me show you how I created this. 

At Halloween I had brought in 2 long tree branches.  I kept them for Thanksgiving and decided to drape a few faux garlands off them. 


 This is the first on and it was here that I decided to drape them so they would hang off one end of the mantle. 

So I added 3 more.

Next I added some lanterns and a finial as well as an orb for the mantle itself.  Then I found this cloth banner at Kirkland's on sale for $5.00 and snatched it up quickly!  I hung it off center and DONE! 

I love the look of it this year.  I got the 'Give Thanks' sign at Sam's Club 2 years ago but you could easily make it.  It is reversible and the other side reads 'Welcome'.  You can hang it horizontally or vertically so it is really versatile. 

Now on to the buffet.  I've left it in the 'living room' area (my living/dining is one large L shaped space) for now.  At Christmas the tree will go there so it will move into the 'dining room area' then.

 Here is another angle of the buffet.  It has 3 garland on it.  One strand lights up, one is leaves and the other is a berry garland. 
Don't forget to decorate high surfaces too.  They can be challenging but just think of it as any other flat surface.  I just used a brick to angle the basket. 
This year I put a basket up there and filled it with pinecones then faux pumpkins and gourds and fall picks I've had for a few year. 

I added a tall lamp, some art, a finial, a fox and a Fleur de Lis.  It looks great with the lamp on. 

If you were here last week you saw my table and I showed you step by step how to get the look yourself. 
Now don't contain your Thanksgiving to any one or two rooms!  Don't forget the kitchen.
Or the family room.
I even add a small bit of Thanksgiving to my bathrooms, not only with festive hand towels but with a couple small reminders of the season.
That is it! 

Right now in Colorado it is snowing and we are under blizzard conditions.  The wind is blowing the snow so hard I can't even see the houses across the street so I had to remove all my outdoor décor and couldn't show it all lit up with the lanterns and such... maybe next week.  I bet my house looks like a beacon in the wintery weather it is so warm and cozy against the blowing wind that is howling against the windows making them rattle every now and then.  My hubby has built a fire in the fireplace and I'm toasty warm and enjoying my Thanksgiving décor. 

I will be back next week to share my first Christmas craft in the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and please take the time to hug and love on your family and friends.


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Monday, November 9, 2015

Thanksgiving table

Happy November!

I can't believe that it is November already; I mean Christmas is like only 7 weeks away or something right.  The year is quickly coming to a close and today I'm sharing my Thanksgiving table.  I'll go step by step to let you see how I achieved the look. 

Lets start at the beginning.

Your foundation is important because it sets the entire tone of the scheme. 
I chose a dark brown because I felt it went well with the color scheme I was working with (orange, purple, blue, gold and white).

I start with the centerpiece.  I've done several different kinds.  Some tall others very low.  Decorators will say to use a low centerpiece to encourage table talk across the table.  I find that it usually doesn't matter what kind of centerpiece I have because people will talk.  But I encourage you to experiment and see what you like.  Personally I don't have a preference. 

This year I went low. 

I bought this beauty at Kirkland's, on sale for Veteran's Day.
They sell similar ones for each season already decorated.  I like the idea of a plain one because now I can decorate it for any season very easily with things I have on-hand.  PLUS it was cheaper than the already decorated ones... win!
I just placed it in the center of my table and started decorating from there.

I wrapped several faux garland around it like so...
You could do more or you could leave it at 2.  I like the look of 3.
Next I added some fall picks that I got at Hobby Lobby for 40% off.
I just stuck them in there. 
Finally I added some faux pumpkins and gourds that I had and I'm done with the centerpiece! 
See easy to do and it looks GREAT! 
The next step is the place mats.  I chose dark ones but you can choose any. 
TIP - you could use a table runner as a place mat.  You could also use a large napkin if you don't have a placemat to use.  I've also used chargers as place mats and they look amazing. 

I add the placemats next because as I add other items to the table I want to make sure I've got room for my place settings.  My table is pretty small so this step now saves me time and moving things around later.

Now I add things like salt and pepper shakers, small dishes and plates.
 I also add candles like this sweet owl.

Next is the place settings themselves. 
This year I found these large leaves at Walmart .98 for 6 of them.

TIP - You could use these large leaves as placemats. 

This year I used my white plates for a nice pop on what could be a dark table.
Next comes the salad plate.  Because I'm doing informal I set the smaller plate right on top of the larger one.  I've had these leaf plates for years and I use them all fall. 
I also added a ramekin as a desert dish.  I found these at Walmart, they are from the Pioneer Woman's collection and so cute!  The purple glasses are also from her collection and for the price are well worth it.  They are VERY heavy glass and come in purple, light blue and white at my Walmart. 
I love the purple on the table.
One of the final steps for me is getting out my Grandmothers teapot and salt and pepper shakers.  They are perfect for Thanksgiving and bring her memory to my table.

Finally I found these name tags at Kirkland's in the sale rack (how can you pass up .75 for 4 of these!?)
I attached a piece of jute to each one and wrapped them around my napkins.  They are chalkboard so I can use them over and over. 
That is it!  My Thanksgiving table is set.  Next week I'll share my house decorated for fall/Thanksgiving.  It is different than my September fall décor.  The following week I'll be sharing a Christmas craft then we'll be in full blown Christmas mode! 
If you'd like to look at what I've done over the years for my Thanksgiving tables you can look 2014 or 2013
I try to make them a bit different each year. 
Have a safe week and remember to check back next week for a full home tour including my outside all decorated for Fall/Thanksgiving.  I appreciate your support! 
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