*Christmas Home Tour*

So there isn’t much to tour. I did not go all out this year. Everything you put up, has to come down so this year a minimalist theme sounded best to me. Also, I know a lot of bloggers have display on top of display. After about a million photos of their creations, I feel a bit deflated (and inadequate). So, maybe you would enjoy a minimalist home “tour” for a change.

**LIVING ROOM**

I love a real tree and so do my husband and kids. But, I hate killing a beautiful tree (and cleaning up its mess). So, this year, we bought a potted tree that we will plant after the holidays (the galvanized tub the tree is sitting in was left at our last home from the previous owner – who was obviously crazy for leaving that beauty behind). I bought the deer heads at Big Lots this year and the greenery surrounding I found at Gordmans. A few stockings (PB) and decor on the mantel (train stocking holders – Target, candle sticks – Gordmans) along with my beautiful rocking horse thrift score (donated by another crazy) and we are good to go.

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**NOOK**

This is the area between the entry and the kitchen that has a table but is not the dining room so I am going with nook. Here I have two artificial trees (thirft finds that were less than $4 each) and some small table decor. I love my Countdown to Christmas warmer from Scentsy fragrance (Christmas Cottage is my favorite fragrance bar). Get your holiday warmers and scents here Kelly Ditsch, Scentsy Independent Consultant while supplies last!

My reindeer and rubbed bronze tealight holder both came from Big Lots two seasons ago.

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**DINING ROOM**

My dining room holds our large artificial tree and primitive wood ornament “signs” I found at Gordmans (I love that store, can you tell? Just wait, there’s more). The Christmas banner on the china hutch I just purchased on Black Friday at Gordmans along with the glittery pinecones and silver ombre battery operated pillars . My jar candle hurricanes that hold the pillars and cones I found at Big Lots two years ago. My glitter boxwood and berry candle wreaths are a thrift find and the silver bubble glass hurricanes were a clearance Gordmans score over the summer.

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That is all for now. I do not intend on adding anything more. (Well, I do have an antique sled out in the garage that has been calling my name, so I better put him out on the porch outside, but beyond that, I am done decking any more halls).

How much do you decorate your home for the holidays? Are you a minimalist, or do you reach for the max?

 

 

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What’s Hangin’?

There is nothing worse than hanging an object on the wall and then having to relocate it for one reason or another. Nail holes are bad enough but man, those anchor holes (trenches?) are the worst.

I am really good at most anything DIY, I can transform wood scraps into beautiful furniture, I can paint a straight line like nobody’s business, lay flooring, slap up a backsplash – Ā blah, blah, blah, but when it comes to patching a “little” freakin’ hole, I’m as worthless as a white crayon on white paper (I had “better” ones, but didn’t want to offend anyone). I’m not talking tiny nail hole, either. Most times, a fresh coat of paint will take care of those minuscule rascals, or a small glob of plaster on the finger tip will do the trick on the bit bigger ones; but no, I’m referring specifically to those craters that have protruding drywall post removal (thanks to screws and anchors) that really do me in. The process is always the same – tap in protruding drywall, fill damage with plaster, let dry, sand (feels nice and flat), then paint. But, the moment I add paint, **BOOM** the patch sticks out like a sore thumb. (Guess it wasn’t so nice and flat after all.)

So no, this is not a post about how I perfected the gorging hole technique so that I can share my expertise with you, if that is what you are thinking. Why?

BECAUSE I STILL HAVEN’T. I suck at it. I accept defeat.

What this post IS about, though, is how I have come to avoid the holes (or most of them) altogether.

My family really likes it when I visit because they get free decorating services, so they (excitedly) have it all ready for me when I arrive.

Enter sister-in-law (girl is a genius). SIL had a bunch of stuff for me to hang last visit since she didn’t know where to place things. Of course, I gave her a list of things I would need to complete my work and she got to work gathering. She brought me a few nails (but clearly not enough) and a whole bunch of these velcro 3M sticky things (what the heck was I going to do with those worthless things? They certainly weren’t going to hold much of anything)! I was very skeptical but she assured me that those strips were what she wanted the majority of her items (some were heavy!) hung with…

Her house, her stuff, her call. Go with it…

Really, this is a love story. Yep, I fell in love with these fancy, durable, quick and easy sticky velcro strips. They look a little something like this:

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The Command strips came in different sizes too so the small jobs can be done with the smaller strips and bigger jobs with bigger strips! (Again, I get ZERO compensation from any companies – just my opinions and experiences here. Though, I would love free Command strips, I am out. Hint.) I have yet to find anything I cannot hang with these little lovelies. See, the sets that hold 16 pounds a pair will actually hold heavier weights if you use more strip sets! And, it is much easier than measuring, leveling, hammering, etc. just to hang. I simply add a strip (or two, or four) to my item, and sandwich the wall strip to it (you can actually hear the velcro clicking together!) and remove the paper to expose the sticky tape that attaches to the wall. Then I place my small hand held level on top of my item and when bubble shows level, I press it directly to the wall! Done! I’m telling you, these little puppies are AMAZING.

Here are a few things I have created in the last week thanks to these handy dandy life changers.

GALLERY WALL

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PLATE WALL (yes, plates!)

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MONOGRAM (heavy) & WOODEN INITIAL LETTERS

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My life has been forever changed. NO MORE HOLES! Well, lots less anyway.

Thanks sister!

What tips/tricks have changed your life forever? I am always looking for more.

Can I “Cut In”?

Why, yes. Yes I can.

I have never met a single person that actually “likes” to paint. Just because I do it, does not mean that I enjoy it. I don’t. I hate painting. Not really the painting itself, but all the work that revolves around all the painting. First you have to tear apart the entire room and move stuff all over the house – besides children, it is the fastest way to mess up the entire house to improve one room.

Then, you have the mess of the painting process and the clean up and redecorating, etc. I’m tired/stressed just thinking about it. But, the hard work of a couple days of work and chaos, really does make it all worth it to enjoy the beauty for months afterward.

I have been painting interiors of homes for over 10 years. I didn’t start off doing a professional job, obviously, my technique has improved over the years just by practice. However, I remember the day when my technique improved DRASTICALLY because of one element; the MOST important detail that turns a paint job into a GREAT paint job…

THE BRUSH.

Yes, the brush you use makes all the difference!

I use to buy the cheapest brushes possible so I could just throw them away and not have to bother cleaning them…

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…I do not know what provoked me to buy the $5 brush rather than the $.99 brush but I am guessing it was because I was brush shopping at Home Depot and not Walmart. And, because I had never seen a brush with a rubber nub handle, so I had to try it out! Well worth the $5 price tag – this thrifter says so.

(insert GREAT brush reveal)!!

**NOTE** I receive no compensation from any companies or retailers mentioned. I am just passing along my opinions/findings/research to save you time and money.

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Now, I used to laugh at other bloggers who said the brush really matters, but like the other million, I agree. THE BRUSH MATTERS. I will never paint with any other brush and the cut in is AMAZING! (What is a “cut in”? To cut in is to paint in the edges where a roller will not fit, i.e, by the ceiling, two adjoining walls, along trim and baseboards, etc.) In fact, I have gotten such great results with this brush, I do not tape. Anything. At all. All of my painting is done by hand, tape free. Why? Because the BRUSH made all the difference. The short handle makes the brush easy to maneuver without a large handle sticking up in the way. I often times find that my hand is cupped over the nub when painting as that is a more comfortable hold for me. The rubber makes the brush easy to grip and allows the handle to flex with the movement of your hand while painting strokes. The bristles are high quality and tightly bound. The entire brush and design, is very well made.

NOTE: Lowe’s sells a similar brush made by Blue Hawk (shown below) that I buy if I am not near Home Depot, but the quality is not as good as the Wooster brand brush. The brush strands are not as tight and they come out with the paint while cutting in so I have to keep picking brush strands out of my paint. It is a pain in the a$$, but it is still better than using the cheapy brushes that lose their strands and still provide a cheap looking paint job.

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So yes, yes I can “cut in.” Almost perfectly (since January 19, 2012 – the first job I used the Wooster brush on – see pic below). Thanks to a little help from my friends, Wooster and Blue Hawk.

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What painting tips have you found helpful? Or, any painting issues you need help with?

(TIP: Put a rubber band across the top of your paint can to wipe excess paint off of your brush before application. On small cans, the band wraps all the way around. On gallons, I wrap my band over the top and around the side to be held in place by the handle rivets.)

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~DIY [canvas tote] Throw Pillow~

I am a thrifter. I LOVE finding a good deal on neat, preloved stuff. I found a fantastic wingback chair that originally, someone paid a lot of money for. It needed a good cleaning and a pillow. Cleaning done. Now, pillow.

I searched far and wide for a pillow that I liked to stay on my treasure year round but the selection right now is scarce second hand, and mostly Christmas items brand new sporting price tags of $20+. Not happening. So, after leaving store after store yesterday, I headed home.

Pillowless.

This morning I was hustling my kids out the door for school and laid eyes on my cream colored canvas bag with “hello” painted on it and wondered what I was going to do with it. I love it and knew if it hung on the coat hanger long enough, I would have some grand inspiration on how to put it to good use in my home. I received it as a gift bag carrying neat little treasures from one of my daycare kids for Thanksgiving.

I gawked at it for a couple of minutes and thought, “What am I going to do with this canvas-y pillow material bag?” Suddenly, it HIT me. PILLOW!! Oh, the excitement! And, the perfect ugly pillow came to mind (I had just taken it to the basement yesterday – pre-fabulous chair purchasing)!

So, here is what I used:

Canvas tote, ugly pillow similar in size to tote, thread (matches canvas), needle, and scissors (I had everything on hand. SCORE.)

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So, here is what I did:

1.) Stuff pillow into tote.

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2.) Pinch the opening together keeping tote handles aligned (left pic) then whip stitch with raw edges turned in (right pic). **You could use hot glue instead of stitching, but the durability isn’t there like it is with thread. And, I hate redoing a project because I took a shortcut in the first place. But, if hot glue is what you have on hand and you are in a pinch, go with it.

Note: I left about 1 inch on each end unstitched. I started in the center and stitched toward the outside and ran out of thread. I liked the look, so I went with it. Then with a new piece of thread, I started in the middle again and stitched toward the other side just short of 1 inch.

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3.) Cut tote straps on center. (I cut mine at a bit of an angle like the ends of a fancy bow.)

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4.) Tie straps into bows.

(How I did it: Make straps into rabbit ears and cross, then go around the tree and into the burrow. Pull tight.) šŸ™‚

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5.) Arrange bows as you would like. (I tied both and decided I liked mine covering the stitching best rather than sitting crossways over it.)

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DONE!! Now, ready to display on my “new” old (clean) chair!

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TA-DAH!!!

Don’t you just LOVE it?! I know I do! What did you work on today?