November 25, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas . . . .

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the fall decorations are packed away for another year we can start decorating for Christmas.  It's a lot of work but I love all the lights and decorations this time of year.  My daughter helped me get our fireplace, stairs, and front porch ready today since we had some unseasonably warm weather.  

We started with our version of an advent calendar.  After Christmas last year I purchased 12 packages of baby socks on sale at JoAnn's.  We hung them with mini wooden clothespins on some garland we looped around my new shaker pegs on the fireplace.  I just added these a few days ago.  You can see the tutorial here.  I love how it turned out.  We also added some garland above on the mantle.  I'm thinking about adding some numbers to the socks and I plan fill each one with a small treat for my kiddos. 

Here is is all lit up.
You can see how bare the strand of garland looks above.  To make it fuller without spending a fortune I purchased some individual picks on sale after Christmas a few years ago and I just randomly stick them in to dress it up and make it look a little fuller.  


Next, we tackled the railing on the stairs to the second level.  Several years my sister found some garland in a magazine that was battery operated.  Perfect since I don't have anywhere to plug it in.  They weren't cheap but it's my only option since I don't have an outlet nearby.
 We also decorated the front porch.  When we bought this house it just had a plain, flat, brick front.  My husband loved the back yard since it backed to woods.  I agreed with the understanding that we would eventually add on a front porch.  We finally did a couple of years ago.  We made it span the entire front and made it as deep as we could go.  It's huge and I LOVE it!  We spend all summer, spring, and fall out there.  I have a swing and the kids have a picnic table so we can even eat lunch in the summer.  For Christmas we added some garland, lights, tree topiaries, and a wooden sled that I got off Freecycle.


 Some of my other projects are:
1.  Set up and decorate the main tree
2.  Set up and decorate the tree in my daughter's room
3.  Set up and decorate the tree in my son's room
4.  Find a place to display my vintage glitter houses (these are glittery cardboard with colored windows.  They have a hole in the back that you can put a light in to make the windows glow.  I also have metal figures - a sleigh pulled by reindeer, people, kids on a sled, kids skating, etc.  I love these.  My mom used to display them under our tree.  She even had a mirror cut to look like a skating pond).
5.  Set up my carolers and old fashioned lamppost by the fireplace. 
6.  Decorate the chandelier above my dining room table
7.  Decorate the main floor half bath.
8.  Set out a few other random decorations

And the most important of all . . . . 
Start having fun with Jingles, our Elf on a Shelf.  If you have one be sure to check out Pinterest for some great ideas to display him.  Here are some I've pinned.

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(¸.·´   Denise

November 16, 2011

Shaker Pegs - Take 2

In my last post, my laundry room makeover, I said that I had another idea to use up some of the shaker pegs I bought.  Well, here it is.

I love decorating my mantle but I hate hanging things using tacks under the top ledge.  I decided to add some shaker pegs.  It started out looking like this . . . . 
 Pretty average.  One thing I did was to get rid of the stand for my fireplace tools.  Then I sprayed my ugly brass tools black (I actually did this a few years ago and they've held up great!).  I hung cup hooks on each side and hung two tools on each end.  To protect the white wood I tacked up some clear vinyl on the bottom half.  You can see the tacks in the picture..
Since I had already practiced drilling holes for the shaker pegs in my laundry/mud room makeover I just jumped right in. 

(My husband had to leave the room for this step - he really didn't want me drilling into the wood mantle).   After I measured and marked the placement for the pegs (I actually marked them and then looked at them for a few days, and then changed the marks and looked at them for a few days, etc.  I finally just made a choice and went for it - after all it's a painted wood mantle - If I don't like them I can just fill in the holes, paint and start over)  I marked my drill bit with a tape flag so I knew when to stop drilling and then drilled each hole.

Then I put each peg in place, covered them with a small cloth, and lightly tapped them into place with a  hammer.
 All that was left was a coat of primer and a new glossy coat of white for the whole mantle. 
Just in time to decorate for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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(¸.·´   Denise

November 13, 2011

Laundry Room/Mud Room Organization

I think I can safely say that I have a love hate relationship with my laundry room/mud room.  I love that I have a first floor laundry room since it was in the basement in my last house.  However, I hate the size and shape of it.  The garage door is across from the kitchen door and near one wall.  That leaves me this long blank wall that only has a few inches clearance.  When we moved in the first thing we did was remove the door into the kitchen so that we could hang coats and things on the wall.  I tried to add some peg shelves and other things to organize but there was always so much space wasted and it was hard to walk through since things stuck out too far.  I started off with a small cubby bench a peg rail shelf and a few cloth pouches.  It was NOT working.
On another wall I had a bench that I got for free that I used to hold some laundry baskets.  Not working either.
The first thing I did was get rid of the bench holding the baskets.  Then I moved the cubby bench to that wall to free up the walkspace between the garage and kitchen
 Better but still not great.  I was tired of the backpacks on the back of the garage door because then the door only opened part of the way.  There was also a lot of wasted space on the left wall and not enough hooks for coats, jackets, backpacks, etc.

My next step was to build some laundry basket dressers using plans from Ana White. 
I built two of these and replaced the cubby bench with one and put one on the wall across from it.  You can see the full tutorial here.  Getting better! 

I've had this pinned on my organization board for a while now. I loved that it had a very shallow profile but had tons of storage space.  Unfortunately I couldn't find any premade peg rail at my local hardware store and it was too expensive to purchase online.  Instead I bought some 1x4 boards from Lowe's and a bunch of shaker pegs online for about $0.10 each (I got them short enough that they won't hit the door when it's open).  I was a little nervous to drill the holes but it turned out to be pretty easy.  I started by marking off the board every 6 inches where I wanted the pegs.

 Then, since I was a little nervous to drill the holes for the pegs I practiced on a left over piece (it was an 8 ft board and I only needed 7 ft).  It actually turned out to be pretty simple.  I put a tape "flag" on my drill bit that was the same length as the peg so I know when I was at the correct depth and could stop drilling.

 I did a test fit halfway through.  I loved how it was turning out.
 I finished drilling all the holes and then my son helped me glue the pegs in.  After a primer coat and a coat of white paint I was ready to install them.
 I just drilled through the front into studs and then put caps in to cover the screw heads.  I love the extra storage space I have.  I also added a couple of boards vertically.  I drilled out holes and then hung them over some of the pegs.  I used these to hang the fabric pouches.  This actually served two purposes.  In addition to providing storage space for gloves, hats, scarves, etc. it divides the area in half which gives a defined area for each person.
So much more functional.  There is a ton of room to hang everything but it doesn't stick out too far into the room.  I'm even thinking of putting the door back on so that I can close it off from the kitchen.  

Stay tuned for another project with more shaker pegs.  Since they were so cheap and the shipping didn't change I ordered a bunch of extras.

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(¸.·´   Denise

November 1, 2011

Teddy Turkey Tutorial

Last year we made the cutest turkey hair bows...check out our tutorial to make one for your little one.  They make GREAT gifts too!  I get requests for them year round!

Jillian