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Christmas Home Tour-Frugal Edition-Living Room

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

We got our 9 1/2 foot Christmas tree from a moving sale. It’s prelit, and may work just fine, but I can’t figure out how to connect them, so this year I used the Tree Dazzler. The children all “help” with the decorating, and then alter I go in and space out the ornaments and add the ribbons.

Our star is from Dollar General, as is the burlap and glitter wired ribbon. The red ribbon is from the Dollar Tree.

Under the tree you can see our fantastic collection of Christmas books.

Christmas home tour Christmas tree living room decor

Our mantel isn’t everything I want it to be this year. I’d like to make all matching Christmas stocking hooks, or have some that don’t show at all. These are all from Goodwill and they do for now.

My amaryllis is sadly just the one leaf, because someone broke off the bloom stem just as it was emerging from the bulb this year.

My dad brought the giant pine cones back front the redwood forest for me. The garland is a hand me down from my sister-in-law.

I’d like the candles tucked in among the garland so you can’t see them, but alas, kids. If you zoom in you can probably also see my half broken speaker and ziplock baggie with ornament hooks in it because I never got around to getting it back upstairs to the holiday closet.

I made the stockings without using a pattern and so I didn’t line them. That wasn’t the greatest of ideas. They all have pieces of cardboard inside them to make them hang straight-ish.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon ceramic vintage tree

The large ceramic Christmas tree I bought at an antique shop before they were popular, and therefore it was a steal. The smaller one was given to us by The Farmer’s mom, and was from her younger days.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

I found a plain inexpensive garland at Hobby lobby and hot glued the same non breakable many years old ornaments we have on the tree and berries to it. I can’t believe they can charge so much for fancy garland!

Twelve year old wrapped the banister with colored lights. I did have garland over the lights on the newel post, but I also have a three year old.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbonChristmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

Holiday pillows I have collected, which never stay on the couch, and a snoozing schnauzer

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbonChristmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

This is an inexpensive and easy DIY.

I keep my decorating to a manageable amount. Since this is the most decorations for Christmas I’ve put up in years, I felt compelled to record it!

What is your favorite decoration in your living room? Do you love pre-made or DIYs? How do you keep decorating fun and frugal? I’d love to hear in the comments.

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A Wonderfully Simple Christmas Craft

In between milk poured in a kitchen drawer and alphabet beads waterfalling down the stairs, we managed a Christmas craft today. Crafting amid the chaos calls for simple ideas! You’ll love this!

Materials:

  • a stencil—I used a Christmas tree I traced from a simple printable onto a shirt box and cut out.
  • Crayons or colored pencils (markers or paint, if you’re brave.) (I’m not)
  • Musical sheets—I bought an old hymnal at the library book sale for fifty cents.
  • Ribbon or yarn
  • Tape

Procedure:

1. Tear some pages out of the hymnal.

2. For younger children or those needing help on fine motor skills, I taped the pages to the table and then the stencil on top to the table.Diy Christmas tree art Christmas Craft preschool elementary

3. I laid out only greens and yellow because I really wanted this to be a little matchy. Three still managed to be creative in her coloring choices though.

4. Let them color as many as they want.Easy simple Christmas tree preschool craft diy elementary art

5. I laid out yarn across my dining room table and taped the backs to the yarn across the title of the hymn.

6. Then Ten and I taped them to the wall. I had the idea to make a Christmas tree shape with several swags of these, but we ran out of oomphs.

7. Stand back and be proud.Easy simple Christmas tree preschool craft diy elementary art

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Easy and Inexpensive Christmas Centerpiece

Who loves Christmas as much as I do?

YOU!? Great. We can be friends then.

Cheap and easy diy Christmas centerpiece

I love all the seasons and holidays to be honest.

Decorating my mantel and house for every occasion (when I feel like it and have the energy) is my favorite. I go all out for autumn and Christmas which I love especially . Autumn fall table centerpiece

My log candle holder for fall-this is simply a fall garland wrapped around it.

I usually start decorating full on for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, but I have an autumn/winter mix going on for most of November. Hey, just like Iowa weather!

I wanted to share with you my super simple and cheap dining table decor.

I bought a piece of buffalo plaid flannel at Joann’s when it was 50% off so this cost me $6. I didn’t hem it or anything. I just folded it in half. When a kid bumped into my coffee (This is also our homeschool table. There are always kids and ALWAYS coffee!), I just flipped it over to the other side, and folded the selvedge edge under.

Yep. That’s how I do it.

My handsome husband drilled divets into an actual small log so I could put tealights into them when I was getting all hygge last winter. I can make this log work for all the seasons, but I love it most in the fall and winter!Buffalo plaid table runner Christmas centerpiece log candleholder diy

Dollar Tree decorative picks and a homemade log candleholder make for an inexpensive, lovely Christmas centerpiece.

The Dollar Tree has their Christmas decorations out now, which, even though I feel like Thanksgiving should have its day to shine, I’m not mad about, honestly.  I bought 6 decorative picks and bent them and bumped them until I was satisfied.Dollar tree Christmas decorative pick floral pine cone evergreen

This is what the Dollar Tree picks look like on their own.

I did have to take the flannel off and wipe under it and shake out all the crumbs, before replacing it. Don’t ask me how that happens.

There ya go. Minimal effort and minimal cost, which in my mind, equals perfect!

Christmas centerpiece decoration log pinecones Yule candleholder huge
My cozy Christmas centerpiece
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Cheap and Easy Kitchen Update

I live in a farm house built in 1850. It had an addition in 1901, and 2012. The kitchen was updated 1987! 1987!! My mother-in-law, bless her heart, sanded, stained, and varnished every one of these doors herself. It was a gigantic improvement over the from metal cabinets, a hole in the middle of the floor, wallpaper to these beautiful oak cabinets 40 years ago, but everything is showing its age. It’s challenging for farmers to update what seems “good enough”. It is also hard to realize that 1987 was truly a lifetime ago! I’ve been wanting change in the kitchen for a really long time, but as a stay at home mom and Classical Conversations director, I don’t bring in much money. I also have next to no home improvement skills and very little interest in learning them at this point in my life.

kitchen DIY before update kitchen backsplash cabinets
Look at my tiny puppers in February 2018! She’s almost a year old now!

After a lot of thought, I realized that one of the things that bugged me the most was the cabinets over the peninsula. They blocked the way of talking to anyone on the other side of the counter. They blocked the  natural light coming in the  sliding glass door. They are dark wood, making the entire room look darker.

It occurred to me, maybe I would like it better if I just took off the doors! Then I can see the light and the people. I can handle unscrewing things, even if I’m not super great at it. I can never seem to make the electric screwdriver work, so I unscrewed all the doors by hand. I had already KonMari-ed a lot of my kitchen junk, so I was able to put pretty things in the now open cabinets.

 

Cheap and easy kitchen update diy backsplash cabinet
Some of my grandmother’s and mother-in-law’s vintage Pyrex is now on display.

Another thing I wasn’t very fond of was the paint  or outlet covers behind the sink and counter area. It was always dirty even when I had just cleaned it.  On Amazon, I found some press on tiles that supposedly you can cut through with scissors. I thought this seemed like a project I could handle. As it turned out, you CAN cut through the tiles, which come in a 12×12 block made of 1/2 inch squares of reflective abalone shell like material, IF you cut between the tiles. I soon discovered however, that my measurements come in the middle of the individual squares. When you try to cut through the actual tile, it shatters into a million pieces and is extremely challenging to cut at any rate.

I persevered although, it took me for freaking ever and confirmed why I really hate DIY home improvement projects.

Cheap and easy kitchen update diy backsplash cabinet
In the middle of the epic (for me) tiling project

I’m really happy with how it turned out though. Even if I couldn’t finish it by myself, even if there are lots of mistakes and crooked areas, and even if it took a lot longer than I hoped, I would recommend the tiles. I would also recommend these simple little changes to update an older kitchen. What do you think?

kitchen sink back splash window silver outlet covers hanging pans
All neat and tidy. For the moment.
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DIY Patio Deck Upgrades update fix (2)

Spring DIY Patio Update for under $100

This post is sponsored by Theisen’s. I would never recommend a company I don’t believe in.

It’s April 15. Our spring has never arrived and I’m not feeling optimistic it’s coming any time soon. Even to the point of considering spring cleaning, (or possibly just changing all the sheets), I’ll do anything to get out of the never ending winter doldrums. It’s  winter but never Christmas.

As a gift to myself, I’ve made a long, long list of spring spruce ups, and the patio and deck area is at the top of upgrades I want to do. Some of the updates I want to do just aren’t in the budget this year, but I host a lot of patio parties and wanted to upgrade as much as possible as cheaply as possible.

The kids and I raked and picked up and burned all the leaves and sticks  which had accumulated all year. I was impressed how much that alone helped! Brielle, who is highly motivated since the first patio party will be for her cast party for the Davenport Junior Theater play she’s in, scrubbed off the tables and chairs.  If it ever warms up and stops raining, The Handsome Husband will power wash the deck.

All our patio furniture is second hand and our plastic Adirondack style chairs were all broken and cracked so I headed to Theisen’s where they had them on sale! I was delighted that they even had my colors! I had painted the deck furniture (which my great aunt had given me 15 years ago) a few years back, and it seriously needed updating. I also picked up some Rust-Oleum Spray Paint which included a primer because I’m all about streamlining.  While I was there, I noticed some hanging plants who were optimistically trying to bloom despite this freezing Iowa April.  I bought a couple to eventually put on my patio swing. I want to paint it too, but I knew I wouldn’t have time this weekend.

I also wanted to have all of my cushions match. Some came with the furniture, a few we had bought, and some others my sweet mother-in-law surprised me with. I wondered if I could paint them too. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one to think of this idea. I read a few tutorials (this was one of them )when I thought of painting the cushions,decided it would work, and just went for it.  A few $3 cans of paint are way cheaper than new cushions!

Before painting in the foreground, after one coat in the back

I spent all day Saturday in the garage, painting furniture and the cushions. We couldn’t find all of the cushions, and they had gotten rained on , and it was too cold to properly dry according to the can, and I’m not a very patient person nor do I like to follow directions to the letter, but I was pretty pleased with how everything turned out.

Other than the fact that after I was through, and I was complaining because my pincer grasp wouldn’t work, the tendons in my forearms were completely exhausted and sore, and I couldn’t even cut my own meat, my husband then informed me we had a handy dandy trigger handle I could have used. (like this one)

Voila! 

 

My new snapdragons wonder what in the world is happening with this beautiful April snow.

 

I love having new grey cushions and like new furniture!

 

A new conversational area
The view of the deck
A fresh socializing area near the fire pit, which is flanked by our new Adirondack chairs.
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