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Pottery Barn Knock Off Budget DIY

I adore winter! It’s one of my four favorite seasons!

I am however, ready to think ahead to spring. Looking for some table decor which would make the transition from winter to spring, I came across this delightful hydrangea arrangement.

$49.50!?! Yes. You read that right. Immediately my evil little mind went to work, trying to think how I could steal this idea from Pottery Barn for much less.

Turning to the Dollar Tree, I bought a small glass jar and several hydrangea sprigs.

Total: $7

Supplies needed:

Hydrangea branches

Little sticks

Small round short vase

Scissors

Wire cutters

Cardboard

Hot glue

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

I traced the top of my vase on this applesauce box, and then cut it a little smaller than that diameter so it would fit tightly a few centimeters inside the glass container.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

I sent the kids out to get a branch from the yard and broke off tiny sticks from it.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

Then I cut them all to the same lengths and glued them together once I made a roundish bundle.

I cut off most of the stems of the hydrangeas and bent what was left at almost 90° angles. I glued these to the cardboard, bending them as needed until they looked good enough.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

Making sure the stick bundle would fit, I glued it to the opposite side of the cardboard circle as the hydrangeas.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter floral centerpiece

There you have it! A Pottery Barn DIY at 1/7th of the price!

Where would you put a cute flower arrangement in your house?

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Simple Pillow Cover: A Tutorial

Do you want some beautiful holiday pillows but you don’t want to spend the cash? Do you have old pillows that need some new life? If you can sew a straight stitch or work a glue gun, you can make this.

Pillowcase tutorial couch pillow throw pillow cover DIY simple easy
A lumpy old pillow in need of rejuvenating

Materials needed:

Old pillows

Fabric-I got two kinds of cozy plaid flannel 50% off. I bought 1 1/4 yards just to make sure I would have enough.

Sewing machine or glue gun

Pillowcase tutorial couch pillow throw pillow cover DIY simple easy

Measure your pillows. Leave a small seam allowance across. Because my old pillows were rather bumpy, I made mine a little smaller than the actual pillow size because I wanted the new case to fluff it up.

Another tactic if you have flat pillows is to make the width a few inches wider than your old pillows and insert two of them into one case.

For the vertical edge you want it to be several inches longer than your pillow. My pillow is as big as the inside out part of the fabric you see here. The top extra fabric will be a flap you will tuck in.

Try to cut your fabric so the selvage edges will be the place you insert your pillow. This way you don’t have to hem anything.

Right sides together, sew or glue the seams.

Pillowcase tutorial couch pillow throw pillow cover DIY simple easy

Turn your “envelope” or case right side out and insert your pillow. tuck the flap down I side as far as you can.

Pillowcase tutorial couch pillow throw pillow cover DIY simple easy

Voila! You did it!

Now reward yourself with a nice warm drink and an intriguing book!

Easy to make pillow tutorial Easy to make pillow tutorial

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Ridiculously Easy Christmas Decor DIY

Get a jar or a vase.

Take some twinkle lights. I bought a bulk pack of warm white from Amazon for about $2/string.

Wind the lights loosely inside.

Put Christmas balls in amongst the lights. I found a pack with gold and white ornaments for $1 at the Dollar Tree.

Voila! You’re done.

Easy cheap Christmas craft DIY holiday dollar tree

Since this jar had a lid, I taped the switch inside the lid. If you use a vase, just tuck it under a Christmas ball at the top.

Easy cheap Christmas craft DIY holiday dollar tree

This works with anything-colored balls, pine cones, garland, peppermints, cookie cutters. Tall vases in your center piece, Mason jars in kitchen, a fish bowl in the bathroom. Don’t limit yourself!

In other seasons you can fill the jar with other kinds of decor, corn in the fall, flowers in the spring, tiny drink umbrellas in the summer.

Easy cheap Christmas craft DIY holiday dollar tree

Go forth and be creative! I’d love to see that yours look like.

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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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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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Farmhouse Decor: Cheap and Easy

I live in a 170 year old farmhouse on a working farm.  A genuine farmhouse kitchen in real life is slightly different from the farmhouse decor on Pinterest. One of my promises on my blog is to always be real-to show you how it really is single momming during spring planting, with six kids and a puppy, and  not having a lot of money to buy the perfect farmhouse decor.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
The wall behind my breakfast nook

I’ve been working on updating my kitchen. I have carpet in my eating area from 1987 y’all. We have had a lot of changes in here in the 15 years we’ve been married and I’m finally in a place to learn how to DIY on my own to make even more!

This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, all at no cost to you!

This wall has been blank since Christmas when we hang our advent calendars there, until Brielle, my 11 year old took two signs off the porch and threw them up on the nails. I started kind of thinking about what I wanted and decided I love the current trend of a collage. I don’t think I’m done yet, but here’s what we’ve got so far.

Here’s what my kitchen looked like in 2008! I have changed it so much over the past 10 years, even I can’t believe it!

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
Abide in my love John 15:7

One of my besties gave me this sign and it’s just perfect.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house hobbit subway sign lord of the rings decor
My children are homeschooled hobbits, for real.

I made this sign because homeschooled hobbits live around here. I’ve been thinking of inexpensively selling some of the prints I make. Let me know how that interests you!

The frame is from Goodwill. I took the cardboard off the back and wrapped it in regular 11×17 typing paper and taped the print on there.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house art for kids
My son drew this when he was 8 1/2

My 9 year old drew and colored this for me last year. He followed a tutorial from Art for Kids Hub, which we adore!

The white frame is from Goodwill. I spray painted it white, and my impatience and mistakes made for some perfect distressing and crackling. Here at Yellow Barn Farms,  I don’t even have to try to achieve the cheap chic look-that is just how I roll 🙂 I get that worn, farmhouse look accidentally.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
A real life farm house kitchen

The Farm Fresh sign is from Target’s Dollar Spot. I got the bird sign at Michaels on clearance with a couple of smaller matching ones. I didn’t even plan for it to be in the kitchen, so it’s especially crazy how it matches so well. The phone on the wall belonged to The Handsome Husband’s grandma. She was a rural telephone operator in the 40s and 50s. My diva dog dish is actually an old fashioned hors d’oeuvres server from Goodwill. The color is Tropical Heat by Behr.  All the paint in my house is Behr.  It’s my absolute favorite.

We bought the nook benches at Oak Express and long ago outgrew the table. This one was a Craigslist find on which The Handsome Husband put high gloss bar epoxy resin so it would hold up better to the constant beating our furniture takes. I love it. It looks like glass and the children have to try really hard to scratch it.

It doesn’t take a lot more time to thrift some of your ornamentation or furnishing and update your decor with inexpensive and quick little changes. I’d love to hear how you save money when you decorate!

 

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How to Tell Whether Children Live Here

Pull up to my house and you’ll immediately know children live here.

The bikes, scooters, and roller skates littering the driveway might be your first clue. It also could be the 25 foot high tree house, complete with homemade rock climbing wall and fireman’s pole. Possibly it’s the hole in the yard under the tire swing in the maple which will inform you of the tiny inhabitants here. The glitter in the flowerbeds might tip you off. The hammock in the apple trees doesn’t necessarily scream “Children live here!”, but the humongous pile of cut off branches nee fort/climbing apparatus/hideout could.

Children make huge messes

A half buried pan, leaf covered glove, long abandoned boot hiding under the pussy willow near the door perhaps show that children live here. Cushions removed from the deck swing and piled under the fireman’s pole, jump ropes tied in the crab apple, muddy-ish, wet clothes hanging from the clothesline, sidewalk chalk art empty abandoned bubble bottles all make known those small and ever present humans we call our own. Doubtless the swing set and playhouse are dead giveaways, but the homemade wooden raft leaning on the windmill and the pile of mateless boots nearby may lead you in the right direction.

Come up to the front door, and…careful! Don’t trip on the many cottage cheese containers filled with sand and carefully lined up on the step and forgotten. Just step over the dolls and Cinderella slippers and Nerf guns lying abandoned on the stoop. Ring the bell, and listen for the chaos of “I’ll get it!” and thundering, laughing footsteps as the little people race to answer your call. Open the door and push aside the puppy toys, shoes, and jackets. Ignore the pile of gloves and scarves, and instead turn your glance upon the smiling shining small ones who as delighted to see you as they would be Santa.

Listen to their exuberant greetings, and  lean in for the snippets of what’s important to them. They’re all talking at once, so you have to pay close attention. This one telling you about her loose tooth, that one describing how the puppy scratched her finger, the other one wanting to show the puzzle he’s been working on, while another one takes your hand in his small one to acquaint you with the rotating car track he invented.

You’ll likely see crumbs on the floor, spiderwebs in the doorways, toys and stray socks strewn among the books and crayons cluttering the floor and table. That’s how it is here. Ignore the (possibly intentional) chemistry experiment decorating the counter.  Walk past the table littered with books, writing apparatus, likely a few attempts at paper airplanes and K’Nex motors, stickers and bits of torn up paper (always bits of torn up paper!)  Accept the cup of coffee from me, settle yourself down on the couch (feel free to move that sweater and that toothbrush) and allow my children nestle into you as you open the book they’ve brought you. Revel in their solid warmth, and pudgy bodies.

Bend down and breathe in the scent of their sweet, likely sticky, faces, and notice how they smell like sunshine and snow. Touch their dandelion puff hair. Cup their petal soft cheeks in your hand as you listen. Join them in their smallness, and at the same time, in their larger than life vitality. Look into their trusting eyes and listen, while they talk and talk and talk.

Marvel at their innocence, their guilelessness. Wonder at the depth of their acceptance and love for you. Admire their cleverness and take part in their view of the world. Be inquisitive about everything they want to share with you. Be fascinated by their perspectives. Have no agenda.

Ignore the childish detritus which is so abundantly apparent when you approach my home. Pay attention to the children.

Look. Listen. Children live here.

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KonMari Life

I read The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up in January, and have watched several YouTube videos about the KonMari Method, and minimalism in general. I have been incentivized to change my life!

I haven’t done her program to the letter exactly how she describes, but what I have done has been fantastic!

I’ve done most of the kids’ clothes, mine and Kevin’s clothes, all the books in the entire house, a lot of our homeschool supplies, and some of the kitchen. As a mom of many, it would be impossible to do it exactly as she lays out in the book, and knock out all of the “odd and ends” for example, in one day. I try to tackle one category of things or a room every other Friday.

I had the goal of fashioning a creative environment to use as an office. I want to blog more. I want a space of my own. I also am taking on a job within our Classical Conversations community which requires more responsibility and record keeping, so I needed a spot for that.

I’m lucky enough to have a studio already. Sort of a glorified closet, it’s a small room on the south side of the upstairs. I love the natural light in here. I used to scrapbook in here, and I still sew and make cards. My needs have changed considerably, and all of the things I’ve been keeping have inched their way farther and farther from the wall until there wasn’t much room at all. And, with all the clutter, it does not invite creativity.

After a hard day’s work, I ended up with this: 

Much better, but it was still sort of cluttery, especially on top of my drawers, and with the sunlight I loved so much, I couldn’t see my computer screen due to the glare.
I made a few purchases to decorate it a bit, AND cleaned out our entire storage room to make room for Kevin’s steel guitar you see in front of the window. 
Now I truly have a Fortress of Serenity. I have a room I love to be in and a room that is once again useful and welcoming.

If you need motivation to change your life, I highly recommend The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up!
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Becoming Minimalist: Easy Pantry DIY

I’ve been purging a lot lately.

Getting rid of the past feels good! Getting rid of the junk feels good! Getting rid of all those maternity clothes feels amazing!

I saw a post on organizing your pantry a while ago, and I finally got kind of started on that project. I don’t like investing a lot into my organization though. Spending tons of money on baskets and glass jars for my pantry just doesn’t ring true to my miser’s heart. I’ve been putting a lot of it in Mason jars, but often those aren’t big enough so it’s still not really helping.

Then I saw a Pinterest post (probably) on making your own “baskets” out of cardboard boxes and rope. Brilliant.

So for the price of several glue sticks and a couple pounds of jute twine, I was able to go from this:

to this:
I just used construction paper with white colored pencil as labels. These are up high in the pantry so all you can see are the “baskets”. It really helped a lot, but I’ve got a ways to go 🙂
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Autumn Mantel

Our old farm house was built in 1850. You would think being built before the Civil War and only being a few years younger than the first school in Iowa, that it would have a fireplace in every room. Not so. Our builder was apparently an up-and-comer and put the newfangled wood burning stoves in instead. We used to have two chimneys, but the part sticking up out of the roof have been removed and covered up, better for leaks, but not so great for aesthetics.  We have the brick part of our chimneys, plastered over still in parts of the house. Anyway, no fireplace.

I think it should have a fireplace, don’t you?

 And now it does.

Kevin did some welding for a friend of ours who is completely gutting a house and he gave us the fireplace. Although it’s gas and not wood and while I’m not keen on the brass, it will be warm and cozy and inviting once we get it up and running. It’s currently missing a few pieces because Kevin had it in the garage at the same time he was painting some pieces to the family closet and ooops! Oak trim got heavily misted with  white paint.

We are still waiting on our plumbers (yes) to run a gas line and hook it up for us.

I couldn’t wait any longer to decorate it. I am not a huge decorator, mostly out of practicality (and I’m also cheap). The down low places never stay ‘decorated’ because of the small ones and the up high places get undecorated pretty quickly when they get cluttered up with stuff taken away from and put out of reach of the small ones.

But my mantel will be sacrosanct.

For fall, I decorated with a lamp we had on an end table, a cake plate with a pumpkin and field corn. I leaned a window original to the house against the mirror. I put some pheasant tail feathers my dad saved for me in a triangular shaped jar (which happened to have dirt in it from a science project). In a vase we got for our wedding I put an oak tree branch I snipped in our yard and put some stuffed pumpkins in front of that. Cost: $0.

I love my autumn mantel. It makes me happy whenever I look at it. And I really like to be happy.

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