Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An Essential Decorating Tool Kit!

Come Friday....you won't find me out shopping!
That is MY day to go into full on decorating mode!
Mr. S is wise enough to head out to the woods to hunt!
(although he does have instructions to bring back greens)

I figured I would go all Martha Stewart on you and give you a list of stuff that I consider essential to have on hand.  I don't know about you....but if I don't have the tools and supplies for my projects....they usually don't get done!

So my motto is be prepared with all those little things that make decorating, wrapping and creating simpler!


 If you haven't checked your supply closet yet....it is time to do so!
Holiday time is NOT the time to have to run out and buy stuff while you are in the middle of your projects!

This post will probably NOT be news to "seasoned" crafters and decorators....BUT hopefully it will remind you to BE PREPARED!

These are the things I consider ESSENTIAL:


You will need lots of tape.....duct tape, masking tape, transparent tape both one and 2 sided!  


Get yourself some paddle wire...and keep it in convenient spots....this is for wiring bows and attaching greenery both fresh and artificial. 












Get out your gardening shears to have close by for cutting greens.
If you don't have a "DIKES Parallel cutter"....get yourself one!  It is great for cutting the stems of artificial flowers and greens with no sweat!









Zots are those little clear adhesive dots that you can use to attach stuff....paper to paper....ribbon to paper!  Much simpler than trying to cut small pieces of adhesive tape! 








Floral Foam....for making simple and elegant arrangements with all that free greenery you are going to go get at Home Depot!

This stuff really makes a difference...I am always amazed at how long greens stay nice when they are kept wet in the oasis!  You need to buy the WET foam....not the dry!







Raffia!  This stuff is perfect for tying artificial greens to railings without worrying about damaging the wood surfaces.  It adds a bit of rustic charm to almost anything!

It is especially nice for attaching pinecones because you can get it in between the "petals" and tuck it into the greenery!






There are some other obvious supplies that most everyone has...

Glue Gun....but make sure you have lots of glue sticks so you don't run out!

Exacto Knife!

Paper Punch....nothing fancy....just the regular office supply kind!




Red...Green...Black...White Acrylic Craft Paint! (you can even go crazy and get some silver and gold! 





Sharpie Markers in all the holiday colors....plus a white paint marker!

Spray Mount Adhesive  to quickly adhere paper to paper....and other containers!

If you have all this stuff....get it organized so that it is easily at hand!
If not....you could use one of those Black Friday coupons at the craft store to get set up!





Oh....I do have some other LUXURY decorating tools in my "Holiday Workshop".....you could put these on your wish list if you don't already own them!

LOGAN Matcutter.....
CriCut Die Cut machine....
Carl Paper Trimmer.....

But they are just icing on the decorating cake.....

I challenge you to get your own Holiday Workshop set up for some serious fun this season!

What tools of the trade would you add to either the list of essential or luxury items?
 I would love to hear from you!

Have a Great Day!




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pottery Barn Knock-Off Poinsettia Pillow Red this Time!

I made this pillow a few years ago! 

Pottery Barn sold pillows like this for more money than I was willing to spend....but you know how "thrifty" (cheap) I am!

Instead of felt for the petals....I cut up a off-white boiled wool jacket that I found at Goodwill.

The tutorial for the pillow can be found HERE,



Look at this! 

Another boiled wool jacket from Good Will!


This one is RED.....

Doesn't it just call out...."Make me into a pillow?"


Note the braided trim on the jacket....I had an AHA moment about how to use that!


The project is simple....

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree Reveal!

What a fun afternoon we had decorating the tree for the Auburn Homes Festival of Trees!
 The Sweetwater Daughter had to be scolded into just sitting......that baby is very close to arrival and we didn't want to have to be running to the hospital before the tree was done!
The Sweetwater Niece provided a lot of inspiration and some non-alcoholic bubbly and mood music!

I wanted to show you amazing photos of the whole process.....but the lighting in the room was not good....so you get what you get I guess!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Itching to Decorate for the Holidays!

I am a firm believer in WAITING until AFTER Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas!
It bugs the heck out of me that the stores are in full CHRISTMAS Mode!

BUT....I am itching to get started!
Then I read this blog post from Debbie over ate Debbie Dabble 



this redo her of her sled is great looking....





But....
it was the old version that caught my eye!



Hmmmm.....




I have a sled!

I have my ice skates!

I even have some hand carved antique skis that belonged to Mr. S's Grandfather!

Chances are.....I won't be sledding any time soon!
Chances are....I won't be skating any time soon!
Chances are....I won't be skiing any time soon!

That can only mean one thing....
These objects need to become Holiday Decorations!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Entertaining With A Twist!

Here is a suggestion for a fun way to entertain your friends this Holiday Season!
Why not organize a "Make and Take Holiday Decor Party"?




This will be the 4th year that the staff at school has this party!

They are "letting" me be part of it even though I have retired!

It is always a lot of fun and a great twist on the typical Holiday workplace event!




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Easy Cornucopia!

Cornucopias are the classic Thanksgiving Decor!
I have some nice wicker ones that I have purchased at the thrift store!
For inspiration....I went back to look at the posts about the ones I have made in past years!
You might be interested in seeing those!


 
I shared some tips for success with arranging as well as a little history of how Cornucopias became a Thanksgiving tradition.

This fancy smancy Cornucopia was done as a Silent Auction donation a couple of years ago!


So....I should have been inspired...Right?
Well....not so much!
This year's version is a lot simpler than usual!
Most of my fall stuff is set all around in other arrangements...
when I got ready to do the Cornucopia...I was too lazy to take them apart!
I scored a whole bunch of dried Hydrangeas from the Sweetwater Daughter's bush!
 They will be great additions to Christmas decor...
In the meantime.....

 YUP...
I just stuck them into the cornucopia...no floral foam...no nothing!
I just stuck them in and added some raffia for a little fill!
Not Bad!
Now....the question will be whether Marvin will decide to "undecorate" for me!
This took about 10 minutes from start to finish!

Lazy???
Smart???
Minimalist??
You be the judge!

Have A Great Day!
Linky Parties 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Funny Thrifter Story!

It is no secret that I love shopping at thrift stores!
If you want to know more and even learn some of my tips and tricks.....
check out the tab at the top about Good Will Hunting!

A funny thing happened at the Happy Hour Baby Shower on Saturday!
One of the guests was someone I didn't know....but when I complimented her on her outfit...
she told me she got most of the pieces at Good Will!
That led to a "competition" conversation about the best finds ever!
Pretty soon....this lovely young woman...an almost stranger.....
was up in my closet looking at my "best finds ever"!
We had formed a bond....
a marvelous bond sharing NOT about how lovely and expensive our possessions are....
BUT....how lovely and inexpensive they are!

So here is the Handbag edition of:
The Best Finds Ever!

One of the rules of thrift store shopping is "KNOW YOUR BRANDS"!



This little gem is a pretty obvious brand...

COACH!

I am almost certain it is authentic...it has the little coach tag....

I found a pink one like it on ebay for $35....so I would imagine that the original price was at least twice that!

I think I paid $4!



This little purse was the perfect bag to take sightseeing on our vacation.

It fits snugly under my arm....so my stuff is secure.

Just enough room for ID, phone and glasses!

PRICELESS!

BTW... this photo is of me getting ready to eat street food in Bangkok!

Notice what the humidity does to me hair :)




This is a Brahmin Bag....I have had it for 8 years.....got it for $10 at Goodwill!
I always look for distinctive tags and quality leather when I am browsing the purses at GW!

I found this bag on the Brahmin website!

Yup...you are reading it right!

$295!

My Oh My!

I used this bag as my carry-on for our trip.  It has lots of pockets inside but is big enough for the iPad and Kindle!


The last "Best Find Ever".....is one that I really didn't realize was SUCH a good deal!

When we were traveling, the thing that amazed me was the shopping in the airports.

No Kidding.....every single fancy smancy designer store was there for your shopping convenience.

When I saw the BALLY store in the Hong Kong airport....I remembered the little BALLY purse I scored a few years ago at GW for $8!

I went into the store to see if there was a similar bag for sale!
There were several bags that were close...but nothing exactly like mine!
But here is the deal....if you go to the BALLY website....there isn't a single bag that costs less than $500 .....yup.....$500 and up for any BALLY purse!

This little bag is a perfect size.....and the ensignia makes me believe it is genuine!
Even if it is the cheapest BALLY bag made....I think this might be one of my best finds!

So.....keep your eagle eyes open for bargains at the thrift store!
Since I can't come visit your closets....I would love for you to join the competition!
I want to hear about YOUR "Best Finds EVER" !

Have A Great Day!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree!

The plans for the Christmas Tree we are decorating for the Auburn Homes Festival of Trees are complete!

We are thrilled to be part of this fun event!
The day to decorate is next Thursday!

The theme this year is Christmas Carols!

The theme for our tree is
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree!

 





All of the components ready to go!
It is good that we did a lot of planning ahead of time!
WHY?
we are getting close to the due date for the Sweetwater Grandbaby!

Somehow I don't see the  Sweetwater Daughter able to climb around on ladders by then!
We will let her come and be the "decorating director" if she is still waiting to go into labor!

We have gotten some back-up decorating help from the Sweetwater Niece!

I thought you might like to take a peek at the things we have found to create a unique and fun take on the theme!

What a great score at GoodWill!
4 boxes of these 45s for $3.99 a box.
They will go on the tree using skinny black ribbon!
(note to self....buy some skinny black ribbon)

These "classic hot rods" are really cardboard food trays for a 50's party theme.
What a find for $1.50 each.
Won't they will make a big impact nestled into the branches of the tree?
We learned last year that larger objects on the trees add a lot of drama!
The records and the cars fill that bill!







We got some of these little cardboard Jukeboxes from the same place!

Not sure if the scale is right....so we may or may not use them.

What do you think?





A Poodle Skirt from Amazon will be the perfect tree skirt!

The black and white ribbon will reflect the "malt shop" theme!
Nothing says the 50s like black an pink!

These shatterproof pink ornaments and silver tinsel garland will complete the look!

The garland is from Amazon and the ornaments from Christmas Central!


I can't wait to put this whole thing together!
I think we have come up with a pretty unique take on the Christmas Carol theme!
We are still trying to figure out a tree topper.....any ideas would be most welcome!

Have A Great Day!

Link Parties

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thrifty No Stress Entertaining Tips!

The Baby Shower in honor of the soon to arrive 
Sweetwater Grandbaby was so much fun!

As usual....I didn't take very many pictures!
I suppose THAT is because the party was SO MUCH FUN!

Instead of beautiful pictures of all the perfectly arranged tables and decor.....
I thought you might be interested in the way this party went together with almost NO stress!
So here is the stress free party planning edition of:

 Decorations don't need to be decorations!
HUH?
Running all over to buy or make kitchy decorations is expensive and time consuming!
 Now...I like to craft as much as the next woman...but adding that to party prep isn't necessary!
  I spent 10 minutes searching for cute ideas for baby themed blackboards....and a little time copying it....big impact.....no money!

For sure this is staying up well past when the baby actually  arrives!

This baby buggy is actually the one MY MOM was wheeled around in....a far cry from the high tech strollers of today....but way more charming as the spot to collect the shower gifts!  Another decor statement for no cost.....unless you count the cost of Mr. S having to wrestle it out of mom's basement, into the truck and into the house!  So maybe NO stress doesn't actually work here!!!!
The two enlarged photos of the new parents was the simple decor in the diningroom/beverage center!  Simple and easy to do ahead of time!



To COOK or NOT TO COOK!

Sometimes using prepared food is actually cheaper than making it!


Since this was an "Happy Hour Baby Shower"...the menu was hearty appetizers! The thrifty/no stress approach here....buy it almost ready made!


Imagine buying and grilling and marinating 8 different vegetables...
Imagine buying and cutting up fancy cheeses and the fruit and nuts to make it pretty!
That would actually be a lot more expensive and add a lot more stress than ordering the trays already made.  The two trays from Whole Foods made four big platters for the buffet. Since people arrived over a span of time....it was great to be able to bring out totally fresh platters mid-way through the evening.

Cost Co has an amazing (and cheap) array of frozen appetizers....again cheaper than making them!  72 little quiches for $9 and 48 Spanakopita for $5....and they are really tasty. 
The ready made Artichoke dip is also a steal....buying the ingredients...much less mixing it up would be at least as expensive....and of course...more stressful!



I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends!

This party was not a one woman show!
The Sweetwater fiancée was instrumental in planning and orchestrating the event.  Not only does that reduce stress....it makes it a lot more fun!  

She was in charge of the desserts....so I can't speak for her....but it was stress free for me when this array of yummy treats arrived!
The miniature Red Velvet Whoopie Pies were the star of the show!
Who doesn't love lemon bars?
The super skinny little cookies came from Trader Joe's....these are something I keep stocked in the gift cupboard...they make perfect hostess gifts!

Of course....I have no pictures of the little red dessert cups that went with the black and white striped ones...but trust me....they were very very cute!  
Putting the desserts in the little cups made it easy for people to "graze" and enjoy them without a plate!

Speaking of PLATES!

 




There is no need to keep shopping and buying paper party goods that end of in the trash...I would find THAT stressful....

This stack of dessert plates came from the whole collection of china that was purchased from Goodwill for the Sweetwater Daughter's wedding.  
Instead of renting dishes and glassware for a couple of hundred dollars...we spent fun times buying them at the thrift store!


They are unique and infinitely more interesting than catering dishes....and the best part is that now these dishes can be reused for lots of parties!  A couple of loads in the dishwasher has to be better for the environment than all that paper trash!  


Have Wine Glasses....Will Travel!

I don't know about you....but I HATE drinking wine out of plastic glasses!  Again....I have purchased a bunch of small sized wine glasses at the thrift store over the years!  They are perfect for parties....but would take up lots of space in the cupboard....that space is reserved for the BIG wine glasses.

Instead of storing them in a box on the shelf.....I keep them wrapped in a towel in a picnic basket that actually sits out as display in the family room! 
HUH?  Why is that better than a box on the shelf?
  • Because the picnic basket has handles and is easy to carry around!
  • Because you can set a few glasses out on the table....and set the basket aside to add more fresh glasses as the party goes on!
  • Because the basket isn't taking up shelf space!
  • Because my friends know that I have these glasses and I can deliver them to parties on request!


Use What You Have....Thank You Favors!

How clever of the Sweetwater Daughter....this is sooo thrifty...but I am not sure about the stress...I will have to ask her!

  • she knew the succulent pallet garden on her deck would fall victim to the winter frost....
  • she had a bunch of little glasses from Good Will...
  • She wanted something to use as a favor to thank her guests for coming....
Her solution....these clever little miniature gardens!

Sitting on the table in the entryway....they were the perfect send off for everyone!

I am thinking that most people would trade this for a formal thank you note.....that would reduce some stress!


Choose Your Guests Wisely!

The guests really are the most important ingredient for any party!
I am not being funny when I say to choose them wisely!
One of the reasons that this party was so much fun....the people!

The mix of friends from different areas of life....family...and some pretty cute kids....made the atmosphere entirely stress free.....so stress free that it went well beyond the advertised time frame!  That is my idea of a party!


Have A Wonderful Day!
Link Party Goodness
Coastal Charm   House on the Way  
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