A Recycled Christmas Project!

When does a holiday project get your heart all a flutter?  When it's made from something FREE, something you were going to put out on TRASH DAY!

Presenting the first of many recycled holiday decorating projects!  Picture this...

Looks like an unassuming soda 12 pack right?  How many of these have you thrown out in the last year?  I've trashed a lot of them (I am a diet coke junkie and yes, the first step is admitting you have a problem!)

These cases can become really COOL containers!  See...

Here's the very easy step-by-step.  These literally took me 10 minutes to put together and about $2 in materials each!

1.  Cut your soda can case to the desired height, trying to get the top edge as even as possible (don't worry though, because ribbon covers a multitude of cutting mistakes!)
2.  Inspect case for any loose edges and tape them down.
3.  Using holiday wrapping paper, wrap the case, securing in the back with tape.  Wrap the bottom like you would a Christmas package.  At the top, tuck the wrapping paper down into the opening and tape all 4 sides.
4.  Insert holiday branches or flowers into a square piece of florist's foam.  You may need to trim your branches with wire cutters to get the height to your liking.
5.  Place the foam inside the container and use tissue paper to stuff the case, leaving about 2 - 4 inches at the top.
6.  Fill the remaining space with pinecones or Christmas Ball ornaments.
7.  Tie ribbon around the top edge, securing with double sided tape.

Voila!  You have a cute container and you spent next to nothing!  I'm planning on making several of these with coordinating wrap to use as centerpieces and mantle decor.

I'm linking up to 2 blog parties today:


This is also one of the projects I will feature at the holiday decorating workshop I'm hosting this Thursday.  I'll post more of those projects later!


It's beginning to look a LITTLE like Christmas!

After a quick nap post Thanksgiving dinner, I got busy getting Christmas decorations started.  Here's what I've done so far...

The tree during the day...

And the tree at night...

I think our artificial tree is on it's last leg.  When I got the thing all put together, one entire section would not light up.  I ended up having to string lights in that section.  You can't really tell.  I'm really just looking for an excuse to buy the 15 ft tall tree I saw last week.  And don't you just love that ugly vent in the picture?  I think it really adds to the vignette (Why, oh why do they put those ugly vents in the most visible spots?!)  Aaah!

Okay, here is a super cheap, super cute idea!  Wrap your art in Christmas paper and a bow and re-hang it!

I made a vow that I was not going to hang greenery on the banister this year.  It's such a pain to get up and I hate the extension cord we have to run across the hallway upstairs for the lights.  So, here was my solution.  I bought these super-huge snowflakes at Dollar Tree last year. I hung them with some silvery-gray satin ribbon I already had.  Voila!  Cute, and easy to put up!

I threw some things up on the mantle.  Not sure if it will stay this way.  Now that I look at the picture, it looks a little sloppy.  Okay, yeah...I'll definitely be changing it!  See those mercury glass Christmas trees?  I got those after Christmas last year at Target for $2 a piece!  I love buying holiday stuff on final clearance!  I also bought 5 3 1/2 foot lighted trees at Target for $5 a piece.  I just brought everything home and shoved it up in the attic.  It was a nice surprise to take it all down last week and have a bunch of new things to work with!

That's it for now.  I'm sure I'll get back on the holiday decorating this next weekend.  This week I'm working like mad putting together some special holiday decor for a decorating workshop I'm hosting on Thursday for our elementary school's PTA.  I will post pictures of those projects later this week!


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Hope you all had a nice time with family and/or friends.  We had a great time with Brett's parents, sister and her family.  Here are some pics of our Thanksgiving decor.

The "adult" table....

And here is a closeup of the placesetting.  I was going to make placecard holders out of the apples, but ran out of time!

Here is a closeup of the centerpiece.  This was SO easy to put together.  I just bought whatever fruits were on sale cheap at the grocery store and placed them in the container, topped with a harvest candle.  After, we emptied the jars and sent everyone home with fruit!

Here is the kid's table...

I have to say the fall tree turned out really cute, but it took FOREVER to make.  Hindsight is 20/20 I guess.  I should have bought a leaf shaped paper punch and it would have gone much faster.  Instead, I printed leaf templates off the internet and cut out every one of them.

At 3 am in my delirious state, I was coming up with anything I could cut out that would fill up the space faster!  Birds....nests....snakes....

I made an activity book for each placesetting from sheets I found on the internet...

I placed jars of crayons, colored pencils, markers & a bowl of playdoh on the table to keep the little turkeys busy...

All in all, it was a great time with family.  Oh, and the HO HO HO plates I wasn't so sure about last week?  One slipped and broke, so I figured that was the decorating gods telling me it WAS indeed a hot mess and into the trashcan they went!


The heart of the home...the kitchen

Happy Monday all!  It's a beautiful, sunny day here in Katy, TX!  I've been thinking about all the company coming to visit in 3 days.  Do you have relatives or friends coming for Thanksgiving?

Plan for the kid's table?  CHECK. (check out my post here)

And I'm still choosing my main tablesetting (check out the ideas I'm pondering here)

I don't know about you, but everyone always gathers in my kitchen for parties.  I wanted to share some "inspiration" photos of great kitchens....kitchens that feel "homey"....kitchens where people want to congregate.  I need a little push in the right direction to get my kitchen ready for Thursday.  Enjoy and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I love this kitchen a lot because the owner really "went for it" with the color (I just love someone who isn't afraid of colors other than beige!)  This kitchen is so warm & cozy!

(photo BHG)

I can see myself perched on one of those "cushy" barstools sipping some apple cider!

This one is a favorite too.  I would love to know what paint they used.  Very warm & inviting!

(photo BHG)

This kitchen has so many elements I love...the range hood, the contrasting black island with rush barstools, the awesome chandelier.  A white kitchen with lots of texture to keep it from feeling "cold"...

(photo BHG)

I love how the owner pulled all their white serveware together on display.  Collections don't have to be expensive to look great!  I also LOVE the chalkboard pantry door!

(photo Country Living)

I've been thinking about taking some of my upper cabinet doors off and creating open shelves like these....

(photo Country Living)

Aaah, the organized pantry...

(photo Country Living)



Okay, I just completed a holiday project, but not so sure about the results!

I found 3 plates at Goodwill for $.50 a piece.  I liked the detail on the edges and thought with a little white spray paint, I might be able to come up with a cute holiday piece for cheap.  I had stencils already, as well as the acrylic paint for the letters, so the only other thing I bought was a can of Rustoleum Semi-Gloss Pure White Paint (hint - I buy the 2x cover spray paint, because the trigger is fat and you don't get spray paint all over your fingers!)

I started by sanding lightly and then applying 3 coats of spray paint.  All was going well until I checked the final coat this morning and here's what I found....

I don't know if it was the cold temperature (they were drying in the garage) but I ended up with this weird crackle effect.  Never a quitter, I just "went with it".  I experimented with some black & brown acrylic paint (mixed together, cuz that's what I had in the paint box).

I liked the way the dark really gathers in all the crackle and makes them look a little "grungey".

I had originally planned to stencil "wish", "peace" and "joy" but it wouldn't fit on the plate.  So then I thought, "I have 3 plates.  HO HO HO".  Decision made.  I used the same black/brown paint mixture to paint the stenciled letters and then went back over with a dry brush to smudge it a little, since I seemed to be going for a "rustic, french, cottagey" look (yeah, I make up design styles as I go along!)

This is the finished product...


Okay, I know the plate on the left is a little lopsided, but I was in such a hurry to get some pictures up, since I've been such a blog slacker lately.

It's either really cute or it's butt ugly.  I have a different opinion of it everytime I look at it.  Right now I've got them leaning up against the backsplash in the kitchen, but I'll probably hang them and run a wide satin ribbon behind them tied with a floppy bow at the top, just to dress it up a bit.

What do you think?  TELL THE TRUTH!  I've got company coming next week and I don't want to be laughed at!  Okay, really my company wouldn't laugh at me.  They would just smile and say "Oh, that's nice!" 

I've got exactly $5.00 invested in this project ($1.50 in plates, $3.50 in spray paint) so if it's meant to go to the decorating graveyard, it won't be the end of the world!

Let me hear from you!

Coming soon....

I'm working on a furniture trash to treasure project right now, so I'm sanding & priming my little fingers off!  Will post that one soon.  Hope I don't have any more disasters!


Found the coolest thing on another blog!

Browsing through Blogland, I found a post about a really cool tape product on Reinvented.  Look for their blog button on the left, or click here...http://www.reinventedkb.com/  I was so in awe, that I just had to share with you!


And BONUS!  Reinvented & Tapeswell are offering a giveaway of $20 to spend on the Tapeswell website! All you have to do is leave a comment on Reinvented sharing which Tapeswell product you like best.  That's it!

Decorative packing tape....who woulda thunk it?  My wheels are turning thinking about all the "non-package" uses for this stuff.

Here is my personal favorite...

Would that not be coolio on a piece of furniture or a mirror? And it's $7 for a 27.5 yd roll!

These earn honorable mentions with me...

I can SO see this as a border on a red lampshade.  You?

Wouldn't it be fun to cover the frame of an old mirror in this stuff?  I love the "cartooney" feel.  Would be cute in a kid's room (hunting or camping theme?)


I have a white Ikea Lack bookshelf that needs some of this!


Ikea, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

I must share with you my love for Ikea.  Ikea is a megastore (okay megastore doesn't truly describe it.  It's a MECCAstore) where you can find reasonably priced furniture and home accessories.  The only downside is you have to put the furniture together yourself, thus the inexpensive prices.  If you don't have one in your neck of the woods, I'm so sorry.  We have one here in Houston, and they are in most major metropolitan cities, so if you are ever near one, GO!  You won't be sorry. 

Ikea has evolved (in a good way) over the years.  When I first moved to Houston I didn't shop there much because the design leaned more toward contemporary and for awhile it seemed like the only finish they carried was a light natural color (typical of Swedish design).  Today's Ikea carries a broad offering of furniture styles and includes darker finishes like cherry and dark walnut.  Yes, you still have to put the furniture together, but I've never bought anything that wasn't relatively easy to assemble.

The store layout is also something I love.  The top floor is a showroom with room vignettes showing how you can achieve a whole house decorating scheme.  I always get lots of great ideas walking through the displays.  They provide an order form so you can mark down item #s you want to purchase.  From there, you go downstairs to the warehouse and pull your items out of large bins (there's always a big, beefy guy to help for heavy items!)  They also have a "Market" section with items such as linens, kitchen accessories & even live plants.  The "cafeteria" upstairs serves swedish meatballs among other fare and the breakfast is $2.99 everyday and includes pancakes and sausage.  Can't beat that!

Here are some items that I love from Ikea that are a GREAT value & GREAT quality:

Ektorp Sofa $399 - This is such an awesome value.  The entire sofa has removable slipcovers and you can buy extra slipcovers in prints, stripes or solids to change your look.  Just toss in the wash when they need cleaning.  I don't personally own this sofa, but have friends that do.  They asked me to share that the slipcovers DO NOT shrink and go back on the sofa with a beautiful, tight fit.  Ikea quality tests their furniture for durability.  I think they advertise on their website that they throw like a 220 pound weight on the sofa 1,000 times or something like that!  And hmmmm, this sofa looks very similar to the Pottery Barn PB Comfort Sofa that starts at $999!

Markor Bookcase $169 - This is such a step-up from most "ready to assemble" bookcases.  First of all, it's solid spruce (no particle board).  Second, it has such great details, like the moulding trim, the chunky feet, adjustable shelves and outlet holes for electronics.  I love the black/brown finish.

Lack Wall Shelves $9.99 (11 3/4") to $19.99 (43 3/4") - This is probably my most favorite item at Ikea.  I've used these in my own homes as well as in decorating jobs.  They are made of a chunky piece of MDF, but have a beautiful smooth finish and come in several colors.  My favorites are black/brown and white.  They install easily, using a mounting bar with dowels.  Simply mount the bar to the wall, being sure to drill into a stud if possible and use a level to make sure it is straight.  Then, slide the shelf onto the dowels (shelf has predrilled holes in the back)  These shelves look nice in any decor style and you can create an awesome photo wall by using different sizes together.

Kassett Storage Box 2 pack with lids $3.99 - These are marketed as CD/DVD storage, but I use these for everything from photos & receipts to computer software!  I love them because they are made of very thick cardstock and are more durable than those flimsy photo boxes.  They have several colors and sizes to choose from.

Knappa Pendant Lamp $29.99 - You've seen this style of lighting in decorating magazines for astronomical prices right?  Ikea's version is made of polypropylene and takes standard size bulbs.

Lack Side Table $7.99 (yeah, that's NOT a typo!) - Also from the Lack series, these are just great little MDF tables that can be used anywhere.  at almost 22" square, they are a great size.  I've used them in my boys bedrooms as nightstands.  You can also use 2 placed beside each other for a coffee table in the living room.  They come in many different finishes and are super easy to assemble.  Just screw in the 4 legs and you're done.

Leksvik Coffee Table $119 - Shown as a coffee table, but I would use it as a bench in an entryway.  Wouldn't it look great with a little cushion on top?  And those cubbies are perfect for the kids shoes that end up by the door.  It is also a solid stained pine (no particle board).  It reminds me a little of this piece from Pottery Barn...

The PB piece is $299 - $399 and I think the Ikea piece has more functionality!

Dragor Rug $29.99 - At 4'7" x 6'7" this rug is such a great value!  I have one that I use as a patio rug and it's held up beautifully.  It's made out of 100% polypropylene so you just hose it off to clean it.  The texture reminds me of grasscloth or natural fibers that can often be a mess to clean and maintain.

Cushion covers $6 - $10 - This is probably my second favorite thing at Ikea.  They make throw pillow covers that zip and come in a variety of styles.  Some of my favorites are the velvet details as seen on the cushion above, nice textured cotton duck, and handcrafted details like embroidery.  They also sell the pillow forms that go inside, but I never buy them because they are, shall I say, "wimpy"?  I like nice, full pillows.  I save all my old throw pillows or I look for nice ones at Goodwill or garage sales (sometimes you can find down-filled for cheap!)  I buy these pillow covers and just stuff my old pillow inside.  It's so much cheaper than buying throw pillows.  I was at Target yesterday and they have throw pillows as high as $49.99.  Insane!

Kajsa PAIR of curtains $29.99 - I could go on and on about window treatments at Ikea, because they just do the BEST job of providing nice, expensive looking styles at cheap prices.  They carry everything from curtains, to hardware, to roman shades.  I had a hard time choosing what to share, because there are SO MANY great things in the window area.  I love the curtains above because they are light-blocking, (have you priced those?  They are expensive!), they have cool grommets on the top, the pattern is fun, but still neutral enough for many decor styles and most of all....because you can get a pair for under $30!  Ikeas curtains come in a super long length, but they include fusable web, so that you can cut to your desired length and "hem".

Mongstad Mirror $99.99 - I have this mirror in my entry way and it is the #1 item in my home that people comment on.  It is huge... 37" wide x 74 3/4" tall, has a chunky dark wood frame and looks great leaned against a wall or hung (mine leans).  Such a statement piece and such an awesome price!

They also have cute "non-traditional" Christmas ornaments and wrap!

I'll be sharing things I find at Ikea from time to time.  I just checked and most of the items I shared today can be ordered off their website as well.


Everyone loves a sale!

I just received an email from Bath & Body Works for a great sale.  You can get 20% off your entire order if you order by Thursday this week.  Use promo code TWENTYOFF.

Here are some cute holiday items they have on the website!

Twisted Peppermint Anti-bacterial hand soap.  $4.50 or 3 for $10.  This would be a cute addition to your guest bath or kitchen!

Spice Home Fragrance Spray $5 (exclusively online)  I love this room spray.  It is very concentrated.  Just one spray will scent the whole room!

Stocking Surprise $10.  Includes shower gel & body lotion.  Several scents to choose from.  What a cute gift idea!

Mini bath & shower gel festively wrapped $5.  What a cute little favor for an all-girl holiday party!

Holiday figural soap dispenser $10 or 2 for $12.

Lounge Shea Socks Mix-n-match 2 for $12.  I got a pair of these last year, and they are wonderful!  Buy one for you and give one as a gift!

Holiday themed hand soap & lotion gift sets $15.  Cute gift or buy one for your kitchen sink!

Search my archives for more great ideas!