For the Home

DIY Christmas Decor

If you haven’t already, I’m sure you’re getting ready to deck your halls with red and green galore. I’m here to help make sure you don’t overspend and get the greatest bang for your buck.

A person needs to be very strategic to stretch every penny when it comes to decorating for the holidays (because there are hundreds of thousands of options). Christmas can feel like the Target Daze (what I like to call it)-this is when you go in to Target for two items, and you end up purchasing a cart full of items you didn’t need but couldn’t resist because it was all on sale. Ladies and Gents, we need to stay focused 😉 !

Ready? Okay, good! Here we go.

1.) Christmas Tree (~$50)

If you don’t have a tree (like I didn’t), then get your booty to Hobby Lobby and go grab one!

You may be thinking, ‘Jenna… There goes my $100…’ Nope, think again. I bought an adorable 5″ tree (with lights) for $40 at Hobby Lobby.

You can also buy mini live trees at your local hardware store or grocery store. All Christmas decor at Hobby Lobby is currently 50% off, so you can load up ornaments (~$5/box of 10 ornaments)

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This is the Christmas tree in my living room

2.) Garland (~$15)

This is where you need to use your creativity. What I did last year was I trimmed my bushes and used this for garland (I kid you not). This is a (practically) free resource you have. If you don’t have bushes, you can trim some tree branches that are getting a little long.

  1. Once you have a bundle ~4 inches in diameter, lay the branches out on your mantle (or wherever you like to hang your garland), very gently, tie your branches together with wreath wire.
  2. From there, you’ll grab some accessories from the wreath making department at your local craft store, and slide them into the wreath.
  3. Secure the accessories with wreath wire, and weave in battery powered LED lights (these run at ~$10 at Lowe’s and Home Depot).
  4. Voila, You’re done! Enjoy your thriftiness

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This is a great example from Pottery Barn, but I would have a greater ratio of twigs to pine and berries

3.) Christmas Pillow (~$20)

It really only takes a single pillow to make a statement. I would layer this on top of neutral colored existing pillows. Here are some great options.

Festive Bowls ($5)

Use some existing clear bowls to fill with pinecones and ornament balls to add festive flair to any room.

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This is a great example from the Rusty Hinge

 

DIY Christmas Art (~$10)

This was inspired by some art I did as a kindergartener. All you need is a canvas, green, silver, red, white, yellow, and brown acrylic paint (99 cents per bottle).

1.) Draw a triangle on your canvas with a rectangle at the bottom.

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2.) Fill in your triangle with the green color of your choice (This doesn’t have to be perfect. This is simply a base color on your canvas)

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3.) Mix up several green colors to add depth to your tree. You can do this by simply adding a little white and a little black to your tree. Then make a “V” with your brush to add a certain effect to your tree


4.) You’re going to build layers of paint to your tree to add even more depth

5.) Add silver for your snow and a star on top of your tree!

tree66. Dip an eraser (on a pencil) into red paint to add red decorative balls on your tree.

7.) Enjoy!

No go and play some Christmas music, drink some hot chocolate, and have fun with your projects!


 

DIY Thank-mas Wreath

I feel that this time of year is awkward (when it comes to home decor). With two very important holidays right next to one another (Thanksgiving and Christmas), you want to get the most bang for your buck. I thought it would be a great idea to put a staple item in your home that could work for both holidays (so you don’t end up changing your decorations so frequently).

Cue, the wreath!

OKL Magnolia Wreath

I was inspired by this wreath from One King’s Lane.

I looked online and here are some other great magnolia wreaths that may inspire give you some additional ideas and inspiration.


Let’s Get Started!

Here’s what you need:

  • 18″ Grapevine Wreath ($2.50 at Hobby Lobby, currently on sale)
  • 2 bushels of Magnolia leaves (only $9 each at Hobby Lobby, On Sale!)
  • Wreath Ties ($2)
  • Wire Cutter
  • Floral Accent, I chose red berries ($2)
  • Gold Metallic Paint ($2)

Directions:

1.) Cut the magnolia bushels into the groupings of three leaves and weave into the grapevine wreath on the outside of the wreath (so the leaves fan out). Use only one bushel for the outside of the wreath.

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2.) Tie leaves with the wreath ties to insure the leaves don’t fall out of the wreath (Yes, the glass of wine helps the creative juices flow (no pun intended) Hehe 😉 )

3.) Complete the circle, and make sure all the leaves are angled the same way

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4.) Use the second bushel of magnolia leaves to fill in the inside of the wreath (and secure with wreath ties)

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5. Weave in your accent pieces that fit your style, and secure with tie

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6. Use your gold metallic paint to add some stylish flair

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7. Turn your wreath over and tie on your ribbon to hang your wreath (I used 2.5′ of ribbon)

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8.) I decided to hang my wreath from a mirror, so I took the mirror, placed a command strip upside down on the back of the mirror to hang my wreath, and VOILA!

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Enjoy!


 

Upgrade Your Bathroom Without the Renovation

Let’s talk about bathrooms… Bathrooms can be extremely expensive to remodel, so I think it’s best to work with the budget you have and focus on accessorizing.

1. Start with a blank slate. Take everything off your counters, clean all of your surfaces to begin with a fresh space.

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2. Pick the colors and/or theme you would like in your bathroom. I decided to go with neutral colors (white and blue/gray) to keep it simple and clean.

3. Before you being the process, think of it as layering (or getting dressed in the morning). You start with your basics (undergarments) and add on from there.

I always advise using good quality white towels. This is because white towels stay white (when bleached), it gives your bathroom a clean, fresh look, and white coordinates with everything.

4. Chose a shower curtain that meets the color scheme and style you’re looking to achieve. This is the area you can really show your personality.

A great place to buy shower curtains is World Market. They’re reasonably priced and have a lot of personality.

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I went with more of an androgynous look from Target. Click HERE to buy.

(Make sure you find a rug that coordinates with your shower curtain too to add some warmth)

5. Look for framed art you can’t live without.

Framed art can be expensive, so a fun way around this by buying the two-frame pack at Costco with matting (normally costs +$80 per frame). I didn’t see this deal online, but you can buy a large two-frame pack at Costco for $20 (such a steal)! Instead of putting a picture in the frame, go to World Market and buy a $3 sheet of handmade wrapping paper, trace the glass (from the frame) on the wrapping paper, cut the paper and insert in the frame (this is essentially the same as my DIY Jewelry Frame tutorial, but with wrapping paper).

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6. Countertop time! Going back to equate this to getting ready in the morning, this is the time you add the jewelry.

Close your eyes (no peaking 😉 ) and think about the times you’ve use the restroom at a friend’s house and you were thinking, wow, I really wish [insert friend’s name] had ___________ . This could be a number of items (floss, Q-tips, mouthwash, aspirin, lotion, etc…). This is the time to let your hospitality shine.

I like having the hand towel and the disposable towel as an option (especially during flu season).

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Be sure to put your hospitable items on a tray for a more polished look. I bought my tray of Goodwill for $1.99 and cleaned up the tray with a silver polish.

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I can’t wait to hear about your bathroom makeovers!


 

Best Candle Scents

 

Scents… I understand that scents are a very personal and have the ability of invoking some incredibly strong memories. One person may be a huge fan of pachouli, and someone else may say it reminds them of Woodstock (and not in a good way). Scents have the ability to give you the feeling a decadence or take you to a specific place in time without breaking the bank.

We all have our own personal favorites, but I want to let you know about some of mine (these may become a staple in your home too).

Capri Blue- Volcano ($16-$32, burns 35- 85 hours)
Aspen Bay- Reserve ($16-$31, burns 30-85 hours)
Circle E- Pomegranate ($10-$21, burns 44-155 hours)
Voluspa- Santiago Huckleberry ($9-$28, burns 50- 100 hours)
Voluspa- Mokara ($9-28, burns 50-100 hours)
THE Collection by: Chesapeake Bay Candle- Cashmere Plum (My FAVORITE right now) ($13, burns ~ 35 hours)


Also please note, when buying candles, always try to buy ones made of soy wax. Soy candles last longer (than paraffin wax).

Here’s some basic information on the three most popular types of waxes:

Paraffin Wax- derived from petroleum, it’s a great beginners wax (if you’re making your own candles)… it absorbs scent very well and is the most popular wax among candles overall; however it burns quite quickly.

Soy Wax- derived from soy bean oil, this is the most popular type of high-end candle wax. It has a clean burn that releases no carcinogens when burned, and lasts almost twice as long as soy wax.

Beeswax- most expensive, but has the longest burn time (three times longer than paraffin was and twice as long as soy wax).


DIY Dresser Makeover

Have you ever had a piece of furniture that you’re so sick of looking at, and just doesn’t fit your style anymore? Paint it!

Chances are, by changing out the hardware and painting the furniture will allow you to adapt your piece of old furniture to one of your favorite new pieces of furniture.

Here’s an example of what I did, and you can do too!

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This is an old dresser I had in college. I could’ve just repainted the black to fix the patchiness and kept it as is, but this isn’t really my style anymore. I decided to do a french provincial dresser with a little art deco twist (I know it sounds bizarre, but it all worked out in the end).

Here’s what you need:

  • 1- 2″ paint brush
  • a tarp to paint your furniture on and protect your floors
  • 1 quart of primer Click Here!
  • 1 quart of your new favorite paint color
  • Your piece of furniture
  • New hardware for your furniture (I went to World Market for the knobs and Lowe’s for handles) NOTE: The hardware is probably the most important item you purchase for this project because this sets the style and tone for your piece of furniture. Another great place to shop for hardware is Anthropologie and Hobby Lobby.

Directions:

1.) Remove all hardware from the furniture and paint with a thin coat of primer and let dry for an hour

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2.) Paint the piece of furniture and let dry for at least two hours

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This color is Hammered Zinc from HGTV by Sherwin Williams. I love the color, but it was too light and not enough of a contrast on the wall, so I decided to add black to create a darker color
3. Paint again (if you need another coat, or if you don’t like your first color).

I also did some faux wood finish as an accent for the trim. Mix together yellow and purple (or you can mix together any set of complementary colors), add in some water and paint a thin coat over your trim. Grab a paper towel, wet, and in a gentle sweeping motion, rub the wet paint (this will give a wood grain look with the white showing through the streaks)

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4. Add your hardware (I bought art deco styled hardware to add a contemporary twist) & admire your work!

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I can’t wait to hear about your projects!


 

DIY Jewelry Tray

Enamel jewelry trays are everywhere, and generally overpriced. Here is an easy and inexpensive alternative that takes 2 minutes flat.

What you need:

Picture Frame (Mine was $15, but you can find beautiful ones for $6 at HomeGoods)
Scissors
Pencil
Scrapbook Paper ($1.20 at Michaels with online coupon)


Instructions:

1.) Find a picture frame that has steep edges and a piece of scrapbooking paper that coordinates with the frame (Gentlemen, you can find masculine frames at about as well for your watches and cufflinks)
2.) Take the back off the frame and trace the faux picture (that the frame comes with) on the scrapbooking paper
3.) Cut out the traced shape and insert into the frame
4.) Put the back of the frame back on and place your jewelry on the tray

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DIY Bookshelf

I had some old closet accordion doors that were previously used as a headboard in college. I had no use for them, so I decided to remake them into something for my house: a bookshelf!

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Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Accordion closet door (2 panels in one door) or 2 wood shutters
  • Power drill
  • 6- 12″x 24″ pieces of pine planks (buy a large plank at Home Depot or Lowes and ask for an employee to cut the wood to the desired lengths)
  • 24- 1.5″ screws
  • Minwax mahogany stain
  • Paint brush & rag
  • Paint (optional)
  • Sandpaper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Remove the pins in the hinges to separate the panels
  2. Sand the panels to ensure new paint will adhere to the wood (optional)
  3. Paint the doors the new color of your choice, two coats (optional)
  4. Paint the pine planks the stain color of your choice (I chose the deep mahogany to contrast the cream) Let dry for 24 hours outside
  5. Space the planks to the appropriate distances you want the shelves spaced apart
  6. Screw the shelves into the panels (2 screws on each side of the shelves)
  7. Decorate and style as desired

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Let me know how your bookshelf turns out!


 

Wine Boxes Galore !!!

Let me tell you, I love wine boxes! There are so many different home projects you can do with these babies.

There was a new Total Wine that opened by my home in South Austin and I went a little crazy… I think I bought 8 boxes… I want to show you a DIY project that I love having in my house by using a wine box.

Wine Box Bedside Table

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 wine box ($10 at Total Wine)
  • Stain (I used Minwax English Chesnut, ~$7)
  • Paint & Rag (to apply stain)
  • Legs for the table (You could purchase hairpin legs on Etsy for ~$15/leg but I bought a side sofa table) Buy Here!
  • Gorilla Glue (to attach the wine box to the side table)

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Side table (purchased at T.J. Maxx for $40)

Directions:

  • Apply the stain to the wine box and wipe the excess stain with the rag

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  • Let the stain dry, and apply another coat if you want a darker finish

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  • Attach the wine box to the legs with the Gorilla Glue (or screw the hairpin legs into the box) and let sit for 24 hours.

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  • Accessorize to your liking

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I hope you enjoy your table!


Custom Canvas Art

Who doesn’t love a little DIY project? It’s an affordable way to create a custom conversation piece that will be the envy of all your friends.

Let’s start with some DIY artwork for your walls. Believe me when I say, you don’t have to be Vincent van Gogh when creating custom art for your home. Below is a piece I created in about 20 minutes with some 99 cent acrylic paints from Michaels.

Note: DO NOT go to a craft store without a coupon. This is easily downloaded on your smartphone.

Here’s what you need:

  • A white canvas -whatever size works for your space (~$5-$40, depending on size)
  • A paint brush
  • 4 acrylic paint colors- I picked 1 color I like (ie: blue), a metallic complementary color (I chose gold), white and black (this is to lighten or darken the main color you chose)
  • a paper plate (for mixing colors)

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Steps:

  1. Mix your colors to the shades you like (I picked blue and added some white and black to make nice smokey blue shades
  2. I started with a base of gold in the background
  3. From there I would layer on scattered stripes of various shades of blue (if you don’t like how it turns out at first, keep layering until you find what you like).
  4. Let me know how it turns out for you!
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This piece has very little paint on it (if that’s the look you’re going for). If you don’t like the look of this, you can keep layering on paint for a more finished look. (See below)

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