April Showers Bring May Flowers – Spring Tulip Wreath Tutorial

 

That cliché about April Showers?  Yeah – totally true to form this year.  We have had a very wet April and just come off more than a week straight of rain and snow (sometimes both in the same day!) and today’s wonderful sunny weather has been such a welcome change.  Hello May.

Spring is my favorite season from the slightly warmer weather and everything starting to turn green and grow to that uncontrollable urge to freshen things up.  Around here Spring Fever has turned into what I am now officially terming Spring DIY Fever.  Forget the Spring Cleaning, over the last few weeks I have been systematically giving my parents’ house an update.  Painting walls, patching holes, even minor electrical fixes – all by my little self!  As of last week I have completely repainted all of the rooms in the basement and have moved on to the upstairs bathroom this week.  (Tons and tons of blog post fodder there – bet you can’t wait!)

April Showers Bring May Flowers Tutorial for Spring Tulip Wreath
In among all of that I have missed working on some smaller craft projects so I took some time out from the DIY and whipped up a knock of version of the Spring Tulip Wreath my mom has been eyeing at Pier 1.  Or does that count as DIY too?  Either way, I did it and am happy to share not only the wreath but also a quick tutorial for the wreath to – just for you!  And did I mention it costs less than $20?

Make your own spring tulip wreath similar to Pier 1 for under $20 AlaynasCreations

First item of business was of course, to acquire copious amount of tulips in shades of pink and white.  The cost for silk flowers can add up really quickly so I hit up the dollar store.  They actually have pretty decent flowers for $1 a bunch, but selection can vary quite a bit.  The store only had 2-3 bunches of tulips so I picked up the most tulip-looking bunches of roses I could find too.  The cashier thought he should point out that Valentines Day was long over – guess he doesn’t run into crafty wreath makers like us often enough 😉

Materials needed:  1 grapevine wreath frame from the craft storeand 10-15 bunches of flowers.  At $4 for the grapevine wreath base and $1 per bunch of flowers that puts your total cost under $20 – as promised!

Spring Tulip Wreath altered dollar store silk flowers alaynascreations

Once I sat down to work with the flowers I decided the roses could use a little tweaking to look even more tulip-like so I removed some of the interior petals, cut off that spiky green stuff around the base of the flower and removed the leaves.  Not bad for a quick fix, eh?

Tutorial How to Make a Spring Tulip Wreath like Pier One for Under $20
Step two:  grab a grapevine wreath form, heat up your glue gun and start layering the flowers onto the wreath form.  I just picked a place to start and worked my way around the circle, making sure to vary the colors and flowers for a random effect.  I removed the leaves from the tulips, but I do like the look of the greenery in among the flowers so I kept the rest of the leaves on the tulips and added in some grassy pieces that had been in some of the flower bunches.

Pretty soon the wreath looked like this:
Making your own Spring Tulip Wreath is easy and inexpensive using this tutorial AlaynasCreations

Spring Tulip Wreath Tutorial is quick and easy and inexpensive AlaynasCreations

Pretty.  I might have to make one for myself next year.  I just might…

Oh and in case you haven’t thought about it – this would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift, wouldn’t it?  That’s coming up in less than a week – can you believe it?!

As always, if you create your own wreath I would love to hear about it and see photos.  Comments always welcome 😉

 

Fairy Merry Christmas – Add a Little Magic To Your Tree

Fairy Merry Christmas add a little magic to your christmas tree

Here we go!
In one short week we will all be sitting around the table with friends and family stuffing ourselves with turkey and pumpkin pie.  Then watch out – it’s full on Christmas Mode from there on out!  Traditionally, I like to use the day after Thanksgiving to set up my Christmas tree.  It’s hard to keep all the decorations in their boxes until then, but I think every holiday should be given its due – and frankly this year I’m not quite ready to let go of Fall and move into Winter yet.  Not that I get a lot of say in the matter.

Fairy Merry Christmas 2015

To kick things off for this holiday season I have joined in with a group of lovely bloggers for a Fairy Merry Christmas Blog Hop where everyone chose to post about something related to Fairies for the season (you can find more details about the Hop here).  I love to add a little whimsey and magic to my decorating, particularly at Christmas, and to me nothing is more magical than the twinkling lights on the tree.  So I thought I would share our Christmas tree decorations – actually it’s my Mom’s tree which she always puts up in the family room and since that is in “our” part of the house until our house is built (no matter how little progress we feel like we are making at this point!) we got to enjoy this tree last year and will do so again this year.

Decorating the Christmas tree tradition All decked out for Christmas.jpg

As I mentioned, our tradition is to put the tree up as soon as we can after Thanksgiving and we always try to involve the family as much as we can.  I’m a bit particular about how the lights are put on the tree (we’re still old fashioned and have not splurged for a pre-lit tree tough I assume eventually we will at some point), so I usually handle that part by myself.  It’s fairly tedious.  Then once the tree is up and the lights are on the kids are happy to help string the garland and put on all the oraments.

Fairy Merry Christmas decorating the tree with the kids

It’s always so much fun to open up the boxes and see the ornament collection in all its glory.  There are always a few that we have forgotten about and are happy to rediscover.

Christmas Tree Decorations in Teal and gold using a lot of silk flowers and glitzy ornaments

Teal copper gold and bronze Christmas Tree Decorations

My Mom’s favorite color is teal and on her tree she has combined it with golds and browns/bronze with a lot of sparkly and glitz thrown in.  And it totally works – her tree is gorgeous.

Fairy Merry Christmas beautiful christmas tree decorations in teal gold and brown

Did you spot the fairy/elf?  He’s up near the tree topper, taking in the sights.

Fairy Merry Christmas Decorating the Christmas Tree with a touch of fairy elf magic

Fairy Merry Christmas Decorating the Tree

Ahhh, so pretty.  Maybe I am kinda ready for fall to be over so I can get the tree up again and start enjoying the magic of the season…

Decorating the Christmas tree tradition All decked out for Christmas

Please be sure to visit some of the other wonderful contributers to the Fairy Merry Christmas Blog Hop.  Yesterday we were treated to a fun crochet pattern for a fairy princess doll  at Creative Crochet Workshop (cute gift idea!) and I can’t wait to see what’s in store tomorrow at My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies.
All links for the Fairy Merry Christmas blog hop are being linked up as they are posted so be sure to click on the button below to view them all!

 

 

Linking to:  Tip Me Tuesday, Lou Lou Girls, Merry Blogmas Link Party,

Fall Window Box Wall Decor

Interior Window Box Fall Halloween or Thanksgiving Decorating Idea

I’m not ready to let go of fall yet – tell me I’m not the only one!?  Earlier this week we saw our first real snowstorm of the year.  The flakes started lazily falling as the sun set and the next morning we woke up to find everything coated in white.  The snow continued to fall slowly all that day (which had me both admiring the beauty and annoyed that I was painting laundry drying racks instead of sipping hot chocolate) and the kids were so so so excited to play in it.  But I’m really just not ready – and I don’t just mean because we were left scrambling to find appropriate outdoor clothing and wondering where we stored the sleds.  I’m not ready for the Christmas tunes or the snow boots or the mornings spent trying to clear off and warm up the car.  Thanksgiving needs some attention too, doesn’t it?  Plus, I still have projects that need to be done that would be better off not complicated by freezing temperatures and tramping through slush on the ground.  So in a last ditch effort not to let go of the colorful leaves and the pumpkin flavored desserts I want to share one more fall decorating project – my wall-mounted Window Box.

Interior Window Box Wall Decor DIY Project

The window box was an idea a friend and I put together years ago and I have really enjoyed having it around.  The base is simply a piece of framed bead board with a box made of 1/4″ material (probably MDF but I forget what we used specifically – anything would work) mounted to the bead board.

Window Box Wall Hanging Detail Photo Alaynas Creations

I think my friend put some grasses in her window box and keeps it like that year-round but I like to change up my window box for the seasons.  I’m pretty sure by now you all know how much I like versatility in my craft projects, right?  (like my double-sided fall decorations HERE and HERE)

I just place a block of floral foam in the bottom of the box then add in whatever suits the season.  For fall I found some great red, orange, yellow and brown flowers, leaves, and berries, added in a few gourds, and filled it out with a few sprigs of silk grass.  Total cost for the project was probably under $20.  When December hits I can simply pull out the floral arrangement all in one piece (foam and all), put it in a tote to store for next year, then plunk in some greenery and red berries for Christmas.

Fall leaves and flowers window box floral arrangement

I think I’ve had this window box for over 10 years now and it’s still one of my favorite craft projects.  Do you have any favorite craft projects/decorations you would like to share?  I’m always looking for new ideas!

Fall Window Box Interior Wall Decorations DIY Project

Linking to:  DIY Sunday Showcase, Pretty Pintastic Party, Learning from Each Other, Snickerdoodle Sunday, BFF Open House, Merry Monday, Made By You Monday, Tip Me Tuesday, Lou Lou Girls,

How to Take Your Fall Front Porch from Halloween to Thanksgiving

Pallet Pumpkins A tutorial for making your own set of these fun easy and inexpensive pumpkins for your front porch fall decoration

We’re on the final countdown to Halloween!  T-minus four days and counting – give or take.  Halloween costumes are ready, pumpkins are purchased and ready to carve, and we are narrowing down our options for Halloween activities (Pumpkin Plunge at the pool anyone?).  I’m kind of glad that Halloween falls on a Saturday this year – and that the forecast does not include rain!
I know that when Monday comes along I will be over Halloween and I will be more than ready to pack away the decorations and move along to the next holiday so I try to keep this in mind when I do my crafting and decorating to make the switch as easy and painless as possible.  I have a couple of not-so-secret ways to do this – want to hear them?

Halloween Witch Front Porch Decorations includes deco mesh wreath and swag pallet pumpkins wooden sign and witch broom

That was my Halloween front porch last year (or more likely the year before).  You’ve seen the Witch Wreath and Boo Swags (here) and the Wooden Home of the Wicked Witch sign (here) before.  My best and easiest trick is mounting one of those 3M Command Hooks on the door.  They are supposed to be removable without damaging anything (and they are) but that hook just lives on the door so I can easily switch out the wreath.

Fall front porch decor make the switch from Halloween to Thanksgiving

I made the fall wreath a couple of years ago during one of my neighborhood craft days.  It was my first attempt at the “curly” version of the deco mesh wreaths and I had a lot of fun putting it together.  I love the shiny gold and bronze mesh.  The only drawback was that it turned out HUGE.  It stands away from the door at least a foot and would reach out and grab your clothing or hair if you brushed up close to it.  But I think the size works really well for the scale of the front door and the house.

Happy Fall Y all Curly Deco Mesh Wreath in glitter Gold brown and bronze

Thankful Wooden Sign Rustic and easy to assemble sign for Thanksgiving and Halloween

If you’ve been reading my blog the last few weeks I’m sure you’ve clued into my second trick – double-sided crafts!  When I designed that wooden witch sign on the front porch I knew that I wanted to put a Thanksgiving quote on the back.  I did this for a couple of reasons.  1 – because holiday decorations can be big and bulky and take up a lot of storage space when not in use.  2 – because I liked the look of the wooden pieces on the back of the sign and wanted to highlight them.  And 3 – because it makes switching the decorations as easy as turning it from front to back (duh!).  Two seconds – instant transformation.
(I have the full tutorial for the double-sided wooden sign in an earlier post HERE if you want more details)

Double Sided Wooden Fall Sign for Halloween and Thanksgiving DIY Tutorial

Thankful Grateful Blessed Wooden Front Porch Sign for Thanksgiving Decorations

I don’t know if you noticed, but I also turned the pumpkins around so that the carved part was facing the wall.  We typically carve our pumpkins only a day or two before Halloween so as long as the teenagers in the neighborhood don’t go out pumpkin smashing, the pumpkins will stay looking decent for a couple of weeks.  Depends on the weather of course.

Pallet Pumpkins are a great addition to any Fall Halloween or Thanksgiving front porch decoration

The piece of my Halloween decor that didn’t require any maneuvering at all were my Pallet Pumpkins – aren’t they great?  Nice and rustic – and cheap to create!  (You can find my tutorial for the pallet pumpkins HERE)  Those stay out on the porch from September through Thanksgiving.

And as a finishing touch, the mailbox got a little swag of its own with deco mesh and ribbon left over from the wreath.

Fall Mailbox Swag using curly deco mesh and glitter ribbon in gold green and bronze

Easy as that!  I think the whole Halloween to Thanksgiving transformation took less than 10 minutes, and that includes hunting up the Fall wreath and putting away the Halloween ones.

Fall and Thanksgiving Front Porch Decor includes wooden pallet pumpkins deco mesh wreath and double sided wooden sign for Halloween and Thanksgiving

Quick Review – the keys points to making the switch from Halloween to Thanksgiving decor easy and painless are:
1.  Keep Command Hooks on the front door for wreaths and anywhere else you normally want to hang decorations.
2.  Double-sided decorations make the transformation as easy as turning your decor from one side to the other.
3.  Use items that are multi-purpose and can be used for more than one holiday.  For fall I use pumpkins, but the same concept would work well with lanterns, vases or urns, baskets and crates.
4.  Instead of decorating every surface, pick a few key spaces and decorate those every holiday.  You could decorate your front door and mailbox outside and maybe your mantle, entry console, and dining table for the interior.

How about you?  Do you switch out your Halloween decorations for Thanksgiving?  Or do you just let the Halloween stuff stay out until you’re ready to put out the Christmas lights? 😉

You may want to check out some of my other fall decorating ideas!
Double Sided Wood 2x4 Craft for Halloween and Thanksgiving Beware of LIttle Monsters Thanks for little blessings  DIY 2x4 Pumpkins Make your own wooden pumkins with this easy tutorial  Witch Hat Centerpiece
Double-sided 2×4 Halloween/Thanksgiving Craft
2×4 Pumpkins
Decorating with Witch Hats

Linking to:  Learning from Each Other, Lifestyle Link Up, Pretty Pintastic Party, Link Party Palooza, Made By You Monday,

Decorating with Witch Hats

IMG_5229A

It’s almost that time!  Are we ready for Halloween?!
Not quite?  Oh good – I’m not either 😉  I do have the kids’ costumes all set (yay!) and we went to the corn maze with my husband’s sister over the weekend but there are still some Fall and Halloween activities I haven’t checked off the list.  Like buying pumpkins for carving.  Or eating half the Halloween candy before the trick-or-treaters arrive.  And the event I’m most looking forward to is going with a friend to see the Witches at Gardner Village next week.  That was something we used to do every year and I really missed it while we were living out of state.  I’m not a big on dressing up but it’s kind of the thing to go in costume or at least wear a witch hat so I’m still debating about digging out one of the glammed up witch hats from my stash.

While I’m debating that (or you know, procrastinating about heading down to the shop for a day of sanding laundry drying racks) why don’t I show you some of my fun Halloween decorations using ticked out witch’s hats?

Halloween decorating with Witch Hats

I have a whole collection of (mostly DIY) witch themed decorations now, but I think the one that got it all started was my witch hat centerpiece.  Inspired by one of my first trips to see the witches at Gardner Village and all of the amazing creations people were wearing on their heads, I decided that I wanted one too!  In my version I wanted to be able to look at it the whole month of Halloween, so instead of designing something for my head I put together something for the dining table.

A Glammed Up Witch Hat makes a great centerpiece for Halloween decorating or parties

I used an inexpensive costum hat as the base and filled it with floral foam.  Not only did this allow the hat to keep its shape while sitting on the table, but I was also able to attach the silk flowers and leaves and ribbon directly into the foam with floral pins and hot glue.  Easy as that!

Witch Hat Centerpiece dress up an inexpensive costume hat with some silk flowers leaves and ribbon to make your own lovely centerpiece for your Halloween table or party

Decorative Witch Hat DIY detail photo

I have used that centerpiece for a few years now and loved it so much that when I participated in a fall craft show I decided to whip up a few to sell.  I decided to do a slightly different technique on these, due to my love/hate relationship with hot glue.  I’ve found that hot glue just doesn’t last long when exposed to changes in temperature or if the item gets bumped very often so I used fishing line to sew the flowers, berries, leaves and ribbon onto the hat and only used the hot glue sparingly.

Witch Hat Centerpiece

The added benefit of putting it together that way is that not only does the hat look great on a table (you can easily stuff it with newspaper or grocery bags if it needs help standing up), but will also work well hanging from a candlestick (as I did on my mantle), on the end of a broomstick, on the wall, or even as a wreath on the front door.  Plus, the when not in use the hat can fold up a little bit to take up less space when you store it for next year.

Halloween mantle with decorative witch hats and trick or treat pennant banner

Fall Halloween Mantle Decorations decorative ledge with witch hat witch broom footprint ghosts 2x4 halloween monsters and more

Decorate with Witch Hats for Halloween Fall mantle decorations

Halloween Front Porch Decor includes pallet pumpkins deco mesh wreaths and swags and wicked witch wooden sign with broomstick Make the switch to Thanksgiving easy with double sided sign

Want more Halloween decorating ideas?  Take a look at my front porch decorations, all of them crafty projects just waiting for you to create them like:
Witchy wreath and Boo swags
Home of the Wicked Witch wooden sign (bonus – it’s double-sided for Thanksgiving too!)
Wooden Pallet Pumpkins

Linking to:  Pretty Pintastic Party, Learning from Each Other, BFF Open House, Inspire Me Monday, Made By You Monday, Lou Lou Girls, Tip Me Tuesday,

Halloween Monsters – A Quick and Easy DIY Project

Easy 2x4 Halloween Monsters Tutorial for DIY Wooden Halloween Craft featureing Frankenstein Witch Pumpkin and Mummy

Hello Monday!  Is everyone having a good day?  Usually Monday is a pretty good day for me, at least where motivation and productivity are concerned.  I think I get more done on Mondays than I do any other day of the week – and twice as much as I accomplish on Fridays 😉  But.  Today wasn’t one of those days.  In fact, I felt like I spent the entire day dealing with not-so-pleasant things and not much time at all on the glorius Monday To-Do List.  My little guy developed a fever yesterday and and I kept him home from school where he has been fighting the fever and watching Justice League cartoons.  The big truck that was scheduled to pick up the calves that my dad is selling this year moved up the timetable three hours and I was the only one home that could go out and help him round them up, and trust me – he wasn’t exactly in a good mood about it.  Plus other problems I really just don’t even want to think about right now.  So in an effort to raise my spirits a little before I meet a friend at the gym and work off some of my frustrations I decided to blog.  Aren’t you lucky? 😉

That leaves the question – what to blog about?  I’m in full-on birthday party prep mode over here, with my daughter’s fun Cupcake Wars party starting in T-minus two days and while I will have plenty to blog about the party on Thursday, none are ready to blog right now.  Pinterest and the blogosphere are still flooded with Halloween ideas and the post getting the most hits on my old blog this week, last week, and probably the week before is another of my Fall craft days…so I’d better share it here, right?!

Here we go – a simple tutorial for quick and easy Halloween Monsters.

Fall Craft Supplies for 2x4 Wooden Monsters DIY

I believe I’ve mentioned that I love to turn crafting into a social event.  In fact, it’s been a great excuse to get to know people better and I met some of my closest friends because one of them wanted to learn how to make a wreath.  However, wreaths can quickly become more expensive projects and the supplies add up pretty fast, so wooden crafts are usually my go-to when I want to pull something together inexpensively.  For this project all you need is a 2×4 and some craft paint and a couple of random things from around the house.

Supplies for Craft Day Halloween Decorations DIY Wooden Monsters and Witch

Like googly eyes and nuts and bolts

Vinyl Shapes for 2x4 Halloween Wood Craft

and a sheet of vinyl cut into to some geometric shapes.  I used my Silhouette machine but you could just as easily cut shapes with scissors or paint them on.

2x4 Wooden Crafts For Halloween Frankenstein and Mummy Easy DIY

For ‘ole Frank up there I painted the block green then added the hair and face with black paint.  Add on some googly eyes and a couple of bolts and he’s all set.
The mummy block was painted a coat of white first then I wrapped it with strips of scrap white fabric, glueing it down as I went.  If you tear the fabric strips instead of cutting them, it gives them a nice “aged” texture along the edge.

2x4 Wooden Crafts For Halloween Witch and Pumpkin Easy DIY

The witch hat is simply a piece of the 2×4 turned sideways, topped with another block of wood cut into a triangle.  I used raffia for the hair but you could easily use straw or yarn.  And Mr. Pumpkin over there is the easiest with a coat of orange paint, the vinyl shapes for the face, and a piece of green ribbon tied in a knot and glued on top for the stem/leaves.

*Quick tip:  you can use a number of adhesives like hot glue and craft glue but one of the best adhesives to use when trying to adhere anything to wood is wood glue.  It takes longer to dry, but holds really well.

DIY Wooden Halloween Decor Monsters using 2x4s includes tutorial

These guys liked to sit on my mantle or on the decorative ledge by my stairs and every time I passed them by I was reminded of the fun we all had the afternoon my friends and I got together to craft.  That’s the bonus with DIY projects – they all have a story, don’t they?

In the mood for a little more Fall/Halloween crafting?  Check out some of my other creations.

Halloween Front Porch Decor includes pallet pumpkins deco mesh wreaths and swags and wicked witch wooden sign with broomstick Make the switch to Thanksgiving easy with double sided sign

Front porch decor, including a witch wreath and Boo swags, wooden pallet pumpkins, and the double-sided Halloween/Thanksgiving sign.

Double Sided Wood 2x4 Craft for Halloween and Thanksgiving Beware of LIttle Monsters Thanks for little blessings

Double-sided Halloween/Thanksgiving blocks.  This one was another fun Craft Day project.

DIY 2x4 Pumpkins Make your own wooden pumkins with this easy tutorial

2×4 Pumpkins (see?  2x4s are one of my favorite craft supplies!)

Linking to:  R&R Wednesdays, Inspire Me Monday, Merry Monday Halloween Features, Made By You Monday,

A Witchy Front Porch

It’s a soggy, foggy Sunday morning here.  The yellowing leaves and grasses, the bare branches of trees outlined against the fog that the sunrise is having a hard time penetrating while a couple of black birds streak through the sky on this chilly October morning…the atmosphere practically screams Halloween, doesn’t it?  It makes me want to curl up with a blanket and a nice mug of hot cocoa or (even better) blog about Halloween decorations!

Witch Wreath and Boo Swags Front door wreaths for Halloween with deco mesh witches boots and witches hats in glittery fun fall colors

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to Halloween I have developed a bit of an obsession with all things Witchy.  I don’t think I’ve met a single idea using a witch hat or boots that I didn’t like.  This is probably in part because I shy away from the scary/gory aspects of Halloween.   In life – and in my decorations – I lean toward things that are bright, whimsical, and fun and my front porch is no exception, especially this time of year.

Halloween Witch Front Porch Decorations includes deco mesh wreath and swag pallet pumpkins wooden sign and witch broom

The newest additions (and when I say new, I mean as of two years ago) were the great Boo swags for the sidelights on the front door.  I put these together during (yet another fun) craft day with friends – or at least started them and managed to finish them on my own later (yay!).  I actually used a wire hanger for the base of these, stretched it out vertically then covered it with deco mesh.

Halloween Swag for Front Door Boo with Witch feet

There’s just something about those pointed hats and funky black boots.  I was delighted to find the glittered-up witches hats and the sparkly ornaments and spiders in the fun bright purple, green, and orange.  Halloween is the perfect time to go a little over-the-top, right?

Boo Front Door Wreath Deco Mesh Swag

The witch wreath in the middle is something I made a few years back.  I got a lot of compliments on it and ended up making a slightly modified version for a few craft shows and the Etsy shop a couple of years back.

I had some fun with the vinyl lettering on the wooden sign.  It reads “Come in and Sit a Spell.”  And I am in love with all the great black and white patterns available lately, especially in contrast with a few bright, fun pops of color like purple, pink, and green.  Oh – and don’t forget the jaunty black feathers!

The skirt, stockings, and boots are entirely handmade.  I even drew up the boot pattern myself then used felt and batting to give the feet, legs and hat a 3-dimensional feel.

Halloween Mailbox Swag Witches Hat with glitter and deco mesh

Since I had some leftover deco mesh and a few other supplies I threw together a quick swag for the mailbox.  That’s one of my favorite tricks for holiday decorating – a swag for the mailbox.  It only takes about 5 minutes to throw together and costs absolutely nothing when I use supplies left over from making wreaths or other projects.
Halloween Front Porch Decor includes pallet pumpkins deco mesh wreaths and swags and wicked witch wooden sign with broomstick Make the switch to Thanksgiving easy with double sided sign

There’s one more look at the front porch.  You can find tutorials for the rustic Wood Pallet Pumpkins (HERE) and the “Home of the wicked witch” Wooden Sign, which is actually double-sided and can be used to Thanksgiving as well, (HERE) in previous posts.

There.  Now that I’ve done a little bit of show and tell I think it’s time to go hunt up some of that hot cocoa and a blanket, don’t you?  Happy October!

Linking to:  R&R Wednesdays, Inspire Me Monday, Merry Monday Halloween Features, Made By You Monday,

DIY Wooden Sign for Fall – Double-sided for Halloween and Thanksgiving

Halloween Front Porch Decor includes pallet pumpkins deco mesh wreaths and swags and wicked witch wooden sign with broomstick Make the switch to Thanksgiving easy with double sided sign

Too soon for Halloween ideas?!  Naw.  Seems like half the posts I run across online right now is someone blogging about pumpkin and apple recipes or decorating their porch with fall leaves and gourds.  I’m excited because I love fall and all the things that go along with it (especially the pumpkins!) but struggle with the part of me that doesn’t want to be premature and be sick of all the fun fall stuff before Thanksgiving arrives.  But in the interest of making sure you all have plenty of time to grab some fall decorating inspiration from here or other blogs, it probably makes sense to put it out there early so you have plenty of time to create.  Am I right?

I will be sharing a new fall idea or two every week until November – or until I run out of ideas, which-ever comes first!  You’ve already seen my 2×4 Pumpkins and my Wooden Pallet Pumpkins (and if you haven’t I’d love for you to check them out) so this week I thought I would share my Double-Sided Wooden Sign for Fall.  The front side has a fun saying for Halloween and the back side is for Thanksgiving.  I love the double-sided concept, especially when it comes to holiday decor because not only does it cut down on the amount of storage space I need for storing off-season holiday decorations but it also makes it super easy to change out the decorations from one holiday to another.  This works especially well with the back to back holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I can leave out the pumpkins and bright orange and red leaves from September through November and just switch out a few select pieces for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Double Sided Wooden Fall Sign for Halloween and Thanksgiving DIY Tutorial

It was pretty simple to put together.  We just took 3 pieces of scrap wood (1×6 or 1×8 probably) and cut them all to the same length (maybe 15″ wide or so), then used smaller scraps (1×2) as braces along the back and put screws in them to hold it all together.  Then stained it all mahogany.

Thankful Thanksgiving Front Porch Sign DIY Tututorial

Thankful Grateful Blessed Wooden Front Porch Sign for Thanksgiving Decorations
I like the effect the wood braces on the back give the sign – makes it more rustic and a bit vintage looking, I think.  I also used the same stain technique as I did on the Corn Hole boards (see tutorial HERE) on the Thankful side of the sign for the lettering.  I love the look.  The Halloween quote was done with white vinyl using my Silhouette machine.

Wooden Halloween Porch Sign Home of the Wicked Witch and all her Little Monsters Double Sided

I have kind of a obsession “thing” for witch themed decor for Halloween.  There’s just something about the pointy hat and the witchy boots that makes me smile.  And I prefer the more fun and whimsical look to the scary things and the gore that often goes along with Halloween.

Thankful Wooden Sign Rustic and easy to assemble sign for Thanksgiving and Halloween

It looks great on the front porch with everything else doesn’t it?  And is often the case with most of the holiday decorations I make – it’s easy and inexpensive too!

Fall and Thanksgiving Front Porch Decor includes wooden pallet pumpkins deco mesh wreath and double sided wooden sign for Halloween and Thanksgiving

Have you decorated your porch for fall yet?  I’d love to hear some of your ideas!

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2×4 Pumpkin – Tutorial

DIY 2x4 Pumpkins Make your own wooden pumkins with this easy tutorial

Who is ready for fall?!  Ok, I’m not quite there yet either.  We had such a great summer I’m not entirely ready for it to end.  The kids started school last week and standing outside waiting for the bus I could feel a little bit of chill in the air that says “yep, fall is on its way.”  This weekend we even spotted some leaves changing colors on the mountains.  Fall is definitely starting to move in on us.  And with fall, comes…fall decorating!

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons to decorate for – all those pretty reds, oranges and browns are just so homey and bright.  With Halloween and Thanksgiving back to back, most decorations can be out from the beginning of September through the end of November.  That’s why I love this set of wooden pumpkins.  They’re cute, versatile, plus they are easy and inexpensive to make (my favorite things!).

Rustic Wooden 2x4 Pumpkins Tutorial Great idea for fall decorating for Halloween and Thanksgiving

Cute, right?  And easy enough that even a novice crafter can handle them.  In fact this is a project I did for a craft day back in my old neighborhood with friends that didn’t have much experience with crafting and they loved it.

You need:  a 2×4 cut up into the following lengths  (this is to make a set of 2 pumpkins)
2 pieces at 8″ long
3 pieces at 6″ long
2 pieces at 4″ long
and 2 scraps for the stems (mine are approx 1″ x 1″ x 2″), or you could use a branch from your yard for the stem
plus some orange paint, dark wood stain, and some embellishments like berries and ribbon

After you have cut the wood and sanded off any rough edges (doesn’t have to be super smooth), paint all sides orange.  (don’t paint the stem pieces – these will be brown)

Any old orange color will do.  In fact, something a bit brighter is probably a good idea.  I used a shade called Papaya.

Once the paint is dry you’re going to do a little distressing.  That just means you sand off some of the orange paint, usually on edges and corners (you know – where the piece is most likely to have been banged or chipped after years of use).

Then cover the whole thing in a dark wood stain (like walnut or mahogany).  Brush it on and wipe it right back off as you would with any other staining project.  You will see how it settles into the distressed parts and gives the orange a nice aged look.  You will also need to stain your little tiny stem pieces now.

Let the stain dry for a while, probably overnight.  It’s always hard for me to be patient and leave a project partially done, but stain in particular really needs the extra drying time.

Using wood glue to adhere them together (hot glue works in a pinch but doesn’t adhere as well and may fall apart over time), stack the blocks to form the pumpkins.

The small pumpkin gets a 4″ piece on bottom, 6″ piece in the middle, 4″ piece on top.
Rustic Wooden Pumpkins Tutorial

The larger pumpkin uses a 6″ piece on bottom, the two 8″ pieces in the middle, and the final 6″ piece on top.  Use a clamp or stick something heavy on top of them and let the glue dry.

Rustic Wooden Pumpkin How to Make a set of these for yourself for Halloween and Fall

Now all that is left is accessorizing.  I think a couple stands of plastic berries and a nice bow dress them up nicely.

DIY Wooden Pumpkins with berries and ribbon trim

Ta-da!  And there we have a cute set of wooden pumpkins.

2x4 Pumpkins Tutorial Easy and inexpensive fall decorating project

If you create a set for yourself I’d love to know about it.  Feel free to share a photo!

Want more easy and inexpensive Fall decorating ideas?  Check out my Wooden Pallet Pumpkins – a great addition to your front porch or mantel.

Featured on:  Your Turn to Shine, BFF Open House

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Laundry and Mud Room Update

Wall Mounted Laundry Drying Rack Small

Often I feel like I’m up to my ears in drying racks.  Guess that’s what happens when you have a side business right?  Between that and regular life, I often feel like the side of me that likes projects and doing something TRULY creative gets pushed aside.  I love a good room remodel or a party to plan and I have felt this craving the last few weeks to really dig into something like that.  However, here I sit with the oldest off at her first day of school, just returning from assessments and meeting the teacher with the youngest and all set to pop some cinnamon rolls in the oven in about 10 minutes so my daughter can have a special End of First Day treat before I rush her off to piano lessons and I’m thinking – do I really have the energy/time to tackle a nice big project?!  Maybe not.  So let me do some reminiscing here about when we moved into the new house and I had the time and energy to update it room by room. Why don’t we start with the laundry room/mud room.  After all, that laundry room redo is what got me started with the Etsy shop (as an “experiment”), which has now become such a big part of my daily life.

Laundry and Mud Room Update

Over the years I’ve done a lot of thinking about functionality and ease of use, while also trying to make my home pretty too.  This becomes even more important in areas with more than one use and when more than one person uses the space.  And honestly?  I think it all takes a little bit of trial and error.  You have to live in the space for a while and see what does and doesn’t work for you.  I have a much better idea of what I want in a laundry room now that I’ve lived in a couple of different houses and have figured out the routines and habits of our family.

One of the things I had on my Must Have list when we were looking for houses (almost 5 years ago!) was a mud room.  I wanted a space just off the garage (which is typically the door we use the most often) where we could put the shoes and coats and backpacks – all the stuff that gets dumped as soon as you walk in the door.  A lot of the newer houses here in the West seem to automatically incorporate those into the floor plans now, often in tandem with the laundry room but in North Carolina, all the houses had formal dining rooms (something not on my Must Have List – and consequently got turned into my craft room! 😉  ) but few had mud rooms.  So we were pretty happy to find a house that not only had the mud room, but also walk-in closets, a bonus room we could use as the playroom, and much more!  The biggest problem was that it had pretty much no personality (which isn’t actually a problem if you’re creative, right?) and didn’t function all that well.  Seriously.  Check it out.

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Pretty sad.  Now take a look at the final product.

Entry Mud Room Redo After Photo of new built ins for shoes coats and more

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Soooo much better, doncha’ think?
How did we do it?  Well, I think it comes down to the top Five Steps to a Well Organized Laundry Room (and Mud Room).

1.  Evaluate:  What needs a home here?  In my case, I knew I wanted a landing space for shoes and boots, a place for coats and jackets, purses and backpacks, hats and gloves.  Then on the laundry side of things I needed a place for the necessities like soap and cleaning supplies, a place for drying delicate garments, somewhere for random items from pockets or things that are always in your hands when you walk in the door.  And when we got a new puppy we then needed space for leashes, balls and dog treats.
I also knew that things need to be easy and quick to access.  People are inherently lazy beings, aren’t we?  Why take the extra minute to put a coat on a hanger when we can just drop it on the floor?  Why tramp all the way upstairs to put my shoes in my closet when I can just kick them off right here by the door? Kids are particularly prone to that kind of thing, but I find myself doing it too especially when I’m tired or in a hurry.  That’s why I’m a big fan of hooks.  Hooks for jackets.  Hooks for towels.  Hooks for hats.
Laundry Room Mud Room Redo close up detail photo of board and batten wall treatment and coat hooks

2.  Get it off the floor.  The absolute best use of space, especially in small rooms, is to use that wall space.  The hooks on the walls were a given, though we did dress them up with a board and batten wall treatment as well.  We had a coat closet just off the laundry room so I did utilize that space too.  We put in a hanger for the iron and ironing board that kept them tucked nicely out of the way but in easy reach.
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And best of all, the project I had come up with in our old house and had been waiting almost two years for my husband to bring to life – a drying rack that mounted on the wall!
Laundry Drying rack Wall Mounted
I love this thing and was so happy to do away with our ugly awkward collapsible laundry drying rack that seemed to have permanently taken up residence in the master bedroom (and let’s face it – that is really NOT romantic).  Everyone that saw it loved it too and wanted one for themselves.  After hearing “you should sell these!” over and over eventually I listed them for sale online and we have since built hundreds in all sizes and colors.
Laundry Drying Rack Custom Stain Walnut Laundry Drying Rack Wall Mounted Fold Down Wall mounted laundry drying rack in blackUnfinished Wall Mounted Laundry Drying Rack
(and if you want one for yourself please check out my Etsy shop!)
But I digress…

3.  Build it in.  This goes hand in hand with putting things on the wall – it’s a great way to utilize all the space you have available.  I could have purchased a freestanding bench and simply stacked the shoes under it, but it probably would have been only 36″ or 48″ wide leaving some extra space on either side (that probably would have been filled with random objects in no time).  With the built-in bench we were able to use the entire wall.  Plus built-ins just look good, don’t they?  Classy and custom and permanent.

Built ins for mud room entry includes board and batten walls with bench shoe cubbies and hooks for coats and backpacks

That wire shelf above the washer and dryer had to go.  Not only was it mounted too high to be easy accessible, but things kept falling through the cracks.  We found an unfinished  cupboard at a home improvement store (for under $50 I believe) that I painted white, clear coated, and mounted on the wall.

4.  Containerize!  Every organization lover’s favorite thing, right?  Decorative baskets, plastic tubs, buckets and bins – when in doubt put it in a container!  I quickly found that the top of the dryer was one of the biggest clutter catching areas in the house so I found a low wide bucket to put everything in – gloves, spare change, sunglasses and sunscreen, and other random things all went in the bucket.  I also purchased a few baskets and put them on the shelf in the coat closet to contain spare hats and gloves, dog toys, and my exercise bands/weights.  The cupboard above the washer got a basket too for smaller laundry and cleaning items.

5.  Give it some personality.  This is easily done with paint and with a few accessories and some decoration on the wall.  I created some fun laundry themed signs, one for above the cupboard and one on top of the drying rack.  My favorite addition to the laundry room were these photos I took of our feet – our little guy in his favorite cowboy boots, our daughter in her flip flops, and our whole family barefoot – which I had printed on canvas in sepia tones to go with the darker brown on the walls.  It’s the little details that really make the difference between something generic and a room that is truly yours.
Wall Decor take close up photos of feet and shoes and mount them on the wall of the mud room

And that’s really all there is to it.  Let’s see the side by side of the Before and After one more time, shall we?
004   Entry Mud Room Redo After Photo of new built ins for shoes coats and more

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Of course this didn’t happen overnight, but it wasn’t an intimidating project either.  And if you take anything away from this post today, I want it to be this.  Home improvement projects don’t have to be (extraordinarily) hard or expensive to be worthwhile.  You just need to know a few tricks to the process, be a little bit handy (or know someone who is!), and be willing to put in a little extra time.

Do you have any favorite things you have done for your laundry room or mud room?  I’d love to hear about it.  After all, we do have new house plans in the works and I collecting ideas and seeing what other have created.

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